1 Our Way of Salvation Short Meditations on the Stations of the Cross Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman
2 Introduction Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman ( ) was one of the most important 19th century British Catholics. As a young professor at Oriel College of Oxford University and an Anglican priest (ordained 1825), he led the influential Oxford Movement which attempted to reform the Church of England. But his research into 4th century Church history led him to convert to the Roman Catholic Church in 1845, which caused a great stir in England. With a small band of followers, he then joined the religious society of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri (Oratorians) and soon became an influential spokesman for Catholic belief and practice. Besides his many Oxford sermons and short writings on religious topics called tracts, he was well-known for his popular religious autobiography Apologia pro Vita Sua (Defense of His Life), his analysis of religious belief called An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent and The Idea of a University. He was made a Cardinal in 1879 and beatified in According to Newman, these Short Meditations on the Stations of the Cross were first written about 1860 and used again in They have appeared in numerous collections of his meditations, prayers and devotions. Steve Mueller, Editor
3 First STATION Pilate Condemns Jesus to Death Pilate spoke to the crowd, What do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews? They shouted back, Crucify him! He asked them, Why, what evil has he done? But they shouted all the more, Crucify him! So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, handed him over to be crucified. Mark 15:12-15 The Holy, Just and True was judged by sinners and put to death. Yet while they judged, they were compelled to acquit him. Judas, who betrayed him, said, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. Pilate, who sentenced him, said, I am innocent of the blood of this just person, and threw the guilt upon the Jews. The centurion who saw him crucified said, Indeed this was a just man. Thus, O Lord, you are justified in your words and triumph when you are judged. And so, much more, at the last day They shall look on him whom they pierced. He who was condemned in weakness shall judge the world in power, and even those who are condemned will confess their judgment is just.
4 Second STATION Jesus Takes Up His Cross The soldiers stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they led him away to crucify him. Matthew 27:27-31 Jesus supports the whole world by his divine power for he is God. But the weight was less heavy than was the cross which our sins hewed out for him. Our sins cost him this humiliation. He had to take on him our nature and appear among us as a man and offer up for us a great sacrifice. He had to pass a life in penance and endure his passion and death at the end of it. O Lord God Almighty, who bears the weight of the whole world without weariness, who bore the weight of all our sins, though they wearied you, as you are the preserver of our bodies by your providence, so may you be the Savior of our souls by your precious blood.
5 Third STATION Jesus Falls the First Time Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. Isaiah 53: 4-6 Satan fell from heaven in the beginning. By the just sentence of his Creator he fell, against whom he had rebelled. And when he had succeeded in gaining humans to join him in his rebellion, and his Maker came to save him, then his brief hour of triumph came and he made the most of it. When the Holiest had taken flesh, and was in his power, then in his revenge and malice he determined, as he himself had been struck down by the Almighty arm, to strike in turn a heavy blow at him who struck him. Therefore it was that Jesus fell down so suddenly. O dear Lord, by this your first fall raise us all out of sin, who have so miserably fallen under its power.
6 Fourth STATION Jesus Meets His Mother Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed and a sword will pierce your own soul too. Luke 2:34-35 Jesus mother Mary appears in every part of his life on earth. She brought the tender infant into the temple. She lifted him up in her arms when the wise men came to adore him. She fled with him to Egypt. She took him up to Jerusalem when he was 12 years old. He lived with her at Nazareth for 30 years. She was with him at the marriage feast. Even when he had left her to preach, she hovered about him. And now she shows herself as he toils along the sacred way with his cross on his shoulders. Sweet Mother, let us always think of you when we think of Jesus, and when we pray to him, aid us by your powerful intercession.
7 Fifth STATION Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. Luke 23:26 Jesus could bear his cross alone, if he wanted to. But he permits Simon to help him in order to remind us that we must take part in his sufferings and have a fellowship in his work. His merit is infinite, yet he condescends to let his people add their merit to it. The sanctity of the Blessed Virgin, the blood of the martyrs, the prayers and penances of the saints, the good deeds of all the faithful take part in that work which, nevertheless, is perfect without them. He saves us by his blood, but it is through and with ourselves that he saves us. Dear Lord, teach us to suffer with you, make it pleasant for us to suffer for your sake and sanctify all our sufferings by the merits of your own.
8 Sixth STATION Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Isaiah 53:2-3 Jesus let the pious woman carry off an impression of his sacred countenance which was to last to future ages. He did this to remind us all that his image must always be impressed on our hearts. Whoever we are, in whatever part of the earth, in whatever age of the world, Jesus must live in our hearts. We may differ from each other in many things, but in this we must all agree if we are his true children. We must bear about with us the veil of St. Veronica. We must always meditate upon his death and resurrection and imitate his divine excellence according to our measure. Lord, let our countenances be ever pleasing in your sight, not defiled with sin, but bathed and washed white in your precious blood.
9 Seventh STATION Jesus Falls the Second Time I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. Psalm 22:14-15 Satan had a second fall when our Lord came upon earth. By that time he had usurped the dominion of the whole world and called himself its king. And he dared to take up the holy Savior in his arms, show him all kingdoms and blasphemously promise to give them to him if he would adore him. Jesus answered, Begone, Satan! And Satan fell down from the high mountain. And Jesus bore witness to it when he said, I saw Satan, as lightning, falling from heaven. The evil one remembered this second defeat and so now he smote down the innocent Lord a second time, now that he had him in his power. O dear Lord, teach us to suffer with you and not be afraid of Satan s buffetings when they come on us from resisting him.
10 Eighth STATION Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem Many women were beating their breasts and wailing for him. Jesus turned to them and said, Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Luke 23:27-28 Ever since the prophecy of old, that the Savior of mankind was to be born of a woman of the stock of Abraham, the Jewish women had desired to bear him. Yet now that he was really come, how different, as the gospel tells us, was the event from what they had expected. He said to them that the days were coming when they should say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts which have not given suck. Ah, Lord, we do not know when you will come to visit us, or in what form you will come. Do your good pleasure to us and in us. Let us always look at you, and do you look upon us, and give us the grace of your bitter cross and passion, and console us in your own way and at your own time.
11 Ninth STATION Jesus Falls the Third Time Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me It has left me stunned, faint all day long. Lamentations 1:12-13 Satan will have a third and final fall at the end of the world, when he will be shut up for good in the everlasting fiery prison. He knew this was to be his end he has no hope, but despair only. He knew that no suffering which he could at that moment inflict upon the Savior of men would avail to rescue himself from that inevitable doom. But in horrible rage and hatred, he determined to insult and torture while he could the great king whose throne is everlasting. Therefore a third time he smote him down fiercely to the earth. O Jesus, only-begotten Son of God, the word incarnate, we adore with fear and trembling and deep thankfulness your awful humiliation, that you who are the highest, should have permitted yourself, even for one hour, to be the sport and prey of the evil one.
12 Tenth STATION Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his seamless tunic, woven in one piece from the top and said, Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it. John 19:23-24 Jesus would give up everything of this world before he left it. He exercised the most perfect poverty. When he left the holy house of Nazareth and went out to preach, he had nowhere to lay his head. He lived on the poorest food and on what was given to him by those who loved and served him. And therefore he chose a death in which not even his clothes were left to him. He parted with what seemed most necessary, and even a part of him. Grant us in like manner, O dear Lord, to care nothing for anything on earth, and to bear the loss of all things, and to endure even shame, reproach, contempt, and mockery, rather than that you shall be ashamed of us at the last day.
13 Eleventh STATION Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross It was nine o clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, The King of the Jews. And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Mark 15: Jesus is pierced through each hand and each foot with a sharp nail. His eyes are dimmed with blood and are closed by the swollen lids and livid brows which the blows of his executioners have caused. His mouth is filled with vinegar and gall. His head is encircled by the sharp thorns. His heart is pierced with the spear. Thus, all his senses are mortified and crucified, that he may make atonement for every kind of human sin. O Jesus, mortify and crucify us with you. Let us never sin by hand or foot, by eyes or mouth or by head or heart. Let all our senses be a sacrifice to you; let every member sing your praise. Let the sacred blood which flowed from your five wounds anoint us with such sanctifying grace that we may die to the world, and live only to you.
14 Twelfth STATION Jesus Dies on the Cross They put a sponge full of the sour wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, It is finished. Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:29-30 It is completed. The mystery of God s love towards us is accomplished. The price is paid and we are redeemed. The eternal Father determined not to pardon us without a price in order to show us special favor. He condescended to make us valuable to him. What we buy we put a value on. He might have saved us without a price but to show his love for us he took a price, which, if there was to be a price set upon us at all, if there was any ransom at all to be taken for the guilt of our sins, could be nothing short of the death of his Son. O my God and Father, you have valued us so much as to pay the highest of all possible prices for our sinful souls. And shall we not love and choose you above all things as the one necessary and one only good?
15 Thirteenth STATION Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Matthew 27:57-60 He is your property now, O virgin Mother, once again, for he and the world have met and parted. He went out from you to do his Father s work and he has done and suffered it. Satan and bad persons have now no longer any claim upon him too long has he been in their arms. Satan took him up aloft to the high mountain; evil persons lifted him up upon the cross. He has not been in your arms, O Mother of God, since he was a child. But now you have a claim upon him, when the world has done its worst. For you are the all-favored, all-blessed, all-gracious Mother of the Highest. We rejoice in this great mystery. He has been hidden in your womb, lain in your bosom, been suckled at your breasts and carried in your arms. And now that he is dead, he is placed upon your lap. Virgin Mother of God, pray for us.
16 Fourteenth STATION Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Matthew 27:59-60 Jesus, when he was nearest to his everlasting triumph, seemed to be farthest from triumphing. When he was nearest to entering upon his kingdom, he was lying dead in a cave of the rock. He was wrapped round in burying-clothes and confined within a sepulcher of stone, where he was soon to have a glorified spiritual body which could penetrate all substances, go to and fro quicker than thought and was about to ascend on high. Make us trust in you, O Jesus, that you will display in us a similar providence. Make us sure that the greater is our distress, the nearer we are to you. The more people scorn us, the more you will honor us. The more people insult us, the higher you will exalt us. The more they forget us, the more you will keep us in mind. The more they abandon us, the closer you will bring us to yourself. Our Way to Salvation is adapted from the original work of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman entitled: Short Meditations on the Stations of the Cross. Copyright 2014 by All Saints Press, PO Box , St. Louis, MO (800) and AllSaintsPress.com
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