Love in a Time of Hate: the Pope at Ground Zero

"God of Peace, Bring Your Peace to Our Violent World"
by Zenit Staff Writer | Source:
NEW YORK ( Benedict XVI’s prayer at ground zero bears witness to the fact that in times of incomprehensible hate, love and solidarity become more necessary and intense, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, called the Pope’s visit to the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers “a moment of hope, of realistic hope."

The priest, who is also the director of Vatican Radio, continued, "At ground zero we see the manifestation of the consequences of hate in our time, at least in very recent times. A manifestation of a hate of such proportions as to be also truly mysterious, beyond our capacity to imagine.

"But precisely in the face of this, we recollect ourselves silently in prayer, before God, to ask for the light and the comfort to continue to hope, to be able, in the face of this huge empty crater [...] that Ground Zero represents, to rebuild a reconciled society, a future of hope.”

For this reason, he explained, [Benedict XVI's visit] “was a moment of great compassion, of great participation in a sorrow that continues to be extremely present for the relatives of the victims."

“With [his] prayer, the Pope invites all to recall that it was an experience of hatred and sorrow, but that it was also, in the moment itself of the tragedy, an experience of solidarity and love, because so many gave their lives to help those who were stricken in that moment,” said Father Lombardi.

The priest continued: “This presents a message that continues and must become stronger, in such a way as to look forward, everyone wanting to build a better society, pulling up the roots of hatred and terrorism and knowing always how to resist [them] with strength."

According to Father Lombardi, “it is a great message, not only for the American people, but for all humanity as well,” to “look forward with full responsibility.”

Papal Prayer at Ground Zero
NEW YORK, APRIL 20, 2008 ( Here is the text of the prayer pronounced today by Benedict XVI upon visiting and blessing ground zero, site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

* * *

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here --
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.

Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.

Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.

Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

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