Undeniable familiarity

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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.

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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).

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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

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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!

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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.

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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).

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Links of interest…  Bearing our own cross: A fiat for Easter…  Betrayal…  Catholic Harbor of Faith & Morals (website)…  Final hours & death…  Garden of olives: agony (more) / prayer of Jesus / story…  Holy Saturday: looking back & peering ahead & twelve things to know…  Incarnation & the Pietá…  Last supper & betrayal…  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 (hymn): aboutAll the women of the Bible / iBreviary / Preces Latinae / video (YT) / Virtrus 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: hymn / liturgical sequence / seven sorrows / more / YouTube (more)…  Stations of the cross (YT)…  Trusting in God completely & in uncertain times…  Via Crucis: Walking the passion with Jesus: one & two…  Way of Holy Week

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

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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 one year ago.

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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).

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

Links of interest…  Christ’s way of the cross…  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

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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.

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2: Jesus takes his cross.

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

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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.

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4: Jesus meets his mother.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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St. Anthony of Padua Church – Rockford, IL

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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…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Relics from the crucifixion…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  Signs & symbols…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to domaking them worthwhile / origins / 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

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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).

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 2: Jesus takes his cross.

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

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 3: Jesus falls once.

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

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 4: Jesus meets his mother.

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

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 5: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus.

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

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 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).

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 7: Jesus falls again.

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

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 8: Jesus speaks to the women

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

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 9: Jesus falls a third time.

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

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10: Jesus is stripped of his clothing.

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

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11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

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

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12: Christ dies on the cross.

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

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13: Jesus is taken down from the cross.

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

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14: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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. MitchellWho Does He Say You Are?).

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Links of interest…  Burden of the cross…  Delanceyplace: archives / home / second guessing ourselves (Presence)…  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 the athlete…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) / scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis

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

Capuchin church stations

Saturday, April 28, Steven and I spent several hours at the St. Bonaventure Church, which flows right into the Solanus Casey Center.

Meeting Father Casey

I discovered Father Casey online in 2009, and finally received a third-class relic badge (in my favorite color, green) in the mail along with an application to the Guild in 2011.

“Would you like to join, darling?” I asked Steven before submitting my membership form.

“No, but you can order anything you like from the gift shop.”

Longing to visit

I was disappointed in Steven’s indifference.  No matter what I said about Father Casey, Steven just wasn’t interested.  He didn’t even pretend to listen, but I didn’t let his attitude stifle my exuberance.

“One of these days I’m going to Detroit so I can visit Father Casey’s tomb at the Solanus Center,” I said, not about to let Steven have the last word.

And what a pilgrimage that turned out to be!  For both of us.

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Capuchin church stations

“A Journey with St. Anthony along the Way of the Cross” is from Saint Anthony of Padua (Miles and Gianopoulos, 1991, pp. 45-55, 112).

The Franciscans popularized the Way of the Cross devotion.  In the 1300s, in their European monasteries, they began to erect Stations honoring events in the Passion of Jesus.  The practice quickly spread to parish churches.  By the eighteenth century the Way of the Cross had become one of the most popular devotions in the Church.

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Opening prayer

Lord Jesus, you instituted a new covenant of friendship in your blood by calling us together as the people of God.  Like you, we must walk the way of the Cross. We agonize now in the flesh to finish the remainder of your sufferings for the sake of your body, the Church.  We hasten forward to resurrection in the strength that comes from hope.  May our Lady of Sorrows walk with us now in our contemplation.  Amen.

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

 1st: Jesus is condemned to death…   St. Anthony, help us to be fearless of the world’s judgment, knowing that only the judgment of God matters.

 2nd: Jesus carries his cross…  St. Anthony, help us to accept our trials for the love of God knowing that, if carried in the spirit of Jesus, they will also be redemptive.

       

 3rd: Jesus falls the first time…  St. Anthony, let us be grateful to God who saves us through the cross of his beloved Son.  

 4th: Jesus meets his afflicted mother…  St. Anthony, may we see in Mary’s love a reflection of the love of God, and may we convey healing compassion to others as an instrument of peace.

       

 5th: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross…  St. Anthony, inspire us to ease the pain of Jesus today by assisting him in sharing the burdens of our afflicted brothers and sisters.  

 6th: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus…  St. Anthony, teach us through Veronica’s example to see God’s face in those the world rejects and to show his love at work.

       

 7th: Jesus falls the second time…  St. Anthony, may we ever be grateful to Jesus for accepting the suffering and pain that took away our sins.  May we strive to reform and love with God’s grace.  

 8th: Jesus speaks to the weeping daughters of Jerusalem…  St. Anthony, give us an active concern for the welfare of others.

       

 9th: Jesus falls the third time…  St. Anthony, may we be strengthened by the persevering spirit of Jesus when we feel defeated or tempted to give in.

10th: Jesus is stripped of his garments…  St. Anthony, strengthen us to live in truth and honesty before others and God, our Creator, who has invested us with enduring dignity.

       

11th: Jesus is nailed to the cross…  St. Anthony, help us to be patient and to take those first selfless steps of forgiveness.

12th: Jesus dies on the cross…  St. Anthony, inspire us to feel God’s presence and proclaim by our loving lives that Jesus is the savior of the world.

       

13th: Jesus is taken down from the cross…  St. Anthony, help us to empty ourselves of selfishness so that we may imitate the total giving of Jesus.

14th: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre…  St. Anthony, help us continue our Lord’s mission of liberating the human family from suffering and injustice that results from sin.

       

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, in your mercy you have given us new birth into hope which draws its life from your resurrection.  By dying you destroyed our death, and by rising you have restored our life.  You are now at work in our hearts through the energy of your spirit.  Strengthened by this power, we will do our best to show you love at work and try to cope patiently and lovingly with life’s challenges.  We are comforted by our belief that the sufferings of this life cannot be compared to the joys that await us in eternal life.  May our Lady of Sorrows walk with us on our way.  Amen.

Dear God 

Father, you gave St. Anthony the wisdom and grace to live and preach the gospel of Christ.  Help us to live the gospel life of love at work as he did.  Fill our hearts with your love that we may pursue unselfishly a sincere love of God and neighbor. May we be sensitive to your call and faithful to our baptismal promises.  May we imitate the life and work of St. Anthony and create a new world where the love of Jesus will be the rule and not the exception.  We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

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April 9-11, 2014

Steven and I made our third annual pilgrimage to the Solanus Casey Center and attended the three-day Lenten Journey in Faith, a truly memorable Franciscan Capuchin experience.

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April 16, 2014

“He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the passion of Jesus” (St. Bonaventure).

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Links of interest…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Triduum…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection (YouTube)…  St. Francis…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video/music) / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / significance / way of the cross…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Concrete abstraction…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  God’s master plan…  Growing pains…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Mercy and justice…  Prayerful ways…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Sioux chapel stations…  Simple yet profound…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Sweet Jesus…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Two angels…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Sioux chapel stations

SJIS5112-22For more than two months since we returned from our trip, I’ve pondered a seemingly insurmountable dilemma: Which of the nearly fifteen hundred photos from our trip do I post first?

I categorized them a number of times, looked through them here and there, and had no idea where to start.  Until last night.

Sioux chapel

Previewing the photos from our day at the St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, I created
three files— chapel, stations, and windows— before revisiting Kateri Tekakwitha’s painting.

That’s it! I thought.  I’ll start with the Sioux chapel at the school.  The stations are the perfect transition.  Not only that, for the prayers I can use the short version of the Way of the Cross used by Franciscans on their missions (The Piety Prayer Booklet, MLOR Corporation, 1996).

Stations for all time

Originating in Jerusalem in the fourth century, these Lenten reflections are more than a permanent visual journey with Jesus through the most harrowing time of his life.  These depictions— when we make the time to look, ponder, and truly internalize— are a constant reminder of the crosses that we, too, must
proactively engage as we make our way (back) to God.

What matters most in the Stations of the Cross is to follow Jesus Christ in his passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him.  To face life’s dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope; and Jesus offers images of hope in his passion.  By accompanying him on the Way of the Cross, we gain his courageous patience and learn to trust in God who delivers us from evil (The Passionist Missionaries, 2002).

Sioux chapel stations

 1st: Jesus is condemned to death…  O Jesus, so meek and uncomplaining, teach me resignation in trials.

 2nd: Jesus receives his cross…  My Jesus, this cross should be mine, not yours; my sins crucified you.

       

 3rd: Jesus falls the first time…  O Jesus, by this first fall never let me fall into mortal sin.

 4th: Jesus meets his blessed mother…  O Jesus, may no human tie, however dear, keep me from following the road of the cross.

        

 5th: Simon helps Jesus to carry his cross…  Simon unwillingly assisted you; may I with patience suffer all for you.

 6th: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus…  O Jesus, you did imprint your sacred features upon Veronica’s veil; stamp them also indelibly upon my heart.

       

 7th: Jesus falls the second time…  By your second fall preserve me, dear Lord, from relapse into sin.

 8th: Jesus consoles the holy women…  My greatest consolation would be to hear you say, “Many sins are forgiven you because you have loved much.”

       

 9th: Jesus falls the third time…  O Jesus, when weary upon life’s long journey, be my strength and my perseverance.

10th: Jesus is stripped of his garments…  My soul has been robbed of its robe of innocence; clothe me, dear Jesus, with the garb of penance and contrition.

       

11th: Jesus is nailed to the cross…  You forgave your enemies; my God, teach me to forgive injuries and forget them.

12th: Jesus expires on the cross…  You are dying, my Jesus; but your sacred heart still throbs with love for your sinful children.

       

13th: Jesus is laid in his mother’s arms…  Receive me into your arms, O sorrowful Mother, and obtain for me perfect contrition for my sins.

14th: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre…  When I receive you into my heart in holy communion, O Jesus, make it a fit abiding place for your adorable body.  Amen.

       

Prayers

Before the cross…  Heavenly Father, as we look at the cross before us, we remember the agony that your son, Jesus, suffered as he accepted it as the instrument of his death.  Accept our prayer, Lord, for all who suffer, all who are in pain, all who are unjustly condemned, all who feel betrayed, all who are dying.

We surrender to you our own suffering, which we find so difficult to bear at times.  May your son, Jesus, continue to bless the efforts that we make to repent for our sins and to forgive those who hurt us in different ways.  We make this prayer through the same Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Petition…  Passion of Christ, strengthen me!  Strengthen me under the pressure of temptation.  Strengthen me when principle is at stake.  Strengthen me to do your will, my God.  Strengthen me in moments of suffering, in times of loneliness, in periods of depression.  Strengthen me that I may never swerve from you, dear Christ, nor weaken through human respect through a desire to be popular, through hope of social distinction.  Strengthen me to accept my cross and carry it generously to the end.  On the battlefield of life, stand by me that I may never prove a traitor in the ranks.  Stand by me that I may not be dazzled by the glitter and glow of the enemy camp.  Amen.

               

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Links of interest…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Christ’s sorrow & passionTen ways to meditate on Christ’s passionTriduum…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection (YouTube)…  St. Francis
St. Joseph’s Indian School: blogchapel / culture / museum / website…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fisheaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video/music) / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / significance / way of the cross

WP posts…   Bearing one’s crosses…  Concrete abstraction…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  Growing pains…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten resources…  Prayerful ways…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Simple yet profound…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret