Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Ninth Station of the Cross

Monday, last week of Lent
Jesus Falls for the Third Time

THE procession again moved on; the road was very steep and rough between the walls of the town and Calvary, and Jesus had the greatest difficulty in walking with his heavy burden on his shoulders; but his cruel enemies, far from feeling the slightest compassion, or giving the least assistance, continued to urge him on by the infliction of hard blows, and the utterance of dreadful curses. At last they reached a. spot where the pathway turned suddenly to the south; here he stumbled and fell...   The fall was a dreadful one, but the guards only struck him the harder to force him to get up, and no sooner did he reach Calvary than he sank down again...

Taken from The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by mystic, Anne Catherine Emmerich
Read the whole text here.  A tour of the site of the ninth station in Jerusalem can be found here.

Talking with the children about the ninth station

In the description of Our Lord's passion by Anne Catherine Emmerich, Jesus falls not three, but seven times. His poor adorable knees bashed into the hard rocky ground over and over again. It's hard to imagine any one of us not giving up under the same circumstances.  If you ask them, the children can likely come up with examples of difficulties in which they persevered to the end or note moments in history that great things were accomplished through dogged determination; there are innumerable such heroes: Charles Lindbergh, Admiral Byrd, Magellan and the like.  But, they won't be able to think of many historial figures who gave up.  Their names don't get into the history books.  And they'd probably rather not remember the times they gave up quests.  There was no question of failure for Christ, though, on the road to Calvary, and there was no taking the easier road.  This example of perserverence through the most unbelievable difficulty was for our sakes.  The road to heaven is a difficult one and the crosses can be very heavy, but in our spiritual lives, failure cannot be an option.   No matter how many times we fall, like Jesus, we must get up, pick up our cross, and keep going.  We have to keep our eyes on the end of the road -- where paradise awaits us.  And where Jesus urges us onward from where He's walking  -- by our side.

The Ninth Station (St. Alphonsus de Liguori) 

Jesus Falls the Third Time
 V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
 V: Consider how Jesus Christ fell for the third time. He was extremely weak and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive; they tried to hasten His steps though He hardly had strength to move. (Kneel)
 R: My outraged Jesus, / by the weakness You suffered in going to Calvary, / give me enough strength to overcome all human respect / and all my evil passions which have led me to despise Your friendship. / I love You, Jesus my Love, with all my heart; / I am sorry for ever having offended You. / Never permit me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Ninth Station (St. Francis of Asissi)
 Jesus Falls the Third Time
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
 Exhausted at the foot of Calvary, Jesus falls for the third time to the ground. How painfully must have been reopened all the wounds of His tender body by these repeated falls. And how enormous must my sins be, to cause Jesus to fall so painfully. Had not Jesus taken my sins upon Himself, they would have plunged me into the abyss of Hell.
Most merciful Jesus, * I return Thee a thousand thanks * for not permitting me to die in my sins * and fall into the abyss of Hell, * as I have deserved so often. * Enkindle in me a sincere desire to amend my life. * Let me never again fall into sin, * but grant me the grace of final perseverance.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

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