In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
ACT OF CONTRITION
My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee; but now I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee I repent sincerely for having ever offended Thee. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to Thee.
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Consider, this first fall of Jesus under His cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, His head crowned with thorns, and He had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that He could scarcely walk, and yet He had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times in His journey.
My beloved Jesus, it is not the weight of the cross, but of my sins, which has made Thee suffer so much pain. Ah, by the merits of this first fall, deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. I love Thee, O my Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. And give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
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.
Third Station of the Cross
Jesus falls for the first time
with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Good Friday 2005, at the Colosseum in Rome
From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (53: 4-6):
And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.
Man has fallen, and he falls always anew: how many times he becomes a caricature of himself, no longer the image of God, but something that makes a mockery of the Creator. Is not the image of man par excellence the man who, going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, was attacked by robbers who stripped him and left him half-dead, bleeding beside the road? The fall of Jesus beneath the Cross is not only the fall of the man Jesus already exhausted by the scourging. Something more profound emerges here, as Paul says in the Letter to the Philippians: “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are … He was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8). In the fall of Jesus beneath the weight of the Cross, the entire course of his life appears: his voluntary abasement, to lift us up out of our pride. And at the same time, the nature of our pride emerges: the arrogance with which we want to emancipate ourselves from God and be nothing other than ourselves, with which we believe we do not need eternal love, but with which we want to shape our lives on our own. In this rebellion against truth, in this attempt to be our own god, to be creators and judges of ourselves, we fall headlong and end up by destroying ourselves. The abasement of Jesus is the surpassing of our pride: by his abasement he raises us up. Let us let him raise us up. Let us cast off our self-sufficiency, our false illusions of autonomy, and instead learn from him, from the one who abased himself, to find our true grandeur, abasing ourselves and turning to God and to our downtrodden brothers.
Lord Jesus, the weight of the cross made you fall to the ground. The weight of our sin, the weight of our arrogance, brought you down. But your fall is not the sign of a tragedy, it is not the pure and simple weakness of the one trampled upon. You wanted to come among us who, through our arrogance, were laid low. The arrogance to think that we can produce man has meant that men have become a kind of commodity, to be bought and sold, which are like a reservoir of material for our experiments, with which we hope to overcome death by ourselves, whereas, in truth, we are doing nothing other than debasing the dignity of man ever more profoundly. Lord, help us because we have fallen. Help us to abandon our destructive arrogance and, by learning from your humility, be raised anew.
Our Father… Oh, how sad and sore distressed was that Mother highly blessed of the sole begotten One!
More to Come.