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THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
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Could you walk a mile in Jesus’ shoes? The Stations of the Cross bring us closer to Christ as we meditate on the great love He showed for us in His most sorrowful Passion!

The faithful have often prayed the Stations of the Cross (also known as the Way of the Cross) in a group setting in various parish churches, typically on Fridays. during Lent.

Yet for those of you whose churches sadly are still not open or are only partially open during the Covid pandemic, don’t lose heart! You can still pray this great prayer yourself at any time at home, or even quietly by yourself in a church that is open, saying both the priest's words and the congregation's response.

The Stations of the Cross themselves are usually represented in churches by a series of 14 pictures or sculptures covering our Lord's Passion. They are meant to be “stopping points” along the journey for prayer and meditation.

Tradition traces this loving tribute to our Lord back to the Blessed Mother’s retracing her son’s last steps along what became known as the Via Dolorosa (the Sorrowful Way) on His way to His Crucifixion at Calvary in Jerusalem.

Pilgrims to the Holy Land commemorated Christ’s Passion in a similar manner as early as the 4th century A.D. The Stations of the Cross developed as a devotion in earnest, however, around the 13th to 14th centuries.

It became a way of allowing those who could not make the long, expensive, arduous journey to Jerusalem to make a pilgrimage in prayer, at least, in their church! Although the original number of stations varied greatly, they became fixed at 14 in the 18th century.

We are offering this rendition of the Stations that follows using the method attributed to that great 18th century saint Alphonsus Liguori.

Please note that in between each Station, in addition to saying the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, congregations often sing verses from Stabat Mater, a moving hymn about the Blessed Mother’s sorrow at her son’s Passion.

Following St. Alphonsus' method, there are excerpts from the text of the Stabat Mater at the end of each of the Stations given below 

The Stations of the Cross provide us with great material for prayer and meditation. Tracing Jesus’ journey from condemnation to crucifixion increases both our sorrow for our sins and our desire for His help in avoiding temptations and in bearing our own crosses. Meditating on Christ’s passion can help us become more like Him in imitating His virtues of obedience, humility, charity, patience and perseverance. 

One final note: the reference in the Fifth Station to the cruelty of the Jews is not meant to be an endorsement nor an invitation in any way towards anti-Semitism, which has been a blight on humanity. As we read in the First Station “It was my sins that condemned Thee to die” .

Sinful humanity as a whole had a hand in our lord’s Passion, and it was to redeem us that he underwent the barbaric ignominious treatment that is chronicled in the Stations. And remember Jesus did this not just for Jews nor Romans, nor the inhabitants of 1st century Palestine but for all of us, and that includes me and you!!

We hope you can find this transcription of the Stations of the Cross that follows helpful in your spiritual journey, for Lent and beyond!  

Preparatory Prayer: My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee; but now I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee, I repent sincerely for ever having offended Thee. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to Thee

The First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Death. 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest says: Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross. 

We Respond: My adorable Jesus, it was not Pilate, no, it was my sins that condemned Thee to die. I beseech Thee, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, to assist my soul in its journey towards eternity. I love Thee, my beloved Jesus; I love Thee more than myself; I repent with my whole heart of having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last

The Second Station - Jesus is Made to Carry His Cross 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest says: Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on His shoulders, thought of us, and offered for us to His Father the death that He was about to undergo. 

We Respond: My most beloved Jesus, I embrace all the tribulations Thou hast destined for me until death. I beseech Thee, by the merits of the pain Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation. 
I love Thee, Jesus my love; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed

The Third Station - Jesus Falls the First Time 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

The Priest says: Consider this first fall of Jesus under His Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, His head crowned with thorns, and He had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that he could scarcely walk, and yet he had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times in His journey. 

We Respond: My beloved Jesus, it is not the weight of the Cross, but of my sins, which have made Thee suffer so much pain. Ah, by the merits of this first fall, deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. I love Thee, O my Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. 

O, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole Begotten One!

The Fourth Station - Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest says: Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey. Jesus and Mary looked at each other, and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly. 

We Respond: My most loving Jesus, by the sorrow Thou didst experience in this meeting, grant me the grace of a truly devoted love for Thy most holy Mother. And thou, my Queen, who wast overwhelmed with sorrow, obtain for me by thy intercession a continual and tender remembrance of the Passion of thy Son. I love Thee, Jesus my love; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

The Fifth Station - Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

The Priest Says: Consider that the Jews, seeing that at each step Jesus from weakness was on the point of expiring, and fearing that He would die on the way, when they wished Him to die the ignominious death of the Cross, constrained Simon the Cyrenian to carry the Cross behind our Lord. 

We Respond: My most sweet Jesus, I will not refuse the Cross, as the Cyrenian did; I accept it; I embrace it. I accept in particular the death Thou hast destined for me; with all the pains that may accompany it; I unite it to Thy death, I offer it to Thee. Thou hast died for love of me! I will die for love of Thee, and to please Thee. Help me by Thy grace.  I love Thee, Jesus my love; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Is there one who would not weep,
‘whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold

The Sixth Station - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider how the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so afflicted, and His face bathed in sweat and blood, presented Him with a towel, with which He wiped His adorable face, leaving on it the impression of His holy countenance. 

We Respond: My most beloved Jesus, Thy face was beautiful before, but in this journey it has lost all its beauty, and wounds and blood have disfigured it. Alas, my soul also was once beautiful, when it received Thy grace in Baptism; but I have disfigured it since by my sins; Thou alone, my Redeemer, canst restore it to its former beauty. Do this by Thy Passion,

O Jesus. I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Can the human heart refrain 
From partaking in her pain, 
In that Mother's pain untold?

The Seventh Station - Jesus Falls the Second Time 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider the second fall of Jesus under the Cross -- a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord. 

We Respond: My most gentle Jesus, how many times Thou hast pardoned me, and how many times have I fallen again, and begun again to offend Thee! Oh, by the merits of this new fall, give me the necessary help to persevere in Thy grace until death. Grant that in all temptations which assail me I may always commend myself to Thee. 
I love Thee, Jesus my love with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, 
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent. 

The Eighth Station - The Women of Jerusalem Weep over Jesus 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider how those women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in such a pitiable state, streaming with blood, as He walked along. But Jesus said to them: Weep not for Me, but for your children. 

We Respond: My Jesus, laden with sorrows, I weep for the offences I have committed against Thee, because of the pains they have deserved, and still more because of the displeasure they have caused Thee, Who hast loved me so much. It is Thy love, more than the fear of Hell, which causes me to weep for my sins. My Jesus, I love Thee more than myself; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent. 

The Ninth Station - Jesus Falls the Third Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

The Priest Says: Consider the third fall of Jesus Christ. His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive, who tried to hasten His steps when He had scarcely strength to move.

We Respond: Ah, my outraged Jesus, by the merits of the weakness Thou didst suffer in going to Calvary, give me strength sufficient to conquer all human respect, and all my wicked passions, which have led me to despise Thy friendship. I love Thee, Jesus my love, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

O thou Mother: fount of love! 
Touch my spirit from above, 
Make my heart with thine accord.

The Tenth Station - Jesus is Stripped of His Garments 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider the violence with which the executioners stripped Jesus. His inner garments adhered to His torn flesh, and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Compassionate your Savior thus cruelly treated, and say to Him: 

We Respond: My innocent Jesus, by the merits of the torment Thou hast felt, help me to strip myself of all affection to things of earth, in order that I may place all my love in Thee, who art so worthy of my love. I love Thee, O Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Make me feel as thou hast felt; 
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ my Lord.

The Eleventh Station - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider how Jesus, after being thrown on the Cross extended His hands, and offered to His Eternal Father the sacrifice of His life for our salvation. These barbarians fastened Him with nails, and then, raising the Cross, allowed Him to die with anguish on this infamous gibbet. 

We Respond: My Jesus! loaded with contempt, nail my heart to Thy feet, that it may ever remain there, to love Thee, and never quit Thee again. I love Thee more than myself; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Holy Mother, pierce me through; 
In my heart each wound renew 
Of my Savior crucified. 

The Twelfth Station - Jesus is Raised upon the Cross, and Dies 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider how Jesus, after three hours of agony on the Cross, consumed at length with anguish, abandons Himself to the weight of His body, bows His head, and dies. [Pause one moment.] 

We Respond: O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the Cross on which Thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death; but Thy death is my hope. Ah, by the merits of Thy death, give me grace to die, embracing Thy feet, and burning with love for Thee. I commit my soul into Thy hands. I love Thee with my whole heart; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Let me share with thee His pain, 
Who for all my sins was slain, 
Who for me in torments died. 

The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross 

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. 
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider how, after the death of our Lord, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross, and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed Him to her bosom. 

We Respond: O Mother of Sorrow, for the love of this Son, accept me for thy servant, and pray to Him for me. And Thou, my Redeemer, since Thou hast died for me, permit me to love Thee; for I wish but Thee, my Jesus and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Let me mingle tears with thee, 
Mourning Him who mourned for me, 
All the days that I may live.

The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is Laid in the Sepulchre
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. 

The Priest Says: Consider how the disciples carried the body of Jesus to bury it, accompanied by His holy Mother, who arranged it in the sepulchre with her own hands. They then closed the tomb, and all withdrew. 

We Respond: Ah, my buried Jesus, I kiss the stone that encloses Thee. But Thou didst rise again the third day. I beseech Thee, by Thy resurrection, make me rise glorious with Thee at the Last Day, to be always united with Thee in heaven, to praise Thee and love Thee forever. I love Thee, and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

By the Cross with thee to stay;
There with thee to weep and pray, 
Is all I ask of thee to give.

After this recitation of the Stations of the Cross, it is customary in completing this devotion to say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be five times in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ. This can be followed by an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intentions of our Holy Father and this Prayer to Jesus Crucified:

BEHOLD, O good and sweetest Jesus, 
I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul 
I pray and beseech Thee 
to impress upon my heart 
lively sentiments of faith, 
hope and charity, 
with true repentance for my sins 
and a most firm desire of amendment: 
whilst with deep affection and grief of soul 
I consider within myself 
and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious Wounds,
having before mine eyes that which David, the prophet, 
long ago spoke in Thine own person concerning Thee, 
my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet, 
they have numbered all My bones.”

What better, and more profound example of humility and love could there be than that of Jesus, the Son of God, “one in being with the Father,” as we say in the Nicene Creed, allowing Himself to be condemned and crucified like a common criminal for sins he didn’t even commit, for our sins?

As St. Paul put it so well in his letter to the Romans (5:7-8) you might sacrifice your life for someone who was good or just. Yet, Christ sacrificed His life while we were sinners for our salvation.

How do we deal with our sinful inclinations? In referring to our Lord’s second fall, in the Seventh Station of the Stations of the Cross we ask Him (in Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s words) “that in all temptations which assail me I may always commend myself to You.”

In the sacrament of Penance you can confess your sins and ask for God’s forgiveness. You can also pray for His grace to help you avoid sin and to get back up faster when you fall.

Meditating on Christ’s Passion in the Stations of the Cross can strengthen your soul. Have you gone through days or times in your life when it seems like nothing is going right, especially these days? Do you ever feel like a complete and utter failure? Well, you’re not in Jesus’ eyes!

And whatever you’re going through, He says through His Passion, “I’ve been there too!” Our God isn’t some lofty Being removed from it all who hasn’t deeply experienced the pain and suffering of fallen humanity! Jesus was “tried in all things as we are except sin” (Heb 4:15).

Yet, He handled His suffering with great dignity and grace. This is not meant to diminish our own trials and tribulations but rather to give us a sense of perspective, as we look upon Christ as a model of patience and perseverance in His Passion! As St. Gregory once noted, “If we recall the Passion of Christ, nothing seems so hard that it cannot be borne with equanimity.”

In the Old Testament, God tells the prophet Jeremiah that He knew him before he was formed in his mother’s womb. From His Passion Jesus says to us in effect, not only did I know each of you but I died for you! He asks us in return to “keep my commandments” (John 14:15) and to make our best efforts to discern and to follow His will for us in accepting His gift of salvation.

Through His Passion, Christ saved us in satisfying Divine Justice for humanity’s offenses going back to Adam and Eve’s fall from grace and Original Sin. Yet, while He opened the gates of Heaven for us, He didn’t promise us paradise here on earth.

One of the main tenets of our faith is that we must walk the road to Calvary (where Jesus was crucified), to get to Heaven, figuratively speaking. As Our Lord once said “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38).

The great news is that Jesus is there for each of us to help us carry our crosses in life, and to inspire us to do the same for others in our charitable actions in His name. We ask Him in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s prayer during the Second of the Stations of the Cross that “by the merits of the pain You did suffer in carrying your Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine.”

Christ is more than ready to help us as we offer up our troubles for the forgiveness of sins. In this regard, how many times have you heard or read of someone whose faith in our Lord helped get them through tragedies such as a serious illness or the death of a loved one?

Remember as well that Easter Sunday always follows Good Friday! Just as our Lord’s Passion was followed by His resurrection, so too, as St. Paul said, through His grace we can be His heirs, “if we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom 8:17).

This ties in quite nicely with Liguori’s prayer at the fourteenth Station when we ask Jesus to “make me rise glorious with You at the last day, to be always united with You in heaven!”


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