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LENT: SHORT MEDITATIONS ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS

LENT: SHORT MEDITATIONS ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS

THE 14 “CONSIDER…” MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST

(These reflections can be used as Stations of the Cross. In this case, pray at each station: “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.” The following act of contrition may be used: “I love You, Jesus, my love above all things. I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always and then do with me what You will.”)

I. JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross.
(Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be; to be repeated after each meditation.)

II. JESUS RECEIVES THE CROSS
Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on his shoulders, thought of us, and offered for us to his Father the death he was about to undergo.

III. JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME
Consider the first fall of Jesus under his Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, his head was crowned with thorns; he had lost a great quantity of blood. So weakened he could scarcely walk, he yet had to carry this great load upon his shoulders. The soldiers struck him rudely, and he fell several times.

IV. JESUS IS MET BY HIS BLESSED MOTHER
Consider this meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey. Their looks became like so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly.

V. THE CROSS IS LAID UPON SIMON OF CYRENE
Consider how his cruel tormentors, seeing that Jesus was on the point of expiring, and fearing he would die on the way, whereas they wished him to die the shameful death of the Cross, constrained Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross behind our Lord.

VI. VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
Consider how the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so ill-used, and bathed in sweat and blood, wiped his face with a towel, on which he left the impression of his holy countenance.

VII. JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME
Consider the second fall of Jesus under the Cross; a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds in his head and members.

VIII. THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM MOURN FOR OUR LORD
Consider how these women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in such a pitiable state, streaming with blood, as he walked along. ‘Daughters of Jerusalem’, said he, ‘weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children’.

IX. JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME
Consider the third fall of Jesus Christ. His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of his executioners excessive, who tried to hasten his steps when he could scarcely move.

X. JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
Consider the violence with which Jesus was stripped by the executioners. His inner garments adhered to his torn flesh, and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Take pity on your Saviour thus cruelly treated.

XI. JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
Consider how Jesus, having been placed upon the Cross, extended his hands, and offered to his Eternal Father the sacrifice of his life for our salvation. Those barbarians fastened him with nails, and then, securing the Cross, allowed him to die with anguish on this infamous gibbet.

XII. JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
Consider how Jesus, being consumed with anguish after three hours’ agony on the Cross, abandoned himself to the weight of his body, bowed his head and died.

XIII. JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS
Consider how, after our Lord had expired, two of his disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took him down from the Cross and placed him in the arms of his afflicted Mother, who received him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed him to her bosom.

XIV. JESUS IS PLACED IN THE SEPULCHRE
Consider how the disciples, accompanied by his holy Mother, carried the body of Jesus to bury it. They closed the tomb, and all came sorrowfully away.

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“I DO NOTICE PEOPLE STILL GOING AROUND THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS…”

QUESTION: “…I do nontice people still going around the Stations of the Cross… When did the devotion of doing the Stations of the Cross begin? … Would you recommend it as a practice for Lent?

ANSWER: The answer to your second question is that I would certainly recommend it as a devotional practice for Lent. Lent is a time of prayer and penance in preparation for Easter – for Christ’s death and Resurrection. The Stations of the Cross, prayed at home or in the church, with their focus on the suffering of Christ as he made his way to Calvary is an ideal prayer and practice for Lent.

When did this devotion begin? The devotion to the passion of Christ actually began with the Crucifixion but it developed into its present form through the efforts of Franciscan Friars in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Franciscan preachers and writers began spreading the devotion worldwide, publicising the spiritual richness of the devotion.”
– This article was published in “Saint Martin Magazine” issue March 2004. For subscriptions please visit http://www.stmartin.ie (external link).

 

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“THERE IS A CERTAIN WITNESS TO ETERNAL LIFE THAT COMES ABOUT ONLY IN OUR BEING A SOUND IN THE CHURCH’S VOICE”

WE MUST CONTINUALLY STRIVE TO MAKE THE CHURCH LOVABLE

“We must continually strive to make the Church l o v a b l e. We must continually strive to avoid anything that would needlessly render Christ’s love indiscernable in the Church. It is a sin of omission not to give witness to the fact that the joy of being a child of God is something we possess in her, our Mother. There ought to be a certain family resemblance with the Church that shines through our lives.

A CERTAIN FAMILY RESEMBLANCE

There is a certain witness to eternal life that comes about only in our being a sound in the Church’s voice. We must continually strive to make the Church loving. Her love is to a great extent in our hands. ‘It is in her souls that the Church is beautiful,’ says Saint Ambrose. In our lives, the Church ought to be g o o d; in our lives, the Christ-Church ought to love as he wishes, according to the movement of his love, according to the rules of his love, according to the demands of his love.

THE MOVEMENT OF THIS LOVE

The direction of this love is a movement, an elan. From the moment Christ took to the road, he never again left it; at the end, the road was called the way of the cross.

AT THE END, THE ROAD IS CALLED ‘THE WAY OF THE CROSS’

To Saint Peter, to whom he said, ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church,’ the first word he addressed to him was ‘Follow me,’ and the last thing he said to him was ‘Follow me.’ The final command he gave the Apostles was, ‘Go…,’ ‘I have brought you together in order that you could go out…’ This love is like an elan vital, surging out toward all the ends of the earth, whether they be geographical or social ends.

ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

This love is like an internal elan that surges out toward whatever is separated by sin and error. This love is like an elan seeking to find once again those whom Christ first set himself to pursue: the little ones, those who suffer, the poor.”
– Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel

 
 

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FOR YOUR DIARY: STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT AYLESFORD PRIORY

“BORN FOR THIS”

A powerful and moving depiction of The Stations of the Cross presented by young people from the Southwark Diocese – a good focus for all ages.

VENUES

• Aylesford Priory
Saturday 23rd March 2013
6pm

• St George’s Cathedral, London
Palm Sunday 24th March 2013
7.30pm

Admission is free.

 

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IN CHRIST, EACH ONE OF US FINDS THE MEANING OF HIS OWN SUFFERING, THE POWER OF HIS OWN CAPACITY FOR LOVE

In his Passion Jesus was exposed, made public property to the whole of humankind. The last time he went up unto a mountain to pray, it was to pray out loud in a voice that would echo down the ages, ringing in the ears of humankind for ever. It was to be stripped naked before the whole world for ever, not only in body but in mind and soul; to reveal not only the height and the depth and the breadth of his love for us but its intimacy, its sensitivity, its humanity.

All his secrets were out. Every detail of his Passion revealed something more of his character as a man – not only his heroism and his majesty but his human necessities, and the human limitations which he deliberately adopted as part of his plan of love in order to be able to indwell us AS WE ARE, with OUR limitations and psychological as well as physical necessities and interdependence on one another. He was not only simulating our humanness outwardly but feeling as we feel; not only feeling his OWN grief, fear, compassion, need of sympathy, and so on, as man, but OURS; not only knowing every nerve and fibre of his own love for us, but that of each one of us for one another.

The Passion of Christ was an experience which included in itself every experience, except sin, of every member of the human race. If one may say this with reverence, the fourteen incidents of the Stations of the Cross show not only the suffering but the psychology of Christ. Above all, they show, in detail, his way of transforming suffering by love. He shows us, step by step, HOW that plan of love can be carried out by men, women, and children today, both alone in the loneliness of their individual lives and together in communion with one another.

Different though each human being is from every other, uniquely his own though each one’s experience is, there are certain inevitable experiences which are common to all and from which none can escape. One of these is death. Another is love. Everyone is capable of love for SOMEONE, even if it is only for himself, and the price of love, perhaps particularly of self-love, is suffering. But the POWER of love, and this does not apply to self-love, is to transform suffering, to heal its inevitable wounds…
Each one meets himself on the Via Crucis, which is the road through death to life. In Christ, each one of us finds the meaning of his own suffering, the power of his own capacity for love.
– Caryll Houselander, 20th century

 
 

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