Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seventh Station of the Cross

Sunday, fifth week in Lent:

Jesus Falls for the Second Time

 Marking this station on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, at the crossroads of the Via Dolorosa and the very busy and ancient Market Street (Souq Khan al-Zeit), is an ancient Roman pillar. To reach this point on the way to Golgatha, Jesus had to carry the heavy cross up an incline over roads pocked with uneven cobbles.  Having already lost copious amounts of blood and having suffered from the terrible scourging at the pillar and the ill treatment of the Roman guards thus far on the journey, it was easy for Our Lord, much weakened,  to stumble, and fall on the road.

Talking with the children about this station...

Jesus was a strong and healthy man. The evidence of the Shroud of Turin indicates that He was muscular and tall, roughly 5' 11.5" to  6' 1" tall.  Under normal circumstances, He could easily have carried the heavy cross up the hill to Golgatha.  But, after a night without sleep and the agony in the Garden, after the whipping, the beating, and the crowning with thorns, He was too weak to get up the hill without falling -- even with the help of Simon of Cyrene.

But, of course we know He made it up to Calvary, suffered a terrible death on the cross, then, in the pivotal event in the history of man, He opened the gates of Heaven.

Our Lord's primary challenge on the way to the cross was physical, while our greatest challenge is spiritual.  How strong are we in our spiritual lives as we work our way up the difficult road of saving our souls?

Do we try our best to maintain the spiritual strength and perfection of our Baptism day, avoiding the whippings and beatings of the world, the flesh and the devil?  Do we strengthen our spiritual muscles to prepare for our daily struggles, for the possibility of more difficult times ahead?  Do we pray often and sincerely?  Do we receive the sacraments frequently and with recollection?  Do we take seriously perfect obedience to the Commandments and Precepts of the Church?  Do we practice the Beatitudes?

This is Spiritual Cross Training.  Never underestimate how the devil wants to thwart us in our race up to Calvary and paradise beyond.  He has all the temptations of the world on his side and our own wayward inclinations, too.  But we can beat him.  We have all of heaven on our side, and the Church gives us the tools to strengthen our souls against all adversaries, all adversities.  What we have to come up with for ourselves is the will to do it.  Do we have the will?

Though the path is plain and smooth for men of good will, he who walks it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty, if he does not have good feet: that is, courage and a persevering spirit.
~ St. John of the Cross
The Seventh Station (St. Alphonsus de Liguori)

Jesus Falls the Second 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 the second fall of Jesus under His cross renews the pain in all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord. (Kneel)
 R: My most gentle Jesus, / how many times You have forgiven me; / and how many times I have fallen again and begun again to offend You! / By the merits of this second fall, / give me the grace to persevere in Your love until death. / Grant, that in all my temptations, I may always have recourse to You. / I love You, Jesus, my Love with all my heart; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
 (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

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

Seventh Station (St. Francis of Asissi) 
 Jesus Falls the Second Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Overwhelmed by the weight of the Cross, Jesus falls again to the ground. But the cruel executioners do not permit Him to rest a moment. With thrusts and blows they urge Him onward. With what cruelty Jesus in treated and trampled under foot! Remember, compassionate soul, that your sins caused Jesus this painful fall.
Have mercy on me, O Jesus, * and help me never to fall into my former sins. * From this moment I will strive sincerely * never to sin again. * But Thou, O Jesus, strengthen me with Thy grace, * that I may faithfully carry out my resolution.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Here learn the science of the Saints: All is to be found in the passion of Jesus. Make every effort to remain hidden in the wounds of Jesus, and you will be enriched with every good and every true light, enabling you to fly to that Perfection which is consonant with your way of life.

~ St. Paul of the Cross

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