Tag Archives: lenten season

Ninth station: Jesus falls the third time

Ninth station-Jesus falls a third time

Reflection

My Jesus, even with the help of Simon You fell a third time. Were You telling me that there may be times in my life that I will fall again and again despite the help of friends and loved ones? There are times when the crosses You permit in my life are more than I can bear. It is as if all the sufferings of a life are suddenly compressed into the present moment and it is more than I can stand.

Though it grieves my heart to see You so weak and helpless, it is a comfort to my soul to know that You understand my sufferings from Your own experience. Your love for me made You want to experience every kind of pain just so I could have someone to look to for example and courage.

Prayer

When I cry out from the depths of my soul, “This suffering is more than I can bear.”

Do You whisper, “Yes, I understand”? When I’m discouraged after many falls, do You say in my innermost being, “keep going, I know how hard it is to rise”? There are many people, who are sorely tried in body and soul with alcohol and drug weakness; who try and fall again and again.

Through the humiliation of this third fall, give them the courage and perseverance to take up their cross and follow You.

 

Eighth station: Jesus speaks to the holy women

Eighth station-Jesus speaks to the holy women

Reflection

My Jesus, I am amazed at Your compassion for others in Your time of need. When I suffer, I have a tendency to think only of myself; but You forgot Yourself completely. When You saw the holy women weeping over Your torments, You consoled them and taught them to look deeper into Your Passion.

You wanted them to understand that the real evil to cry over was the rejection You suffered from the chosen people-a people, set apart from every other nation, who refused to accept God’s son. The act of redemption would go on and no one would ever be able to take away Your dignity as Son of God, but the evil and greed, jealousy and ambition in the hearts of those who should have recognized You was the issue to grieve over. To be so close to God made man and miss Him completely was the real crime.

Prayer

My Jesus, I fear I do the same when I strain gnats and then swallow camels; when I take out the splinter in my brother’s eye and forget the beam in my own. It is such a gift-this gift of faith. It is such a sublime grace to possess Your own Spirit. Why haven’t I advanced in holiness of life?

I miss the many disguises You take upon Yourself and see only people, circumstances and human events, not the loving hand of the Father guiding all things. Help all those who are discouraged, sick, lonely and old to recognize Your presence in their midst.

Amen.

 

Seventh station: Jesus falls a second time

Seventh station-Jesus falls a second time

Reflection

My Jesus, one of the beautiful qualities people admired in You was Your strength in time of ridicule; Your ability to rise above the occasion. But now, You fall a second time; apparently conquered by the pain of the Cross. People who judged Your appearance made a terrible mistake.

What looked like weakness was unparalleled strength!

I often judge by appearances and how wrong I am most of the time. The world judges entirely by this fraudulent method of discerning. It looks down upon those who apparently have given their best and are now in need. It judges the poor as failures, the sick as useless, and the aged as a burden.

How wrong that kind of judgement is, in the light of Your second fall! Your greatest moment was Your weakest one. Your greatest triumph was in failure. Your greatest act of love was in desolation. Your greatest show of power was in that utter lack of strength that threw You to the ground.

Prayer

Weak and powerful Jesus, give me the grace to see beyond what is visible and be more aware of Your wisdom in the midst of weakness. Give the aged, sick, handicapped, retarded, deaf and blind the fruit of joy so they may ever be aware of the Father’s gift and the vast difference between what the world sees and what The Father sees that they may glory in their weakness, so the power of God may be manifest.

Amen.

Sixth station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Sixth station-Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Reflection

My Jesus, where were all the hundreds of people whose bodies and souls were healed by You? Where were they when You needed someone to give You the least sign of comfort? Ingratitude must have borne down upon Your heart and made the cross nearly impossible to carry.

There are times I too feel all my efforts for Your kingdom are futile and end in nothingness. Did Your eyes roam through the crowd for the comfort of just one individual; one sign of pity, one sign of grief? My heart thrills with a sad joy when I think of one woman breaking away from fear and human respect and offering You her thin veil to wipe Your bleeding face.

Your loving heart, ever watching for the least sign of love, imprinted the image of Your torn face upon it. How can You forget Yourself so completely and reward such a small act of kindness?

Prayer

I must admit, I have been among those who were afraid to know You, rather than like Veronica; she did not care if the whole world knew she loved You. Heartbroken Jesus, give me the quality of the soul so necessary to witness to spread Your word-to tell all people of Your love for them. Send many into Your vineyard so the people of all nations may receive the good news.

Imprint Your Divine image upon my soul and let the thin veil of my human nature bear a perfect resemblance to Your loving Spirit.

Amen.

Fifth station: Simon helps Jesus carry His cross

Fifth station-Simon helps Jesus carry the cross

Reflection

My Jesus, Your tormentor’s enlisted a Simon of Cyrene to help You carry Your cross. Your humility is beyond my comprehension. Your power upheld the whole universe and yet You permit one of your creatures to help You carry a cross. I imagine Simon was reluctant to take part in Your shame. He had no idea that all who watched and jeered at Him would pass into oblivion while his name would go down in history as the one who helped his God in need.

Is it not so with me, dear Jesus? Even when I reluctantly carry my cross as Simon did, it benefits my soul. If I keep my eyes on You and watch how You suffered, I will be able to bear my cross with greater fortitude. Were you trying to tell all those who suffer prejudice to have courage?

Was Simon a symbol of those who are hated because of race, colour and creed?

Prayer

Simon wondered as he took those beams upon his shoulders, why he was chosen for such a heavy burden and now he knows. Help me Jesus, to trust Your loving providence as You permit suffering to weave itself in and out of my life. Make me understand that You looked at it and held it fondly before You passed it on to me.

You watch me and give me the strength just as You did Simon. When I enter your kingdom, I shall know as he knows, what marvels Your cross has wrought in my soul.

Amen.

Fourth station: Jesus meets His afflicted Mother

Fourth station-jesus meets His afflicted mother

Reflection

My Jesus, it was a great sorrow to realize Your pain caused Mary so much grief. As redeemer, You wanted her to share in Your pain for mankind. When You glanced at each other in unutterable suffering, what gave You both the courage to carry on without the least alleviation-without anger at such injustice?

It seems as if You desired to suffer every possible pain to give me an example on how to suffer when my time comes. What a humiliation for You when Your mother saw You in such a pitiable state-weak, helpless, at the mercy of sinful men; holiness exposed to evil in such hideousness.

Prayer

Did every moment of that short encounter seem like an eternity? As I see so much suffering in the world, there are times I think it is all hopeless. There is an element of lethargy in my prayers for mankind that says, “I’ll pray, but what good will it do? The sick grow sicker and the hungry starve.”

I think of that glance between You and Mary-the glance that said, “Let Us give this misery to the Father for the salvation of souls. The Father’s power takes our pain and frustration and renews souls, saves them for a new life-a life of eternal joy, eternal happiness. It is worth it all.”

Give perseverance to the sick so they can carry the cross of frustration and agony with love and resignation for the salvation of others.

Amen.

Third station: Jesus falls the first time

Third station-Jesus falls the first time

Reflection

My Jesus, it seems to me that as God, you would have carried Your cross without faltering, but You did not. You fell beneath its weight to show me You understand when I fall. Is it pride that makes me want to shine even in pain? You were not ashamed to fall-to admit the cross was heavy. There are those in the world whom my pride will not tolerate as I expect everyone to be strong, yet I am weak. I am ashamed to admit failure in anything.

If the Father permits failure in my life just as He permitted You to fall, then I must know there is good in that failure which my mind will never comprehend. I must not concentrate on the eyes of others as they rest upon me in my falls. Rather, I must reach up to touch that invisible hand and drink in that invisible strength ever at my side.

Prayer

Weak Jesus, help all men who try so hard to be good but whose nature is constantly opposed to them walking straight and tall down the narrow road of life. Raise their heads to see the glory that is to come rather than the misery of the present moment. Your love for me gave You strength to rise from Your fall. Look upon all those whom the world considers unprofitable servants and give them courage to be more concerned as to how they stand before You, rather than their fellowmen.

Amen.

Second station: Jesus carries His cross

Second station-Jesus carries His cross

Reflection

How could any human impose such a burden on Your torn and bleeding body, Lord Jesus? Each movement of the cross drove the thorns deeper into Your head. How did You keep the hatred from welling up in Your heart? How did the injustice of it all not ruffle Your peace? The Father’s Will was hard on You- why do I complain when it’s hard on me?

I see injustice and am frustrated; and when my plan to alleviate it seems futile, I despair. When I see those burdened with poverty suffer ever more and cross is added to cross, my heart is far from serene. I utterly fail to see the dignity of the cross as it is carried with love. I would so much rather be without it.

Prayer

My worldly concept is that suffering, like food, should be shared equally. How ridiculous I am, dear Lord. Just as we do not all need the same amount of material food, neither do we need the same amount of spiritual food and that is what the cross is in my life, isn’t it? Spiritual food proportional to my needs.

Amen.

Beginning of Lent

Yesterday, 5th March was Ash Wednesday. It was the first day of the forty days’ Lenten fast preceding Easter. The ash used is made from burning Palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. It’s then blessed by the priest, who then puts it on people’s foreheads in the form of a sign of the cross. The ash serves as a reminder that human beings came from dust and to dust we shall return.

ash wednesday

Additionally, in the early days before soap was discovered, ash was used for cleaning. In this case therefore, the ash also symbolizes cleansing. In ancient times, the use of ash was an outer manifestation of mourning and repentance. In Job 42:6, after realizing his mistakes about questioning the will of God Job said, “So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes.” Ash therefore shows that a sombre mood characterises the Lenten season; purple vestments are used by priests.

The three pillars of lent are fasting, reflection/penance and alms giving. It’s a period where people are called to reflect on their relationship with God. Sin separates us from God; it’s precisely for this reason that the need for repentance is greatly emphasized. It’s also a season of self-denial. People are encouraged to give up the things that pull them away from the grace of God; things they feel weaken their faith as Christians. If, for instance, anger makes you do things you regret later, give up on the anger.

The faithful are also encouraged to sacrifice the things they love. Basically this is a time of repentance; therefore we should deny ourselves those things that afford us pleasure in life. Whatever one chooses to sacrifice, they are asked to give it to the needy.

The forty days’ fast is an imitation of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, where He was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4: 1-11), immediately after His baptism. He went there to prepare Himself for the great mission He was about to embark on. During this Lenten season, we are reminded of our mortality, so we can realize the need to reflect on the relationship we have with God and repent our sins before it’s too late.

We are reminded not to put too much attention on bodily things; on material things, because they all shall pass. We’re reminded not to attach so much importance to physical things, because it’s the soul that matters. It’s the soul that carries on with the eternal journey when this life is no more.

Even though I write so much on Christianity and spirituality, I am not oblivious to the fact that not all my readers are Christians. But I hope this post inspires everyone who reads it somehow. I don’t ask that everyone converts to Christianity, but I hope that each one reflects on the lives they lead; one doesn’t need to be a Christian to help the needy, and neither does one need to be a Christian to aspire to be a better person.

Humans are synonymous with sin; our nature predisposes us to imperfections. This period is simply a time to reflect, atone for our wrongs and help those in need. One doesn’t necessarily have to be a Christian to do that.