Way of the Cross, written by a Carmelite Nun

The Way of the Cross written by one of the Carmelite nuns of Birkenhead, UK, their website is here at (http://www.carmelitesbirkenhead.org.uk/index.html)

They have a blog type News page where this Way of the Cross is taken from:  http://www.carmelitesbirkenhead.org.uk/wordpress/the-way-of-the-cross/

The Carmel of Birkenhead, UK, is a “sister” Carmel to mine, meaning they were founded by the same foundress, Mother Mary of Jesus and they have a lovely page dedicated to her. While I have not visited them, they seem to be very traditional and living the true life of St. Teresa of Avila. Unfortunately, many Carmels founded in the UK by Mother Mary of Jesus have “lost” their way, to say it nicely! – they became the lax/modern 1991s with modified habits, jean habits, inclusive language, breaking enclosure unnecessarily, reading bad books, etc.  Mother Mary of Jesus only founded the 1581 or 1990s Carmels and my Carmel, Sheffield is the only true 1990 Carmel left in the UK.  While not all 1991 Carmels are bad or lax, many are.  There are very good 1991 Carmels that in all ways seem to be 1990s.  I pray this Carmel is a good 1991 and by all appearances they seem to be.

way-of-the-crossWe invite you to meditate on the Stations of the Cross. These ‘Stations of the Cross’ are from our Chapel, and the Meditations we have used were written by one of the Sisters.

Many of you will be familiar with this traditional Catholic devotion practiced in Lent . The Stations of the Cross are a selection of fourteen short meditations depicting the Passion of Jesus, beginning with his sentencing to death by Pilate, and ending with Jesus’ burial in the tomb. If you were to go into any Catholic church you will find the Stations of the Cross on its walls.

Let us then walk with Mary, Mother of God, as she accompanies Jesus her Son, to the hill of Golgotha, and his crucifixion.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows

We Adore you O Christ, and we Praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have Redeemed the World. 

Prayer

O most kind Jesus, because you are infinitely good and merciful, I repent for ever having offended you. I dedicate this journey to you, to honour and remember that painful journey you undertook for me, a sinner.

Through this journey I wish to purify my heart, and beg you that this devotional exercise may serve to obtain for me your mercy in this life, and eternal glory in the life to come.

Amen

 

The first Station of the Cross : Jesus is sentenced to death at the hands of Pilate

The first station  : Jesus is sentenced to death at the hands of Pilate

 

O Mary…

…you are there at the front of the jeering crowd, looking anxiously, helpless to protect your son from the false accusations being hurled at him. You see him bound tightly with ropes, silently listening to Pilate’s questions. You can sense the tension, the hatred, swelling up in the voices of the people standing all around you. “crucify him, crucify him” – the words pierce your heart. It is the beginning of His Passion, and yours too!

Say one:  Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

The second Station of the Cross : Jesus takes up His Cross

 The second station  : Jesus takes up His Cross

 

O Mary…

…Jesus is led away from Pilate’s court, and the Cross is placed on his shoulders, and you feel its weight. You wonder how your Son will manage, he is already so weak from the scourging, and this cross appears too heavy for him to bear. You long to help him, to rush towards Jesus, but the soldiers are all around, and eager to get this procession of death underway. You know in your heart Jesus would not wish it. The hardest thing in the world, is to watch those we love suffer. You therefore, must follow behind, and in doing so, open up the way for us to do the same.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

The third Station : Jesus falls the first time

The third station : Jesus falls the first time

 

O Mary…

…you cry out silently, “He has fallen”. Jesus lies for a moment, motionless beneath the wood of the cross, while you hold your breath.  Then he stirs and gets to his feet. The soldiers are so rough with him, forcing him to his feet. O that precious face, cut and bruised. You want to reach out and touch him, but the crowd presses all around you. Jesus staggers on. In a silent scream, coming from your heart, you call out to him: “I am here, I’ll never leave you”.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

The fourth Station : Jesus meets His Mother

The fourth Station : Jesus meets His Mother

 

O Mary…

…Jesus stops in front of you – your eyes meet. Such depth of Love. You do not say a word to each other, only heart to heart. In that glance of his, you understand perfectly what he is doing, and the ultimate price that must be paid for my sins, and the sins of this world. Jesus though, is still your son, your cherished little boy, and in his look, he asks you to repeat your ‘fiat’ of long ago. “Yes, let it be according to God’s will.”

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

The fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross

The fifth station : Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross

 

O Mary…

…the soldiers see how Jesus can’t go on without any help. so they enlist the help of a stranger. They force Simon from Cyrene to help Jesus carry his cross. For one brief moment Mary, your burden is lifted a little, that weight pressing on your heart. This act of a stranger, gives Jesus a chance to draw breath, to recover his strength a little.  Mary, I humbly ask you to obtain for me, the grace always, to be able to lighten the burden of others. To help my brothers and sisters carry their crosses in this life.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

The sixth station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

The sixth station : Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

 

O Mary…

…in the midst of all this suffering, of all this hatred, and the noise of this hostile crowd, you see a woman quietly step out from the sidelines, and wipe your Son’s face with a cloth. Her movements are silent, dignified and tender. You, yourself Mary, have longed to do the same, but God has not permitted it. He wants you to remain helpless, to follow Jesus throughout this horrific journey. But this woman, stepping out from the crowd, wipes your Son’s face, and in so doing, brings comfort to you too. Mary, may I always do likewise, to those in need.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

The seventh station: Jesus falls the second time

The seventh station : Jesus falls the second time

 

O Mary…

…Jesus is much weaker now. Your instinct is to run towards him, but you cannot. The hatred coming from the crowd gathers momentum, as Jesus falls to the ground, and this pierces the depths of your heart. You desperately want these people to know why this is happening, that it is for them, that he is going through this torture. You want to plead with these people surrounding you, to tell them, that the very God who created them, lies helpless at their feet.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

 

the eight station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

the eight station : Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

 

O Mary…

…you see a gathering of women. You recognize them, they are moved with grief and pity as they watch Jesus come towards them. These women too have sons. They witness your utter distress – but you Mary, fall silent behind your son. All their attention and sorrow must be directed to Jesus, not to you. What man can do to man, such is the horror that stirs the hearts of these women. And yet you Mary, understand that this Son of yours, is redeeming them as they bewail him!

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

the ninth station: Jesus falls the third time

the ninth station : Jesus falls the third time

 

O Mary…

…Jesus has reached the end, he cannot go on – and neither can you. You know it is time. The soldiers are irritated with this man constantly falling to the ground, but you understand God’s mercy. You know that even now, Jesus is teaching us to carry on through all the weaknesses and failures in our lives, to keep on going, even when we fall heavily into sin.

 

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

 

the tenth station: Jesus is stripped of his clothes

the tenth station : Jesus is stripped of his clothes

 

O Mary…

…your sorrowful heart watches the soliders as they tear off the clothes from your Son’s body – His torn and broken body. He cannot stand, he is so weak, but nonetheless, he is cruelly handled by these soliders, who spare not even his dignity. You long for Jesus to notice you, so as to comfort him with your gaze. But your hearts are always fused together, he knows you are there, watching, and loving him. He knows you will stay with him right until the end.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

 

the eleventh station: Jesus is nailed to the cross

the eleventh station : Jesus is nailed to the cross

 

O Mary…

…each nail is a separate sword piercing your heart – how Simeon knew. You cannot shut out the noise of the hammer blows, each one making you shudder. The all merciful God wills it all. You Mary, who stand here, and watching men torture God, your Son, position yourself at the very heart of our Salvation. As a consequence, you feel each  hammered nail, as if it were being driven into your own flesh .

 

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

 

the twelve station: Jesus dies on the cross

the twelfth station : Jesus dies on the cross

O Mary…

…you realize now, as you look upon your dearest Son, Jesus, that you brought him into this world in exchange for the lives of us, poor sinners. He was never really yours entirely, and Jesus knows your loneliness as you stand beneath his cross. Your eyes search over his disfigured features, hoping to catch a glance from his eyes. Your heart breaking into a million pieces at the thought of losing him. As He speaks to you from the Cross, He gives you to John and me. You Mary, brought Jesus into the world for this, to save me, a poor sinner.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

 

The thirteenth station: Jesus is taken down from the cross

The thirteenth station : Jesus is taken down from the cross

 

O Mary…

…it is all finished, and Jesus is taken down from the Cross. Now you move forward and take him in your arms at last. He is your little boy again. You stroke his face, you kiss the hands that healed so often. You remind yourself, that it was you who gave God his human heart, which now beats no more. Meanwhile, your heart is breaking in two. The heavens have opened, you don’t notice John or Mary of Magdala. It is only you holding the broken body of Jesus, under a dark sky.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

 

The fourteenth station: Jesus is prepared for the tomb

The fourteenth station : Jesus is prepared for the tomb

O Mary…

…you help to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. You accompany John, and the remainder of Jesus’ followers, as they carry the broken body of your Son to the tomb. No one speaks, all are lost in grief. But they all look to you, they seek comfort in you, Mary. They need you to mother them now. You hold all of this in your heart, as thoughts return to your mind, of Joseph and you waiting those three days, before you found your little boy Jesus in the temple. Yes, Mary, you know the sorrow of waiting, but you also know that after three days, there will be joy again – there will be reunion.

Say one: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

 

Lord, help us to accept the gift of salvation given to us by your Son’s Death and Resurrection. Make us proclaimers of His Resurrection in Christian joy and commitment, and grant that we may feel your presence beside us throughout each day. Make us your witnesses in the world. 

Through Christ Our Lord

Amen

Simon helping Jesus carry the cross

Simon from Cyrene helping Jesus carry the cross

Would YOU help Me carry the Cross? 

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