St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ninth & Tenth Stations w/Meditations

Ninth Station:

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.

R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

Our Lord falls for the third time, on the slope leading up to Calvary, with only forty or fifty paces between him and the summit. Jesus can no longer stay on his feet: his strength has failed him, and he lies on the ground in utter exhaustion.

He offered himself up because it was his will; abused and ill-treated, he opened not his mouth, as a sheep led to the slaughter, dumb as a lamb before its shearers (Isai 53:7).

Everyone against Him... the people of the city and those from abroad, and the Pharisees and the soldiers and the chief priests... All of them executioners. His Mother —my Mother — weeps.

Jesus fulfils the will of his Father! Poor: naked. Generous: what is there left for him to surrender? Dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me (Gal 2:20), he loved me and delivered himself up unto death for me.

My God! may I hate sin, and unite myself to You, taking the Holy Cross into my arms, so that I, in my turn, may fulfil your most lovable Will.... stripped of every earthly attachment, with no other goal but your glory.... generously, not keeping anything back, offering myself with you in a perfect holocaust.

Points for meditation

1. By this stage Our Lord is unable to lift himself up: so burdensome is the weight of our wretchedness. Like a lifeless sack he is carried to the scaffold. Silent, he lets them have their way.

The humility of Jesus. God abasing himself so that we may be raised and exalted. Now do you understand why I advised you to lay your heart on the ground so that others may tread softly?

2. How hard it is to get as far as Calvary!

You too must conquer yourself so as not to abandon the way... This struggle is something marvellous, a real proof of the love of God, who wants us to be strong, because virtus in infirmitate perficitur (2 Cor 12:9), virtue is made strong in weakness.

Our Lord knows that, when we feel feeble, we come closer to Him, we pray better, we mortify ourselves more, we intensify our love for our neighbour. That way we grow in sanctity.

Thank God very much because he allows temptations... and because you keep fighting.

3. Do you want to accompany Jesus closely, very closely?... Open the Holy Gospel and read the Passion of Our Lord. But don 't just read it: live it. There is a big difference. To read is to recall something that happened in the past; to live is to find oneself present at an event that is happening here and now, to be someone taking part in those scenes.

Then, allow your heart to open wide; let it place itself next to Our Lord. And when you notice it trying to slip away —when you see that you are a coward, like the others — ask forgiveness for your cowardice and mine.

4. It looks as if the whole world is coming down on top of you. Whichever way you turn you find no way out. This time, it is impossible to overcome the difficulties.

But, have you again forgotten that God is your Father? —all-powerful, infinitely wise, full of mercy. He would never send you anything that is evil. That thing that is worrying you, it 's good for you, even though those earthbound eyes of yours may not be able to see it now.

Omnia in bonum! Lord, once again and always, may your most wise Will be done!

5. Now you realize how much you have made Jesus suffer, and you are filled with sorrow. How easy it is to ask his pardon and weep for your past betrayals! Such is your longing for atonement that you cannot contain it in your breast!

Fine. But don 't forget that the spirit of penance consists mainly in the fulfilment of the duty of each moment, however costly it may be.

Tenth Station:

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.

R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

When Our Lord arrives at Calvary, he is given some wine to drink mixed with gall, as a narcotic to lessen in some way the pain of the crucifixion. But Jesus, after tasting it to show his gratitude for that kind service, has not wanted to drink (cf. Matt 27:34). He gives himself up to death with the full freedom of Love.

Then, the soldiers strip Christ of his garments.

From the soles of his feet to the top of his head, there is nothing healthy in him: wounds and bruises and swelling sores. They are not bound up, nor dressed, nor anointed with oil (Isai 1:6).

The executioners take his garments and divide them into four parts. But the cloak is without seam, so they say:

It would be better not to tear it, but let us cast lots for it to see whose it shall be (John 19:24).

Thus, Scripture is again fulfilled: They divided my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots (Ps 21:19).

Despoiled, stripped, left in the most absolute poverty. Our Lord is left with nothing, save the wood of the Cross.

For us to reach God, Christ is the way; but Christ is on the Cross, and to climb up to the Cross we must have our heart free, not tied to earthly things.

Points for meditation

1. From the praetorium to Calvary, the insults of the maddened crowd, the harshness of the soldiers, the mockery of the Sanhedrin, have rained down upon Jesus. . . Scorn and blasphemy . . . Not a single complaint, no word of protest. Not even when, without any consideration, they tear the garments from his skin.

Here I see how foolish I have been to make excuses, and to utter so many empty words. A firm resolution: to work and to suffer for my Lord, in silence.

2. The body of Jesus covered in wounds is truly a portrait of sorrows...

In contrast, I now remember so much comfort-seeking, so many whims, so much apathy, and meanness... And that false compassion with which I treat my body.

Lord, by your Passion and Cross, give me the strength to practise mortification of my senses and to uproot everything that can separate me from you.

3. You who tend to lose heart, I will tell you something that is very consoling: when a person does what he can, God will not deny his grace. Our Lord is a Father, and if, in the silence of his heart, one of his sons says to him: 'My Father in Heaven, here am I, help me... ' If he goes to the Mother of God, who is our Mother, he will get through.

But God is demanding. He asks us to love him truly; he does not want traitors. We must be faithful in this supernatural struggle, which makes us happy on earth by dint of sacrifice.

4. The real obstacles that separate you from Christ —pride, sensuality... — are overcome through prayer and penance. And to pray and to mortify oneself is also to take care of others and to forget oneself. If you live like this you will see how most of the setbacks you meet will disappear.

5. When we strive to be really ipse Christus, Christ himself, then in our own lives the human side intermingles with the divine. All our efforts, even the most insignificant, take on an eternal dimension, because they are united to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

From The Way of the Cross, St. Josemaria Escriva

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