Search Results for: Lent 2017

Station 1, Jesus is Condemned to Death

March 1, 2017

By Sister Margaret Mary Knittel

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

Faced with another Lent, as children we would annually ask our dad what he was giving up. Each year he would respond with the same list—“watermelon and pumpkin seeds.” Educated by the Sisters of Mercy and the Jesuits, he left us to our reflections on this season. What we gave up was our choice.

Station 1 - Jesus is Condemned to Death

Station 1 – Jesus is Condemned to Death

A resource from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops places the first Station of the Cross in the Garden of Gethsemane. Returning from prayer, Jesus finds his disciples asleep; earlier he had been clear with them—you sit here while I go over there and pray. We judge that they didn’t get it.

Beginning this new Lent with supersized ambitions of “giving up,” we seek substitutes that are sometimes distracting from deeper questions. As Jesus begins his suffering, we might consider the innocents suffering in our world. Who are they? The unborn come immediately to mind, as do the aged. But who else? Through nightly news we see the faces of those who are bombed out without home, food, loved family members, clean clothes, soap, water. The innocents could be those I do not see in a suffering that I cannot comprehend. Our choice for Lent may begin and end in prayer, a prayer out there beyond the “getting it” side of life.

Action

The coming of Lent could well stir us to include watermelon and pumpkin seeds— experimenting with a new behavior, stretching our hands and opening our hearts to the grace of a revealing God. We might spend less time figuring out the news and set aside a Lenten quiet time that takes priority; read an article or book normally passed by; stir the imagination by attending an adult education option in the parish. And if like the disciples you nap, know others have in the past.

Station II, Jesus Takes Up His Cross

March 3, 2017

By Sister Rose Weidenbenner

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

The Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross

The Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross

Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, says, “The call of the second station is no small mission. It requires us to live life consciously, to know what’s going on around us, to take some kind of responsibility, however small, for the welfare of others, for justice in the part of the universe we call our homes, our country, our world” (The Way of the Cross: The Path to New Life, 2013).

As followers of Jesus, we are called to take responsibility for immigrants and refugees; to stand in solidarity with those fleeing violence and extreme poverty, those who want a life for their children and families. Gloria is a DREAMer, a young woman who came with her family to the United States as a young child. She is hard-working, making a living for herself and her family. Gloria is family to me, like a sister or niece. Her faith and determination to take responsibility for herself and for others is much deeper than my own, as I rest on white privilege and the comfort of citizenship. Gloria is not taking anything away from me; she stands with me, here in the home she has known her whole life. Justice for all!   Read More »

Station III, Jesus Falls the First Time

March 8, 2017

By Sister Mary Ellen Twist

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

The third station, Jesus falls the first time

The third station, Jesus falls the first time

Jesus, how humiliating this must have been for you—to trip and fall flat on the ground in front of crowds taunting you. I can only imagine that as you first took up the ugly, rough-hewn cross you may have steeled yourself with the notion that, in spite of the whipping you had already endured, you could see yourself strong right through to the end. How horrified you must have felt with this very public and painful failure, not only of your physical strength but also of your psychological determination.

Did you realize that you could not bear this pain alone?

How frightening it is to know such defeat! Our human need to survive is equaled by our yearning to succeed. Jesus’ humanity is no different from our own in this regard. God created us to be survivors, to bear much pain, deal with it and continue on, but in the context of the human community. We cannot bear it all alone. Even along the road to Calvary, Jesus met those empowered by God’s Spirit to reach out, touch him and lift him up in love.

Jesus, you have freed us through your passion, death and resurrection to know the power of your Paschal Mystery in our life journey with one another.

Call to Action

During this Lenten season may we be vigilant to our opportunities to reach out, touch and lift up people who have fallen ill or upon hard times in their families, work or personal lives. It may simply be a phone call or a handwritten note or, perhaps, a personal visit with a flower or a batch of cookies that touches hearts with the realization that the incarnate love of God is alive among us.

Station IV, Jesus Meets His Mother

March 10, 2017

By Sister Anne Connolly

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

Image by Br. Michael McGrath, OSFS. Source: USCCB’s National Migration Week: A Collected Book of Prayers for Migrants. Used with permission.

Image by Br. Michael McGrath, OSFS. Source: USCCB’s National Migration Week: A Collected Book of Prayers for Migrants. Used with permission.

I invite you to Egypt with refugees Maria and José resting under a tree, their still carefree babe suspended in a basket on a limb. You know the story. At first we are tempted to smile, unless we are aware of the refugee status of these parents. In the sadness of that moment, we find richness in wondering who provided refuge when Mary and Joseph traveled with Jesus on this road in a strange land.

Fast forward to 2017 and know other mothers: Julia, Guadalupe, Susi and myriad others—today’s refugees. To some appearances, they live a normal life with their carefree, playing children. Another appreciation and privilege is to realize the moment-to-moment existence of these mothers, uncertain if today will be the day and the hour of despair. Will the next car to arrive be law enforcement? We hope Mercy is stopping by instead; Mercy, ever-awed by the resilient spirit encountered.

Call to Action

Each of us harbors worries and shame. We struggle with the presence of pain and violence. How can we be imagining the building of a wall to separate family love and life! Let us pray. Let us do all possible to inform ourselves. And let us pray again. Then we invite others to pray as well to find all the ways Mercy can be refuge and be recipient of refuge. We want to notice any “walls” around us regarding refugees. Ponder what we might do to break them down. And ponder again. All united in our revolution of tenderness and love!

Reflective-Mary

Station V, Simon the Cyrene Takes Up the Cross

March 15, 2017

By Sister Marie Immaculee Dana

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

Artist Eric Gill, “Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross.” Available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported) license. http://bit.ly/2nmPS5o

Artist Eric Gill, “Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross.” Available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported) license. http://bit.ly/2nmPS5o

Isn’t this man, stumbling and falling under the weight of that cross, that same Jesus who cured so many, fed the hungry, comforted the sorrowing, spoke for the powerless? The people of his time anticipated a powerful king to destroy their oppressors, but his power was in “giving.” Why is he being led out for crucifixion? Wait, he is stumbling again. He can’t go on.

Ah, they’ve pulled Simon the Cyrene out from us bystanders to help him carry that cross. Simon isn’t certain that he should be doing this. Maybe Jesus doesn’t want him to interfere; maybe he feels that he has to do this himself. As Simon picks up some of the weight of that rough cross, he sees the appreciation on Jesus’ face. Clearly, recognizing his own human need, Jesus is grateful to Simon; he can continue his journey to Calvary.

This is a journey that he must complete for us, a journey that he now invites us to take with him. All that Jesus did for others—for me—was preparation for it. Now, he draws us deeper into the mystery.

Action

We who have committed ourselves to the service of others through Mercy tend to see ourselves as doers. It is hard to accept the assistance of others, to be dependent, receivers. Jesus, in his humanity, made it possible for Simon to share more fully in the way of salvation. Can we, too, find the simplicity and humility to recognize our needfulness and graciously accept the service of others on this journey to Calvary? Jesus did.

Station VI, Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

March 17, 2017

By Sister Jean Evans

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

There is a tradition in the Church that a woman named Veronica stepped out of the crowd and reached out to Jesus as he struggled to carry the heavy beam of the cross. She wiped his face, and the story goes that the imprint of Jesus’ face remained on that cloth.

Whoever she was, Veronica was a woman who saw misery and acted to offer some relief and comfort. She offered mercy to our suffering Savior. How am I a Veronica today? How can I be more attentive to others around me who carry heavy burdens?

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“Jesus Meets Veronica,” painting by Audrey Frank Anastasi. This painting with others appears in The Stations of the Cross, a Book of Meditative Paintings: http://amzn.to/2n2xEZp. Used with permission.

“Jesus Meets Veronica,” painting by Audrey Frank Anastasi. This painting with others appears in The Stations of the Cross, a Book of Meditative Paintings: http://amzn.to/2n2xEZp. Used with permission.

Action

Wiping Jesus’ face not only brought some momentary relief, it was also a recognition of his dignity. Let us offer a cool cloth of comfort and recognition to those around us whose dignity has been taken away from them for any reason—whether through ill health, victimization, imprisonment or homelessness.

Station VII, Jesus Falls the Second Time

March 22, 2017

By Sister Marilyn Sunderman

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

The Seventh Station, Jesus Falls the Second Time

The Seventh Station, Jesus Falls the Second Time

In the traditional Way of the Cross, Christians pray repeatedly: “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise you because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” On the way to Golgotha, where the crossbeam He bears will become the means of His ignominious death, an exhausted Jesus collapses to the ground for a second time. The fallen Jesus experiences the shame and humiliation of painful torture. Yet somehow Jesus, whose dignity is debased, is able to reach into the depths of His being to raise Himself up again to continue along the Via Dolorosa. Here Jesus, a torture victim, is resilient in the face of adversity. During His public ministry, Jesus demonstrated this same kind of resilience. For example, in the face of the traumatic experience of several attempts to stone Him to death, Jesus courageously continued His teaching and healing ministry. Again, when Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy, He resolutely taught that He was sent by His Father on mission and that He and His Father were One.

Jesus, who fell to the ground a second time, is One whose resilience entailed strength through suffering. Through Jesus’ resilience in the face of the humiliation and torture of the cross, all of creation has been redeemed. The Crucified/Risen Jesus is the One who confronted and triumphed over the forces of evil in our world.

Call to Action

Today persons who suffer physical, mental or spiritual torture are the face of Christ. Followers of the tortured, risen Christ must ask themselves: In what way(s) can I/we raise prophetic voices against such violence as, for example, the heinous treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which exists in our world? To engage in Jesus’ narrative of suffering is to enter into solidarity with victims of torture. It is to practice resilience by repeatedly resisting and rejecting the continuance of the cycle of torture that exists around the globe. The question becomes: How do I/we come to the aid of those whose dignity, like that of the fallen Jesus, is abused through the violence of torture?

Station VIII, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

March 24, 2017

By Sister Mandy Carrier

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

The Eighth Station, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

The Eighth Station, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Jesus stopped to speak to the women weeping for him on his way to Calvary. These women had most likely traveled with Jesus and supported his mission. They knew him personally. As Jesus was being taken to his execution, they came to see him, knowing they could do no more than show up and bear witness. The power of their simple yet courageous presence speaks to me as I reflect on all those who are suffering in the world today: people I meet in my ministry, people who ask for prayers, people I see on the news around the world and many more who suffer silently. Like the women gathered in this scene from the Way of the Cross, we can be present to God who resides in each of us and respond tenderly to those who suffer even when we can do no more than bear witness.

Call to Action

How do we see God in the people we encounter? This Lent try this prayer by Julie Collins. She suggests asking God to show you a particular person: a friend, family member, coworker, a person you like or dislike. Ask God to show you the true person inside and to help you see the person as God sees her or him. When we ask to see others with God’s eyes, then we can “begin to love them with God’s heart.” Be present to those you meet and as you reflect perhaps you will begin to notice that you are also being present to God.

Station IX, Jesus Falls the Third Time

March 29, 2017

By Sister Eileen Smith

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

9th-Station-of-the-Cross

Station IX, Jesus Falls the Third Time

O Jesus, how exhausted, frustrated and disoriented you must have been when you fell the third time on your way to Calvary. What gave you the strength to get up and continue on your way to your ghastly execution? Your third fall reminds us that even when we experience moments of complete helplessness, failure and despair, we can stand up again, even if it means the journey ahead is more suffering and death to self.

Countless people suffer from chronic physical or mental illness. They do not see an end to their suffering, yet they continue on with God’s grace, believing that God alone is the Author of life and death. It is the power of prayer that helps these people to get up again, no matter the cost. I am always deeply moved by the resolution of my own loving sister who has suffered from chronic Parkinson’s disease for more than 25 years. She courageously gets up each day, struggling to do the simplest tasks, knowing that her condition will only get worse. She truly knows the reality of falling many times just as Jesus did! What gives her strength is her personal prayer and her reception of the Eucharist!

Call to Action

In recent years, many in our society challenge the conviction that suffering is of any value. O, Jesus, you did not take away suffering; rather, you showed us that it is a part of our life’s journey. Help us through our prayer to embrace whatever necessary pain that may come our way with courage and trust in You!

Believe in the power of your prayer and pray for those who suffer from chronic pain. Visit someone who suffers from chronic pain, either in their home or at a nursing facility. Write to your legislators about your conviction that life is valuable from the moment of conception to natural death. Advocate for legislation against euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Station X, Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

March 31, 2017

By Sister Helen Libo-on

We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.

Contemplation

The Tenth Station of the Cross, Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

The Tenth Station of the Cross, Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

Lord Jesus, you are the giver of all dignity to humans and Earth. Look what we have done stripping your clothes—the symbolic stripping of your human dignity. The painful process of removing your garments is still being done today in so many ways:

We do it when we plunder Earth’s resources for the cause of development and greed.

We do it “legally” when we kill those involved in drug crimes without due process of law and without giving them any chance of changing their lives.

We do it when we cannot live peacefully with each other as brothers and sisters of different race, colors and beliefs.

We still continue to do it when women and children are being victimized and trafficked in different parts of the world because of lust.

We still do it when we do not welcome immigrants in our own country who are seeking a place to live in peace and love.

Call to Action

It seems an endless process of stripping you, Jesus! Help us realize that when we journey with you in this Lenten season, we are called to stop all that causes you pain in small and big ways.

As men and women enriched by your great love and mercy, may we learn to love and respect Earth and all that live here, our common home. May we realize that every small effort to alleviate the miseries of others would mean so much to you, because we know that whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do it to you.