Earlier today the Holy Father went to the Western Wall (AKA the “Wailing Wall”), where he silently prayed touching the remaining portion of Herod’s temple. I was profoundly moved by the simple gesture of the Pope; in fact, I was similarly moved in a deep way when Saint John Paul and Pope Benedict visited the Wall in silent prayer. All prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the gift of peace.
The Vatican press says that Francis left a hand-written Our Father in Spanish; the tradition is to insert in the cracks of the Wall a prayer.
A very moving gesture for me, too, was the Holy Father’s fraternal embrace of the Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Muslim leader Omar Abboudan from Buenos Aires –his longtime friends accompanying him. This is the first such walking with a Pope on a pilgrimage.
Before leaving the Wall, the Grand Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, asked the Pope to sign the Western Wall Book of Honor. The dedication begins by citing Psalm 121: “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’. And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem. With these sentiments of joy to my older brothers, I have come now and I asked the Lord for the grace of peace.”
May the Pope’s prayer be our prayer, too: now and tomorrow. PAX!