Praying the Way of the Cross together…daily

14th Station – Jesus is laid in the sepulchre

Each year when the feast of Easter arrives, I question if Christians focus enough on the tomb-time. Most move quickly from Good Friday to Easter liturgies with nary a look at the Crucified One’s sojourn in the tomb’s liminal waiting period. This hurried move from death into life reflects Western culture’s inability to remain long with hurt and distress, seeking quick alleviation and allowing little space for the darkness and mystery that grows one into a clearer, deeper way of living. The Risen One’s tomb-time provides a powerful metaphor for this spiritual gestation. New life and hope spring forth from the Easter story only after Jesus’ time of darkness and defeat.

By Joyce Rupp

Lord, give us courage to enter the tomb of physical suffering, to find inner strength by uniting ourselves with your experience of bodily pain and the absence of relief

Lord wrap your compassion around all who choose to live in the tomb of the world’s violence and hatred. Restore a seed of hope for another sort of world in their hearts.

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

Burial

13th Station – Jesus is taken down from the cross

Hope is not dependent on peace in the land, justice in the world, and success in the business. Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God’s guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness. No one can truly say with certainty where he or she will be ten or twenty years from now. You do not know if you will be free or in captivity, if you will be honoured or despised, if you will have many friends or few, if you will be liked or rejected. But when you hold lightly these dreams and fears, you can be open to receive every day as a new day and to live your life as a unique expression of God’s love for humankind. There is an old expression that says, “As long as there is life, there is hope.” As Christians we also say, “As long as there is hope, there is life.”

By Henri Nouwen

Lord soften our hearts that we might have deep compassion for those who are mourning and burying their dead

Lord, open our hearts and minds beyond all those who mourning those dead from the Coronavirus….but also those all over the world who die in war, in refugee camps, through acts of violence and hatred all over the world.

 Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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12th Station – Jesus dies on the cross

Picture yourself before the crucified Jesus; recognize that he became what you fear: nakedness, exposure, vulnerability, and failure. He became sin to free you from sin. He became what we do to one another in order to free us from the lie of punishing and scapegoating each other. He became the crucified, so we would stop crucifying. He refused to transmit his pain onto others.

In your imagination, receive these words as Jesus’ invitation to you from the cross:

My beloved, I am your self. I am your beauty. I am your goodness, which you are destroying. I am what you do to what you should love. I am what you are afraid of: your deepest and best and most naked self—your soul. Your sin largely consists in what you do to harm goodness—your own and others’. You are afraid of the good; you are afraid of me. You kill what you should love; you hate what could transform you. I am Jesus crucified. I am yourself, and I am all of humanity.

And now respond to Jesus on the cross, hanging at the centre of human history, turning history around:

Jesus, your love is what I most fear. I can’t let anybody love me for nothing. Intimacy with you or anyone terrifies me. I am beginning to see that I, in my own body, am an image of what is happening everywhere, and I want it to stop today. I want to stop the violence toward myself, toward the world, toward you. I don’t need ever again to create any victim, even in my mind.

You are Jesus crucified. You are saving me. In your perfect love, you have chosen to enter into union with me, and I am slowly learning to trust that this could be true.

By Richard Rohr

 

Lord, be with all the dying – those who are alone, in pain, or frightened of death.

Lord, free our hearts to receive your love and help us to stop hurting you, others and ourselves.

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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11th Station – Jesus is nailed to the cross

See once more the soldiers’ mockery. It is true that the laugh was on them, because for Christians, he really is our King; but what did it feel like for Jesus, as they dress him up in royal clothes and give him an imitation crown (but with thorns) and an imitation sceptre (but it was a breakable reed), and played games as though he were a real king, spitting and genuflecting and hitting him with his own sceptre. Then there is the grim arrival at ‘Skull Place’. And they watch, which somehow increases the indignity.

Then there is more mockery: from the indictment above his head (because he is not really ‘King’ – or is he?), from the passers-by, from the Chief Priests, scribes and elders (who just might be hoping that, even now, he might come down from the cross), and even from those who are in the same situation, who might have been expected to have some more fellow-feeling.                                                                              By Nicholas King SJ

 

Lord, we pray for every person who has been persecuted or tortured or unjustly accused or victimised.

Lord, we thank you for your great love for all people, even unto death.

 Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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10th Station – Jesus is stripped of his garments

“…Somewhere along the way, we each get stripped of what we have spent our lives acquiring, of things closest to our hearts, of possessions or positions that made us who we thought we were. Then, thrown back upon ourselves, we are left to discover who we have really become. It is a frightening moment, often an embarrassing one, always a difficult one. So much of life is spent attending to the show and glitter, the masks and trappings, the externals of our personal identities that we fail to notice what is lacking inside of us.

The problem is, of course, that we don’t miss what we don’t have within us until we need it most. Then the lack of dignity, of self-containment, of simple joy, of deep sincerity, of spiritual serenity, of holy trust, of genuine humility becomes glaringly apparent. It’s only at the point when we realize who we are not that we are ready to become someone worthwhile. When we have finally stopped the posturing and personal exaggerations of life, the freedom that comes with being honest with the self and open with others leaves us perfectly free.

Now, nothing can possibly shame us again. Now we cannot be slighted because we know who we are. We cannot be embarrassed by the past because we have already embraced and confronted it. It is a moment of great liberation. It is a moment of new life.  Being willing to be the self and nothing more is the beginning of truth, the essence of humility, the coming of peace…”                                                                              By Joan Chittister

Lord, give us the courage to follow you, even though following you means being stripped of what is not of God.

Lord, we pray for refugees all across the world today, stripped of their homeland, of their families, of their neighbourhoods, of their futures…

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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9th Station – Jesus falls the third time

In his fall, Jesus turns to us, shows us a path, becomes our teacher.
He invites us to come to him whenever we experience human powerlessness, and to discover there the closeness of God’s power.
He shows us the path leading to the fount of true refreshment, of the grace which is sufficient.
He teaches us the lesson of a meekness which quells rebellion and a trust which supplants arrogance.
As our teacher, the fallen Jesus gives us, most of all, the great lesson of humility, “the path that brought him to the resurrection”. The path that, after every fall, gives us the strength to say: “Now I will begin again, O Lord, with you and not alone.

By Sr. Elena Maria Manganelli osa

Lord, help us to trust in you, when every part of us has doubts and is ready to give up

Lord, strengthen and encourage people throughout the world as we face the challenge of this pandemic

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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8th Station    Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

On his journey to Calvary, Jesus meets some of the women of the town, weeping for him and weeping for their own losses. Women weeping is not uncommon. They have many reasons to cry. Jesus recognises their plight and feels for them.

For whom do we weep?

What are the situations in our world that cause us to cry today?

What causes us to cry out to God in desperation and in need?

Trócaire’s Lenten campaign this year highlights some of the ways in which women are vulnerable. They try to feed and protect their children. They fight against big corporations trying to take their land from them. They often have no legal ownership of land, so when their husband dies, they are evicted and the land divided among other family members.

Lord, we are all created equal – women and men. Open our eyes and hearts to speak out against the injustices experienced by women.

Lord, we pray especially for women and children, caught in war zones and conflict, denied their human dignity and human rights.

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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7th Station – Jesus falls a second time
 
So much for Veronica wiping his face,
so much for Simon of Cyrene giving him a hand,
so much for his mother’s presence.
 
Not enough.
 
We’ve all been there, at one time or another.
 
Two agonies then.
His,
grit between the teeth,
ground down into the muck again.
 
Theirs,
watching,
knowing nothing,
nothing is enough.
 
Sometimes –
God knows –
that is what it is to be human.
                                                                                                                  By Sylvia Sands
 
Lord, be with those who feel ground down by life at this moment
 
Lord, help us to realise that you really know what it is like to be human, with all our fears, doubts, struggles and pain.
 
Save us, saviour of the world,
for by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free.
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6th Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
 
Each life influences and affects the other in some way. the more we see our world as a vast interconnectedness of all beings, the more drawn we will be to compassion because we will see how much one life is related to and affected by the other.
 
Compassion can be very demanding. It is not easy to know the pain and to feel the hurt of another. sometimes compassion asks us to simply ‘be’ with someone, to wait patiently, to experience their powerlessness with them. At other times, compassion asks us to ‘do’ something, to give of our time and resources, to speak out for justice, to ‘go the extra mile’ for and with them.
                                                                                                                                 By Joyce Rupp
 
Lord, as Veronica wiped your face, we give thanks for the Veronicas in our lives, those who have stood by us, comforted us, even at the risk of their own rejection.
 
Lord, we ask your blessing on all the Veronicas today, those who are reaching out with compassion and care, with courage and commitment, to be with the sick and the dying during these days of pandemic.
Save us, saviour of the world,
for by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free.

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 5th Station     Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross

The soldiers are becoming impatient. This is taking longer than they wanted it to. They are afraid he will not make it to the hill where he will be crucified. As he grows weaker, they grab a man out of the crowd and make him help Jesus carry his cross. He was just watching what was happening, but all of a sudden he is helping Jesus carry the cross.

Through the Good Samaritan you taught us that everyone in need is our neighbour. Help us to follow in your way of love that we do not need be compelled to take up the cross of another when they cannot bear their burdens alone.                                                   By Patrick Comerford

Lord, open our hearts and hands to assist those whose cross is crippling them

Lord, stretch our hearts to receive and accept the Good Samaritan’s help

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

simon

 

4th Station     Jesus meets his mother Mary

As I look at Mary and all the mothers of sorrow, a question rises up from the center of my being: “Can you remain standing in your pain and keep forgiving from your heart?” My true call is to look the suffering Jesus in the eyes and not be crushed by his pain, but to receive it in my heart and let it bear the fruit of compassion. I know that the longer I live, the more suffering I will see and that the more suffering I see, the more sorrow I will be asked to live. But it is in this deep human sorrow that unites my wounded heart with the heart of humanity. The way of Jesus is the way into the heart of human suffering. It is the way Mary chose and many Marys continue to choose. Wars come and go, and come again. Oppressors come and go, and come again. My heart knows this even when I do whatever I can to resist the oppressor and struggle for peace. In the midst of it all, I have to keep choosing the ever-narrowing path, the path of sorrow, the path of hope.     By Henri Nouwen

Lord, help us to be with others in their pain and suffering, even when it costs us deeply.

Lord, be with all those who are suffering at this time, especially those who are ill and dying.

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

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3rd Station     Jesus falls for the first time

Bowed down under the weight of the cross, Jesus slowly sets forth on the way to Calvary amidst the mockeries and insults of the crowd. His agony in the garden has exhausted his body and he is sore from blows and wounds; his strength fails him and he falls to the ground under the weight of the cross.    by the Irish Carmelites

Lord, show us how to be with the many people around us who are falling down under the heavy weights of bills they cannot pay, or homes they cannot keep, or sickness, depression or family problems.

Lord, nudge us daily to share our time, our voice, our money with those in need.

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free.

jesus falls the first time

2nd Station – Jesus takes up his cross

What does it mean to follow Jesus? I believe that we are invited to gaze upon the image of the crucified Jesus to soften our hearts toward all suffering, to help us see how we ourselves have been “bitten” by hatred and violence, and to know that God’s heart has always been softened toward us. In turning our gaze to this divine truth—in dropping our many modes of scapegoating and self-justification—we gain compassion toward ourselves and all others who suffer.
by Richard Rohr

Lord, soften our hearts towards all who are suffering at this time….towards those who are sick and dying, towards those struggling with isolation and loneliness, towards those suffering mentally and emotionally.

Lord, may we do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others by being with them in their pain, and standing alongside them in these difficult days

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. Amen

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First Station – Jesus is condemned to die

 Jesus is condemned to die because he set out to witness to the love and justice of the God of all creation: Jews and non-Jews, women as well as men, underlings as well as the professional types of his time. He threatened the establishment with his incessant attempts to build a better world, and they destroyed him for it.                                                                        Sr. Joan Chittister osb

 

 Condemnation kills hope.

Without hope,

it is difficult to get up in the morning,

it is hard to cope with challenges,

and it is easy to succumb to despair.

 

Lord, remind us that you walk with us every step of life,

even when we are condemned by others

Lord, help us to stand up for what we believe in,

regardless of others’ criticism.           

Save us, saviour of the world,

for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. Amen

cross and candle

 

Individually or as a community, the Way of the Cross is a traditional part of our prayer during Lent. While we cannot gather physically at this time, we can gather as people of faith, people of hope.

Who?          Let’s journey together with this familiar prayer, whether we are at home alone, or with

family members.

What?          We will make one station each day, until we reach the 14th station on Good Friday.

How?           Just click the picture of the Praying Hands.

Each day a short reflection for the  particular station along with the prayer  will be posted here.

When?        The reflection and prayer for the day will be up from 8.00am each morning….

This year we pray in different circumstances….we are living through extraordinary times, when we are more conscious of ourselves as citizens of the world, and aware of our personal responsibility to live and work together for the good of all.

We journey with Jesus Christ who carried his cross, the instrument of his death which became the symbol of hope for us – God raises Jesus Christ from death, bringing hope out of darkness – this is our hope

In preparations, you might like to find a cross and candle to place in your praying space….you could make a cross very simply of two twigs, from the garden or found on a walk, tied together to form a cross.