Finally left to himself, Cardinal Fratelli falls silent. He kneels, turns eyes towards an old, wooden crucifix, and prays aloud: “Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, according to the greatness of your mercy. In your compassion, blot out my sins…”
Admitting wrong deeds done and right deeds undone is difficult- especially for a cardinal who is supposed to be holy. Knowing he had been proud, slothful, selfish… intemperate… concupiscent, Fratelli dared not stare too intently at that hallowed representation of Christ. Indeed, the cross seemingly loomed over him, its painful curves and rugged lines almost crying out for justice. Yet, the Savior’s death didn’t bring well-deserved justice but mercy. The blood of the cross pleaded for pardon rather than condemnation.
“Sacrifices do not delight you, but a contrite heart you will not spurn,” the cardinal said, “Hear me, Oh Lord, and be pleased with my sorrow.”