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Stations of the Cross with Mary

Louise Finn, CND

 

A Note to the Reader—

 

Most of the words that follow are not taken from

Scripture. They are one person’s “prayerful

imaginings” of Mary’s thoughts and feelings

as she walked along Jesus’ way to Calvary.

Your own imaginings are certainly valid too, as you pray

the Sacred Way with Mary, and with our loving God.

 

You may wish to pray some traditional prayers

along with the ones here.

At the beginning—

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because

by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As you move to the next Station—

Holy Mother, pierce me through,

in my heart each wound renew

of my Savior crucified.

And at the end—

an Our Father, a Hail Mary, a Glory be . . . .

We are united in Jesus’ prayer.

 

Sr. Louise Finn, CND

 

 

-1-

Jesus Is Condemned to Death

 

Sentenced to death!

Oh no! My dear son.

My beautiful, loving boy. He’s been scourged

and whipped.

He’s bleeding and beaten—just to satisfy

this bloodthirsty mob.

Pilate knows that Jesus is innocent,

but he caves in

to their screams.

Led by the chief priests, they’re yelling, shouting:

Crucify him! Crucify him!

Dear God, the most painful, shameful death

of all.

Be with him, my God, and with me.

 

Mary, our mother, be with all prisoners,

especially the innocent, but also with the guilty.

Help us not to judge others unkindly or unjustly,

 since we can never know the “whole picture.”

 

 

-2-

The Cross is Laid on Jesus’ Shoulders

 

His shoulders—they’re already raw with

open wounds. And now they’re torn again.

Fresh blood seeps through

his garment—the one I made for his birthday.

He looks at the soldiers, knowing they’re only

“doing their job,” and somehow, accepts

this heavy weight, this impossible weight.

How will he ever get all the way to Golgotha?

The jeering crowd—have they forgotten

the cures, the healings, his kind words

and wise lessons?

How can they be so cruel?

 

Mary, our mother, help those with burdens

too heavy to carry, with fears and worries

about their own future or that

of their loved ones.

 

-3-

Jesus Falls the First Time

 

Oh no! He’s fallen.

My son, my little boy, he’s lying there,

and I can’t get through to help him up. They won’t

let me through.

Soldiers keep pushing us back—back

against the houses, against the walls.

I want to help him up, the way I used to do,

kissing his scrapes all better. They’re kicking him,

laughing, yelling—“Get up, you lazy king!”

He’s trying so hard to push to his knees, but

the cross—it’s too heavy, and he’s too weak.

Tears stream from his eyes—tears of pain,

of sheer exhaustion. Yet somehow

 he staggers up, bent over

under this terrible wooden beam.

 

Mary, please help all of us to stand up again

each time we’ve fallen into one more big mistake

in our lives.

 

-4-

Jesus Meets his Mother

 

An opening—quick! Let me through.

Please, please let me through.

I’m his mother.

They barely hear me with all the shouting—

mean taunts, raucous hoots, barked orders.

He inches his way up the sloping path,

dragging the weight of the world, each bump

making a new wound on his raw shoulders,

on his aching heart.

Finally, at last, our eyes meet. I reach out

and touch his face.

He knows my thoughts, my love.

I know his.

But I also see a new pain in his eyes:

sadness for my pain, not his own.

 

Mary, please be close to all mothers

whose children’s lives, their deaths!—are

piercing their mothers’ hearts.

 

-5-

Simon Helps Jesus Carry his Cross

 

The crowd is chanting again—

“To your throne, O King!“

Hurry up. We haven’t got all day!”

The soldiers sense the danger of a riot,

this crowd out of control.

They grab poor Simon and push him

towards my son,

make him take part of the load.

Jesus’ eyes search for Simon’s, but

Simon looks away—angry, resentful.

Jesus tries again, and again. I think he’s

speaking to Simon. His lips are split and bleeding.

Yes, I hear it, soft, slurred. “Thank you, Simon.

My mother and I are grateful.”

Simon grunts,

and looks at me. He no longer seems angry.

 

Mary, please take special care of all the Simons

In my life, in our world,

who somehow appear and do what they can

to help others get through the hard parts.

 

-6-

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

 

They’re still yelling, pushing, jeering.

How can they be so mean?

What can I do to help my son? I feel so helpless.

But. . . this young woman—is she really young,

or just strong? She’s stepped out, right into

Jesus’ path. Soldiers shout—

“Out of our way, woman, NOW!” She ignores them,

holds out a clean white cloth.

presses it gently to my son’s swollen face,

wiping away the blood, the dust, the tears,

the spittle.

Jesus’ eyes meet hers—loving, grateful eyes.

She steps back, holding the cloth.

His face—his dear, blessed face! It’s there—

on her cloth.

 

Mary, please help us to do what we can for those

in need, so that your son’s love for them will be imprinted

on our lives for others to recognize.

 

-7-

Jesus Falls the Second Time

 

He’s fallen again.

Did someone trip him? Several had tried to,

but Simon saw them in time and shoved their feet aside.

But now, my dear son is down in the dirt and slime.

The mob is chanting again.

“Get up, you lazy king—

or crawl if you have to. Crawl to your lofty throne!”

Simon glares at them, says nothing.

Gently he pulls the cross off Jesus’ back, bends down

and lifts him up, then lifts the cross,

trying to shoulder most of its weight—

but the soldiers push it back on Jesus.

Why are they so hard-hearted?

Jesus, stumbles forward.

 If only I could help him. . . .

 

Mary, our mother, please remind me to be kind

to those in need, to do what I can to help them up

and relieve their pain.

 

-8-

Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem

 

At least some women

are brave enough to weep openly at this travesty

in their own city. They wail

and beat their breasts. Another crucifixion—three, in fact!—

to be killed in the most inhuman way possible!

They don’t fear the Roman soldiers. Do they know

my son is not a criminal, that he is goodness itself—

Love incarnate?

Or do they simply know that no one deserves to die

at the hands of another?

Jesus turns to them. “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep

for me, but for your children.

They will witness even worse than this.”

Nothing about his own pain, or sorrow, or thirst. Nothing

about his own unjust suffering.

Only words of comfort for others’ pain.

 

Mary, our mother, help us, like your son,

to see beyond our own pain

to that of others.

 

-9-

Jesus Falls the Third Time

 

We’re almost at the top of the hill. The other two

crosses are already there, a thief tied to each of them.

My son looks up and sees them. He knows

that soon he will be hanging from his own.

He staggers and falls,

alone now—they’ve pulled Simon away.

He had no sleep last night—only torture and ridicule.

Nothing to eat or drink since last evening,

when he gave himself to us as our very food and drink.

The soldiers kick him. Over and over they kick him

till he finally pushes himself up.

And now he gives himself again.

 

Mary, our mother, help us—somehow—to keep giving

of ourselves to those who need us he most.

It’s really all we have.

 

 

-10-

Jesus Is Stripped of his Garments

 

They shove my Jesus roughly.

One yanks his arm up and pulls.

Another grabs his other arm and pulls.

Are they trying to tear him apart?

A third lifts his robe and starts to pull, but it’s stuck,

attached like skin

to his wounds.

I can feel the ripping of his flesh

as they pull the robe away, the dear flesh

that I always bathed so tenderly.

Now he stands before the mob’s greedy eyes.

Almost naked, he shivers, while bullies laugh

and shout obscenities.

He is giving more than all.

 

Mary, our mother, help us to learn to give our all,

and to be grateful to those who give their lives for us

every day.

 

 

-11-

Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

 

The mob begins to roar louder. Louder!

“His throne at last! Make sure he stays secure—

No ropes for this one—use nails!”

They drag his cross between the other two, and shove him

towards it.

“It’s mealtime, King, so hurry up!

Lie down and stretch those kingly arms out wide,

along the crossbeams of your throne.”

I feel the rusty nails go through his wrists.

I hear each thud.

His blood spatters on the barren ground,

on the splintering wood.

They twist his feet together, to save a nail.

They push the crown of thorns in further, deeper.

Soft groans. No screams.

Fear in his eyes, not hate.

Unbearable pain, which he must bear alone.

 

Mary, our mother, we are sorry for our part

in his pain, and yours. Help us to keep our commitments,

in gratitude for his love, and yours.

 

-12-

Jesus Dies on the Cross

With clumsy strength they lift his cross

and drop it in the hole they’ve dug—

each movement is a new torment, worse than

all the rest.

The earth shudders. The sky is dark.

The soldiers pack up and leave.

Most drift away. Why wait, they say. The show is over.

He speaks a little, and prays.

Your God has forsaken you? Oh no, my son, he’s

with you here, and so are we.

One thief curses him. The other defends.

This day in Paradise? Wherever you are is Paradise.

John and I are here, and my other sons and daughters.

We hear your cry of thirst, your burning thirst!

At last it is finished. At last you have given all—to us

and to your Father. Amen, my son.

Amen.

 

Thank you, Mary, for giving us Jesus,

our God and our brother. Thank you for being

our mother.

 

-13-

Jesus’ Body is Taken down from the Cross

 

My son. My dear, dear son.

You’ve given all, and all I have now is your

precious body—scarred, broken, bruised,

dead.

I hold you beautiful body in my arms

one last time.

At least I have your body if only for

these moments—their pain and sorrow,

these memories—empty now of all

but hope.

 

Mary, our dear mother,

be with all of us as we try to comfort others in their

pain and sorrow, which only you can really understand.

 

 

-14-

 

Jesus’ Body Is Laid in the Tomb

 

A tomb? Do we have to put this dear body

in a tomb, a sealed tomb?

Our kindly friend Joseph has offered us his clean new tomb

with fresh wrappings—nearby, so we’ll finish

before Sabbath rest.

But how can I just leave him here—alone?

I know. It isn’t really him now—just his body.

But this mangled body, now at rest, once was part of mine—

 my very flesh, my bones, my mother’s milk.

Yes, John. I know it’s time.

We’ll leave now, as soon as the stone is set in place.

I’m ready now.

 

Mary, our mother, thank you. Thank you for everything,

especially for your love. You too have given all.

 

The Next Day

Clean white cloths caressed and stayed with him

when she could not.

They'd sealed the tomb before the sun's last rays,

and John had seen her home, his arm a comfort in her sorrow.

Night had somehow lifted some of yesterday.

 In hollow silence

her Sabbath psalms slowly filled the emptiness.

Morning shadows shortened.

 Colored wings floated past,

circled, settled on a thorn.

A butterfly? So early in the spring?

Of course!

And then she knew, even as she waited.

 

A visitor? Yes, Simon’s here.

Awkward, hesitant, he stood beside the open gate.

John took his arm,

led him to her borrowed room, motioned

to an empty stool next to Mary.

Their eyes met,

but still no words came. What to say?

Why had he come?

How to comfort the man’s mother?

He sensed her pain even as he wondered.

Why had the temple priests wanted him killed?

Had he really raised that man to life?

 

Mary saw him scratching at his hands, took them in her own

and tenderly worked the splinters free.

He said the usual things, the usual way.

The silences between their words grew longer.

Here was home, he knew it, but. . .

time to leave.

 

She touched a budding leaf, and watched the butterfly alight,

softly, like a breath.

Thank you, Simon—her voice a whisper in his ear.

Please come again. You helped my son—and me,

more than you can know.

But those questions in your eyes—they need answers.

You need answers.

Yes, Simon, come tomorrow.

 

 

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