Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Stations of the Cross ( The Way of the Cross / Via Dolorosa)

Traditionally there are only 14 stations which was established in 1731 by Pope Clement XII but Pope John Paul II encouraged Catholics to use a 15th station, the Resurrection of Christ. The Stations of the Cross is way of reflecting Christ's passion. By praying the Stations of the Cross, we walk from Christ’s trial to His crucifixion and death at Calvary on Fridays during the liturgical season of Lent and Holy Week. This reminds us of the compassion which we must show to all human beings who suffer.

“If anyone wishes to come after me, 
he must deny himself 
and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23)

A Preparatory Act of Contrition 
O Jesus, treasure of my soul, infinitely good, infinitely merciful, behold me prostrate at Thy sacred feet! Sinner as I am, I fly to the arms of Thy mercy, and implore that grace which melts and converts - the grace of true compunction. I have offended Thee, adorable Jesus! I repent; let the favor of my love equal the baseness of my ingratitude. This Way of the Cross, grant me to offer devoutly in memory of that painful journey Thou hast travelled for our redemption, to the Cross of Calvary, with the holy design to reform my morals, amend my life and gain these indulgences granted by Thy vicars on earth. I apply one for my miserable soul, the rest in suffrage for the souls in purgatory, particularly N.N. [Here mention the souls for whom you intend to apply them.] I begin this devotion under Thy sacred protection, and in imitation of Thy dolorous Mother. Let then this holy exercise obtain for me mercy in this life, and glory in the next. Amen. JESUS!

Opening Prayer
V. God of power and mercy,
in love you sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.
We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.
R. Amen.

Say before each Station:
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Say after each Station:
1 Our Father
1 Hail Mary
1 Glory Be
** A period of silence should be observed
R. Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.


At the Cross her station keeping, 
Stood the mournful Mother weeping, 
Close to Jesus to the last.



First Station

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH (Luke 23:13-25)

Jesus stands in the most human of places. He has already experienced profound solidarity with so many on this earth, by being beaten and tortured. Now he is wrongfully condemned to punishment by death. His commitment to entering our lives completely begins its final steps. He has said “yes” to God and placed his life in God’s hands. We follow him in this final surrender, and contemplate with reverence each place along the way, as he is broken and given for us.

It was for our sins, O Jesus, that you were condemned to suffer. Grant that we may detest our sins and by this repentance, obtain Your Mercy and pardon.


Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed!



Second Station

JESUS TAKES UP HIS CROSS (Mark 15:20)

Jesus is made to carry the cross on which he will die. It represents the weight of all our crosses. What he must have felt as he first took it upon his shoulders! With each step he enters more deeply into our human experience. He walks in the path of human misery and suffering, and experiences its crushing weight.


O Jesus, grant us, by virtue of Your Cross, that we may accept the difficulties of our state with meekness and cheerful submission. May we always be ready to take up our cross and follow You.


Oh, how sad and sore distressed,
Was that Mother highly blessed,
Of the sole-begotten One,




Third Station

JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME

The weight is unbearable. Jesus falls under it. How could he enter our lives completely without surrendering to the crushing weight of the life of so many on this earth! He lays on the ground and knows the experience of weakness beneath unfair burdens. He feels the powerlessness of wondering if he will ever be able to continue. He is pulled up and made to continue.


O Jesus, it was for our sins that you bore the heavy burden of the Cross and fell under its weight. May the thought of Your sufferings make us watchful over ourselves and save us from falling into sin.

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.



Fourth Station

JESUS MEETS HIS SORROWFUL MOTHER

Jesus’ path takes him to a powerful source of his strength to continue. All his life, his mother had taught him the meaning of the words, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” Now they look into each other’s eyes. How pierced through her heart must be! How pained he must be to see her tears! Now, her grace-filled smile blesses his mission and stirs his heart to its depth. Love and trust in God bind them together.


O Jesus, by the compassion which you felt for Your Mother, have compassion for us and give us a share of her intercession. Our most afflicted Mother, intercede for us, that through the sufferings of Your Son, we may bear with courage the sorrows of this life.


Is there one who would not weep,
Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?



Fifth Station

SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS TO CARRY THE CROSS (Luke 23:26)

Jesus even experiences our struggle to receive help. He is made to experience the poverty of not being able to carry his burden alone. He enters into the experience of all who must depend upon others to survive. He is deprived of the satisfaction of carrying this burden on his own.

O Jesus, just as Simon relieved You of Your burden, inspire us also to console You by our prayers of reparation and love.


Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain
In that Mother's pain untold?




Sixth Station

VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

Jesus’ journey is at times brutal. He has entered into the terrible experiences of rejection and injustice. He has been whipped and beaten. His face shows the signs of his solidarity with all who have ever suffered injustice and vile, abusive treatment. He encounters a compassionate, loving disciple who wipes the vulgar spit and mocking blood from his face. On her veil, she discovers the image of his face – his gift to her, and, for us to contemplate forever.


O Jesus, may the contemplation of Your Holy Face enkindle in our hearts a more fervent love for You, and may Your image be graven on our minds and souls until we are transformed into Your likeness.



Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.



Seventh Station

JESUS FALLS FOR A SECOND TIME

Even with help, Jesus stumbles and falls to the ground. In deep exhaustion he stares at the earth beneath him. “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” He has seen death before. Now he can feel the profound weakness of disability and disease and ageing itself, there on his knees, under the weight of his cross.


O Jesus, our repeated falls into sin have added to the burden which You carried for our redemption. As you are weakened by the weight of our sins, we are the cause of this second fall. Please give us the strength never to offend You again.


For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.




Eighth Station
JESUS MEETS AND SPEAKS TO THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM (Luke 23:27-31)

The women of Jerusalem, and their children, come out to comfort and thank him. They had seen his compassion and welcomed his words of healing and freedom. He had broken all kinds of social and religious conventions to connect with them. Now they are here to support him. He feels their grief. He suffers, knowing he can’t remain to help them more in this life. He knows the mystery of facing the separation of death.


O Jesus, just as You instructed the women of Jerusalem, please instruct us in the ways of virtue and help us to escape the dreadful judgements prepared for all who reject or neglect You in this life.



Oh thou Mother! Font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with thine accord.




Ninth Station
JESUS FALLS FOR THE THIRD TIME

This last fall is devastating. Jesus can barely proceed to the end. Summoning all this remaining strength supported by his inner trust in God, Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross. His executioners look at him as a broken man, pathetic yet paying a price he deserves. They help him up so he can make it up the hill of crucifixion.

O Lord Jesus, we entreat You, by the merits of this third most painful fall, to pardon our frequent relapse and our long continuance in sin. May the thought of Your sufferings grieve us and move us to make frequent acts of love and reparation.


Make me feel as Thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.



Tenth Station

JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS

Part of the indignity is to be crucified naked. Jesus is completely stripped of any pride. The wounds on his back are torn open again. He experiences the ultimate vulnerability of the defenceless. No shield or security protects him. As they stare at him, his eyes turn to heaven.


O Jesus, by the pain You suffered in having Your clothing torn from Your bleeding body, please strip us of all conceit and pride, and instruct us in the ways of humility, purity of intention and simplicity of heart.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.



Eleventh Station

JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS 
(Luke 23:33, 47; John 19:25-27)

Huge nails are hammered through his hands and feet to fix him on the cross. He is bleeding much more seriously now. As the cross is lifted up, the weight of his life hangs on those nails. Every time he struggles to pull himself up to breathe, his ability to cling to life slips away.


As You were nailed to the Cross, O Jesus, fasten our hearts there also, that they may be united to You until death.



Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.



Twelfth Station

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS (Luke 23:44-46)

Between two criminals, a mocking title above his head, with only Mary and John and Mary Magdalene to support him, Jesus surrenders his last breath: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”

O Jesus, we devoutly embrace the holy Cross whereon You loved us even unto death. We thank You for Your sacrifice, and we desire to love You as much as You love us.


Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him Who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.



Thirteenth Station 

JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS AND LAID IN THE ARMS OF HIS HOLY MOTHER

What tender mourning! Jesus’ lifeless body lies in his mother’s arms. He has truly died…a profound sacrifice, complete.


We grieve with You, O Mary, for the sorrow you experienced as you examined the wounds on the body of your dear Son. By these sacred wounds may we obtain pardon and mercy for our sins.



By the cross with thee to stay;
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.



Fourteenth Station

JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB (Luke 23:50-54)

They take the body of Jesus to its resting place. The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death. In this final act of surrender, who would have imagined this tomb would soon be empty or that Jesus would show himself alive to his disciples, or that they would recognize him in the breaking of bread? Oh, that our hearts might burn within us, as we realize how he had to suffer and die so as to enter into his glory, for us.


O Jesus, some day our bodies will also be placed in a tomb. Freed from the bonds of this earth, may we be received into Heaven by You and Your Holy Mother, so that we may praise and love You for all eternity. Amen.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request;
Let me share thy grief divine.

Closing Prayer
V. Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

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