Saturday, April 08, 2006

Via Crucis Grid Blog: Stations I & II

This is the first post in my contribution to the week-long Via Crucis Grid Blog, in which a number of people will be blogging their reflections on the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week. It is traditional to sing the beautiful Marian hymn Stabat Mater during the Via Crucis, and I will include a stanza or two with each station (in Latin, so click it for the translation).

Station I: Christ is Condemned to Death
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood. Look to it yourselves." - Matthew 27:24

We begin the journey with a paradox. Someone is condemned to die, but the judge declares himself innocent of the blood. The onlookers take responsibility, but only as a mob, widening the space of the mob to include their descendents. For years Christians have taken that as a condemnation of all Jews and washed their own hands, found enemies and looked for vengeance for the death of the one who preached forgiveness. They missed the point and increased the injustice.

The drama of the Incarnation, the Crucufixion, and the Resurrection is a drama for all humanity, in fact, for all the cosmos. The condemning of Christ happens with every condemnation that we do. Hatred, rage, arrogant dismissal. We condemn as a mob, we wash our hands. We assign responsibility elsewhere. With the injustice done to Jesus, Jesus shares in every act of injustice that is done in his world, from the greatest to the pettiest.

Stabat Mater doloross
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius...

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station I bloggers: PmPilgrim, Church Geek

Station II: The Cross is Laid upon Christ
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. -- John 19:16-17
...whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. --Matthew 10:38

The cross, a punishment of the lowest of criminals. Not only to die upon it, but to be forced to bear it through the streets of the city, up to the hill of Calvary, the Place of the Skull, Golgatha. The heavy beams on shoulders raw and cut from the scourge. The indignity of being forced to carry one's own instrument of execution. The weight. It is tall enough to hang a man on.

Rough cut wood, slivers in hands soon to be pierced.

The weight. Step after broken step, the man on display to the city, the spat-upon criminal.

Have you seen a man or woman brought so low, so despised, considered a sore on the body of society? Imagine a cross on their shoulders.

Taking up a cross is a heroic proposition, especially since it is so often despised.

Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station II blogger: Maureen


Paula said...

Liam I just posted very shortly about Via Crucis and your entry on Station I.

Liam said...

Thanks, Paula!

crystal said...

Splinters in his hands - somehow details like this almost hurt more to contemplate than what comes after. Thanks for posting this and also the hymn and the link to a translation.

Sandalstraps said...

I found the first station even more moving than the second. The incongruency of the message of Christ (forgiveness, grace, mercy) and the attitude of his follwers (vengence). Moving. I participate in this problem, even if I'm not anit-Semetic, every time I refuse to be an agent of grace. I'm in the mob, inching closer to riot, demanding blood.

The sacrifice of Christ is the way out of the mob.

Mac said...

Hi Liam. I also did one on Station 2, but I'm not posted on the grid eyt.

Good job capturing the physical.


Liam said...

Thanks, everyone. There's a lot to see in these stations -- and it seems from going through the Grid, people are getting some interesting perspectives on the whole thing.