Stations of the Cross
(Viae Crucis exercitium)
First Station: Jesus is condemned to death
O Jesus so meek and uncomplaining, teach me resignation in trials (Optional Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.)
Second Station: Jesus carries His cross
My Jesus, this cross should be mine not Thine; My sins crucified Thee
Third Station: Our Lord falls the first time
O Jesus, by this first fall, never let me fall into mortal sin
Fourth Station: Jesus meets His Mother
O Jesus! may no human tie, however dear, keep me from following the road of the Cross.
Fifth Station: Simon the Cyrenean helps Jesus carry His cross
Simon unwillingly assisted Thee. May I, with patience, suffer all for Thee
Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
O Jesus, Thou didst imprint Thy sacred features upon Veronica's veil; Stamp them also indelibly upon my heart
Seventh Station: The second fall of Jesus
By Thy second fall, preserve me, dear Lord, from relapse into sin
Eighth Station: Jesus consoles the women
My greatest consolation would be to hear Thee say: "Many sins are forgiven thee because thou hast loved much"
Ninth Station: The third fall of Jesus
O Jesus, when weary upon life's journey, be Thou my strength and my perseverance.
Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His garments
My soul has been robbed of its robe of innocence. Clothe me, dear Jesus, with the garb of penance and contrition.
Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Thou didst forgive Thy enemies, my God. Teach me to forgive injuries and forget them. (Optional Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be)
Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross
Thou art dying my Jesus, but Thy Sacred Heart still throbs with love for Thy sinful children
Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross
Receive me into thy arms O Sorrowful Mother, and obtain for me perfect contrition for my sins. (Optional Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be)
Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre
When I receive Thee into my heart in Holy Communion, O Jesus, make it a fit abiding place for Thy adorable Body.
Fifteenth Station: Jesus rises victorious over death
Today, many advocate the addition of a fifteenth station depicting Christ's Resurrection because without His rising from the dead, He would not have accomplished the salvation that Christians believe was His mission. This is the same consideration that causes the three days commencing with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday and concluding with Vespers on the evening of Easter Sunday to be regarded as a liturgical unity, the so-called Holy Tridium, the Easter Tridium or Paschal Triduum. Others have begun the practice of the Via Lucis at Eastertide to meditate on the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord.
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay."
Prayers Before and After the Stations Of The Cross
O Jesus, I wish to follow you step by step along the sorrowful way of the Cross. Help me make these meditations on your passion and death a spiritual exercise which will be fruitful for my soul. Grant that my reflections may bring me contrition and repentance for all my sins and offences against an infinite God.
Dear crucified Saviour, I have followed you along the path that led to Calvary. It was a path of bitter and painful experience. However, you accepted the Way of the Cross as a labour of love. Your love for me had no bounds. I adore that honoured Cross on which you laid down your life for me. Help me to bear my crosses in a true spirit of resignation to your divine will.Amen.
What are The Stations Of The Cross?
The Stations of the Cross, or the Way of the Cross, as it is also known, is a popular Catholic devotion which commemorates the events of “Good Friday”….the Passion and death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In Our Lord’s Passion, He carried a cross from the court of Pontius Pilate to the hill of Calvary…hence the name, “Way of the Cross. On the way, Christ was obliged to stop awhile and rest…that is why the Way of the Cross is sometimes called the “Stations of the Cross,” for station means a stopping-place.
Technically speaking, the Way of the Cross is simply a series of pictures representing scenes of the Passion of Our Lord, while the Stations of the Cross do not consist in these artistic representations but in the numbered wooden crosses located above the designs.
What do the fourteen stations mean?
From Pilate to the tomb, Christ stopped fourteen times, twelve times while alive and two while dead. Seven stations or stops are mentioned in the gospel, and two others (the stripping and nailing to the cross) are implied in the gospels and the rest are contained in tradition….each event is depicted and numbered.
Where does one make The Stations Of The Cross?
Most Catholic Churches and Chapels have plaques depicting each station of the Way of the Cross mounted along the side of the interior walls. Some have outdoor Stations on their grounds.
When making the Stations Of The Cross, one should move from station to station, meditating and praying over each depiction of this sacred journey.
Can The Stations Be Made Anywhere? Are special prayers to be recited?
While the usual practise of this devotion is done in church, by walking off the stations in prayer and contemplation, it can also be done elsewhere as a meditation alone or with a group.
There are no specific prayers that are to be said…the core of this devotion is the prayer and contemplation on the Passion of Jesus Christ. There are, nonetheless many profound and moving prayers written for this devotion that one may use.
The Church so highly prizes this devotion that she has richly indulgenced it and one can receive a plenary indulgence for performing it in conformity with the norms of the Church.
When did the devotion to the Stations Of The Cross begin?
Tradition tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, herself performed this devotion frequently and encouraged others to do the same. Certainly, we know that the Stations were performed many centuries ago by Christian pilgrims who visited the Holy Land, and went to the sites of Jesus' Passion and there are records of similar forms of this devotion, which date back to the 400s.
Who were the great promoters of this devotion?
Promotion of the devotion to the Stations began in earnest with the Franciscans, who were given custody of the Holy Places in the Holy Land in the 1300s. Many great Saints, numerous Popes, and countless Catholics, have all enriched their spiritual lives with this powerful devotion.
Did you know that the Pope once made a special Stations Of The Cross?
Once on a Good Friday, Pope John Paul II slightly altered the usual fourteen stations in this manner: (1) Jesus' agony in the garden (2) Jesus is betrayed by Judas and is arrested (3) Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin (4) Jesus is denied by Peter (5) Jesus is condemned by Pontius Pilate (6) Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns (7) Jesus is made to carry the cross (8) Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus with His cross (9) Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (10) Jesus is crucified (11) Jesus promises paradise to the repentant thief (12) Jesus speaks to Mary and John from the cross (13) Jesus dies on the cross (14) Jesus is buried in the tomb.
We thank Gilbert Olivier for her permission to use his beautiful pictures of the Stations of the Cross