The Way of Sorrows

The Stations of the Cross

St Alphonsus Ligouri



A wonderful way of reliving the final journey of Christ to his death. 



The Stations or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Our Lord on the day of His suffering and death on the Cross and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary.


These stations were composed 

by St Alphonsus Ligouri.


The object of the stations is to help the Christians faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Suffering and Passion of Jesus. It has become one of the most popular devotions and the stations can be found in many Western Christian Churches


Praying the Stations of the Cross, either at church or at home, provides us with many graces and opportunities to grow in our love of God. In both good times and difficult times, this beautiful devotion is a source of great comfort, for it not only reminds us of all that our Lord has done for us. It reminds us that, even in the trials of life, our Lord is with us, he loves us, and joy awaits us. Lent always ends with Easter.


We follow each station in prayer and reflection



I trust you will walk the Way of the Cross with me through to the Resurrection and the hope and joy for all mankind.



Preparatory Prayer


My Lord Jesus Christ, You made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You; but now I love You with my whole heart, and because I love You, I repent sincerely for ever having offended You. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You died for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of You.


My Jesus, I will live and die always united to Thee.


1st Station

Jesus is condemned to Death

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross.


Prayer


My loving Jesus, it was not Pilate, no, it was my sins that condemned You to die. I beseech You, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, to assist my soul in its journey towards eternity.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.


Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.



At the cross her station keeping,

Stood the mournful Mother weeping,

Close to Jesus to the last.


Reflection of Mary



My Son stood before Pilate as an innocent man. But, throughout his life he entered more and more deeply into the condition of sinful flesh. It was not enough that he was born of a human mother like me. He grew up in obscurity in Nazareth. And, they always judged him there. They always judged that it wasn’t right that he was conceived before Joseph and I were married. Even when he began his public ministry, the religious leaders didn’t accept him. His reflection of God didn’t fit their self-serving picture of God. Finally, his own followers abandoned him. I never imagined he would have to experience solidarity with prisoners beaten and tortured, but he did. I’ll never forget the blood he shed and the pain he experienced at the hands of the Roman guards. Jesus began this journey by becoming one with every powerless person, mocked and made fun of by others. He did nothing that deserves capital punishment, or the abuse he was given.


His “yes” – his surrender to God’s will - ultimately destroyed the power of sin and death. While he was growing up, I told him many times how I had been graced to say “let it be done to me, according to your word.” I never could have imagined that this would be the sword that would ultimately pass through my heart: to watch my Son say Yes to God, so completely and fully, for the salvation of the world.


Now that he is condemned to death, reflect with me on each station of his journey – entering more and more completely into our humanity and death itself. 


Let us ask for God’s grace to be with him and to accompany him on his journey to more fully understand it and be more fully grateful for its gift.

2nd Station

Jesus receives his Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection:


Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on His shoulders thought of us, and offered for us to His Father the death He was about to undergo.


Prayer


My most beloved Jesus, I embrace all the tribulations You hast destined for me until death. I beseech You, by the merits of the pain You didst suffer in carrying Your Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Through her heart His sorrow sharing

All His bitter anguish bearing

Now at last the sword had passed.

Reflection of Mary



My Son was forced to carry the cross on which he would be nailed, ridiculed and executed. We must pause here to remember what it represents. For this journey, he takes up the weight of all of our crosses, all of our senseless suffering, and the weight of all of the sin in the world – past, present and future. Each step he took cut deeply into his already battered shoulders. I couldn’t believe he could manage even a few steps.


We can look back now and remember that this is all for us. Each of us can say it was “for me.” As we imagine each step he takes, we can pause now to say “thank you,” in our own words, deep in our hearts.

3rd Station

Jesus Falls the first time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection:


Consider this first fall of Jesus under His Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges; His head was crowned with thorns; He had lost a great quantity of blood. So weakened He could hardly walk; yet He had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him cruelly, and He fell several times. 


Prayer


My Jesus, it was not the weight of the cross  but the weight of my sins which made You suffer so much pain. By the merits of this first fall, deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. 


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.


Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.



O, how sad and sore distressed

Was that Mother highly blessed

Of the sole Begotten One!

Reflection of Mary



I can barely express to you what it was like to see my Son fall under the weight of that cross. Everything within me wanted to make them stop. This was already too much. But, there was nothing I could do but watch him lay on the ground.


Of course, I now know that if he was to enter completely into our lives, he would have to surrender to the crushing weight of the burdens so many in their world suffer. All the people of the earth who are overcome by unfair burdens will always know that, laying there on the ground, Jesus knew and would always understand their powerlessness. Unable to get himself up, he entered into and forever understands our fatigue and whatever unfairly defeats us.


I understand your sorrow and feeling of guilt at reflecting upon my Son’s way to Calvary. Please, just be grateful. My Son simply wants us to remember how he loved then and loves us now. This is all about his mercy and the gift of life we have in him.


4th Station

Jesus meets His mother

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection:


Consider the meeting of the Son and his Mother, which took place on this journey. Their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly


Prayer


My sweet Jesus, by the sorrow You didst experience in this meeting  grant me the grace of a devoted love for Your holy Mother.  And You, my Queen, who was over-whelmed with sorrow,  obtain for me a continual and tender  remembrance of the passion of Your divine Son. 


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.




Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. 


Christ above in torment hangs

She beneath beholds the pangs

of her dying, glorious Son

Reflection of Mary



As I pushed and shoved to move through the crowds to be as close to my Son as I could, we came to a place in the road where he stopped. He saw me. And we looked into each other’s eyes. I didn’t want him to see my tears or know my pain, but I long ago accepted how

thoroughly he knew me. The love from my heart poured out in the only embrace I could give him. My lips quietly said the prayer he taught us: “Father, may your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” He nodded so slightly, took a deep breath and moved on up the hill. The sword passing through my heart had blessed his mission, and I knew he knew it.


Thank him with me, even now, that he took up that mission for us. Thank him that he has tasted the separation and loss that every person in the world knows who has lost a loved one. And, he has understood the heart of every loving mother who grieves at the suffering of her children. He has become so completely one with us.

5th Station

Simon Helps Jesus Carry The Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how His cruel tormentors seeing Jesus was at the point of expiring and fearing that He would die on the way when they wished Him to die the shameful death of the cross, constrained Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross behind Our Lord.


Prayer


My most beloved Jesus, by thy grace  I will not refuse the cross: I accept it and embrace it. I accept in particular the death You have destined for me, I unite it to Your death and I offer it to You. You have died  for love of me; I will die for love of You.  Help me by Your grace.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.




Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Is there one who would not weep,

‘whelmed in miseries so deep

Christ’s dear Mother to behold.

Reflection of Mary



Now reflect with me on what it must have been like for my Son to simply not be able to carry the cross any further alone. I was so relieved that he was getting help at the time, even though my heart went out to Simon who was drawn into Jesus’ journey.


As we look back, we can give thanks that Jesus entered into our life, even in this gesture of help. Jesus came to know the experience of all of us who must depend upon others, who can’t make it alone. Even in this final journey, Jesus would not even have the satisfaction of being able to do this on his own.

6th Station

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection:


Consider how holy woman, Veronica seeing Jesus so ill-used and bathed in sweat and blood, wiped His face on a towel on which was left the impression of his sacred countenance


Prayer


My most beloved Jesus!  Your face was beautiful before, but on this journey it has lost all its beauty and wounds and blood have disfigured it. Alas, my soul also was once beautiful  when it received Your grace in Baptism;  but I have disfigured it with my sins.  You alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. Do this by Your passion, O Jesus!


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Can the human heart refrain

From partaking in her pain

In that Mother’s pain untold?

Reflection of Mary



I can’t describe his face, with the blood and the sweat, and the bruises and swelling from the beatings. As a mother, I can hardly tell you that there was even spit on his face. It was the face of solidarity with all who have ever experienced abuse and violence.


Then, out of the crowd came a woman whose compassion for my Son was so great that she pushed passed the Roman soldiers and wiped his face with her veil. Oh, how I loved her for that. The look between them touched me deeply. His clean face, for a moment, revealed the loving face of the Son I loved.


As he smiled at the woman and continued on the journey, those of us nearby looked at her veil and saw the gift he gave her. There on her veil was a stunning likeness, a true icon of the cost of his sacrifice and the depth of his solidarity with all who suffer. This image is his gift to us forever, to always contemplate his likeness, his union with us in our worst rejection and suffering.


As you remember with me how his face was so covered with punishment and violence, let us give thanks for his solidarity with us in every aspect of our lives.

7th Station

Jesus Falls 2nd Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider the second fall of Jesus under the cross; a fall that renews the pain of all the wounds in his  the head and members. 


Prayer


My Jesus, how many times have You pardoned me, and how many times have I fallen again, and begun to offend You. By the merits of this second fall, give me the help necessary to persevere in this Your grace until death. Grant that in all temptations that assail me I may always commend myself to You.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled

She beheld her tender Child

All with bloody scourges rent.

Reflection of Mary



When my Son fell the second time, my heart sank as he seemed to just lose control and stumble and crumble to the ground. The way he fell to his knees on the hard stones, I could feel the jarring pain through my whole body. Helpless to help him, I again wondered if he could make it.


As I look back with you today, I imagine that this fall placed him together with people with disabilities, with people suffering from all kinds of physical diseases that weaken them, and with all who are aging and must confront the limits of their bodies. My prayer is that all God’s people who know the suffering of these disabilities might know that they can always turn to my Son for understanding and comfort.

8th Station

Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how these women wept with compassion seeing Jesus in such a pitiable state, streaming with blood as he walked along: 'Daughters of Jerusalem', He said, “Weep not for me, but for yourselves and your children.”


Prayer


My Jesus, laden with sorrows,  I weep for the offences which I have committed against You  because of the pains they have deserved; and, still more, because of the displeasure they have caused You who hast loved me so much. It is Your love, more than the fear of hell, which causes me to weep for my sins.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


For the sins of His own nation

Saw Him hang in desolation

Till His spirit forth He sent

Reflection of Mary



This moving scene filled my mother’s heart with even more love for him. As I had seen him comfort so many groups of people during his life, now he comforts this group of women and children in Jerusalem. They aren’t here to condemn him. What a remarkable meeting. They try to comfort him, as he looks on them with love and compassion. During his ministry he had come to grieve for Jerusalem. Now, my son gives them a special mission. Soon they would understand that this suffering they witnessed so closely was for them. Soon they would witness the suffering of Jerusalem and have their chance to bring their compassion and faith to their children and the people of their city.


It is good to reflect here, with him, on the mission each of us has that can be shaped by this encounter with his suffering, death and resurrection “for me.” Thank him for this brief time to recall the gift we have received.


9th Station

Jesus Falls the 3rd Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider the third fall of Jesus Christ. His weakness was extreme and the cruelty of His  executioners excessive, who tried to hasten His steps when He could hardly move.


Prayer


My outraged Jesus,  by the merits of the weakness You suffered in going to Calvary, give me strength to conquer all human respect, and my wicked passions which have led me to despise Your friendship. 


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


O sweet Mother! Fount of Love, 

Touch my spirit from above 

Make my heart with yours accord.

Reflection of Mary



I will always remember this final fall. Having endured such a beating and having lost so much blood, my son simply collapses. I saw him lay there on the ground and I thought he was dead. His arms spread out and his face in the dirt, Jesus found himself in solidarity with all who fall in any way.


Contemplating how the soldiers roughly pulled Jesus up and made him take the last steps to Calvary, take a few moments to speak with him, expressing your gratitude for his understanding for every weakness or failure you have ever experienced.


10th Station

Jesus is stripped of His Garments

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider the violence with which Jesus was stripped by His executioners. His inner garments adhered to his torn flesh and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Compassionate your Saviour so cruelly treated 


Prayer


My most innocent Jesus!  By the merits of the torment You felt in being stripped of Your garments, help me to strip myself of all affection of the things of earth, that I may place all my love in You, You who are so worthy of my love.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Make me feel as You have felt 

Make my soul to glow and melt 

With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Reflection of Mary



The sword passed through my heart again to watch my son so violated this way. They intended to shame him even more by executing him naked. They simply had to strip him of any dignity a human being could have left. I remember looking at this body I had bathed and cared for, now with all his wounds re-opened and bleeding, so exposed for everyone to see. Now I see all the people in the world who are vulnerable and without any defense, all those whose dignity is violated, and I see this act of stripping as placing my son so completely with those who suffer. His incarnation was about to be complete.


Please pause to express what is in your heart and to give him thanks that this is all so that you might be free from the power of sin and death.

11th Station

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how Jesus, having been placed upon the cross, extended His hands and offered to His eternal Father the sacrifice of His life for our salvation. Those barbarians fastened Him with nails, and then, securing the cross, left Him to die in anguish.


Prayer


My Jesus, loaded with contempt, nail my heart to Your feet so that it may ever remain there to love You and never never more to leave You. 


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Holy Mother, pierce me through 

In my heart each wound renew 

Of my Saviour crucified.

Reflection of Mary



Today, as I remember him lying on the cross, with his arms outstretched, it is the sound of the hammer hitting the nails that stays with me. I remember pulling the first of many wood splinters from his fingers as a child working in Joseph’s shop. Against his precious hands and wrists, that touched and healed so many, a nail was placed, and a hammer pounded the nail through his flesh and into the wood of the cross. The sound – metal against metal – that ring – and the look on his face – the spasm of his whole body – I will never forget. Then, the other hand and finally his feet are nailed to the cross.


Spend some time with him now, imagining how they lifted him up on the cross, nailed there, that you might be free.

12th Station

Jesus Dies on the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how Jesus, being consumed with anguish after three hours of agony on the Cross, abandoned Himself to the weight of His body, bowed His head and died.


Prayer


O my dying Jesus, I devoutly kiss the cross on which You did die for love of me.  I have merited by my sins, to die a miserable death; but Your death is my hope. By the merits of Your death,  give me the grace to die embracing Your feet and burning with love of You. I commit my soul into Your hands.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Let me share with you His pain, 

Who for all our sins was slain, 

Who for me in torments died.

Reflection of Mary



The sword of helplessness split my heart in two as I watched him struggle to breathe, pulling himself up to let air out of his lungs. With incredible courage and compassion, he spoke of mercy and love. There on that cross he gave me to John, and gave me to the Spirit filled Church that would be born on Pentecost. Then, after he gave himself into God’s hands one last time, he took his last breath and he died. It is unforgettable to watch life leave the body of someone you love.


At the foot of his cross today, listen to my son tell you of his love for you. Speak to him from your heart.

13th Station

Jesus is taken down from the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how, after our Lord had expired, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross, and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed Him to her bosom.


Prayer;


O Mother of sorrow, for the love of your Son, accept me as thy servant, and pray for me. And You, my Redeemer, since You hast died for me, permit me to love Thee; for I wish for Thee, and nothing more.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


Let me mingle tears with thee 

Mourning Him who mourned for me, 

All the days that I may live.

Reflection of Mary



We waited what seemed like a long time before we had permission to take his lifeless body off that cross. And, it took so long to remove the nails, and to finally lower his body to the ground. Someone removed that horrible crown of thorns from his head. They pulled his hair back and wiped his face clean before letting me hold his body one last time. He had been given to me for only a brief time. When he left home three years before, I was so proud of him and excited to experience what God would do through him. There at the foot of the cross, my heart torn by grief, but always trusting in God’s promise, I asked only to be God’s servant for what was ahead. After the Ascension, when we would gather in homes for the Breaking of the Bread, I again held his broken body in my hands, now full of consolation that his promise was fulfilled: he would always be with us.


Let yourself join me in receiving this mystery of the death of Jesus being so real and complete. Knowing the rest of the story, join me in speaking with him, heart to heart, about our gratitude for how he has transformed the power of death.

14th Station

Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Reflection


Consider how the disciples, accompanied by His holy Mother, carried the body of Jesus to bury it. They closed the tomb, and all came sorrowfully away.


Prayer


My buried Jesus, I kiss the stone that encloses You. But You did rise again the third day. I beseech You, by Your resurrection, make me rise in glory with You at the last day, to be always united with You in heaven, to praise You forever.


I love You, Jesus; my love above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You wilt.



Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.



By the cross with you to stay,

There with you to weep and pray,

Is all I ask of you to give.

Reflection of Mary



No mother should ever have to bury a child. Just a short time before this day, Jesus looked into Lazarus’ tomb. He must have known he would be laid in a tomb like that soon. And when he thanked God for hearing his prayer, he must have known that the Father who sent him would give him life that would never die. In just a few days, this tomb would be empty and forever a sign of Jesus’ surrender to the forces of sin and death, for us.

As we picture this scene, let us place the image of the empty tomb before our eyes. Whenever you are tempted to stand outside any tomb and grieve, remember this empty tomb and know that, through the eyes of faith, all tombs are empty. 


Today, join me in giving him thanks. Join me in signing ourselves with the sign of his cross, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

15th Station

Jesus is raised from the Dead

Prayer


My Saviour thank you.

Thank You for so much endless love that helps me rise out of my own sinfulness.

I will try again to live a better life.

Help me always to remember that love You showed to me.


Mary Mother of our risen Lord

Teach me to be like you

and in my love for others, love Him in return.

Reflection of Mary


I could only be most grateful

for the sacrifice of my son for us.

Yet what emptiness I felt,

trying to live without him, Whom I loved.

But only two days later that emptiness

was filled beyond belief.


He had risen!

Our Saviour opened the doors to a new life.

That is the way it had to be.

because his underlying love for us

would not stop anything less.

I could rejoice forever,

but certainly ...... not in silence.

Prayer to Our Lady Of Sorrows


O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object.


Honour, glory, and love to our Divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God.



Thank you for making this journey through lent on the sufferings and death of Our Lord to His eventual triumph and resurrection.


Jesus, for Thee I live, 

Jesus, for Thee I die, Jesus, 

I am Thine in life and in death. 

Amen. 


What a wonderful God we have!


May the blessing of Almighty God 

come down on you and remain with you forever. Amen