A Via Crucis
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.
Eighth station: Jesus meets the pious women of Jerusalem
Jesus, carrying the cross, stops by a group of holy women weeping for him. He tells them not to. Cry for yourselves and for your children, He says, for if the green wood is treated like this, how much worse would things be when it is dry?
Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. Cut off from him, we would be but fodder for fires.
Persecution shall be the lot of every son and daughter of the Church till time ends, for they follow a maltreated Master.
We ask for courage to never grow tired of striving to do good, even when the powerful of this world and the mobs that support them heap foul words and maledictions on believers. Let our tears of compassion be signs of consolation from the One who once said, “Blessed are those who mourn.”
Ninth station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do, our Lord says. Iron nails sink into his flesh, bone and marrow. Man, with the zeal of one who would pulverize sin were it incarnate executes Innocence made flesh step by agonizing step.
The wrongfully demonized begs for our exoneration.
Let us ask for the grace to remember that we are all human, all fallen. If the sinless One prayed for mercy for his murderers, what gives us sinful ones the right to demand that our mother country brutalize her prodigal
Tenth station: Jesus promises heaven to the repentant thief
Our Lord is nailed between two thieves. One mocks Jesus, daring him to save himself and his fellow crucified. The other rebukes the first thief: Have you no fear of God? We deserve the lot that has befallen us, but this man has done no wrong. He turns to Jesus, asking the Lord to remember him when He comes into his kingdom.
Today, Jesus replies, you will be with me in paradise.
What triggers remorse? The sight of one who willingly endures the pain that he does not deserve. What does our eagerness to ostracize outlaws and child offenders say about our views on the possibility of repentance? What does this say about our willingness to help one another bear our burdens?
Our cynicism, our despair rises in proportion to our unwillingness to sacrifice on behalf of our neighbor. We cannot provoke repentance or transformation because we prefer retaliation to deeper love.
O Master, grant that we may never seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to love as to love with all our soul.
Eleventh station: Mary and John at the foot of the cross
In Eden were a serpent, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve.
On Golgotha were Jesus, the cross, Mary and John.
The serpent divided Adam and Eve and led them to finger-pointing. Who was to blame for their violation — eating forbidden fruit?
Jesus led Mary and John to recognize their relationship with each other as mother and son. To them He gave himself — not forbidden fruit but bread of life.
We stand before two roads. Do we eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or walk sustained by the One who gives us himself as our daily bread?
We choose the first and we languish in confusion, unable to raise a standard amid our division. We choose the second and we thrive, gathered like young birds under his wing. He becomes the standard, and in the fullness of life that He gives, we grow wings under which we shelter and nurture one another.
Twelfth station: Jesus dies on the cross
Father, Jesus says, into your hands I commend my spirit. Our Lord breathes his last.
May we never grow so proud as to think we have authority to rob someone of the chance to peacefully cede his life to our Lord.
Thirteenth station: Jesus is laid in the tomb Joseph of Arimathea asks Pontius Pilate for Jesus’ corpse. He and other friends bury God in a garden tomb.
When will we slay and entomb our sins?
Let us ask for the strength to do this, and for the gift of friends who will keep us on the path of growing in virtue.
Fourteenth station: Jesus rises from death
The earth trembles. An angel descends from heaven. The guards at the tomb’s entrance are confounded. The winged creature rolls aside the stone.
The Redeemer emerges into the dawn.
Let us hold on to this message that the ever-living Jesus conveyed to Dame Julian of Norwich in the Middle Ages: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
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