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).

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).

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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…  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

St. Mary’s

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Last Saturday we attended evening Mass at St. Mary’s because Albert Garcia, Brother Knight and longtime parishioner whom we recently met, enthusiastically invited us to see the changes in the church since its remodeling.

Shared thoughts

Although I’d talked to Steven about St. Mary’s over the years— prayer meetings; Sister Margaret; our beloved Monsignor, “Father Gus;” Masses; teaching CCE; Segy’s first communion; and so much more— he really had no idea what the church looked like or even where it was located in Brownsville.

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St. Mary’s

I hadn’t been to St. Mary’s since Fall 2005, so I had no idea what to expect when Steven opened the door for us to enter.

What a transformation!

The once dark-carpeted vestibule, now spacious and brightly lit, is impeccably tiled; and a beautiful glass-and-wood wall divides the entryway from the pewed section.

“La casa de Dios y la puerta del cielo”

Within moments parishioners and visitors alike can walk in, brush off the outside world, acclimate to the silence, and proceed to the heart of the church.

               

               

       

               

       

               

               

Prayers

Daily prayer of Our Lady…  I prostrate myself in your presence, O God Most High, and I give you thanks and praise for your immutable being, for your infinite perfections, and for having created me out of nothing.

I acknowledge myself as your creature and as the work of your hands.  I bless you, and I adore you.  I give you honor, magnificence, and divinity as the supreme Lord and creator of myself and of all that exists.

I raise up my spirit to place it into your hands.  I offer myself with profound humility and resignation to you,StMC62312- 76 and I ask you to dispose of me according to your holy will during this day and during all the days of my life.  I ask you to teach me to fulfill whatever would be to your greater pleasure.

I consult you.  I ask your advice.  I ask your permission.  I ask your blessing on everything that I do today.  I ask your permission to use my body as your temple, my mind as the mind of Christ, my soul as the souls of Jesus and Mary.  [I ask your permission to use] my memory to remember only you; my will to use it in conformity to your will; and my understanding to understand you, your wisdom, and my brothers and sisters.  Amen.

Morning consecration to Mary…  My Queen, My Mother, I offer myself entirely to you; and to show my devotion to you, I offer you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve.

Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me, and guard me as your property and possession.  Amen.

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September 5, 2015

“Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).

September 7, 2015

“Only after the Last Judgment will Mary get any rest; from now until then, she is much too busy with her children” (St. John Vianney).

November 21, 2015

From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things.  From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone.  From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God.  For Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is Mother of the Church as well (St. John Paul II).

February 6, 2016

“When we feel our cross weighing upon us, let us have recourse to Mary, whom the Church calls the consoler of the afflicted” (St. Alphonsus).

January 1, 2017

“Mary’s task as Mother of God and mother of humans has always been to lead her human children to her divine Son” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty).

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Pdf files…  MMM novena from CAMM / Stations: 1-7 & 8-14 / audio / for families

Links of interest…  St. Mary, Mother of the Church: diocesan pagefacebook / Mass times / website the Word among us

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Angels keeping watch…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  Familiar yet new…  Father now retired…  Father’s guided tour…  Guadalupe Church…  Heart of hearts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  Memory lane…  My Franciscan Crown…  Our Lady…  Our Lady’s church…  Promise of hope…  A real church…  Repeated prayers…  San Juan Diego