Saturday 29 September 2007

II. Jesus carries his cross

The Second Station

II. Jesus Carries His Cross
Illustration: Carolyn Homes

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

They took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.

John: 19: 17

Friday 28 September 2007

I. Jesus is condemned to death

My adorable Jesus, it was not Pilate, no, it was my sins that condemned you to die. I beseech you, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, to assist my soul in its journey towards eternity. I love you, my beloved Jesus; I repent with my whole heart for having offended you. Never permit me to separate myself from you again. Grant that I may love you always; and then do with me what you will.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc.

Dear Jesus, you do go to die
For very love of me:
Ah! let me bear you company;
I wish to die with you.

I. Jesus is condemned to death

Walking the camino I met a Jewish man named Walter Koch, who at the time of my meeting him in October 2002, was 76 years old. He had been imprisoned in Auschwitz when he was fifteen years old, and on his body he bore terrible scars: lost ribs and teeth, and a number on his arm.

He was walking to Santiago de Compostela ( a pilgrimage to the shrine of St James the Apostle) for the third time. He was just about to complete 700.000 kilometres. I was embarrassed because at the end of a very long day walking, he over took me at a brisk pace proclaiming 'Lift your feet, peregrina. You are nearly home!'

He played a vicious game of dominos, and in a mixture of many languages told me his story. Much of his life was full of suffering and it led you to question 'why did this happen?' This was a question alien to Walter. He argued that the more important questions were not about the past, but the future. He did not walk on pilgrimage to reminisce about the past. He journeyed because of the past, but he walked into the future. The only question for him that was worth asking was not 'why did this happen?', but 'why are you walking?'.

The first question he could not answer and it made him angry, the second he could respond to, and it made him smile. 'Why am I walking?' - 'I am walking for peace - and against violence, against drugs, and against war.'

Primo Levi, an Italian Jew, was also in Auschwitz. He recounts how one day he was going crazy with thirst and he saw a beautiful icicle. He reached out to grab it and to suck it, but was stopped by a guard. So Levi said 'Warum?', 'Why?' And the guard replied, 'Hier ist kein warum', 'Here there is no "why?"' We may still all live through moments that are absurd, where there is no why or wherefore. Then we cannot seek for easy answers. It would be blasphemous to offer explanations. All we can do is trust that God is here.

Seven Last Words - Timothy Radcliffe

Thursday 27 September 2007

I. Jesus is condemned to death

Jesus rests in his Father, but the Father in turn does not allow him to rest. God appears to him as father, but the Father appears to him as God. God goes on being a mystery, being God, not man, and therefore different from and greater than all human ideas and expectations. God becomes temptation for Jesus when he has to discern true saving power. God becomes engima for him by absolutely holding back the day of the coming of the Kingdom, which Jesus had thought so close at hand. God becomes mystery for him when God's will goes beyond the logic of the Kingdom and demands an undreamt of suffering at the end of which lies the cross. God becomes scandal to Jesus when he listens to God's silence on the cross.

Jesus The Liberator: Jon Sobrino

There are two people in this story who suffer the loss of reason. Reason, given to humanity as a gift from God, is suddenly stripped from this scene leaving the two central characters with only their natural instincts to follow.

The sentence which Pilate hands down is a complete injustice, doubted even by his own convictions. Luke’s Gospel, in particular, gives no sense of Pilate understanding his actions. He is swayed by the will of the crowd and his will is subservient to their ambitions.

Jesus on the other hand, although in his humanity he was surely suffering from a similar abandonment of reason, remains obedient to the will of the Father. He can no longer understand what is happening to him, but when his human reason fails, he listens to God. Jesus had to surrender the gift of reason; the gift we need to inform our thoughts, prayers and actions. Human reason can't accommodate the ‘logic’ of the cross. In doing so he adopted the divine path: the road of obedience, faithful listening.

The disciples, at this point, had all fled from the scene, and from the way of the cross. And, who could blame them, since this would be a natural reaction. We all want to run away from the humanity which we find ‘ugly’ in life: the wounded, the sick, the homeless, the vulnerable, the dying. We can’t run away from such people, as we are sometimes tempted to do, because when Jesus chose to follow the will of the Father, he united himself with the ‘ugly’ things of life: pain and suffering.

We can't leave because in order to dignify someone it is necessary to acknowledge them, their experience, and their pain. If we do not do this we disregard them, ignore them and pretend they are not important. When we want to understand someone, particularly a person who has been through many trials, we listen very carefully. We imagine what they went through, feel compassion for their losses and empathize with their loved ones. In the same way, in order to 'dignify' the life of Jesus we are called to listen, imagine, feel and empathize. His obedience deserves our attention simply because it was this that led him through the cross to union with the Father.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

I. Jesus is condemned to death

The First Station

I. Jesus is condemned to death
Illustration: Ken Cooke

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

Pilate then summoned the chief priests and the leading men and the people. He said to them: ' You brought this man before me as a popular agitator. Now I have gone into the matter myself in your presence and found no grounds in the man for any of the charges your bring against him. Nor has Herod either, since he has sent him back to us. As you can see, the man has done nothing that deserves death, so I shall have him flogged and then let him go.'
But as one man they howled, 'Away with him! Give us Barabbas!' (This man had been thrown into prison because of a riot in the city and murder.)
In his desire to set Jesus free, Pilate addressed them again, but they shouted back, 'Crucify him, crucify him!'. And for the third time he spoke to them, 'But what harm has this man done? I have found no case against him that deserves death, so I shall have him flogged and then let him go.' But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he should be crucified. And their shouts kept growing louder.
Pilate then gave his verdict: their demand was to be granted. He released the man they asked for, who had been imprisoned because of rioting and murder, and handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they pleased.

Luke 23: 14 -25

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Godzdogz Creed

I have back posted this, as I thought it would be an appropriate way to begin the Stations of the Cross. My thanks to the Domincan Studentate for their hard work producing this beautiful sung Credo, and their commentary on the meaning and significance of the Creed. I recommend to all readers that they check out the Godzdogz link to be educated and inspired.

Preparing and Procrastinating

In general I prepare for any journey by procrastinating extensively. I write endless lists about what I should bring and what I should leave behind. Then I have a bout of conscience and think about the weight allowances of British Airways. I cross off half of what was on my list in the first place and begin to pack for the journey. When I get to the end of my list I pack the things I crossed off previously, and a then throw a few more bits in just in case - a posh skirt, a mirror - do I need a travel iron? I curse at check in and moan about the unnnecesarry restrictions. While I am away I use only a quarter of what packed, and in the end unpack at home reflecting about how much I didn't need to bring with me anyway.

For this journey though I have decided to bring with me just one thing. A thought from St John of the Cross. Please excuse me for writing it in Spanish first, it rhymes better.

Noche Obscura

En una noche obscura,
con ansia, en amores inflamada,
¡oh dichosa ventura!,
salí sin ser notada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

A oscuras y segura
por la secreta escala, disfrazada,
¡oh dichosa ventura!,
a escuras y en celada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

En la noche dichosa,
en secreto, que nadie me veía,
ni yo miraba cosa,
sin otra luz y guía
sino la que en el corazón ardía.

Aquesta me guiaba
más cierto que la luz del mediodía
adonde me esperaba
quien bien yo me sabía
en parte donde nadie parecía.

¡Oh noche que guiaste!
¡Oh noche, amable más que el alborada!
¡Oh noche que juntaste
Amado con amada,
amada en el Amado transformada!

En mi pecho florido,
que entero para él solo se guardaba,
allí quedó dormido,
y yo me regalaba,
y el ventalle de cedros aire daba.

El aire del almena,
cuando ya sus cabellos esparcía,
con su mano serena
en mi cabello hería,
y todos mis sentidos suspendía.

Quedéme y olvidéme,
el rostro recliné sobre el Amado;
cesó todo, y dexéme,
dexando mi cuidado
entre las azucenas olvidado.

On a Dark Night

On a dark night
When love burned bright
Consuming all my care,
While my house slept,
Unseen, I crept
Along the secret stair.

O blessed chance!
No human glance
My secret steps detected.
While my house slept,
I silent crept
In shadow well protected.

That blessed night
Concealed from sight,
Unseeing did I go,
No light to guide
But that inside
My eager heart aglow

A guide as bright
As noonday light,
Which brought me where he dwelt,
Where none but he
Could wait for me
And make his presence felt

Sweeter that night
Than morning light,
For Love did loving meet,
I knew him well,
And we could dwell
In ecstasy complete

I gave him there
My thought, my care,
So did my spirit flower.
Love lay at rest
Upon my breast
That cedar scented hour.

When morning air
Ruffled his hair
From off the ramparts blowing,
I felt his hand,
A quiet command
Tranquility bestowing.

Then face to face
With love’s own grace,
My fears no more parading,
I left them there
With all my care
Among the lilies fading.

Monday 24 September 2007


Beginning a journey into the unknown

The Shell of St James - Camino de Santiago

My Lord Jesus Christ, you have made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned you; but now I love you with my whole heart, and because I love you, I repent sincerely for ever having offended you. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany you on this journey. You are going to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of you. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to you.
Alphonsus Liguori

Sunday 23 September 2007

Why would you write this?

Yes, it does seem strange for a young woman to write about such things, I agree. But, you see it is something that I have never really understood. I have read about the stations of the cross. I have even been present as people prayed the stations of the cross. I have heard excellent homilies about the stations of the cross. But, I have never, ever understood the stations of the cross.

Actually, I do not for a moment imagine that writing about the stations will help me to understand them. But I am hoping that it will make me appreciate my lack of understanding, and I am hoping that the more tired my intellect grows of trying to understand, the more I will be able to accept the fact that this particular spiritual practice was meant to be grasped. Practiced. Walked. Done. Felt. Definately not understood.