1 STATIONS OF THE CROSS: OUR JOURNEY WITH JESUS These reflections on the Stations of the Cross were written by adult members of our parish family who have opened their hearts to the fire of God s love and let the Holy Spirit in to inspire and guide them. As you read these reflections, we invite you to see with your heart how Jesus can help you to carry your cross this Lent. Dear Heavenly Father, As we reflect on your Son s Way of the Cross, we ask you to open our ears, minds, and hearts to your Presence. Please lead us to your Son s Cross, please lead us to your love, please lead us to salvation. This we ask, in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. The First Station Jesus is Condemned to Death. Reflection written by Ida DiPasquale Although sinless, Jesus is sentenced to death as a criminal. Pilate has the ability to release Jesus, but instead he gives in to what the crowd wants. Pilate washes his own hands of the matter and ties Jesus hands behind His back. The journey to the cross begins. Together, let us pray Think about Jesus, now standing in front of Pilate. People are accusing Him of crimes that He has not committed. This makes the scene unimaginable. Jesus endured the humiliation and gracefully accepted His destiny to die for the sake of God, His Father, and all of us on earth.
2 The strength Jesus portrayed before Pilate inspires me to strive to cope with injustice and wrong doings in my life which are less severe then what He endured. There are times in my life when I felt I was unjustly blamed and endured criticism and humiliation knowing that the accuser was wrong. Am I as patient in accepting the circumstances as Jesus Christ did? I pray that Jesus continues to strengthen me to be more accepting. I sometimes feel betrayed by the ones closest to me. Am I as enduring as Jesus was? Realizing He had to cope with the profound amount of pain, emotionally and physically, makes me tremble when I think about it. Jesus, please grant me the grace to trust in God amidst wrongdoings. Help me to remember your silence and not lash out at the hurtful ones. Let me be silent in a world that seeks self-gratification. Help me stay committed in my faith even when all seems lost. Help me to remember to do God s will regardless of how difficult and intense something may be. Lastly, Jesus, I pray, please bestow upon us all the courage to be your followers. The Second Station Jesus Takes Up His Cross. Reflection written by Jacky Sheppard An innocent Jesus has been condemned to death and now must carry the cross on which He will die. The cross is heavy from the wood and from the weight of our sins. Jesus takes up the cross willingly to take away our sins and ease our burdens. He takes it up out of love. Together, let us pray Just think of how unfairly Jesus was condemned to death, and then how unfair it is that He has to carry the cross all the way up to the top of Golgotha. Think of how heavy the cross was to bear. It s hard to imagine how heavy it actually was. Aside from the dense weight of the wood, our sins and transgressions added to
3 the weight that Jesus had to carry. Think of how heavily all of the sins of the world weighed upon the shoulders of Jesus. Take a moment for reflection. Think of our sins and how we can help lighten Jesus load. Did we really have to get that angry at the slow driver ahead of us, or the one who cut us off on the way home from work? Do we have to get impatient with the countless demands of raising our children? Jesus made the tremendous sacrifice of carrying His cross and dying for our sins. Think of some ways in which we can lighten the load, or help our brothers to carry their crosses. Each of us has some cross in life to bear. Let us all realize this, and not think that others have it so much easier than we do. Sometimes we think other people are lucky, because they don t have financial or health concerns. Yet we don t know what crosses they bear in their own personal lives. Let's all try to be kinder to everyone this Lenten Season. The Third Station Jesus Falls the First Time. Reflection written by Dan Pirrello The burden of the cross is more than anyone can bear. Jesus falls under the weight of the cross. He falls under the weight of our sins, worries, addictions, stresses, and hurts. Despite His pain, He is pulled up and forced to continue. Together, let us pray: As I reflect on the meaning of the Third Station of the Cross, where Jesus falls for the first time, I think of the humility of Jesus. He shows us that He will undergo this humiliating and painful process publicly as a witness of His love. He is too weak to hold the cross after He has been beaten, just as we would be. The penalty of flogging and crucifixion was administered to the lowest of society; how typical of Jesus to show people His humanity by absorbing the punishment that
4 was given to lowest of society. By falling, He allows us to see Himself as one of us. It is important to God that we see Jesus in this fashion to emphasize His love for all of us - not just the strong, the healthy and the rich, but the poor, the meek and the sick. This makes me see the unequivocal and never ending love that Jesus has for us. He is willing to bear this awful pain and torture because He loves us so much. What a comforting feeling for all of us to know that no matter what Jesus loves us. He will be there in good times and bad. I am sure Jesus was scared as He was going through this ordeal. Even though the pain was immense, He continued on. So let s remember this love as we deal with the difficulties of life. When times are tough, don t give up; instead know that Jesus will be there for us. As we move forward, let s try to show this love to others and be there for them in times of need, as Jesus will always be there for us. The Fourth Station Jesus Meets His Mother. Reflection written by Candace Niblett As Jesus endures this seemingly impossible journey, His eyes meet those of His beloved Mother. In the midst of blood, pain, and torture, they exchange a glance, filled with love, strength, and faith. As Mary looks at her beloved Son, she faces her biggest challenge yet to believe in God s will, even against all odds. Allowing her heart to be pierced by the sword, Mary holds back her tears and, with undying love, holds up her Son. Together, let us pray: Dear Mary, you followed behind your Son, Jesus, as He struggled on His journey. Nothing could have ever hurt you more than to see your beloved Son, Jesus, suffering in such great pain. How did you bear the sight of the Cross cutting into Jesus shoulders as He forced himself to take the next step?
5 Dear Mary, I know you wanted to protect Jesus, to shield Him with your own body, if you could, as every mother would want to do, to take this great burden from your beloved child. Dear Mary, gentle and loving Mother, how could you witness such terrible suffering? I know you called to Jesus through the shouting crowd. A son hears his mother s voice. When your eyes met, your eyes were full of tears and His eyes were full of pain. Dear Mary, how helpless you must have felt. Jesus eyes asked you to have courage as He knew He must fulfill God s Plan. All you could do was follow Him and pray silently amidst your tears. Help me, dear Jesus, to never turn my eyes away from Yours. Help me to reach out to the lost and the lonely and remind them of Your grace and mercy. Help me to be kind and generous as You are. Help me to be loving and forgiving with others, as You have been loving and forgiving to me. Help me to never turn my eyes away from yours, Jesus. The Fifth Station Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross. Reflection written by Monica Schiksnis Jesus is suffering. He has fallen once; He is struggling to go on. Simon is pressed into service to help carry the load. Jesus accepts his help in order to move on, to fulfill His Father s plan. Together, let us pray: Are there times when we feel that we can t move on, when the load is too heavy, the burden too great? Have there been people in our lives that offer to help but our pride declines their assistance? We think we can handle it all by ourselves. If Jesus could accept Simon s help, allow him to share in His suffering, shouldn t we be able to accept help too? Doesn t Jesus place people in our lives like Simon,
6 people who can lighten our load, so we can draw strength from them? Jesus puts people into our lives, so we can fulfill His plan for us. Jesus received help from Simon and Jesus is always ready to help us. Can you let Jesus help you too? Lord, help us to realize that serving others is a wonderful and humbling experience, but it is also necessary to accept help from people willing to serve. Help us to remember that You are always here to support us. Lord, help us to share our service generously and accept it from others graciously. The Sixth Station eronica Wipes the Face of Jesus. Reflection written by Ronni Rose From the crowd comes a woman. eronica can no longer stand by and watch Jesus suffer; she has to do something, even if that something is as little as wiping Jesus face with her veil. eronica does not change the outcome of the day, but her small act of love does make a big difference. Jesus gives eronica an outward sign of His love for her too, the image of His face imprinted on her veil for her to cherish forever. Together, let us pray: eronica, overwhelmed with compassion for Jesus, stood out from the crowd to comfort our Lord in the only way she could, by offering to wipe His face, confirming that a simple act of comfort can give another the strength to face the distress that is ahead. I am touched when I am witness to acts of kindness of and for strangers as a faith community, I am aware of the caring given to those who are facing difficult times. Ours is a welcoming church, all who enter are met with smiles and an openness of fellow parishioners. Our food pantry feeds the needy in our community, holiday baskets abound, and the Giving Tree provides a wonderful Christmas for children and their families. Our youth bring joy to those who are elderly and lonely and currently our youth group is planning a mission, reaching out to those in need in another state. Thanks to small acts of love,
7 children in the community go to school with new book bags and needed supplies and our annual coat drive warms the homeless in our state. Let us pray Lord, help us continue your ministry by answering Yes, I am my brother s keeper. The Seventh Station Jesus Falls the Second Time. Reflection written by Kathy Messina Jesus pain is unbearable and He falls a second time. Lying on the ground, maybe Jesus wants to give up, but He is forced to continue. His love for us gives Him the strength to keep going. Together, let us pray: Jesus, it must have been sheer agony to continue the journey to Golgotha. It must have seemed like time was standing still. Now that You have fallen for the second time, with all of the mocking and torture that You have endured, it would have been easier to stay down and give up. But, You persisted; You got back up and kept on going. Your goal, Your mission, was almost over. Your love for us is far greater than Your desire to give up. Lord, many times, we feel like giving up in our lives. Help us to remember Your strength and perseverance. Help us to lift ourselves up. Help us to lift up our family and friends, as well, when they need us. Help us to continue on as You did until our mission is complete. The Eighth Station Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem. Reflection written by Danny DiPasquale Jesus continues His journey to the cross. His friends have deserted Him, His body is failing Him, His dignity is diminishing. Along the way, Jesus meets a group of women. They have not abandoned Him. As Jesus sheds His blood, they shed their tears. Despite His own pain, Jesus stops to console these women. Selfless to the end, He gives them His comfort. Together, let us pray:
8 During His time of physical suffering from bearing the heavy cross and the humiliation He endured from being sentenced to death, Jesus had the gift to focus not on Himself but on the ones around Him. The women who followed Jesus Christ were grief-stricken to see Him in this condition. Jesus stopped by these women to embrace and comfort them during their sorrow and time of suffering. He speaks to them and gives them comfort by saying, Do not weep for me - for behold the days are coming. We know now that He was comforting them to let them know that He would soon be with them again. When I am in pain or distressed, do I generally focus more on myself rather than on the people around me who are desperately seeking help? Jesus Christ, help me to understand, accept, and not turn away from others that seek help and guidance in their time of need. Provide me with patience and the graces you shared with the women who were present during your journey to the cross. The Ninth Station Jesus Falls the Third Time. Reflection written by Pat Discher Jesus falls yet again. Perhaps He feels like a failure. Perhaps even Jesus is wondering how good can come out of this suffering. Love gives Him the strength to continue. Jesus knows He is being put to the ultimate test. Do you think He thought about quitting? Maybe, but He gets up and continues the journey because He loves us. He knew that He needed to die in order for us to be saved. He also knew that He was not alone and was willing to suffer the pain and humiliation of falling down for a third time. Life can be a struggle at many times during our lives. Jesus
9 shows us that falling or failing is not what's important, even when it seems that the odds are against us. He shows us that perseverance pays off in the end. He died to save us and to show us that wherever we are or whatever we're doing, He loves us and is with us always. All we have to do is to ask Him for guidance and thank Him for His sacrifice. The Tenth Station Jesus is Stripped of His Garments. Reflection written by Joy Rastiello Jesus not only has been condemned to the most brutal means of execution; He also is subject to humiliation. As the soldiers strip Him of His clothing, they strip away His dignity. Jesus is totally exposed to a world that is blind to His love. Together, let us pray: Jesus is stripped of His garments, ultimately removing Him from His social standing and taking away all His dignity. While we know this was God s plan and the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross was to save us, I can t help but wonder if this is what is needed for each of us. Meaning, in order to be more like Jesus, shouldn t we strip away everything that is blocking our path to reach that goal, saving ourselves? How many times have we heard that people need to hit rock bottom before they can begin to make things better? Addicts of all kinds who have re-built their lives often say it wasn t until they lost everything that they began to heal. What do we need to strip away? Is it material things, or relationships with people who are leading us down the wrong path that we need to strip? Or is it racist or superior attitudes? We all have something that should be stripped away, and until we identify it and release ourselves from it, we will continue to crawl rather than run into the arms of Jesus. Dear Jesus, help us to identify what needs to be stripped away from us to lead a more Christian life that is pleasing to you.
10 The Eleventh Station Jesus is Nailed to the Cross. Reflection written by Mike Pucilowski Jesus reaches the end of the road and the soldiers crucify Him. As they pound nails through Jesus wrists and feet, the sound is deafening and echoes throughout the land. The pain is beyond words, yet Jesus bears this out of love for us. Together, let us pray: Jesus, the physical and bodily pain that You suffered for my sins and the sins of the world shows how much You love us and how great is Your forgiveness. You did not try to escape and remove Yourself from this torturing conflict, but You accepted the will of the Father in Heaven and accepted the cross. We are truly sorry for our sins, the sins that are the nails in Your wrists and feet. We repent with sorrowful hearts and ask for Your forgiveness. Help us to avoid the temptations in life so that we may never offend You again. Our beloved Jesus, let us love You above all things. Help us to embrace the crosses we bear every day as You did that day. Our pain and suffering do not compare to the sacrifice You made for us. Lord Jesus, give us the courage to be faithful servants and do Your will, proclaiming the Good News. Help us to be less selfish and more selfless in our lives. Let us be merciful to others, practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. May we do all this in Your Name. The Twelfth Station Jesus Dies on the Cross. Reflection written by Steve Niblett
11 Jesus hangs on the cross, each breath is a struggle. After three hours, Jesus can bear no more. He cries out, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Jesus breathes His last and gives up His spirit, all out of love. Together, let us pray: Jesus cried out and then lowered His head and died. His journey on this Earth was finished. This terrible ordeal had to be, to fulfill God s great plan of Mercy for the world. Dear Jesus, have mercy on us for what our sins have done to You. We thank you for Your great act of love. You have said that true love is laying down one s life for your friends. Let me always be Your friend. Let me always find You in others. Let me always bring You to others. Let others see You in my actions. Let me see the pain of others and be compassionate. Let me see the loneliness of others and be their friend. Let me be a friend to all. Teach me to live my life for others and never fail You, Jesus. The Thirteenth Station Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross. Reflection written by Debbie Cummings Jesus' body is taken down from the cross and given to His mother one last time. Mary and the faithful disciples grieve and mourn, and yet somehow they stay strong. As Mary holds her Son, her tears wash away the horror of the day. She continues to love, even though her heart has been pierced by the sword. Together, let us pray: Lord, your passion has ended. Yet, it still goes on whenever I choose sin over You. I have done my part in Your crucifixion, and now, my Savior, I beg for Your
12 forgiveness with all my heart. Help me to live a life worthy of You and Your mother. The Fourteenth Station Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb. Reflection written by Cecilia Deenezia Jesus friends lay His lifeless body in a cold dark tomb. The journey of the Cross seems to end in sadness and desperation. The disciples must have felt that hope, love, and goodness were laid to rest with Jesus too. But, today, as people of faith, we know that life does not end with the tomb. Jesus died so that death would be no more. With the challenges of our everyday lives (parenting, work, and society), at the end of each day, we feel exhausted, even weak, and hopeless sometimes. But, we must remember that our Lord Jesus suffered a degrading and painful death for our sins, so that we can have eternal life! Then, those challenges become so minute. To achieve the peace and happiness that we so much hunger for, all we have to do is say: Jesus, I love You. Jesus, I trust in You. The journey to the Cross can change your life. When you are struggling, lean on Jesus. When demands are high, when burdens are heavy, when you feel alone in living out your Christian values, find strength and courage in Jesus and His cross. Open your heart to the fire of Jesus love. His Love will change your life when you let it. Go now, my friends, renewed by the Way of the Cross. Go forth in peace; go forth in love; go forth in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.