Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Via Dolorosa

When you walk into a Catholic church, one of the things you may notice along the walls is a series of pictures or engravings of Jesus in various states with roman numerals above them. These are called the Stations of the Cross, or the Way of the Cross. If you've seen Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, you'd likely recognize the sequence and various scenes depicted. These scense are based on both Scripture and Tradition. Especially during Lent, and particularly on Fridays of Lent, it is a common practice in most parishes to pray the stations one by one and reflect on each one as they go.

This practice originated in the Holy Land, where the Via Dolorasa (the Way of Sorrows) has long been travelled by people following what are believed to be Christ's footsteps on His way to the crucifixion, recalling His Passion along the way.

The stations are as follows, accompanied by an image of each scene, and scripture and prayer to accompany it. There is often a reflection on each event as well, and a hymn called the Stabat Mater sung between each one, but in the interest of brevity I'm leaving them off. If you'd like, here are the commonly used reflections from St. Alphonsus Liguori.

I - JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

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


Matthew 27:22-26

Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.


II - JESUS RECEIVES HIS CROSS

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


Mark 15:16-20

Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.


III - JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME

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


John 12: 23-25

Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.









IV - JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER

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


Luke 2:22, 25, 34, 35

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. Then 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.’


V - SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS TO CARRY HIS CROSS

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


Luke 23:26

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.












VI - VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

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


Matthew 25: 25-36, 40

"for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."






VII - JESUS FALLS A SECOND TIME

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


Isaiah 53:7

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.










VIII - JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM

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


Luke 23:27-28

A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.'







IX - JESUS FALLS A THIRD TIME

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


John 15:18-20

‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, "Servants are not greater than their master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.





X - JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS

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


Mark 15:22-24

Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.










XI - JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

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


Luke 23:35, 49

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, "The King of the Jews", but, "This man said, I am King of the Jews." ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’





XII - JESUS DIES

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


Matthew 27: 45- 46

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Luke 23: 44-46

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.



XIII - JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS

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


Mark 15:42-45

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth.



XIV - JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB

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


Mark 15:46-47

Joseph then laid the body in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

4 comments:

~Joseph the Worker said...

I love these reflections. We are going to go to our new parish to stations next week, but this week going to hear a friend play the organ at Stations with these reflections.

Stephanie said...

Cool! They are beautiful. :-)

Erik said...

Thanks for this, Steph! My only regret is that there is no Resurrection station; though, I guess Easter is the "Resurrection" station in a sense.

Stephanie said...

You are correct! :-) Fridays are about Christ's passion, not the resurrection (yet.)

Though some churches have added a station for the resurrection. I prefer the traditional way, though!