Pilgrim’s journey

Not quite five years ago I fell in love with the stations of the cross during our eight-day silent retreat.  But they took on new meaning a year and a half later when I discovered the connection between mom’s decades-old prayer and the fourth station of the cross: when Mary, rightly concerned, looks for Jesus and finds him, sadly, on the way to Calvary.

“Hortelanito, por Dios, dime la pura verdad: si Jesús de Nazaret por aquí lo has visto pasar” (Mendoza, 1939).  Have you seen Jesus pass this way?

Pilgrim’s journey

All of us are travelers, pilgrims on the march to our promised land.  We journey each day one stage nearer to our true home, the place our heavenly Father has reserved for us.

Sometimes our route may be rocky and torturous.  We often grow tired and weary from the obstacles we encounter.  We all have some experience of the truth of the poet’s words: “Now and then there’s a toll gate where you buy your way with tears.”  Even Christ, our lord, admits to us that “you indeed have sorrow now.”

Yet there is no other way to God.  As scripture notes, “How narrow the way and how straight the gate that leads to everlasting life.”  Christ, our leader, trod the same painful path he asks us to follow.  His way of the cross is also our way of salvation; so he now accompanies us on our way of the cross.

We will find our own journey easier when we daily imitate Christ and walk with him along the road to unending life.  As we apply Christ’s example and his merits to our personal situation, we will be strengthened to follow him through pain to glory.

When we think and pray even one station each day, Christ himself will help us perform our daily tasks and lend us his support (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-13R, pp. 2-3; edited).

St. Anselm’s prayer

O Lord, my God, teach my heart this day where and how to see you, where and how to find you.  You have made me and remade me; you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess and, still, I do not know you.  I have not yet done that for which I was made.  Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me or find you unless you show yourself to me.  Let me seek you in my desire; let me desire you in my seeking.  Let me find you by loving you; let me love you when I find you.  Amen.

1: Jesus is condemned.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

                

           

Lord Jesus, may we deliver ourselves up with patience and love
to the many little deaths that fidelity in your service may require of us.

2: Jesus takes his cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Strengthen us, Lord Jesus, to carry our cross
with faith and trust and without complaining of its weight.

3: Jesus falls the first time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Be with us always, Lord Jesus.
Despite the weakness of the flesh may we never waver in our loyalty to you.

4: Jesus meets his mother.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Lord Jesus, may your mother and ours remain always
a sure hope and comfort for us, your pilgrim people.

5: Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

May we be generous, Lord Christ, in coming to the aid
of our fellow pilgrims during our earthly journey.

6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Dear Lord, may we never turn a cold shoulder but always
a smiling face to those who look to us for comfort.

7: Jesus falls the second time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Gird us with new strength, dear Christ, for the steep climb
and the hard stretches along the road to our glorious resurrection.

8: Jesus speaks to the women.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Lord Jesus, may the assurance that our Father in heaven will someday
wipe our tears away sustain us in the dark and painful hours of life.

9: Jesus falls the third time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Help us, dear Lord, to pick ourselves up each time we fall.  Conscious of our weakness, may we stretch a helping hand to all who share our human frailty.

10: Jesus is stripped of his clothes.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Dear Jesus, stripped of your garments in the passion
bless all our efforts at purification and renewal.

11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

We give you thanks and praise, dear Savior, for submitting willingly
to suffering and death for our sake.  We bless your precious cross
by which the joy and salvation came into the world.

12: Jesus dies on the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

We are yours, blessed Savior, whether we live or die.
In baptism we have agreed to be yours in time and eternity.
May we be made dead to sin and alive to God with you.

13: Jesus is taken down from the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Lord Jesus, you are the resurrection and the life.
May we stand before the world as your witnesses, vivid signs of the living God.

14: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

           

           

Lord Jesus, may we always continue in the strength which comes
from our hope in your mercy, goodness, and love for us.

Concluding prayer

You, O God, overcame death through your only-begotten Son who opened for us the gates of life eternal.  Help us, then, to carry out in our lives the desires you inspire in us.  This we ask through the risen Christ, our lord, who now lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all the ages.  Amen.

Contact information

Stations prayers are from Your Way of the Cross (B-8/15), received from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

                 

Pictured stations are from sacred spaces in Texas: St. Jude Chapel (Dallas), Our Lady Star of the Sea (Port Isabel), St. Albert the Great (Round Rock), Our Lady of Sorrows (McAllen), Sacred Heart (Cotulla), and St. Benedict’s (San Benito), respectively.

Resources

Creative Communications for the Parish has lots of devotional materials for all ages. What I most appreciate are their booklets for Advent and Lent, like the two below.

             

March 28, 2019

“True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity” (Pope St. Leo the Great).

March 29, 2019

“We need no wings to go in search of him, but have only to look upon him present within us” (St. Teresa of Avila).

March 31, 2019

Something in you dies when you bear the unbearable.  And it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees and to love as God loves (Ram Dass).

April 1, 2019

It is a lesson we all need— to let alone the things that do not concern us.  He has other ways for others to follow him; all do not go by the same path.  It is for each of us to learn the path by which he requires us to follow him, and to follow him in that path (St. Katharine Drexel).

April 14, 2019

This is what Jesus is exposing and defeating on the cross.  He did not come to change God’s mind about us.  It did not need changing.  Jesus came to change our minds about God— and about ourselves— and about where goodness and evil really lie (Richard Rohr, OFM).

April 20, 2019

Holy Saturday…  The sky holds tight her purple shroud, / Broken by the tips of blackened trees / Which stand in silent mourning. / All creation’s quaking, grieving are now a jealous sentinel, / Guarding the gates of morning / Listening / To the eternal Word which has been spoken, / Watching / For Adam’s bond to be forever broken, / All of time bows a prayerful head / To await its Maker’s rising from the dead. /  And I, / Too often fraught with unbelief, / Now unite my cry to that of the good thief. /  Bending low beneath the standard of the King, / I whisper to the darkness, / “I believe” (Sisters of Carmel, 2019).

Jesus & Mary by Jennie Price (2018)

Links of interest…  Be a pilgrim…  Communications for the Parish…  Fifteen ways Jesus Christ suffered in love…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotional saintslight a candle / prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / saint & prayer of the month / who we are…  Majesty of Christ crucified…  Prayer before a crucifix…  Ram Dass: Dying before you die / horrible beauty of suffering…  Relics from the crucifixion…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  Signs & symbols…  Stations: about /  devotion / fish eaters / for families (more) / for kids (coloring pages) / how to do / Jesuitsmaking them worthwhile / on your block / origin / prayers / printables / puppet show / scriptural / significance /  uncomfortable truthway of the cross…  Ten lessons from the agony in the garden…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis…  Videos: street stations for commuters & bikers….  Way of the cross (preview)…  What it means to worship a man crucified as a criminal & Jesus saw from the cross…  Why pray the stations of the cross…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…  For all time…  Full circle…  God’s lovely gifts…  Growing pains…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Our Lady star…  Prayerful ways…  Quiet prayer time…  Repeated prayers…  Sioux chapel stations…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Benedict’s…  St. Jude chapel…  Three visits…  Undeniable familiarity…  Unexpected detours…  Welcoming spirit

Remembrances

Since our monthly Saturday meeting in McAllen was rescheduled, attending four o’clock Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows was out of the question.  We needed another plan, so we opted for church closer to home.

For two days I vacillated between St. Benedict’s in San Benito and Our Lady Star of the Sea in Port Isabel.  Both are very special to us, very welcoming.  But I finally gave in to the gentle though insistent nudge from the voice within.

St. Benedict’s

Walking to our usual spot— fourth pew on the left— we quickly noticed a rather large frame topped with a floppy black bow with a large wreath beside it next to the ambo.

“Someone died,” I whispered to Steven.  “Is it a priest or a deacon?”

Once seated, I leaned forward and quietly asked the woman in the third pew who the man was.

“Fr. Nacho, our former priest, died March fifteenth,” the woman replied.  “He was with us sixteen years.  And then Fr. Tinajero took his place.”

I thanked the woman, sat back on the pew, and told Steven he’d been correct.

Remembrances

We’d been to St. Benedict’s two or three times when Fr. Nacho had celebrated Mass in Fr. Tinajero’s absence, so we’d delighted in his fatherly love: anecdotal homilies oozing with gentle wisdom, self-deprecating humor, and genuine engagement.  He loved his sheep, and they responded accordingly.  What a gift to witness their interactions.

Fr. Nacho had a positive outlook on life.  When he spoke about his mortality and his physical limitations, we chuckled.  Many even laughed out loud.  He was undaunted, down-to-earth funny, and gratefully aware that God was in charge.

Naturally, we were saddened to learn of his passing.  But, mostly, we were glad to have known him, even if just for a little while, so we could remember him with his flock.

       

     

       

       

           

Prayers

Daily prayer for the dead…  Immortal God. holy lord, father and protector of all you have created, we raise our hearts to you today for those who have passed out of this mortal life.

For all the faithful who have died we pray but, in particular, for those dear to us: parents, relatives, friends.  Nor do we forget all who did good to us while on earth and who helped us by their prayers, sacrifice, and example.  We pray also for any who may have done us harm and who stand in special need of your forgiveness.

May the merits and prayers of our virgin mother, Mary, and those of all your angels and saints speak for us and assist them now.  This we ask in Christ’s name.  Amen.

For the faithful departed…  Give them eternal rest, O Lord, and let them share your glory.

God, our creator and redeemer, by your power Christ conquered death and returned to you in glory.  May all your people who have gone before us in faith share his victory and enjoy the vision of your glory forever where Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

You are, O God, the creator and savior of all the faithful.  Forgive your servants all their sins and, by our loving prayers, grant them the pardon they always hoped for.  You live and reign forever in union with the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

For a priest…  God of mercy, we who receive the sacraments of salvation pray for [name], your servant and priest.  You made him a minister of your mysteries on earth.  May he rejoice in the full knowledge of your truth in heaven.  We ask this through Christ, our lord.  Amen.

Quotes

Happy are those who die in the Lord.  Happy indeed the Spirit says; now they can rest forever from their work (Revelations 14:13).

In meadows of green grass he lets me lie.  To the waters of repose he leader me: There he revives my soul (Psalm 23:2).

“What eye has not seen and ear has not heard, what has not entered the human heart [is] what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Contact information

Prayers and quotes are from Let Us Pray for Our Faithful Departed (B-11/12) and Twelve Days of Prayer for Your Faithful Departed (B-16/07) from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

                

April 5, 2019

Death— whether one of many deaths to the false self or our final physical dying— is simply returning to our spacious ground of being, to our foundation in love.  Life doesn’t truly end; it simply changes form and continues evolving into ever new shapes and beauty (Richard Rohr, OFM).

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May Fr. Nacho rest in peace.

Links of interest…  Benedictine benedictions…  Church in San Benito, TX: facebookMass times (more) / website…   Commending the soul to God…  Immeasurable charity of praying for the dead…  Liberating power of the St. Benedict medal (spiritual weapons)…  Making the case for fraternal correction…  Prayers: book /  death & dying / for holy soulsthe deceased – those in purgatory – when one fears death / meditations / more…  Praying the stations of the cross while mourning a loved one’s death…  St. Benedict: medal (braceletjubilee – more – seven things to know) / memorial / prayers: litany – novena – prayers (more)…  Turn mourning into joy

WP posts…  Call of service…  Lady of sorrows…  Lingering memory…  Mourning joy…  Our Lady’s snow…  Pilgrim’s journey…  Prayerful messages…  St. Benedict’s

Undeniable familiarity

OLPH31316-131

When Steven announced that St. Paul’s would co-host the men’s ACTS retreat together with Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), I was over the moon at the prospect of visiting the church for the very first time.

Entering OLPH Sunday morning, March 13, 2016, I fully understood why Rosie, firstborn daughter of mom’s older middle brother and my dearest playmate growing up, was such an ardent parishioner.

Thanks to the ceilings, the walls, and the lighting, the church ambiance resonated with such intense familiarity that its spirit tugged at my heartstrings, evoking long-ago memories of our families’ church, Christ the King, founded in 1953, that Uncle Ray helped build (twice) in Brownsville, TX.  Yet the look and feel of the bare pews, maple stained, ultra smooth, perfectly curved, provided the welcoming embrace that took me home again the moment I sat for eleven o’clock Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

OLPH31316-1      OLPH31316-127      OLPH31316-129

OLPH31316-21      OLPH31316-24      OLPH31316-67

OLPH31316-37      OLPH31316-43      OLPH31316-44

OLPH31316-76      OLPH31316-29      OLPH31316-19

OLPH31316-25      OLPH31316-26      OLPH31316-74      OLPH31316-58a

OLPH31316-68      OLPH31316-71      OLPH31316-70

OLPH31316-61      OLPH31316-62      OLPH31316-63

OLPH51416-13a      OLPH31316-65      OLPH31316-66

1OLPH31316-17        2OLPH31316-15        3OLPH31316-14        4OLPH31316-13

5OLPH31316-12        6OLPH31316-11        7OLPH31316-10        8OLPH31316-2

9OLPH31316-3        10OLPH31316-4        11OLPH31316-5        12OLPH31316-6

OLPH31316-56    13OLPH31316-7    14OLPH31316-8    OLPH31316-82

Prayer

Mother of Perpetual Help, woman of eternal hope, your wordless gaze tells us so much about you.  Knowing eyes look upon us with tender love.  The slight bend of your head reveals such maternal concern.

While your left hand supports the Child, your right hand is ready to receive us, too.  Just as he feels the beating of your heart, so you encourage us to lead a life of hope and holiness.  Just as his sandal will fall on your lap, through your intercession may God pick us up as we stumble and fall.

Never let us be parted from you and your son, Jesus.

Lady of love, you invite us to place our hand where his fingers touch yours— near a heart of endless hope— so that we may be united often in prayer here on earth and joined forever with you in heaven.  Amen.

May 19, 2016

With Mary live joyfully, with Mary bear all your trials, with Mary labor, with Mary pray, with Mary take your recreation, with Mary take your repose.  With Mary seek Jesus; in your arms bear Jesus and with Jesus and Mary fix your dwelling at Nazareth.  With Mary go to Jerusalem, remain near the cross of Jesus, bury yourself with Jesus.  With Jesus and Mary rise again, with Jesus and Mary mount to heaven, with Jesus and Mary live and die (Thomas à Kempis).

March 3, 2017

God, you are my strength and my song.  You are the reason for my joy.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and drive away the forces of discouragement and despair.  Jesus, I trust in you!  St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us! (Heidi Hess Saxton in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

OLPH31316-31

OLPH31316-95

Links of interest…  ACTS Missions…  Called to be living stones…  Christ the King Church: diocesan page / facebook / Mass times…  Lent: should statues/pictures be covered / veiling (more) / why crucifixes & statues are covered (more)…  Mary: Indispensable to the gospel…  OLPH: facebook / Mass timeswebsite…  Our Lady of Perpetual Help: about / history / image (elements – icon) /  meaning / novena / prayer (video) / who is…  Stations of the cross for children & families: download / fifteen candles / illustrated / prayer / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / resources / virtual walk / visuals

WP posts…  Building community…  Call of service…  Christ’s passion…  Church time blues…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Full circle…  Gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  Notre Dame revisited…  One prayer…  Our Lady…  Picturing God…  Second looks…  St. Mary Cathedral…  St. Mary revisited…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes

God’s lovely gifts

OLG31916-5

Steven and I arrived a whole hour before Saturday evening Mass and, thanks to the recent time (light) change, Our Lady of Guadalupe looked picture perfect in its palm greenery.  So, how could I ignore God’s impromptu invitation to bask in the windows and the stations that I’d last photographed in 2012?  And I discovered something new!

God’s lovely gifts

Among the exquisite stained-glass windows are sixteen— not fourteen or fifteen, but sixteen— stations of the cross!  Amazing.

I can understand the fifteenth station— the glorious resurrection— but to depict Jesus in the garden before his way of the cross?  Extraordinary.

As for the Last Supper?  When one glimpses the back altar from either side of the front altar, one can see the lit portion below the mantle.  Stunning.

What lovely gifts God has in store when we make time for him!

OLG31916-11        OLG31916-16        OLG31916-17

OLG51912-133    OLG51912-132     OLG3715-34b     OLG51912-129    OLG51912-125

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.

0OLG4816-71OLG4816-2 Through her heart his sorrow sharing,
all his bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword had passed.

Oh how sad and sore distressed
was that mother highly blessed
of the sole-begotten one!

Christ above in torment hangs;
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying, glorious son.

3OLG31916-442OLG31916-45Is there one who would not weep,
o’rwhelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain
in that mother’s pain untold?

For the sins of his own nation
saw him hang in desolation,
all with bloody scourges rent.

5OLG51912-394OLG51912-50Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender child
till his spirit forth he sent.

O, sweet mother, fount of love,
touch my spirit from above;
make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.

7OLG31916-406OLG31916-41Holy mother, pierce me through;
in my heart each wound renew
of my savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you,
mourning him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.

9OLG31916-298OLG51912-140By the cross with you to stay,
there with you to weep and pray,
this I ask of you to give.

Virgin, of all virgins blest,
O refuse not my request:
let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying son of yours.

10OLG31916-28Wounded11OLG31916-27 with his every wound
steep my soul till it has swooned
in his very blood away.

Be to me, O virgin, nigh
lest in flames I burn and die
in that awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shalt call me hence,
be your mother my defense,
be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
may my soul your goodness praise,
safe in paradise with you.

12OLG31916-26      13OLG31916-25      14OLG31916-24      15OLG31916-23

Contact information

Stabat Mater, a thirteenth century hymn that tells the story of Our Lady of Sorrows during the passion of Christ, was translated by Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) from Liturgia Horarum.  (See links below.)   An abridged version accompanies the stations in Behold! The Way of the Cross (Gouin, Creative Communications for the Parish, 2001).

March 21, 2017

God of life, we are grateful for the many gifts that you have given to us.  May we become prudent stewards of your many gifts and not thoughtlessly waste water, food, and other resources.  May we respond to your Son’s cry of thirst with lives of peacemaking and just action.  We make his prayer in your name.  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus).

April 8, 2017

Dear God, we ask that you hear our Lenten prayer of praise, surrender, and petition.  We praise you for the many gifts that you have given us.  We surrender our control, seeking to follow Jesus’s model of humility while striving to love as he loved us.  We recognize that suffering comes with love, that great love and great suffering can transform us, but that neither experience is necessarily easy.  We offer our petition to you, praying that we might have the strength of our convictions, the hope of our faith, and the joy of that hope when times are difficult.  May we always place our trust in you and commend our whole selves to your care. In doing so, may we always proclaim, in word and deed, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering).

April 9, 2017

The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.  The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:8-9).

June 5, 2017

“The will of God is not a fate which has to be endured, but a holy and meaningful act which ushers in a new creation” (Romano Guardini in The Art of Praying).

June 30, 2017

In the gospels, Jesus introduces us to God the Father and invites us into his heavenly realm right here on earth, the kingdom of God.  He opens our eyes to see that there are two kingdoms: the kingdom of this world, which we can touch, taste, see, hear, and smell (our physical world), and God’s kingdom, which is unseen but just as real— in fact, even more so.

By getting to know Jesus Christ and learning how to connect with him spiritually, we can become “kingdom-of-God dwellers.”  But because we have been given the gift of free will, each of us must decide, every minute of each day, in which kingdom we will choose to place our hope and trust (Melissa Overmyer in Born to Soar: Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life).

July 21, 2017

All Christians know that God became man for us.  Not all, however, realize that he did more than this.  Not only did he become one of us, he willed also to make each one of us a part of himself.  In addition to the mystery of the in­carnation, there is the mystery of incorporation.  We are incorporated into the person of Christ (Raoul Plus, SJ in How To Pray Well).

July 25, 2017

We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).

OLG31916-68

OLG31916-67

OLG31916-39

OLG31916-2

Links of interest…  Bearing our own cross: A fiat for Easter…  Best Lent ever…  Betrayal…  Final hours & death…  Garden of olives: agony (more) / prayer of Jesus / story…  God’s great love for us…  Holy Saturday: looking back & peering ahead & twelve things to know…  Incarnation & the Pietá…  Last supper & betrayal…  Mary & the intolerable gift of waiting…  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (Brownsville, TX): about / facebook…  Palm Sunday: about / date / facts / history / prayer (biddingblessing of palmsmorereflections) / traditions…  Passion Sunday (nine things to know & share)…  Personalizing the passion of Jesus Christ…  Stabat Mater: aboutAll the women of the Bible iBreviary / Preces Latinae / video / Virtus Online…  Sermons of St. Francis de Sales: On our Lady (preview)…  Sorrowful mysteries of the holy rosary…  St. Vianney sermons: Beware if you have no temptations & Temptations…  Stabat Mater: liturgical sequence / seven sorrows…  Stations of the cross…  Trusting in God completely & in uncertain times…  Via Crucis: Walking the passion: one & two…  Way of Holy Week…  Where’s your Gethsemane…  Who is the kingdom of God

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…  Disquieting moments…  Father’s roses…  Full circle…  Growing pains…  Guadalupe Church…  In the pink…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Living one’s gifts…  Mercy and justice…  Our Lady’s church…  Prayerful ways…  Quiet prayer time…  Recollections…  Sacred Heart Church…  Saturday evening Mass…  Sioux chapel stations…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Anselm Church…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerating St. Anthony

Father’s roses

SMC32915-8

Last year Steven and I drove to Goose Island for Palm Sunday Mass at Stella Maris, and Father Ralph was overjoyed to see us.

“I was hoping you two would show up!  I’ve got great news!  Follow me so we can talk,” Father said, leading us to the slightly bigger than standing room only space behind the altar.

Miracle shared

Without being asked Joe, attentive sacristan and devoted friend, opened a folding chair for Father to sit as he shared his latest stories with us.

“I’m healed!” Father gushed and then proceeded to fill in all the glorious details as Steven bent down to listen and I looked up intently, almost breathlessly, from where I sat on the old wood floor.

We couldn’t get enough!  After all the trips to M.D. Anderson and more, Father Ralph’s news was the answer to our collective prayers.  We were so grateful for Father’s reprieve from his medical roller coaster ride that we couldn’t stop smiling.  Again and again we thanked and praised God for his merciful kindness.

Faith revisited

Father Ralph was on fire.  He was  a walking-talking miracle whose homily, in part, focused on a familiar story from the Bible.

Or take the woman who had obviously heard Jesus preach.  She might even have seen some of the miracles.  She’d gone to doctors for twelve years.  She had a hemorrhage.  Only women can appreciate the misery of all that, day in and day out.  No cure.  And she’d spent all her money.

’If I could just touch the hem of his garment,’ she thought, ‘I would be healed.’

That’s a position of faith, isn’t it?  She wanted a point of contact, so she could release her faith.  And the power of God would come flowing through her body.

Did she find it easy to get to Jesus?  Oh, it was easy to see him.  ‘Yes, there he is over there.  Uh-huh.  I see the prayer shawl.  Oh, my goodness.  There are so many people around him!’

She didn’t let the press interfere with the possibility of cure.  She didn’t let the devil talk her out of it.  She pushed and shoved— did whatever she had to do— until, finally, she got behind him.  She touched his garment, the hem of his prayer shawl.

Jewish men wear the tallit in Israel to this day when they pray at the Wailing Wall.  I’ve been there.  I’ve seen it.  I have one that I use.  At the base of it are all these tassels that represent the Commandments of God, the promises of God.

What the woman was thinking was, ‘If I touch the one that keeps all the Commandments and if I touch the one for healing, I will be made whole.’

The woman released her faith when she touched it, and Jesus said, ‘Virtue has come out.  Who has touched me?’

’I did,’ the woman replied.

’Your faith has made you whole,’ Jesus told her.

So it’s always an impediment to get to Jesus, isn’t it?  Sometimes it’s our own doubt.  Most of the time, it’s the devil.

‘Oh, but you don’t deserve to have a miracle.  Remember what you did when you were a young man?  Or a young woman?  Just forget that, and just keep going.  You can’t change, and God can’t forgive you.  You’ll never have a miracle.’

Oh, my goodness.  The devil is the father of lies, isn’t he?

Although Father’s homily wasn’t perfectly geared for Palm Sunday, it certainly touched on the faith— the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)— that Jesus embodies for us to witness during Holy Week.

Lesson gleaned

Through Father Ralph God refreshed us with yet another of his extraordinary lessons.  Believing requires stoutheartedness, courage, and patience.  Believing is trusting that God knows best.  “Your will be done,” not mine (Matthew 26:42).

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Father’s roses

After Mass Father Ralph insisted that Steven and I accompany him to the back yard.  With scissors in hand he snipped at his prized rosebush; created a lovely, fragrant, lavender-pink cluster; and jubilantly presented me with the unexpected bouquet.

Thoughtful?  Yes.  Then again, healthy or unwell, that’s Father Ralph.

On the drive home, in the days that followed, and especially now that Father Ralph’s health has waned again, his roses are more than just a sweet remembrance of our time at Stella Maris; they’re an enduring recollection of God’s loving mercy celebrated on Palm Sunday a year ago.

SMC32915-17        SMC32915-26        SMC32915-19

SMC32915-20    SMC32915-21    SMC32915-22    SMC32915-25

SMC32915-28      SMC32915-30      SMC32915-32

SMC32915-33      SMC32915-35      SMC32915-38

SMC32915-49        SMC32915-50        SMC32915-51

SMC32915-54        BW33015-42        SMC32915-57

SMC32915-69        SMC32915-70        SMC32915-71

March 18, 2016

I struggled with [the devil] in my imprisonment.  At one moment I thought I was victorious; the next day I was defeated.  This cruel and stubborn fight lasted five years.  Then God gave me the grace to triumph over my enemy (St. Augustine).

March 20, 2016

“The Mass is long,” you say; [to which] I add, “because your love is short”  (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

March 24, 2017

We are not to be without pain.  Pain is Jesus suffering in us, but we are to look to him for strength and courage.  We are to learn this ability to shoulder our cross by gazing at him and being gentle and humble in heart (Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout).

SMC32915-61

SMC32915-62

Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Christ’s way of the cross…  Do you want to be well…  Fr. Ralph: service to God & country / story of healing (3.13.15)…  How to overcome worry by trusting in God’s providence…  Open-&-shut case for Jesus…  Pope laments “defeated Christians” who do not fully trust in God…  Saints: novenas (188) / prayer
St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer cards) / biography / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing intercessor & friend / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayer / prayer requests / prayers / shrine / story…  Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX (more) / marker…  Trusting in God completely / in uncertain times…  Would you have touched Jesus’ cloak

WP posts…  Delightful visit…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris…  Stella Maris moments

Christ’s passion

SAP61413-115

When we visit a church, new or familiar, I photograph the stations of the cross with relish.  Sometimes the end result includes dark, fuzzy, and/or cropped pictures that make me long for do-overs.  Other times I’m simply amazed at the beauties that pop out at me unexpectedly as I search my ever-expanding photo files for visuals that complement my writing.  But, always, I’m so drawn to the stations that I wonder how they were chosen to begin with.  And, if they could tell their story, what would they say?

Christ’s passion

July 2014, I fell head over heels in love with the stations of the cross during our eight-day silent retreat.  And, just last month, I serendipitously discovered why.

Thanks to a lifelong lingering memory, I can trace my initial fascination with the story of Christ’s passion to a long-ago prayer that mom recited nightly for my baby brother and me as we would “go to sleep with the angels.”

“Hortelanito, por Dios, dime la pura verdad: si Jesús de Nazaret por aquí lo has visto pasar” (Mendoza, 1939).

Powerful devotion

Life never has seemed so full of trouble and strife as now.  But, amid our daily anxieties, we never lose hope.  God’s help is near at hand.  With it we look forward to a share in Christ’s victory over sin and death.

Our present sufferings cannot be compared to the glory that one day will be revealed in us.  All we need do is remain faithful and constant.  In our daily cares and preoccupations we must keep our heart steadily fixed on our true goal.

We will find it much easier to do so when we perform our work with the spirit and outlook of Christ.  In his sacred passion and death our Savior opened the way for us to follow.  There is no other path to God, our father.

The stations, [Christ’s] way of the cross, are our way to salvation, too.  We must often apply their power to our own life situation.  This can be done anywhere: at home, on a park bench, waiting for a train or a friend.  When our schedule is crowded, we can think and pray at least one station a day.

Our Lord doesn’t expect long or eloquent prayers.  We need not even use words; a brief silent lifting of our hearts to him suffices (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-8/14, p. 2).

Opening prayer

God, our heavenly father, we raise our minds and hearts to you in praise and thanksgiving.  Though weak and sinful, we wish to follow your only son, our Lord Jesus, on the way of the cross.  May your Holy Spirit help us use our Savior’s strength effectively in our place in life.  We ask the special aid of our blessed Lady, ever virgin and mother, in following Christ and in making his way of the cross our way of life.  Amen.

1: Jesus is condemned.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

1SCMC61410        1SAP61413-65        1MHT91811-47

1SMC5513-21        1SAC52211c        1SMC62312-42

1CSC111111-29        1OST11313-125        1SJC22610-83

2: Jesus takes his cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

2SCMC61410        2SAP61413-62        2MHT91811-44

2SMC5513-38        2SAC52211c        2SMC62312-41

2CSC111111-31        2OST11313-120        2SJC22610-84

3: Jesus falls the first time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

3SCMC61410        3SAP61413-60        3MHT91811-43

3SMC5513-38        3SAC52211c        3SMC62312-40

3CSC111111-33        3OST11313-118        3SJC22610-85

4: Jesus meets his mother.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

4SCMC61410        4SAP61413-58        4MHT91811-42

4SMC5513-39        4SAC52211c        4SMC62312-39

4CSC111111-35        4OST11313-117        4SJC22610-86

5: Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

5SCMC61410        5SAP61413-56        5MHT91811-41

5SMC5513-37        5SAC52211c        5SMC62312-38

5CSC111111-37        5OST11313-115        5SJC22610-87

6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

6SCMC61410        6SAP61413-81        6MHT91811-40

6SMC5513-41        6SAC52211c        6SMC62312-37

6CSC111111-40        6OST11313-113        6SJC22610-89

7: Jesus falls the second time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

7SCMC61410        7SAP61413-82        7MHT91811-31

7SMC5513-41        7SAC52211c        7SMC62312-36

7CSC111111-41        7OST11313-110        7SJC22610-90

8: Jesus speaks to the women.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

8SCMC61410        8SAP61413-83        8MHT91811-32

8SMC5513-47        8SAC52211c        8SMC62312-32

8CSC111111-44        8OST11313-103        8SJC22610-93

9: Jesus falls the third time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

9SCMC61410        9SAP61413-89        9MHT91811-33

9SMC5513-47        9SAC52211c        9SMC62312-31

9CSC111111-45        9OST11313-100        9SJC22610-94

10: Jesus is stripped of his clothes.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

10SCMC61410        10SAP61413-98        10MHT91811-35

10SMC5513-51        10SAC52211c        10SMC62312-30

10CSC111111-47        10OST11313-99        10SJC22610-95

11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

11SCMC61410        11SAP61413-103        11MHT91811-36

11SMC5513-52        11SAC52211c        11SMC62312-29

11CSC111111-50        11OST11313-97        11SJC22610-96

12: Jesus dies on the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

12SCMC61410        12SAP61413-106        12MHT91811-37

12SMC5513-60        12SAC52211c        12SMC62312-28

12CSC111111-51        12OST11313-95        12SJC22610-97

13: Jesus is taken down from the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

13SCMC61410        13SAP61413-107        13MHT91811-38

13SMC5513-60        13SAC52211c        13SMC62312-27

13CSC111111-54        13OST11313-88        13SJC22610-98

14: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

14SCMC61410        14SAP61413-108        14MHT91811-39

14SMC5513-66        15SAC52211c        14SMC62312-25

14CSC111111-55        14OST11313-86        14SJC22610-101

Concluding prayer

O God, our heavenly father, by your great mercy we are born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, your son.  We look forward to the inheritance, imperishable and unfading, which you have reserved for us in heaven.  We thank you for calling us to eternal glory in Jesus, our savior.  We ask your forgiveness for the many times we have failed in following Christ.  May the remembrance of his life, passion, and resurrection sustain us on our earthly way of the cross.  May his example strengthen us in faith, hope, and love.  And when we come to die, may we, by your gracious goodness, be born again to eternal life.  Amen.

SAP61413s-22   SAP61413-102   15SAP61413-110   SAP61413s-13

Contact information

Prayers are from Your Way of the Cross (FMA, B-13R, pp. 3 & 11, respectively).  Your Way of the Cross leaflets and the Retreat Booklet are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598; and A Prayer in Honor of Our Lady of Sorrows is from the Servants of Mary, The Servite Order, 1439 South Harlem Avenue, Berwyn, IL 60402-0712.

Stations of the cross (left to right, top to bottom) can be found in the following sacred spaces: Sts. Cyril & Methodius (Corpus Christi, TX), St. Anthony of Padua (Rockford, IL), Most Holy Trinity (Covington, LA), St. Mary Cathedral (Austin, TX), St. Anselm (Madisonville, LA), St. Mary’s (Brownsville, TX), Christus Spohn Hospital Chapel (Corpus Christi, TX), Oblate School of Theology (San Antonio, TX), and St. Joseph (Port Aransas, TX), respectively.

FMA-B814-a   FMA-B814-b   FMA-B26-a   OSM-11246b   OSM-11246a

FMA-B13R-a   FMA-B13R-d   FMA-B20-20   FMA-B20-a   FMA-B20-d

February 25, 2016

Many who would willingly let themselves be nailed to a cross before the astonished gaze of a thousand onlookers cannot bear with a Christian spirit the pinpricks of each day!  Think, then, which is the more heroic
(St. Josemaría Escrivá).

February 29, 2016

“We must not seek the cross in extraordinary sufferings seldom, if ever, encountered; we must look for it in the duties, the life, the difficulties, and the sacrifices of each day and of each moment” (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, Divine Intimacy).

March 9, 2016

“We could not go to Calvary to offer ourselves with him and thus share in the fruits of his sacrifice, so Jesus brought Calvary to us” (Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik, The Basic Book of the Eucharist).

November 10, 2016

“No one should be ashamed of the cross of Christ through which the world has been redeemed” (St. Leo the Great).

March 20, 2017

Christ’s whole being must ring in our hearts with blood and bone.  We must follow him.  We must strive to penetrate into the heart of his mystery, to what he really is.  Then things be­come plain to us, as we have found them here (Romano Guardini in Meditations on the Christ).

SAP61413s-20

St. Anthony of Padua Church – Rockford, IL

SAP61413-55

OST11313-85

Grounds at the Oblate School of Theology – San Antonio, TX

Links of interest…  Disciples’ diary (Peter & Judas)…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotional saintslight a candle / prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / saint & prayer of the month / who we are…  Majesty of Christ crucified…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Relics from the crucifixion…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  Signs & symbols…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotion / fish eaters / for families (more) / for kids (coloring pages) / how to do / making them worthwhile / on your block / origin / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) / scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross…  Ten lessons from the agony in the garden…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis…  Videos: intro & street stations for commuters & bikers….  Way of the cross (Artola, 2005; preview)…  What Jesus saw from the cross…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Disquieting moments…  Full circle…  Growing pains…  In the pink…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Living one’s gifts…  Mercy and justice…  Prayerful ways…  Quiet prayer time…  Recollections…  Saturday evening Mass…  Sioux chapel stations…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Anselm Church…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerating St. Anthony

Full circle

BSJ22215-7

February of last year Steven and I attended Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle and afterwards walked the stations of the cross in keeping with
St. Dominic’s posturing, body, mind, heart, and soul.

Unexpected experiences

We’d just read aloud from our Behold! The Stations of the Cross booklets when a woman interfaced with us briefly before heading to the cafeteria, or so we thought.

The cross now becomes too much for Jesus to bear; so the soldiers grab a bystander, Simon, to help Jesus carry his cross.  While Jesus carries the more significant burden, Simon plays an important part in the Passion of our Lord.  In helping Jesus carry this wood, Simon serves as an example for all who contemplate this awkward scene.  We, too, are called to be Simon, to help our brothers and sisters carry the weight of their hardships and difficulties.  Simon was transformed by this unexpected experience.  We, too, will be transformed by our acts of good will to all who are in need of our assistance.

My Lord, help me be another Simon in the world today.  Show me your grace and blessing for the efforts I make each day to help people in their needs.  Help me not only assist those who call upon me for help, but also give me the courage to seek out those who might be in need.  Give me a strong desire to pray, fast, and give alms for those who are most in need.  Through my self-denial, restore dignity to those who are in desperate need of human kindness.  May I give all of these things freely expecting nothing in return (Gouin, 2001, pp. 6-7).

As I took photos, Steven’s shared observations attacked my peaceful contemplation like a double-edged sword.

“Just forget about it,” Steven insisted.

But how could I?

Looking back at the fourth station, I could see the woman doing to everyone else what she had done to us.  She’d walked the path in reverse (finish to start), imposing pangs of guilt on prayerful thoughts, betraying inner voices (of reason) with malicious intent.

“Aren’t sacred spaces supposed to be safe?” I asked rhetorically.  “Is there nothing to stop her?”

I didn’t understand.  What was the lesson?  Simon’s story encouraged gentle giving, not willful taking.

Hesitation

Still struggling to make meaning, we fell back into step and continued… until the woman passed us by as quietly as possible at the eleventh station.

I stood very still, followed her with my eyes, and observed.

The woman approached a young couple with two kids at the tenth station, told her story, and waited for the man to help her out.  The man reluctantly moved his hand near his pants pocket two or three times but never reached within.  Clearly, he couldn’t afford to dole out any money; but the woman was relentless.

Confrontation

Right or wrong, I walked over to protect the young family.  When I reminded the woman that Steven had given her enough money to buy a few sandwiches and sodas at the cafeteria, she feigned ignorance.  So I told her we’d seen her in action with everyone else walking the stations.  We hadn’t even been the first ones.  Steven had seen “lots of bills” in her other hand, but he’d given her money anyway on the chance that she might be telling the truth.

The woman was furious.  I was the guilty party, she said.  Why was I so mean?  Why was I speaking so badly about her?  I was to blame, not her.  She had every right to do as she wanted, and she refused to leave.

What a terrible memory! I thought, as the woman persisted in her imagined woes.  Is this how I want to remember my time at San Juan?  I’d waited years to visit, years to embrace the devotion.  Yet this woman had disrupted my tranquility.  And it was all my fault, of course.

The woman finally left, and I felt totally drained.  I did battle and lost, I thought, as I made my way back to Steven at the eleventh station.

“That was so unfair.  I couldn’t let her take advantage of that young couple.  I had to speak up.”

“You didn’t stop her.  She’ll just be more careful the next time she passes you by.  Just forget about it,” Steven insisted once more.

Full circle

How could I just sluff it off?  How could I come to terms with such blatant behavior?

I needed to regain my equilibrium, but my mind and my heart were all over the place.  I needed desperately to calm down, complete the stations, and be still again.

For a while serenity seemed unattainable but, soon enough, I was peaceful and wholly engaged.  Our unexpected experiences had brought us full circle, and I felt restored.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Opening prayer

Heavenly Father, out of love for us you sent your own son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, as our savior.  In him we are redeemed and saved.

Despite our weakness and sinfulness we wish to imitate him and follow in his footsteps.  Send your Holy Spirit, we implore you, to assist us as we make the way of the cross.

We invoke the aid of our Blessed Lady and all the saints that we may be enabled to follow Christ and make his way of the cross our way of life and love.  Amen (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-26, p. 3).

 1: Jesus is condemned to death.

 “And they all gave their verdict; he deserved to die” (Matthew 14:64).

1BSJ22215-11

 2: Jesus takes his cross.

“Pilate handed him over to be crucified” (John 19:16).

2BSJ22215-14

 3: Jesus falls once.

“I looked; there was no one to help” (Isaiah 63:4).

3BSJ22215-20

 4: Jesus meets his mother.

“Woman, this is your son” (John 19:26).

4BSJ22215-24

 5: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus.

“They seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, and made him shoulder the cross” (Luke 22:26).

5BSJ22215-30

 6: Veronica wipes Jesus’ face.

“In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

6BSJ22215-37

 7: Jesus falls again.

“He was praying all the time for sinners” (Isaiah 53:12).

7BSJ22215-51

 8: Jesus speaks to the women

 “Weep rather for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28).

8BSJ22215-58

 9: Jesus falls a third time.

“They leave me lying in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15).

9BSJ22215-67

10: Jesus is stripped of his clothing.

“They shared out his garments by casting lots” (Matthew 27:35).

10BSJ22215-78

11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

“They crucified him there and the two criminals also” (Luke 23:33).

11BSJ22215-88

12: Christ dies on the cross.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

12BSJ22215-101

13: Jesus is taken down from the cross.

“Now let God rescue him if he wants him” (Matthew 27:43).

13BSJ22215-115

14: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

“He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb” (Matthew 27:60).

14BSJ22215-133

15: Christ is risen, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Lastly, he showed himself to the eleven themselves while they were at table.  He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.  And he said to them, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:14-16).

15BSJ22215-143

Contact information

Text for the stations is based on Your Way of the Cross (B-8/14) from Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA), P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

FMA21216-1      FMA21216-2      FMA21216-3      FMA21216-4

BSJ22215-39  BSJ22215-61  BSJ22215-103  BSJ22215-120

Galatians 2:19-21

I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.  Insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God; for, if justification comes through the law, then Christ comes for nothing.

Good Friday Prayer of Pope Francis

O Christ, abandoned and betrayed even by your own, and sold for next to nothing.  O Christ, judged by sinners, handed over by the leaders.  O Christ, tortured in the flesh, crowned with thorns and clothed in purple.  O Christ, slapped and beaten, and nailed in excruciating pain to the Cross.  O Christ, pierced by the lance that opened your heart.  O Christ, dead and buried, you who are the God of life and existence.  O Christ, our only Savior, we return to you this year with eyes lowered in shame, and with hearts filled with hope:

Shame for all the images of devastation, destruction and wreckage that have become a normal part of our lives; shame for the innocent blood that is shed: of women, children, migrants and those who are persecuted because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity and social standing, or because of their faith in you; shame for the many times that, like Judas and Peter, we have sold you and betrayed you and left you alone to die for our sins, fleeing like cowards from our responsibilities; shame for our silence before injustices; for our hands that have been lazy in giving, and greedy in grabbing and conquering; for the shrill voices we use to defend our own interests and the timid ones we use to speak out for others; for our feet that are quick to follow the path of evil and paralyzed in following the path of good; shame for all the times that we bishops, priests, and consecrated men and women have scandalized and wounded your body, the Church; for having forgotten our first love, our initial enthusiasm and total availability, allowing our hearts and our consecration to rust.

So much shame Lord, but our hearts are also longing with trustful hope, knowing that you will not treat us according to our merits but solely according to the abundance of your mercy; that our betrayals do not diminish the immensity of your love; that your maternal and paternal heart does not forget us because of the hardness of our own; the certain hope that our names are written in your heart and that we are reflected in the pupils of your eyes; the hope that your cross will transform our hardened hearts into hearts of flesh that are able to dream, to forgive and to love; that it will transform this dark night of your cross into the brilliant dawn of your resurrection; the hope that your faithfulness is not based on our own; the hope that the ranks of men and women who are faithful to your cross will continue to live in fidelity like leaven that gives flavor, and like light that reveals new horizons in the body of our wounded humanity; the hope that your Church will seek to be the voice that cries out in the wilderness for humanity, preparing the way for your triumphant return, when you will come to judge the living and the dead; the hope that good will be victorious despite its apparent defeat!

O Lord Jesus, son of God, innocent victim of our ransom, before your royal banner, before the mystery of your death and glory, before your scaffold, we kneel in shame and, with hope, and we ask that you bathe us in the blood and water that flowed from your lacerated heart; to forgive our sins and our guilt; we ask you to remember our brethren who are destroyed by violence, indifference and war; we ask you to break the chains that keep us imprisoned in our selfishness, in our willful blindness, and in the vanity of our worldly calculations.

O Christ, we ask you to teach us never to be ashamed of your cross, not to exploit it but to honor and adore it for, by it, you have shown us the monstrosity of our sins, the greatness of your love, the injustice of our judgments, and the power of your mercy.  Amen.

February 14, 2016

“It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially” (St. Francis de Sales).

February 15, 2016

“The love of God inspires the love of our neighbor, and the love of our neighbor serves to keep alive the love of God” (St. Gregory the Great).

February 17, 2016

“Silence is not a virtue when charity calls for speech” (St. Poemen, c. 340-450).

May 3, 2016

“Let us consider what the glorious Virgin endured and what the holy apostles suffered, and we shall find that they who were nearest to Jesus Christ were the most afflicted” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

July 7, 2016

“Woe to me if I should prove myself but a half-hearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain” (St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen).

August 28, 2016

“Hope has two beautiful daughters [whose] names are Anger and Courage— anger at the way things are and courage to see that they do not remain as they are” (St. Augustine, edited).

September 26, 2016

Prayer is the most effective communication with God and the saints.  Prayer strengthens us, gives us resolve, and helps us to carry our daily crosses
(Fr. Amador Garza at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle).

January 11, 2017

Lord God, voice of truth, thank you for my voice.  Thank you for having given me a way to whisper grace and sing out your goodness and affirm your will with conviction (Colleen C. Mitchell in Who Does He Say You Are?).

BSJ22215-45

BSJ22215-173

Links of interest…  Burden of the cross…  Delanceyplace: archives / home / second guessing ourselves (Presence)…  Holy face of Jesus calls us…  Often-overlooked saints of Good Friday…  Pain beneath the cross…  A person’s a person no matter how small…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Relics from the crucifixion…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  Signs & symbols…  Simon of Cyrene: athlete & saint of passersby…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotion / fish eaters / for families (more) / for kids (coloring pages) / how to do / making them worthwhile / on your block / origin / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) /  scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross…  Stuck on the way: Simon-Veronica loop…  Twelve things to know about Holy Saturday…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis…  Waking up on Good Friday (nine things to know)…

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Disquieting moments…  Growing pains…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Mercy and justice…  Prayerful ways…  Quiet prayer time…  Saturday evening Mass…  Sioux chapel stations…  Sorrowful redemption…  Today’s Beatitudes