The Way of the Cross is an ancient devotion of the Church which has been used for centuries to bring the believer into deeper union with the Passion of Jesus Christ, using words, prayer, imagery and visual aids to effectively join Jesus on his walk to Calvary.

This is written in the hope that, in these these meditations, people undergoing evaluation and treatment for physical or emotional illness may find companionship, understanding and even, with the help of God, healing.

My prayer is that any who use these Stations will find comfort and sustaining courage in the faithful promise of Christ that he will be with us to the end. Please pray for me, also. – Elizabeth Scalia, Oblate, OSB

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OPENING PRAYER:
O Christ, you healed the deaf with a touch and a word, “Ephphatha! Be opened.”
As I open this meditation, let me be opened to you.
Let me be opened to your love.
Let me be opened to your healing
Let me opened to your voice
and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit,
as we walk this road together.
Amen.

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STATION ONE: JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

Jesus, when you stood before Pilate and received the sentence of death, you were utterly alone, abandoned by your apostles and rejected by the crowd.

Yet you faced your fate with courage and acceptance.

Always, in ever step of life, we are faced with the possibility of death — death of the body, death of the spirit, death of hope. Even when we have family and friends to turn to, ultimately we make our most difficult journeys alone. Others may sympathize or even empathize, but one person can never fully enter into another’s heart of pain and fear.

Now, as I await the evaluations and recommendations of others — of medical workers, therapists and counselors — I remember your acceptance of Pilate’s decree. I don’t know what lies ahead, or what tomorrow will offer or take away, and I admit to my fully human fear. Give me courage and a sense of your companionship and support in this journey.

Though you had to face your walk alone, and with a certain outcome, I invite you to walk with me on this path, toward an outcome still unknown.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; stop being anxious and watchful, for I am your God. I give you strength, I bring you help, I uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

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STATION TWO: JESUS BEARS HIS CROSS


Jesus, when they handed you the cross that was to be your final oblation, your final act of offering and obedience, you were already weakened by the earlier sufferings and abuses heaped upon you by others. Yet you bore your cross with extraordinary bravery and dignity. You took onto our already beaten and bruised shoulders the heavy and cumbersome wood, and you bore it.

Perhaps you even astonished and surprised some who had expected you to be too weak to receive, and to sustain, your cross.

As I face heavier burdens, heavier fears, the seemingly insurmountable weight of my own cross, I know you are with me. Having walked this path before, you will guide me, if only I keep my eyes on you.

Grant that I too may bring dignity, bravery and strength to what I bear.

With the help of your grace, perhaps I can surprise and astonish those who think of me as too weak, or too fearful and fragile, to go forward.

I will go forward, with you, to further glorify your name.

Christ, help me to carry this.

I will instruct you, and teach you the way to go; I will watch over you and be your adviser. (Psalm 32:8)

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STATION THREE: JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME


Why do we always assume that this first fall came from your weariness and physical pain? Could you have fallen in simple fear? You, Jesus, who are both God and human, you understand how fear and anxiety can paralyze the will, paralyze the strength of the body, and sometimes paralyze even the strength of mind and spirit.

I admit there are times when I am overtaken with fear, and I feel unable to move, to think, to pray — even to breathe. This fear brings with it a weariness that defies description and snatches away the small pockets of peace I am seeking in my life.

So, I fall with you, Jesus, prostrated in fear, knowing that I must rise and go on. My face is dirty; I am gasping through the dust in the road.

But I get up with you. I breathe in deeply, and breathe out.

With you, I move slowly forward.

Lord, I called on your name from the deep pit. You heard me crying, “Do not close your ear to my prayer.” You came near that day when I called to you; you said: “Do not be afraid.” (Lamentations 3:55-57)

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