Pope Francis meets with pilgrims from El Salvador Pope Francis meets with pilgrims from El Salvador  (Vatican Media)

Pope to El Salvador pilgrims: Follow in the footsteps of your martyrs

Pope Francis meets with pilgrims from El Salvador in the Vatican and urges them to follow in the footsteps of the martyrs for whom they are offering thanks with their pilgrimage to Rome.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis on Friday met with pilgrims from El Salvador, in Rome to give thanks for the beatification of the martyrs Rutilio Grande García, Cosme Spessotto, Manuel Solórzano, and Nelson Rutilio Lemus.

Martyrs, a gift from the Lord

Addressing the group, the Holy Father began by noting that the martyrs, as we all know, are "a free gift of the Lord". He explained that "their blood is not united to that of the Saviour simply by virtue of the imitation of the disciple to his master, or of the servant to his Lord, but is a form of mystical union, which the Fathers have seen represented in the drops of blood that covered the body of Jesus in Gethsemane". He recalled that these four drops of blood embroidered Jesus' seamless robe like rubies, and "we give thanks to God for these precious jewels". 

Although their significance will always remain in the mystery of God, "this reality can and must be deepened in our communities", said the Pope. Saint Oscar Romero highlighted that the first fruit of the death of the Blessed was the re-establishment of the unity of the Church, at the funeral Mass of Father Rutilio Grande on 14 March 1977.

Saint Oscar Romero

Saint Oscar Romero concluded that homily by saying: "Let us understand this Church, let us be inspired by this love, let us live this faith and I assure you that there is a solution to our great problems". Pope Francis noted that this could be "a good way to 'ruminate' in prayer on this word which, through the blood of these witnesses, God has pronounced in the Church of El Salvador".

Pope Francis then went on to note that at this time when we are called to reflect on the synodality of the Church, "we have in these martyrs the best example of this 'walking together'" and "that is what each of you, bishops, priests and pastoral workers, ask the Lord today, to do the same."

"Our realities are certainly not those of that time, but the call to commitment, to fidelity, to put faith in God and love of our brothers and sisters in the first place, to live in hope, is timeless, because it is the Gospel, a living Gospel, which is not learned from books but from the life of those who have handed down to us the deposit of faith".

Jesus' cross is everyone's cross

Bringing his discourse to a close, Pope Francis reminded those present that "the cross is always Jesus' Cross, but at the same time it is everyone's cross. It is the cross of the Church which, as the Body of Christ, follows Him in the supreme sacrifice of love, as He taught us". Finally, the Pope explained that "we all carry it, encouraging one another, praying for those who are in difficulty, and thanking God that we can walk together as a holy and faithful people, bearing witness to others in spite of our weaknesses, so that they too may be comforted in the vicissitudes of life". 

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14 October 2022, 11:35