Faces of the Cross

We are now in the third week of Lent. Many faithful Catholics pray the Stations of the Cross during Lent, either on their own or with their parish. Many parishes have this prayer service offered on Friday evenings during Lent.

We would like to pray the Stations with you this Lenten season. The pictures we’ve chosen are photos of the framed pictures of the Stations in our Nuns’ choir (our private chapel). Each picture is a close-up of the Face of Christ and a few other characters along the “Way”. We wanted to capture the countenances of the faces only, so the rest of the scene is not included.

The Office of Readings from Friday of the first week of the Psalter (breviary) speaks eloquently of the Passion of Christ. We will use this reading to meditate on the sufferings of our Lord. Please note that we needed to rearrange the sentences in the original text to better correspond to each Station. To see this beautiful reflection as it is “supposed to be” please click here.

Shall we begin?

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ,
fill our hearts with the light of your Spirit,
so that by following you on your final journey
we may come to know the price of our Redemption
and become worthy of a share
in the fruits of your Passion, Death and Resurrection.
You who live and reign for ever and ever.

R. Amen.
(Prayer by Pope St. John Paul II)


Faces of the Cross

Meditations taken from The Mirror of Love by Saint Aelred, abbot (Lib 3, 5: PL 195, 382)
Christ, the Model of Brotherly Love



First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

He allowed those eyes that rule the universe to be blindfolded by wicked men; he bared his back to the scourges; he submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers to the sharpness of the thorns.


Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies. We can find no greater inspiration for this than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ.


Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

“I have hidden my face from them, and they do not recognize my glory.”


Forth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.


Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

If someone wishes to savor the joy of brotherly love with greater perfection and delight, he must extend even to his enemies the embrace of true love.


Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

But if he wishes to prevent this fire of divine love from growing cold because of injuries received, let him keep the eyes of his soul always fixed on the serene patience of his beloved Lord and Savior.

Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

If someone wishes to love himself he must not allow himself to be corrupted by indulging his sinful nature.


Eighth Station: Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

If he wishes to resist the promptings of his sinful nature he must enlarge the whole horizon of his love to contemplate the loving gentleness of the humanity of the Lord.


Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

He who is more fair than all the sons of men offered his fair face to be spat upon by sinful men; In short, he was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before the shearers he kept silent, and did not open his mouth.


Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

He gave himself up to be mocked and reviled, and at the end endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace.


Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Who could listen to that wonderful prayer, so full of warmth, of love, of unshakeable serenity – Father, forgive them – and hesitate to embrace his enemies with overflowing love? Father, he says, forgive them. Is any gentleness, any love, lacking in this prayer?


Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Yet he put into it something more. It was not enough to pray for them: he wanted also to make excuses for them. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. They are great sinners, yes, but they have little judgment; therefore, Father, forgive them. They are nailing me to the cross, but they do not know who it is that they are nailing to the cross: if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; therefore, Father, forgive them.


Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

They think it is a lawbreaker, an impostor claiming to be God, a seducer of the people. I have hidden my face from them, and they do not recognize my glory; therefore, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.


Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Buried in the Tomb

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34
He surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked.
– He bore the crimes of many
and prayed all the while for sinners.

Jesus prayed: Father, forgive them;
they do not know what they are doing.
– He bore the crimes of many
and prayed all the while for sinners.


Closing Prayer:
Our mother of sorrows, with strength from above you stood by the cross, sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and with tender care you bore Him in your arms, mourning and weeping.
Holy Mary, may we follow your example, and stand by all your children who need comfort and love.
Mother of God, stand by us in our trials and care for us in our many needs. Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
Amen!

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