© Parish of Hawley 2015



Alpha

The Stations of the Cross are a means of adoring Christ. In them, by a pilgrimage through the passion, by bending of our body in genuflection, by listening and by looking, we are drawn beyond reason to be with Jesus in his suffering.

To this we bring ourselves and our lives - we bring our many falls, we bring (like Veronica) our small acts of kind compassion; we bring (like Pilate) our quick and easy judgements; we bring (like the women of Jerusalem) our self-pity.

The stations draw us to the Communion of Saints with the apostles, Simon of Cyrene, Joseph of Arimethea, Mary Magdalene and Our Lady. To pray the stations properly is not an easy thing; it is an experience of constant conversion - of looking to the author and perfecter of our faith - Jesus. All this is gathered up in the prayer.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


These devotions are an adaptation of one of the forms of the Stations of the Cross used in Hawley. We have published them to enable anybody not able to attend a service to still be able to walk the way of the cross and share in the agonies that Our Lord went through for our redemption. The icons used are modern ceramic works of art installed in All Saints' Church, Hawley.

We hope that you will find this a useful way to participate in the prayer life of the church and make your own preparation for the joy of Christ’s resurrection at Eastertide.

Take your time as you mentally walk around our church with us, pray with us, keep silence and allow the Lord into your life.


Jesus our Redeemer, we kneel before you asking for your mercy on ourselves and for the church. As we walk the royal road of the cross we will consider your suffering and what that means to us. This road we walk together is paved with your blood and your tears, it saw you despised and rejected by men. Give a sense of penitence, and help us to understand with joy all the crosses and pain which will come to us during our pilgrimage through life.


God come to our aid
Lord, hasten to help us


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.


Amen

FIRST STATION - JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH


Jesus stands in the most human of places. He has already experienced profound solidarity with so many on this earth, by being beaten and tortured. Now he is wrongfully condemned to punishment by death. His commitment to entering our lives completely begins its final steps. He has said "yes" to God and placed his life in God's hands. We follow him in this final surrender, and contemplate with reverence each place along the way, as he is broken and given for us.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

A reading from Isaiah 53:7

He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.


This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Your hour has come, 0 Jesus, the hour to which you looked forward with intense joy when out of love you would choose to offer your life for our salvation. Bruised, disfigured, insulted, you stand silent and calm before a sinful, guilty world. Totally united and obedient to your Father’s will, in the depths of your soul reign joy and peace, even in this dread hour. May we learn to bear wrongs without opening our mouths in protest; may we learn to accept cheerfully your Father’s will in every moment, in every joy and afflictions of our lives, and above all in our surrender into his loving arms in death.


Pray in silence


In fellowship with Jesus let us share the suffering of all innocent victims of injustice, especially the suffering of children.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows, pray for us.


SECOND STATION - JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS


Jesus is made to carry the cross on which he will die. It represents the weight of all our crosses. What he must have felt as he first took it upon his shoulders! With each step he enters more deeply into our human experience. He walks in the path of human misery and suffering, and experiences its crushing weight.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Isaiah 53: 4-5

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities and with his stripes we are healed.


This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


Reading

Your sacred hands, which touched the eyes of the blind, and tenderly lifted up the fallen, and broke bread to give to the sacrament of your love, now reach out eagerly to embrace the cross.

Not so much the cross, but the terrible burden of the world’s sin lies heavy on your shoulders.

Our sins too, Lord, are there to crush you. You have borne, too, our griefs. No dark tunnel in our lives that you have not travelled, no road of ours which your wounded feet have not walked before us.

Give us strength to bear our cross, and so be fashioned in your love through pain.


Pray in silence


In fellowship with Jesus let us share the suffering of those who freely choose to follow him to Calvary: all who believe in Him, the elderly, the frail, and the sick and especially those who are lonely and uncared for.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows, pray for us.

THIRD STATION - JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME


The weight is unbearable. Jesus falls under it. How could he enter our lives completely without surrendering to the crushing weight of the life of so many on this earth! He lays on the ground and knows the experience of weakness beneath unfair burdens. He feels the powerlessness of wondering if he will ever be able to continue. He is pulled up and made to continue.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

I will all the more gladly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, for when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


Reading

Beneath the heaviest burden ever borne, you fall to the ground. Yet love overcomes all things, and you find the power to move forward serenely to your goal.

Your very fall, Lord Jesus, gives us strength. So often we have relied on our own poor selves; but then a sudden fall brings us to our senses, and we become aware of our own weaknesses. Teach us not to be dismayed when we fall. You gave us your weakness to be our strength, and so we fall back on the power of your hands, of your love to lift us up, and set us on our road again. Give us strength to bear our cross, and so be fashioned in your love through pain.


Pray in silence


In fellowship with Jesus let us share the suffering of all those who are persecuted for their faith to the Gospel, for those who live and work in hostile environments.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows, pray for us.


FOURTH STATION - JESUS MEETS HIS BLESSED MOTHER


Jesus' path takes him to a powerful source of his strength to continue. All his life, his mother had taught him the meaning of the words, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord." Now they look into each other's eyes. How pierced-through her heart must be! How pained he must be to see her tears! Now, her grace-filled smile blesses his mission and stirs his heart to its depth. Love and trust in God bind them together.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Lamentations 1:12

Look and see if there be any sorrow like my sorrow.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


Reading

We shall never fathom the anguish and the comfort you experienced when, through a mist of blood and tears, you saw your mother among the crowd. This encounter is too deep for words. But we know that it is a perfect union of hearts, utterly united in suffering. No pang you suffer but finds its echo in your mother’s soul.

How she must long wipe your face, to ease your pain. Yet she would not want you to change your will to suffer, and by suffering redeem the world.

Holy Mother, help us to experience something of the compassion, which brought you so close to your divine Son in his sacred passion and death.


Pray in silence


In fellowship with Jesus let us share in the suffering of all those who are lonely; of unhappy mothers; of those of broken homes.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows, pray for us.

FIFTH STATION - SIMON THE CYRENIAN HELPS JESUS TO CARRY HIS CROSS


Jesus even experiences our struggle to receive help. He is made to experience the poverty of not being able to carry his burden alone. He enters into the experience of all who must depend upon others to survive. He is deprived of the satisfaction of carrying this burden on his own


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Luke 9 : 23

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.

This is the word of the Lord


Thanks be to God


Reading

Lord Jesus! In the great moments of your work of redemption, you choose to become dependent on human partners, and to accept the help of human hands. The hands of your mother supported you when she offered you in the temple.

The bread you had multiplied out of pity for the multitude you gave into the hands of the apostles to distribute. And now, in this blessed moment, you allowed human hands to share the burden of your cross. A precious invitation you gave to us. To be a Simon of Cyrene to all who are crushed, to all that are losing hope. The power of your hands all he time supported Simon; sustain us also, so that we may have the strength to bear our cross to ease the burden of others.


Pray in silence


In fellowship with Jesus let us try to understand the lives of the humble and the despised, those who fight for justice, goodwill and a more caring world.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.

SIXTH STATION - VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

Jesus' journey is at times brutal. He has entered into the terrible experiences of rejection and injustice. He has been whipped and beaten. His face shows the signs of his solidarity with all who have ever suffered injustice and vile, abusive treatment. He encounters a compassionate, loving disciple who wipes the vulgar spit and mocking blood from his face. On her veil, she discovers the image of his face - his gift to her. And, for us to contemplate forever.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Isaiah 53: 2

He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Lord Jesus! You are called the fairest of the Sons of men. On Mount Tabor your face shone like the sun. Innocent children, hardened sinners, blind men restored by your love, looked on your sacred face and were filled with joy and amazement. But now the beauty has gone, your sacred face disfigured almost beyond recognition.

You never left unpaid the smallest gesture of kindness done to you. Little did Veronica realise how you would acknowledge her tender act of kindness in this terrible hour. Impress on our souls the same image of your sacred countenance.

It will keep alive our sense of shock, our memory of all the pain and suffering that you endured for us. We shall see there every face of all your brethen, even the least, that has been lined and drawn by pain and sorrow.


Pray in silence


In fellowship with Jesus let us always act in simple charity; show compassion, offer kindness and be ever patient, that we might receive the imprint of His life on ours

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows, pray for us.

SEVENTH STATION - JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME

Even with help, Jesus stumbles and falls to the ground. In deep exhaustion he stares at the earth beneath him. "Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return." He has seen death before. Now he can feel the profound weakness of disability and disease and aging itself, there on his knees, under the weight of his cross.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Psalm 68: 7.20

For it is for thy sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my face. Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Lord Jesus! heavier than the cross which crushed you to the ground is the burden of abandonment and desolation which afflicts you. No hand reaches out to you, no word of comfort to console your broken heart. Yet your resolve, your love, never falters. With you in that fall is every heart broken in sorrow, every silent agony, every cry of pain through a dark night. We have tried to rise after a fall, but quickly fall again, and we lose our heart. When we reach the end of our own poor strength may we look to you, who alone can lift us up; may we realise that we can do all things in you who strengthens us.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us always know when we fall in sin, and grant us the eternal hope of rising in the redemption of God’s love.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows, pray for us.

EIGHTH STATION - JESUS COMFORTS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM


The women of Jerusalem, and their children, come out to comfort and thank him. They had seen his compassion and welcomed his words of healing and freedom. He had broken all kinds of social and religious conventions to connect with them. Now they are here to support him. He feels their grief. He suffers, knowing he can't remain to help them more in this life. He knows the mystery of facing the separation of death.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.




A reading from 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Lord Jesus! As so often your Sacred Heart was moved to pity for those in distress, so in this supreme hour you reveal your Father’s comfort to the women of Jerusalem. You would bid them turn their gaze inwards on their own need. Their compassionate love you reward with your own divine comfort. You comfort us with your pardon as we grieve our sins; help us to pass on to others in affliction the comfort we have received. Help us to see in all who suffer in union with you your sacred passion renewed.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us share in the pain of all who suffer in the world, especially children and the victims of violence and war.

In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.


NINTH STATION - JESUS FALLS A THIRD TIME


This last fall is devastating. Jesus can barely proceed to the end. Summoning all this remaining strength, supported by his inner trust in God, Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross. His executioners look at him as a broken man, pathetic yet paying a price he deserves. They help him up so he can make it up the hill of crucifixion.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Micah 6: 3-4


Oh my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me. For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of bondage.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Our Lord and Saviour, you fell the third time, burdened by the weight of our sins. Yet you had the inner strength to complete the road to Calvary. Our great need is the grace of a fresh start; our great enemy is discouragement. Give us the grace of strength to rise when we fall.

Make us realise that, in the life of grace, without you we can do nothing, so that relying on your power, your mercy and your promise of unceasing aid, we may remain faithful to you to the end.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us pray for all political prisoners and people forced to live outside their own country; for the victims of racial hatred, and for all those deprived of their rights as the people of GOD.


In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray  for us.


TENTH STATION - JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS


Part of the indignity is to be crucified naked. Jesus is completely stripped of any pride The wounds on his back are torn open again. He experiences the ultimate vulnerability of the defenseless. No shield or security protects him. As they stare at him, his eyes turn to heaven.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Zachariah 13 : 6


If one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back? he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Lord Jesus, the tearing off of your garments reveals to us the wounds on your sacred body; another proof of the suffering you endured. But, they remind us of the deeper wounds caused by the ingratitude of your friends, and the derision and hatred you endured from a world that hates you without cause. You gave without reserve, surrendering even your garments. Strip us of our pretence and false pride, save us from becoming self-centred, so that we may see ourselves as we are seen by you.

Free us from attachment to earthly things so that, becoming truly poor in spirit, we may share in the riches of your Sacred Heart.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us understand and share in the suffering of those who have nothing; the homeless and the destitute, the hungry and those from all hope has vanished.


In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.

ELEVENTH STATION - JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

Huge nails are hammered through his hands and feet to fix him on the cross. He is bleeding much more seriously now. As the cross is lifted up, the weight of his life hangs on those nails. Every time he struggles to pull himself up to breathe, his ability to cling to life slips away.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.



A reading from Psalm 21:16 - 18


A company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and my feet - I can count all my bones - they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my rainment they cast lots.


This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Our Jesus, for the sins of the world your hands and feet were fasten to the cross. Even so, your hands have the power to lift me up; your feet have followed us with infinite patience, when we have strayed from you. Bind us securely to you, so that we may never break away from your loving embrace through sin.

A gift, even though small, we offer you. You no longer walk on earth among us ‘ doing good’ to every manner of suffering people. Use then our hands to lift the fallen; use our feet to visit the lonely, the homeless and the sick.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us learn forgiveness, forbearance and real understanding, even at the moment when hurt and shock are at their greatest.


In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.

TWELFTH STATION - JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS


Between two criminals, a mocking title above his head, with only Mary and John and Mary Magdalene to support him, Jesus surrenders his last breath: "Into your hands I commend my spirit."


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from John 17: 1,4,5

Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee. I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gayest me to do; and now, Father, glorify thou me.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


Reading


Our Lord and Saviour, dying on the cross, you turned your gaze upwards with joy and thanks to your Father. You have accomplished the work, which your Father gave you to do, and so you cry out, not through exhaustion but in triumph, ‘It is accomplished” You promised that if lifted up, you would draw all things to yourself. Draw us upwards to yourself and to your heavenly Father, so that when our time comes we too, may say, ‘Father, into thy hands we commit our spirit’.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us share in the fear of those who are dying, especially those who die alone and friendless, with no one to share their fear or to comfort them.


In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.

THIRTEENTH STATION - JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS


What tender mourning! Jesus' lifeless body lays in his mother's arms. He has truly died. A profound sacrifice, complete.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Revelation 5:12


Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.


This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Lord Jesus, when you came into the world you were held with tender love in your mother’s arms. Now, back into her arms, she receives your sacred body broken for the sins of the world. Her arms have power, so she is able to hold the whole human family, whom you gave into her keeping. May she help us when we are in danger; may she lift us up when we fall into sin; and may she be at our side to strengthen and encourage us at the hour of our death


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus let us seek to be a strength to those who mourn, grant us the words of strength, and the silence of understanding, that we may help those that grieve.


In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.



FOURTEENTH STATION - JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB

They take the body of Jesus to its resting place. The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death. In this final act of surrender, who would have imagined this tomb would soon be empty or that Jesus would show himself alive to his disciples, or that they would recognize him in the breaking of bread? Oh, that our hearts might burn within us, as we realize how he had to suffer and die so as to enter into his glory, for us.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from John 11:25-26


I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


Reading


Lord Jesus, when you were placed in the tomb all seemed ended. But quickly you were to break the bonds of death, and rise splendid and victorious on Easter morning.

You promised us that if we died with you, we should also live with you. May we, through the grace of your passion, death and resurrection, die to sin and live always in your love. May the light of Easter brighten our road, till we reach the end to greet you, our risen Lord, at the close of our lives.


Pray in silence


In the fellowship of Jesus, and Mary his mother, let us share in the suffering of all those who are shut up inside themselves and are unable to accept the fullness and the joy of life; of all for whom life has become meaningless and empty, and who are unable to hear the life giving Word of God.


In your love, Lord, remember them. Father of sorrows pray for us.

FIFTEENTH STATION - JESUS RISES AGAIN

The story has not ended, it is just the beginning. We as Christians know that Jesus rose from the dead and offers eternal life to all who believe in him..

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


A reading from Mark 16:19 -20


So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to the apostles, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere.


This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading


Lord Jesus, when you rose into heaven you left us to continue your work on earth. Guide us, 0 Lord, through our journey, through our pilgrimage of life, so that we can strive to show the same compassion and caring and wisdom and thoughtfulness that you showed during your time with us.

May we to, at the hour of our death be confident, that having followed the way of the Lord we will too end our journey and be seated near you on high.


Lord Jesus, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free, you are the Saviour of the World.
Dying you destroyed our death, Rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus, come in Glory


Stations of the Cross for Lent