Stations of the Cross

             

…are a series of fourteen pictures or carvings portraying incidents in Christ's journey from his condemnation by Pilate to his being laid in the tomb.  They are arranged around the inside walls of churches and chapels, but are also to be found in other settings such as along wooded paths near shrines.  In the devotion of the Stations, an individual or group passes from station to station  reciting prayers and meditating on each incident, or at least on the passion of Christ in general.  It is thought that the Stations originated as a way that those unable to travel might follow the pilgrimage route in Jerusalem, the 'Via Dolorosa'.”

Many texts have been written for use during the Stations..." Catholic Encyclopedia 

To Listen to the Stations of the Cross Double Click on the pictures below.

 

Jesus stands before Pilate, alone and undefended, innocent and gentle, yet sentenced to death on a cross.  How often do we unjustly pass sentences on others by our attitudes and feelings, our jealousies and prejudices, our opinions and  our outlooks?

Now the Cross as Jesus bore it, Has become for us who share it, The jeweled Cross of Victory.

 

 

 

Pilot hands Jesus over to be crucified.  The guards take Him and lead Him away. Jesus receives the Cross without complaint or self-pity.  He is like an innocent lamb being led to the slaughter. 

Weakened, prodded, cursed and fallen, His whole Body bruised and swollen, Jesus tripped and lay in pain.

 

 

 

After a night of torture and humiliation Jesus, physically weakened, falls under the burden of the Cross.  Yet He soon rises to continue His journey for our good and the good of all.  How often are our expectations of one another,  especially those closest to us, so great that there is no room to fall, no room for failure, no room for mistakes? 

Jesus met his grieving mother, She who made the Lord our Brother; Now the sword her heart has pierced.

 

As the heavily burdened Jesus slowly, painfully makes His way to Calvary, He sees, standing along the side of the road, His mother, Mary.  He looks into her eyes, and she into His.  Without a word spoken aloud,  only with their eyes, they acknowledge one another’s pain, and they offer one another comfort.  How often do we observe the sadness and misery of others without acknowledging it?  How often do we fail to offer encouragement and support?

Simon stopped in hesitation, Not foreseeing his proud station, Called to bear the Cross of Christ.

 

So that Jesus could complete the walk to Calvary, the soldiers force a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, a stranger, to help carry the cross.  How often in life is this true of us; a stranger offers the most aid and encouragement in times of difficulty? How often are we willing to be that stranger?

Brave but trembling came the woman, None but she would flaunt the Roman, Moved by love beyond her fear.

 

Veronica, unafraid of the soldiers and the jeering crowd, comes up to Jesus, and with her veil, gently wipes the blood and sweat from His face.  How often in our lives is there no time, no energy, no courage to break away from the crowd to do some unexpected, unpretentious act of kindness?

Prostrate on the dust He crumbled, Flogged in body He resembled  All our brothers poor and scorned.

It is our weaknesses that He carries, our sufferings that He endures.   He is pierced for our offenses, He is crushed for our sins; Upon Him is the punishment that makes us whole.  And so, Jesus once again falls  under the weight of the Cross.  In our own lives, some of the same mistakes are made over and over again. How often do we become discouraged with such repetition and give up?

May our sympathy for Jesus Turn to those who here now need us, May we see Christ bruised in them.

There is following Jesus a great crowd of people, among them are women who are wailing and lamenting Him.  Turning to them, Jesus says, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”   How often in our lives do we become irritated at those who would intrude on our privacy?  How often do we need to curb our tongues when a sharp word or retort is upon them?  

Jesus fell again in weakness, Stumbling as we do, to lead us Through our sorrow and our pain.

Jesus, weakened, crushed, and profaned, once again falls . . . and yet trusting in His Father’s will and power, He struggles to get up.  Jesus struggles to continue the journey to His death.  How often do we give up on the person who most needs our trust, our encouragement, our unconditional love?  How often do we allow ourselves, and others, to fail?

Stripped and jeered by His own nation, Jesus stood in desolation, Giving all He had to give.

When they reach the top of the hill, before they crucify Him, they strip Jesus of His garments.  All that is of the material world is taken from Him.   “They divided my clothes among them, and upon my garments they cast lots.”  How willing are we to strip from our lives those people or possessions, those words or actions, those habits or addictions that prevent us from imitating Christ? 

Pierced the hands that blessed and cured us, Pierced the feet that walked to free us, Walked the hill of Calvary.

They nail Jesus to the cross with spikes.  Spikes driven through His hands and feet; spikes that secure His fate as sacrificial lamb, spikes that shoot pain through His body and ebb away life.  How often do we wrongly judge or question the sufferings of others?  

Life eternal, death defiant,  Bowed His head  -  the world was silent, Through His death came life anew.

 

It is the sixth hour, and darkness covers the whole land.  The sun disappears and the curtain of the temple is torn in the middle.  Jesus cries out in a loud voice, “It is finished.  Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.” Then, bowing His head, He dies!  How often do we give ourselves completely over to God?  How often do we empty ourselves, letting go and letting God? 

Stunned and stricken, Mary, Mother, In your arms was placed our Brother, “Full of grace” now filled with grief.

When the soldiers come to Jesus, they see that He is already dead, so they do not break His legs as is the custom to hasten the death of one crucified.  However, one of the soldiers thrusts a lance into Jesus’ side, and immediately, blood and water flow from the wound.  And then gently, carefully, silently, Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed, for the last time, in the arms of His sorrowful Mother.  How often do we embrace the silence?  How often do we make silence a gift to others?

Jesus, Lord, your gift accepted, In three days You resurrected, You did first what we shall do.

Joseph of Arimathea takes the body of Jesus and with the help of other disciples wraps it in clean linen and lays it in a new tomb.  A large stone is rolled against the tomb’s  entrance.  The disciples and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, depart.  To those who do not understand, to those who have not been listening, Jesus’ life seems over, a failure, a disgrace.  How often do we see only the surface actions of others?  How often do we bury their good intentions in our unreasonable demands and critical judgments?

Jesus, Risen, be our lover, In your Food and in our Brother. Lead us home to heaven with You.