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The Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis

by Rev Nick Donnelly

All booklets are published thanks to the generous support of the members of the Catholic Truth Society

CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY

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Contents The Secret to Living a Truly Christian Life. . . . . . . . . . 3 Opening Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 First Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Second Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Third Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Fourth Station. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Fifth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Sixth Station. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Seventh Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Eighth Station. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Ninth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Tenth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Eleventh Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Twelfth Station. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Thirteenth Station. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Fourteenth Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Closing Meditation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 All rights reserved. First published 2014 by The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, 40-46 Harleyford Road London SE11 5AY Tel: 020 7640 0042 Fax: 020 7640 0046. Š 2014 The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society. Extracts from the Morning Homilies of Pope Francis Š 2013 Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

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The Secret to Living a Truly Christian Life Pope Francis knows the secret to living a truly Christian life, and he urgently wants each one of us to know this secret - the secret to being a real Christian alive with the joy and enthusiasm of the Gospel is Jesus Christ crucified. Since his first homily Pope Francis has pointed to the Crucified Christ as the Father’s undeserved gift of mercy to each one of us. He encourages us to call on the Holy Spirit to give us the grace “to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ crucified”.1 Pope Francis seeks to remind us of the fundamental reality of Christian life, that “through his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pt 2:24). The wounds and blood of Christ are the sources of healing and mercy that will rejuvenate the life of the Church and the lives of each one of us. Pope Francis is reminding us of one of the most important truths of the Christian spiritual life, nothing better conveys the love of God for us than the Passion and death of Jesus. As Thomas à Kempis expresses it in The Imitation of Christ, “Rest in Christ’s Passion and live willingly in his holy wounds. You will gain marvellous strength and comfort in adversities”.

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During his pilgrimage to Assisi Pope Francis spoke explicitly of the importance of the wounds of Christ when he met sick and disabled children: “We are among the wounds of Christ, wounds that need to be acknowledged. It reminds me of when the Lord Jesus was walking with the two sad disciples. The Lord Jesus, in the end, showed them his wounds, and they recognised him. And here Jesus is hidden among these children, in these people. They need to be listened to. But when he was resurrected, Jesus was beautiful. His body bore no bruises, no wounds... Nothing! He was more beautiful! But he wished to conserve his wounds and to carry them to Heaven. The wounds of Christ are here and are in Heaven, before the Father.”2 The Way of the Cross immerses us in the silence of love One of Francis’ first acts as Pope was to give a meditation on Italian television on the Shroud of Turin in which he encourages us to meditate on the image of the Crucified Christ: “How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love”.3 Praying the traditional Catholic devotion, the Stations of the Cross, is another way of immersing ourselves in

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Crucified Christ’s eloquent silence of love. The Stations of the Cross are also known as the Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross) and the Via Dolorosa (The Way of Sorrow). As a sacramental the Stations of the Cross give us “access to the stream of divine grace which flows from the paschal mystery of the passion, death, the resurrection of Christ” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 61). Praying the Stations of the Cross in faith also prepares us to better receive the healing grace of Our Crucified Lord through His Sacred Body and Precious Blood. To enjoy these rich benefits from the Stations of the Cross it is not necessary to only pray them in church. Blessed John Paul II prayed the Stations of the Cross every Friday, and used to carry a pocket-sized book of the Stations of the Cross so he could pray them wherever he was, even travelling on a helicopter. The important thing is to make praying the Stations of the Cross a weekly part of your spiritual life either as an individual Catholic or as a Catholic family. Pope Francis invites us to follow the Way of the Cross in our daily lives, “Let us walk together along the Way of the Cross and let us do so carrying in our hearts this word of love and forgiveness. Let us go forward waiting for the Resurrection of Jesus, who loves us so much. He is all love!”4 Deacon Nick Donnelly, Our Lady of Furness, Barrow, Diocese of Lancaster. Feast of St Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

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Opening Prayer In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. V. Blessed be the Holy and Undivided Trinity. R. Both now and forever. Amen. Dear brothers and sisters, the word of the Cross is also the answer which Christians offer in the face of evil, the evil that continues to work in us and around us. Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did.5 My wish is that all of us will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward. My prayer for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, will grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ crucified. Amen.6

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Act of Contrition I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, That I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, In what I have done and in what I have failed to do, Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; Therefore, I ask the blessed Mary ever-Virgin, All the Angels and Saints, And you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

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First Station Jesus is condemned to death V. (genuflecting) We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. R. Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Scripture Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:37-38) Meditation The question arises: does “the” truth really exist? What is “the” truth? Can we know it? Can we find it? Here springs to my mind the question of Pontius Pilate, the Roman

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Procurator, when Jesus reveals to him the deep meaning of his mission: “What is truth?” (Jn 18:37, 38). Pilate cannot understand that “the” Truth is standing in front of him, he cannot see in Jesus the face of the truth that is the face of God. And yet Jesus is exactly this: the Truth that, in the fullness of time, “became flesh” (cf. Jn 1:1, 14), and came to dwell among us so that we might know it. The truth is not grasped as a thing, the truth is encountered. It is not a possession, it is an encounter with a Person.7 Prayer Lord, your disciples were afraid to ask what you meant when you said, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men”. For them, it was better not to talk about it, it was better not to understand, than to understand the truth that you had proclaimed. We must pray for the grace not to fly from the Cross when it comes: with fear, eh! That is true. That scares us. Nevertheless, that is where following you leads. Nearest to you, on the Cross, was your mother - your dear mother. Perhaps today, this day in which we pray to her, it would be good to ask her not for the grace to take away our fear - that must come, that fear of the Cross… but the grace we need not to fly from the Cross in fear. She was there and she knows how to be near the Cross. Amen.8

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All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Stabat Mater dolorosa, juxta crucem lacrymosa, dum pendebat Filius At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last.

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Closing Meditation We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally. Just think of what happened to St Francis, when he embraced the leper? The same thing that happened to Thomas: his life changed. To touch the living God, we do not need to attend a ‘refresher course’ but to enter into the wounds of Jesus, and to do so, all we need to do is go out onto the street. Let us ask of St Thomas the grace to grant us the courage to enter into the wounds of Jesus with tenderness and thereby we will certainly have the grace to worship the living God.32 We now continue this Via Crucis in our daily lives. Let us walk together along the Way of the Cross and let us do so carrying in our hearts this word of love and forgiveness. Let us go forward waiting for the Resurrection of Jesus, who loves us so much. He is all love!33

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Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis  
Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis