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WAY OF THE CROSS

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

Pilate judges unjustly because of his human respect. Jesus is silent and accepts the unjust judgement. He feels its injustice deeply in his heart, but says not a word.

How difficult this is for me when I believe that I am right. How I defend myself when someone speaks an unjust word about me.

Teach me, Jesus, to be silent when I meet injustice. I will bear it out of love for you. I will not flare up but master myself. I will then think of the sentence passed against you. And when I must speak against it, I will do so with love and patience as you did. Mary, my mother, obtain for me this grace.

JESUS TAKES UP HIS HEAVY CROSS

Willingly Jesus opens his arms and receives the heavy cross. He knows that through his cross He will redeem us. With determination he lifts the heavy burden upon his shoulder.

How I complain, when once in a while, a little cross comes to me such as an unpleasant or difficult task, a sickness, a failure despite earnest efforts, or a misunderstanding. I will open my arms and bear my cross in union with Jesus, my Saviour, for my salvation and for that of others.

Lord, give me the strength to bear with determination and joy the suffering which comes to me. Teach me to shoulder my cross and through it to make myself a new person.

JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME UNDER THE CROSS

The burden is too heavy; the Lord is exhausted! He falls on the stony street. The cross falls upon him. But he must continue along the narrow way. He struggles to his feet again. He thinks of us and of our sins which he is expiating.

Lord, you fall under the cross that my sins have laid upon you. Now I see, Jesus, how dreadful sin is and what it does to you in your Mystical Body.

I am sorry. Give me your grace, 0 Lord that I may resist bravely when I am in temptation, before it is too late. At the first opportunity I will flee from the enticement of sin.

JESUS MEETS HIS SORROWFUL MOTHER

From afar Mary has seen how Pilate condemned her son to death, how they laid the heavy cross on him. She sees the whole procession stopped by his first fall and anxiously seeks a place where he must pass close by. Words are denied them but their eyes meet lovingly. She feels all the pain and disgrace that he suffers.

Mary's heart has been so deeply pierced by the sword of suffering that she is able to appreciate what suffering you are undergoing. When we are tormented by serious worry, or by the burden of sin, turn to her, the comforter of the afflicted and refuge of sinners. She will lead us to the suffering Redeemer, she will explain to us the mystery of suffering.

SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS TO CARRY THE CROSS

The Saviour is so weak that the Jews fear that He will die on the way. They force a passerby, Simon, to help Jesus carry the cross. After some reluctance, he agrees. As a reward for his help he is given the gift of faith.

How Jesus rewards those who freely help the suffering! In every poor, suffering man, like the hundreds we meet, we meet our Saviour bearing his cross. A friendly glance, an encouraging word is a great help to a sufferer. What have I done for Jesus? What will I do for him? Is there no one I can comfort, help?

VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

Veronica performs for Jesus a service of love. In return she receives the imprint of his face. Jesus is generous. Whenever we give him something, he bestows a hundred fold in return. Even in his bitter suffering, he is grateful for a little act of kindness.

Lord, here you show me something very necessary: genuine gratitude. Give me a sensitive heart to appreciate that everything ultimately comes from you and is a blessing for me from you. I will also be grateful to all those who do good to me by bringing your gifts to me. Help me to recognize you in them.

JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME UNDER THE CROSS

The cross grows heavier, Jesus more weary and weak. Now he stumbles again to the ground. Completely alone, he must rise again under the curses and blows of the soldiers. Jesus is atoning for the sins which I repeatedly commit, for my recurring sins and faults.

Lord, I kneel near you in sorrow for my unfaithfulness. The stones which are reddened by your blood cry out loudly against the great malice of sin. I understand. To sin is to beat and buffet you. Have mercy on me, a sinner! Help me to root out my deep seated recurring fault.

JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM

The Good women are touched by the pitiable sight of the Saviour. What was the site that met their eyes?

Jesus, Saviour, on your way of the cross you demand more of us than mere compassion and sentiment which quickly pass away. Let me not be weak in spirit and discouraged when the enthusiasm of emotion fails. Precisely in this moment I will serve you faithfully in deeds and in the fulfillment of my obligations.

JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME UNDER THE CROSS

Divine Saviour, a third time you fall beneath the cross. Many resolutions have I made; I have kept but few. Today I will start again with fresh determination.

JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS

Now the preparation for the crucifixion is under way. Jesus witnessed it all. They stripped him of his clothes. His flesh tore. It hurt fiercely.

Jesus, in memory of your painful stripping, helps me to preserve my soul from sensuality. I will with your grace avoid all softness and craving for comfort. I will make myself give up something that my body likes and finds pleasant. I will be austere with myself. Help me to fullfil this promise.

JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

Now comes the dreadful moment; the executioners nail him to the cross. His pain is beyond imagination. And he sees his enemies around him enjoying his disgrace and distress. 'He saved others! Let him save himself.' How bitter were these humiliations and taunts! How crushing his sense of failure and his abandonment by his friends!

Jesus, I kneel and adore you as they raise up your cross. 'Hail Cross'. Your cross is your standard. I begin to understand what your cross means; it means humiliation, pain, dispossession. You have not even a peaceful place to die in! I will follow your standard. I will proclaim by my life the value you have set on proverty, humiliations and a hard life for the sake of your kingdom.

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS

Obedient to death, even to the death of the cross! Jesus, through the disobedience of Adam came Sin; through your obedience, Redemption.

On my knees at the foot of your cross, I beg for the grace to understand the value of obedience for a priest, for a religious, for a committed christian, that it is obedience which saves souls and redeems the world.

Give me the spirit of joyful obedience. When it is difficult to bend my will, I will look up at your holy cross and recall your filial obedience to your Heavenly Father. I will obey your Church, my bishop, my superiors. I will be their consolation through my cheerful and prompt obedience. I will obey your voice speaking to me in the realities of my situation.

JESUS IS LAID IN HIS MOTHER'S ARMS

Dear Mother, there was deep suffering in your heart when you held the body of Jesus in your arms. But amidst that suffering you said within your heart; 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word'!

Let me look at you and learn from you to say yes to God, not to be impatient when suffering comes to me. Let my sentiments be like yours; 'Be it done to me according to God's word'.

JESUS IS LAID IN THE SEPULCHRE

The few faithful friends carry the body of Jesus to the grave. It is now quiet. The procession is a sorrowful one, but there is a heavenly peace about it- the peace of a task accomplished of a victory won.

Lord, your suffering is over; you triumphed, though in men's eyes you seem to have failed. Sin, death, and hell have been conquered. The world is yours. I am yours. Be king of my heart. I surrender myself to your Will. Your kingdom come.

THE RESURRECTION AND THE ASCENSION OF JESUS

The mysteries, 0 Lord, proclaim to me that those who follow you in hardship and suffering will be crowned like you with success and glory. Contemplating your triumph I feel encouraged to follow you more faithfully. This I now resolve to do. Help me.

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