Monday, April 10, 2006

Via Crucis Grid Blog: Stations III & IV

More from the Via Crucis Grid Blog.

Station III: Jesus Falls the First Time

The Lord supports all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. -- Psalm 145:14

The weight of the cross is too great and Christ falls to the ground, breaking the fall with his hands, cutting them on the ground, the dirt of the trodden path coating his bleeding hands, making them sting. The pain of the beam on the shoulder. Perhaps a soldier strikes him with a whip to make him get up, angry with him for holding up the grim procession.

Someone who had never heard of Jesus Christ would be very puzzled from the beginning of the story -- God made flesh, dwelling among us. Would he not be made a king and worshipped accordingly? No, we tell them, he was treated as a criminal. Did not, then, he reveal his power, striking down those involved in such sacrilege? No, we tell them, he did not. He had revealed his power in miracles of healing, and more so in miracles of teaching, and when this whole cruel, bloody sacrilege was over, he would reveal his power in an astonishing, profound, and world-changing way, but now he was letting himself be beaten, mocked, and burdened with a cross. Not quite believable, our hearer would say.

God made human, to be truly human, perhaps, would have to experience the best and worst that humanity had to experience. Nothing could be worse than the cruelty of injustice practiced by other human beings. Christ did not sit in a palace, but let himself suffer what so many of his beloved brothers and sisters suffer--the sadness of lonely injustice. The weight of it pressing down so hard it could make one fall onto the dusty path.

Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station III bloggers: Jean, Maggie, PmPilgrim

Station IV: Jesus Meets his Blessed Mother
The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." --Luke 2:33-35
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. -- John 19:26-27
We have spent some time thinking about the suffering of Jesus on the way to Calvary. Human life, however, is never about the suffering of one person, and the cruel death of Jesus did not require only his resolve and capacity for faith in suffering. Mary, the handmaiden of the Lord, would too be pierced, forced to suffer the brutal murder of her son. The extraordinary faith of Mary made her not only an essential participant in the Incarnation, but made her a necessary participant in the Crucifixion as well. After Christ himself, the human being who most suffered in this drama of redemption was Mary, a mother given to all of us by Christ as he hung on the cross.
I wish I had greater Marian devotion. I'm not there yet -- I'm only freshly back into the fold. But I love the Marian prayers and hymns.

Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Why is it some of the most passionate prayers are to Mary?

Or some of the most beautifully mysterious:
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,

Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of angels.
Mary shows love in a very pure form: love of God, love of us, and love of her son -- which is why this station is particularly heartbreaking.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station IV bloggers: Jean, U2Sermons, Maggie, Elena, Jennifer


Paula said...

Thank you Liam.For writing like this about the Stations.I decided to meditate on the Stations reading your entries.

crystal said...

I don't know much about Marian devotion either ... for some reason, I have a certain resistance to it ... but to see the suffering and death of Jesus through her eyes is very moving. Your descriptions are vivd - thanks.

Liam said...

Paula, that's a wonderful compliment, thank you.

Crystal, I think that sometimes Marian devotion can be a bit extreme, and some people can forget that one is not supposed to worship Mary, only venerate her. On the other had, there is so much beautiful stuff in the Marian tradition that I would like to think about it some more.

crystal said...

About that Hopkins translation, I've found a different version - I think this other onemay be correct - link

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