SECOND STATION: JESUS TAKES UP HIS CROSS
First Jesus was mocked, slapped, spit upon, tortured, demeaned as a human person and then He was forced to carry the very instrument of His execution to the place where He was to be killed. [St. Matthew 27:27-31; St. Mark 15:16-20; St. John 19:1-16]
Sometimes Jesus when I read the attacks in the media against the Church, the Holy Father, or experience the weight of parishioners complaining, brother priests and others gossiping, when my own emotions are in a turmoil of neediness, or satan is hounding me with disparaging thoughts – well I am so overcome with fatigue and discouragement I feel like quitting and seeking a return to the lay state, for it all seems just too much.
Why did I endure all the mockery and abuse, the violence? Because I love you and so that any blow of any kind which causes you pain in body, mind, heart, soul know that the greatest amount of the pain comes to Me first so you never have to endure all of it nor endure it alone. I love you and am with you.
To love Me is to love and forgive everyone and never to mock, abuse, hurt anyone, nor to seek fulfillment of your own needs. Tough as it is, to be priest is to be for others, as I am, never seeking to be served, only to serve.
Yes at times you are exhausted, lonely, discouraged – seize those moments to comfort Me is the profound aloneness of My suffering.
In this you will comfort Me with your love.
THIRD STATION: JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME
I fall under not only the weight of the Cross but under the weight of all human sin and sorrow of all time [Isaiah 53:4-6].
Forgive me Jesus if my contemplation of You in Your Passion is filled with so much complaining! Yes I am weary, yes the pain in the Priesthood, the Church, in the lives of billions of my brothers and sisters wearies me for I feel so powerless.
This why I embrace the vulnerability of powerlessness Myself, so no matter what seems to overwhelm you, in your weakness My strength becomes yours. Do you know I fall for you personally? Yes! I do so because I love you and so that whenever anything weighs you down you will come to Me and rest in My Heart, allow Me to help you bear your burden. This is when My power is greatest in your weakness and when My grace is sufficient, when you no longer rely on yourself but come to Me.
FOURTH STATION: JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER
I could not have given my life for you, could not have lived, do live for you had not My Mother, Your Mother too, Mary, said yes to the Father and become the Spouse of the Holy Spirit that I might have life as a human person [St. Luke 1:26-38]. Immediately like all expectant mothers Mary shared her joy with family, and went to help someone else [St. Luke 1:29-56]. When I was born she did not keep me to herself and Joseph, My foster-father and guardian, but presented me to everyone, as she does to you [St. Luke 2:15-20; St. Matthew 2:9-11]. My Mother was always so aware of those in need I performed my first miracle for her and everyone should follow her guidance when she says of Me to you: “Do whatever He tells you.” [St. John 2:5]
Yes Jesus because Your Priest St. John at the foot of the Cross accepted on behalf of all human beings, of priests in particular, Mary as our Mother, I thank-You for this immense gift. Help me to be faithfully her priest-son and all priests to love her as You do.
It was painful for Me to see My Mother as I carried My Cross, but also a consolation for Her presence showed Me love and gave me strength.
In all your tribulations, when you are tired out, look to Her and she will give you the same love and strength.
FIFTH STATION: SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS CARRY THE CROSS
As they were leading Him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus. [Lk. 23:26;Mk.15:21;Mt.27:32]
You pierce my heart with light O Jesus, light which sings within me: forget self O Priest for you are priest to bear the burdens of every human being.
Simon was a good man, a worker, husband and father. It is true the soldiers forced him to help Me, but once he began to carry the Cross with Me he did so voluntarily.
Why did I allow Myself to be helped? So that Simon might be close to Me and be an example for you on how to meet Me through voluntarily helping others. Always be aware of those around you, the lonely person, the stranger, and the one other human being who needs the gift of your presence in their life.
SIXTH STATION: VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
By now My face was swollen, covered with spittle and dust, and I did not look very beautiful [Isaiah 53:2-3; Psalm 27:8-9].
The further I journey with You O Jesus, conversing with You it is as with the disciples on the road to Emmaus [Lk. 24:13-25].
Opening Scripture, and therein to Your own Heart, I see to be priest is to be Your hands, washing the weight of life, the grime of sin, the tears of pain from the face, the souls of everyone.
Yes let me love humbly, generously, never seeking to be noticed but only to be radiating Your Holy Face.
In My eyes every human being is a real person, beautiful, important: no matter their age, colour, size, religion, or any reason you may think makes sense NOT to see another human being as one like yourself – none of these mean anything.
Every human being is beautiful to Me: YOU are beautiful to Me.
Real ugliness in the world is loneliness, abandonment, rejection, hunger, hopelessness.
You can wipe the tears from the faces of all human beings, your brothers and sisters who suffer – and be wiping the grime from My Face too – when you reach out with love and help anyone in need.
SEVENTH STATION: JESUS FALLS FOR THE SECOND TIME
Save me, O God! The water is already up to my neck! I am sinking in the deepest swamp, there is no foothold; I have stepped into deep water and the waves are washing over me. [cf. Ps.69]…..he took fright and began to sink…Jesus…held him….[Mt.14:22-33]
When I sense I am sinking, falling, darkness engulfing, sooner or later I begin to bend towards myself, rather than place my face on the ground and look to You O Jesus – grant never again do I take my eyes from You.
In this moment as you look at Me fallen to the ground, pushed down under the weight of all and everyone I bear My Cross for, see, and do not be afraid, for in all this, I love you and am with you.
EIGHTH STATION: JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM
You know O Jesus in this culture of death many women are angry, many murder their unborn children. You know O Jesus in these days the darkness of women and children being battered and abused, even by priests, poisons many souls into incomprehensible depths of despair.
How as priest am I to forget self and bring love and hope to all women and children?
Weep! Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of tears and co-mingling them with Mine. It is good to shed tears when we see someone suffer and from our tears to be moved with love’s creativity to serve those who suffer.
NINTH STATION: JESUS FALLS FOR THE THIRD TIME
For it is when I am weak that I am strong. [2Cor.12.10]
What a paradox, or so it seems! You the all-powerful one collapsed on the ground, weak, powerless because You choose to be so that I might finally learn, understand, embrace the grace of having a heart transformed into Your own meekness and humility, becoming likewise as pliant and submissive as the bread on the paten, the wine in the chalice to the action of the Holy Spirit.
Now you begin to truly be one with Me in My redemptive suffering, to be fully priest!
TENTH STATION: JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
Blessed are the poor in spirit….[Mt.5:3:12]…..I was….naked…[Mt. 25:31-46; Jn.19:23,24]
Security of food, shelter, clothing, affirmation, these I cling to out of a deep fear I admit. Yet here You are O Jesus hungry, thirsty, naked, rejected – I do believe in Your love, You call to cling to no-thing, no-one but You, yet my faith is weak – heal my unbelief!
Life is all about love! You exist because the Father and I and the Holy Spirit, God, created you out of the reality of I AM Love so that you might be loved with infinite of infinite Triune love.
When death comes, the very reality I endured for love of you so even in death you will not be alone, Love will ask only one question: “Did you love Me?”
I will know You love me now and know your answer will be “Yes I have loved You!”, because you will care for Me now by clothing the naked – with clothing if need be, if their nakedness is because somehow they are different you will clothe them with acceptance; if any human being suffers in anyway as best you can you will love Me by being their voice – you will speak for the unborn, for the discriminated against, for the persecuted – in a word you will speak for Me and you will by My voice in the world and in all this I will know you love Me!
ELEVENTH STATION: JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
"This is Jesus…”[Mt.27:33-54]
This has been long journey of love for You, this journey of life and hope, of mercy, begun at the moment of Your Incarnation when You were conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, this journey when You smiled upon the Shepherds and the Magi, this journey of learning from St. Joseph how to be a man, a worker, this journey from across the years of life, healing, teaching, forgiving, has come to this moment when, just as bread is laid on the paten in Holy Mass, and wine is poured into the chalice, You are laid now, nailed now to the paten of the Cross, soon to be poured out into the chalice of my life, of everyone’s life who will accept You, open the door of our being to You. [Rv.3:20]
You too have already been on this long journey of life with all its joys and sorrows, all its expectations and disappointments, all its wonders, discoveries, challenges.
Life is beautiful.
Life is gift.
Life is not a problem to be solved but experiences to learn and grow from.
Life is to give the gift of love.
Life is precious.
You are precious.
You are loved.
TWELFTH STATION: JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
Each Gospel passages reveals to you how I died and what I say to you from the Cross as death came ever closer until the moment when I was ready to embrace death, to surrender fully to My Father, to hand over My spirit, for no one took My life, I gave the gift! You know how to slip into the depths of a cool river on a hot day – so in the heat of each day enter the depths of My Gospel, My life [St. Matthew 27:33-56; St. Mark 15:22-41; St. Luke 23:33-49; St. John 19:17-37].
My Lord, My God, My Beloved, My all!
There is much to say to you about this unfolding of My death! Importantly see how from the Cross I forgave and gave hope of eternal life to the Good Thief executed beside Me, how I asked Our Heavenly Father, My Father and your Father, to forgive and how, with St. John standing there at the foot of the Cross representing every human being I gave Mary My Mother to you as your Mother too.
This is what love does: love puts others first; love is what I give much more than what I look to get, even when I really want to be loved.
This is why I allowed My Heart to be opened with a lance, not only so blood and water, Baptism, Holy Eucharist, all sacraments and grace might flow to you, but so that My Heart is an open door for you to enter whenever you wish.
THIRTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS TAKEN FROM THE CROSS AND GIVEN TO HIS MOTHER
Mary as My Mother was the first human being to hold me, and rightly to Her I was given when taken down from the Cross. The smiling baby at the beginning of this journey of love and mercy for you, now the deceased adult, once more in her arms [St. Matthew 27:57-66; St. Mark 15:42-47; St. Luke 23: 50-56; St. John 19:38-42].
O Holy Mother of Priests, Totus Tuus!
In this moment remember life on earth is a journey from the doorway of birth in time and history to the great door into eternal life, eternal love.
I am with you so no need to rush.
Death will come naturally at a time My Father allows for each person. Sometimes the death of a young person, or the way someone dies, even the death of a very old person, seems unreal, certainly if it is someone you love who dies it can be very hard to face.
Have no fear.
I am with you and I am with everyone at the moment of their death. No one really dies alone. [St. John 14:104]
FOURTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB
You will see the grave is not a permanent place! [St. Matthew 27:59-61]
When someone you love dies and is buried or cremated it can be very hard to believe death is a beginning and not an ending.
The pain in your heart, the sense of emptiness and powerlessness often is extremely acute.
Be not afraid.
Love is stronger than death.