>Via Crucis, week 2

>Every Friday in Lent I’m putting up the Stations of the Cross.
It’s an uber Catholic thing….but then again not.
Anyone can meditate on the Stations of the Cross, and lent is the perfect time to do so. 
It is a rigorous walk, in prayer…and has it’s own hard beauty.
Take a look, read, pray if you are inclined:

These are from the UCSSB site, and typically these are prayed with others.  But I tend to pray them alone…because I send Tom and the bigs to the church to pray them and I stay with the  littles and pray them on my own.  Either way, it works for me. 
Some tips: Yes, we pray all fourteen stations, every time.  Yes, it’s long but if you meditate on the station/image it’s very powerful. Yes, I do get distracted, always, it’s a given.  I just redirect, again and again. 

“The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations1 and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion.”

So, let’s begin:

Michele Mahan, Stations

Before each station:

Minister (or family leader, or you):
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

After each station:

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Opening Prayer:

God of power and mercy,
in love your sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.


Stabat Mater, sung:
*At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last

First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 25:36-41

grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things

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

Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
Mark 14: 43-46

grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

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

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.”
Luke 22: 66-71

grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

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

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly.
Matthew 26: 69-75

grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

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

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
Mark 15: 1-5, 15

grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

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

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.
John 19: 1-3

grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

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

El Greco

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
John 19: 6, 15-17

grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

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

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
Mark 15: 21

grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

*O sweet Mother! Fount of Love,
Touch my spirit from above
Make my heart with yours accord.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead 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.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
Luke 23: 27-31

grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

*Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”]
Luke 23: 33-34

grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

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

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Luke 23: 39-43

grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

*Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19: 25-27

grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

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

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
Luke 23: 44-46

grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth is ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

*By the cross with you to stay
There with you to weep and pray
Is all I ask of you to give.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
Matthew 27: 57-60

grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

*Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.


Scripture excerpts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament Copyright © 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce these excerpts in free distribution of these stations.



 Painting by John Collier.

 Announcing: Putting out a message: Annunciation: Hey there, listen up….

See, it’s all the same thing, essentially.
Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation.
Now you all know that this feast just resonates with me.  For me.
I wrote about some of the obvious reasons, here, last year.  
{I’m working a little bit from last year here as well….adding my current thoughts to the ones that still hold.}
Really, I could and probably should, meditate on this feast, these images for a long time, oh…for the rest of my days.  Maybe I’d be a better person.  Surely, I’d be a better mom. Surely my faith would grow.

Because this feast is all about the letting go. 
It’s about the letting go, in blind faith…the kind of faith I can only dream of, reach toward, and pray for a glimmer.
That kind of faith, that kind of willingness to “let go” and accept challenging-don’t-know-the-road-ahead-but-I’ll-keep-on-and-do-my-best-without-whining-endlessly-and-relentlessly-nagging-questioning sort of faith just astounds me.  

Humbles me.  
Blows my mind.  Still.  Ever. 

But she did. 
Mary was a girl, a mere girl.  Not old, with decades of life to measure the probability of it turning out ok in the end, or to compare to another girl she heard of in the same spot.  She had no measuring stick but faith.  And she was able to hold her breath, think about it for a moment (Because she was not programmed like a robot, she could have said ‘no,’….Indeed, we are taught that all of creation held it’s breath.)…and say, “fiat.”
I’ll do it.  “Thy will be done, not mine.”

 Painting by Henry Tanner.

Ok, right there, there it is again.  That hard stone to trip over; the one that lands me flat on my face, every time.  “Your will be done, not mine.” “Your will.”  “I’ll go with it.”
Simple, right?
Seems so.
Should be.
But no.  Oh my, no. Not at all.

And she was surely scared, and unsure, and didn’t understand, and thought it’s impossible, c’mon.  But, somehow, her heart of hearts, her very soul twinged and twanged and she knew.  She KNEW, that this was the real deal – the realest deal.  And so she bowed her head.  She said “ok.” “Yes.” Maybe one of the most beautiful words in language, top ranks for sure:

And so, ever still, I look to her as an example of  how to do it right.
I look to her for inspiration that it can really be ok even when it seems impossible and  you just don’t know how to move ahead and you’re stepping into the dark without a light to read this new map you’ve been given.

 One of our referral pics, he was so small!

I look to this feast as a reminder and connection to my own Gabriel, my Gabriel Tariku… and how scary that was and how amazing that unknown can be.

I look to this feast, that fiat, and remember that we all get the chance, again and again, to say “Fiat.”

I see another young girl who has done that, again and again.
And who does so, every day as she navigates a new huge world, full of wonders and hard confusing things both, struggles to learn and adapt and grieve and heal and grow and reclaim joy all at the same time.
And I know she says “fiat.”
I think she whispers it, but oh, I know she does say it, again and again.
And she is a little mini annunciation for me, every day.
Will I carry her? Will I love her? Will I teach her? Will I let her teach me?
I know she says “Fiat.”
And so, so do I.  

I watch my son as he works through big decisions and changes.
He desires to say “fiat,” indeed,  he is saying so but it is so big that it takes prayer and a heart ready to be cracked open to the unknown.

He will navigate a whole new world and yet one that is already so much home to him, perhaps.
And so on this special feast day, I whisper ever more prayers for him as well.
This process, his process and his changes, bring about my own, new and daily fiat too.  Stupidly so, as this one is not mine to whisper and yet, it is.   Because if I do so too, then it helps him in whatever way he is to go.  To know that I am giving him to his yes too, no holding back.

This”fiat stuff”…it’s a big blind breathtaking step.  Every time.
And THAT is why we celebrate it with a big feast.
Because it’s a celebration of faith and love.
And deep breaths: fear into faith into joy. 
Every time.

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed
is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen