Calvary Through the Eyes of Mary

Page 1

Helen Pepper

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Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 First Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Second Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Third Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Fourth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Fifth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Sixth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Seventh Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Eighth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Ninth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Tenth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Eleventh Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Twelfth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Thirteenth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Fourteenth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Marian Prayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 All rights reserved. First published 2018 by The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, 40-46 Harleyford Road London SE11 5AY Tel: 020 7640 0042 Fax: 020 7640 0046. Copyright © 2018 The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society. The section of this booklet entitled “Marian Prayers” has been adapted from material previously published under the following title: Marian Prayer Book, first published 2012 by The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society.

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ISBN 978 1 78469 553 8

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Introduction This book will accompany Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as she follows in her son’s footsteps on the Via Dolorosa. The purpose is not simply to define the Stations of the Cross from her perspective, but to experience them with her. We join Mary as she traces Jesus’ journey on his way to Calvary to be crucified. We see through her eyes the suffering Jesus endured and take a moment to reflect upon Jesus’ great sacrifice. We join her in the realisation of the purpose of Jesus’ ministry: the crucifixion as a necessity to redeem humanity from the bondages of sin, and as a prelude to the glory of the Resurrection. Mary’s own journey begins much earlier, at the Annunciation. Here the Angel Gabriel intimates the unique importance of her role in our salvation, as the miracle of the incarnation takes place in her womb (Lk 1:26-38). Mary is a simple girl from a humble background who demonstrates true faith in God and his plan. She is the ultimate disciple, as although she does not fully understand what she is being asked to do, she is the Lord’s willing servant. Her fate is declared by Simeon during Jesus’ presentation: “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk 2:25). But the depth of suffering involved for Mary, and the literal truth of this metaphor, only becomes fully clear on her road to Calvary.

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On this journey, Mary must have contemplated the life she shared with her son. Her role is exalted, but unspeakably hard. Mary’s mission embodies both joy and suffering, from the birth of her child, to seeing him die in the most barbaric way. We focus on Mary’s emotions on witnessing Jesus’ immediate anguish but also narrate back to different stages in her life with Jesus, those joys and sufferings they shared together. It is a venerable tradition within the Catholic faith to seek Mary’s perspective on her son. It is through Mary’s eyes that we can best see the humanity and the divinity of Christ. Her agony in his death is balanced by her willingness to put her faith in the Lord and his plan. She is a model of dignity, discipleship and duty. Pope Francis said, “Where there is a mother, there is tenderness. By her motherhood, Mary shows us that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong.” Mary’s perspective is so powerful in viewing Christ because she sees him as a mother looking at her beloved child. She allows us to experience his death in human terms: Mary grieves with the raw pain that any parent would suffer at the loss of a child. Mary has endured as much as any person can, but she remains steadfast. From this we gain spiritual strength as we feel humility and tenderness at Christ’s sacrifice for us. We embody this love and anguish like a parent losing a child. We become pilgrims with a greater love for Christ and humanity. Mary’s own motherly love and 4

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faithful devotion act as a way we can mirror our own love for Christ and the Church. Mary’s relationship with Jesus is unique. It is because of this that we trust in Mary and she is able to intercede on our behalf. It is because of this that we trust in Mary; she is the Mother of the Church, and through her maternal and protective embrace we ask her for help as we strive to change our own lives and become better disciples. Furthermore, Mary’s clarity in understanding what the Lord had planned for her can be emulated by us in our own lives if we imitate her faith and courage. In times of difficulty we should trust in the Lord’s plan for us, knowing that hope will triumph from hopelessness. As we join Mary on the way to Calvary, may we bear witness to all the events that took place. May we open our hearts and strive to mirror Mary’s motherly love and devotion. May we take a moment to reflect on Christ’s great sacrifice for us, but also to embrace his great love for humanity, appreciating all he has done and continues to do for us.

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First Station

Jesus is condemned to death Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. All: Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world. My cherished son, as you stand on trial before Pilate, alone and afraid, fear not for my heart is with you. When you face the crowd that rejects you, fear not for my hand is holding on to yours. When you hear that you are sentenced to the most barbaric death, fear not for nothing can separate my love from you. For I was alone and afraid, a young virgin with no understanding of how or why I was chosen. I was judged for how you came into being. I cried when I was rejected. But I clung to the words uttered by the Angel Gabriel, “Fear not Mary, for you have found favour with the Lord. And you will conceive and bear a son.” I trusted in the Lord and his path for me. So, too, should you trust in the path he has prepared for you.

Reflection Leader: May we all “fear not” in times of alienation, rejection and judgement, and instead find strength and courage by trusting in the Lord. For nothing can separate his love from us. All: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father… Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified, All: Have mercy on us.

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Second Station

Jesus takes up the cross Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. All: Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world. I am watching you lift up the cross. The cross you will soon be nailed to. Your face looks calm and in control. You fully accept the Father’s will. I, too, remember completely accepting his will. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me, according to your word.” I didn’t understand how it could be, how could I? But I carried you willingly in my womb. I trusted in God’s plan for me, just as I continue to trust him now. You begin to walk. I follow you through the crowds, carrying my heavy heart.

Reflection Leader: May we all be the servant of the Lord and accept willingly the role God has laid out for us, trusting in the Lord with all our hearts. All: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father… Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified, All: Have mercy on us.

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Third Station

Jesus falls the first time Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. All: Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world. I cry out as I watch you fall. I can see the pain in your face, but you get up. The cross seems so heavy across your shoulders. You never falter from what you have to do. Even as your body fails, you have a strength that radiates. You have always had this ability to bring hope. Even when you were wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, strangers travelled great distances to be close to you. The Shepherds said, “A saviour has been born; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” The Magi came bearing gifts and worshipped at your feet. In such hopelessness, as this, you continue to fill me with hope.

Reflection Leader: May we all strive for hope in times of hopelessness and know we can do all things through him who strengthens us. All: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father… Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified, All: Have mercy on us.

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