The Stations of the Cross are not given to us only to remind us of the historical Passion of Christ, but to show us what is happening now, and happening to each one of us. Christ dis not become man only to lead His own short life on earth- unimaginable mercy though that would have been-- but to live each of our lives.
Most of Christ's earthly life was hidden. He was hidden in His Mother's womb, He was hidden in Egypt and in Nazareth. During His public life He was hidden often, when He fled into "a mountain to pray." During the forty days of His risen life, again and again He disappeared and hid Himself from men. Today He is hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, in Heaven, and in His Mystical Body on earth.
But his His Passion He was exposed, made public property to the whole of mankind. The last time He went up into a mountain to pray, it was to pray out loud in a voice that would echo down the ages, ringing in the ears of mankind for ever. He was to stripped naked before the whole world for ever, not only in body but in mind and soul; to reveal not only the height and depth and the breadth of His love for men but its intimacy, its sensitivity, its humanity.
The Way of the Cross Caryll Houselander
|Second Station ~ St. Emma Monastery|
Lying in the wooden manger in the stable of Bethlehem,
|Third Station St. Emma Monastery|
Because Christ identifies Himself with us, because He suffers the humiliation of the first fall in us, His love transforms it. The very wound can heal us.
The first fall is the first real self-knowledge. Now we know our weakness, we know our helplessness before the difficulties of life, our total inability to shoulder our responsibilities. We know that we cannot get up by ourselves, we cannot shoulder the burden for the second time by ourselves, we cannot face our own self-contempt or the derision of others, by ourselves. We realize now hat we are wholly dependent on Christ, dependent on Him to act in us, to lift Himself up in us and to lift us up in Him. His weakness is our strength.
No longer do we seek to carry the burden with our own hands, but with His.
No longer do we try to walk in His footsteps, we tread the way with His feet.
|Fourth Station St. Emma Monastery|
|Fifth Station St. Emma Monastery|
|Sixth Station St. Emma Monastery|
|Seventh Station St. Emma Monastery|
Jesus Falls the Second Time
Christ is down in the dust. This second fall in harder than the first; He in nearer the end of His tether now, more dependent than before on others to help Him to get up and go on. It may have been something trifling, almost absurd, that threw Him down. Perhaps something as small as a pebble on the road; yes, that would have been enough to send Him hurtling down, with that terrible burden on His back, and His own exhaustion as He nears the end of His bitter journey.
It is the same today, the same for those "other Christs" who have gone a long way on the road and who fall, not for the first time now, under the heavy cross of circumstance--those who have carried this cross for a long time, who have become exhausted by the unequal struggle and fall, who with Him are down in the dust. Ii is for them that Christ falls for the second time and lies under the crushing weight of His cross, waiting for those who will come forward to lend their hands to lift it from His back and enable Him to go to the end of His way of suffering and love.
If something as trifling as a pebble in the road or a false step could throw Christ down on the road, so may a tiny provocation, a sudden temptation, a mocking word--a fragment that adds to the struggle-- bring the man staggering under the cross down:
the servant is not greater than his master.
The Way of the Cross by Caryll Houslander
|Eighth Station St. Emma Monastery|
Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem
But above all else it is compassion that Christ has always wanted from men and women, has always for; He has wanted them to be with Him, to comfort Him just by entering into His suffering with Him- not to take away His suffering but to enter into it with Him, because it is His and it is the expression of His love for them!
There are those in every age in whom the suffering of Christ is manifest, almost visible, the beauty of His love shining through the ugliness of their circumstances. It is not for Christ in them that we must weep. It is for Christ whose beauty is hidden, Christ in the outcast, in the man who is wrestling with temptation, who is unrecognized, uncomforted; Christ in whom we pass by without seeing , without knowing, whom we allow to stagger on, on His way, loaded with His too heavy cross, unhelped, unwept, uncomfroted.
The Way of the Cross by Caryll Houselander
|Ninth Station St. Emma Monastery|
|Tenth Station St.Emma Monastery|
|Eleventh Station St. Emma Monastery|
|Twelfth Station St. Emma Monastery|
|Thirteenth Station St. Emma Monastery|
Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
And there from the summit of Calvary,
at the foot of the cross with her dead child in her arms,
Mary saw how in all the centuries to come Christ would be born again
day after day, hour after hour, in the sacred Host.
She heard the multitudinous whisper of the
words of consecration coming to her on Calvary
from every part of the world, from every place on earth:
from the great cathedrals of the world;
from the little village huts that are makeshift for churches;
from the churches themselves, weather they were beautiful or cheap and tawdry;
from the chapels and wards of hospitals;
from prisons and from concentration camps; from the frozen forests of Siberia
- from dawn till dusk, and from dusk till dawn,
the words of consecration on the breath of men,
and Jesus lifted up,
as He had been lifted up on the cross,
in the Sacred Host.
|Fourteenth Station St. Emma Monastery|