V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi. [We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.]
R. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum. [Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.]
From the Book of Lamentations. 3:1-2, 9, 16
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light… He has blocked my ways with hewn stones he has made my paths crooked… He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes.
“I am a worm, and no man, scorned by men, and despised by the people” (Ps 22:6). The prophetic words of the Psalmist are wholly fulfilled in these steep, narrow alleys of Jerusalem in the final hours before the Passover. We know that those hours before the feast are unnerving, the streets teeming with people. This is the context in which the words of the Psalmist are being fulfilled, even though nobody gives this a thought. Certainly it passes unnoticed by those who jeer, those for whom this Jesus of Nazareth, as he now falls for the second time, is a laughing-stock.
And he wills all this, he wills the fulfilment of the prophecy. And so he falls, exhausted by all the effort. He falls in accordance with the will of the Father, a will expressed in the words of the Prophet. He falls in accordance with his own will: “How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Mt 26:54). “I am a worm, and no man” (Ps 22:6). Not even an Ecce homo here (Jn 19:5), but something much less, much worse.
A worm creeps along the ground, whereas man, like a king among creatures, walks above it. A worm will gnaw even at wood: like a worm, remorse for sin gnaws at man’s conscience. Remorse for the second fall.
Jesus of Nazareth, you became an outcast among men, in order to ennoble all creatures. R. Kyrie, eleison.
Jesus, servant of life, crushed by men, yet raised up by God. R. Kyrie, eleison.
From the Book of Lamentations. 3:1-2,9,16
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light. He has blocked my way with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes.
|Seventh Station of the Cross,
Church of Saint-Brice-en-Coglès
The tradition that Jesus fell three times beneath the weight of the Cross evokes the fall of Adam – the state of fallen humanity – and the mystery of Jesus’ own sharing in our fall. Throughout history the fall of man constantly takes on new forms. In his First Letter, Saint John speaks of a threefold fall: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. He thus interprets the fall of man and humanity against the backdrop of the vices of his own time, with all its excesses and perversions. But we can also think, in more recent times, of how a Christianity which has grown weary of faith has abandoned the Lord: the great ideologies, and the banal existence of those who, no longer believing in anything, simply drift through life, have built a new and worse paganism, which in its attempt to do away with God once and for all, have ended up doing away with man. And so man lies fallen in the dust. The Lord bears this burden and falls, over and over again, in order to meet us. He gazes on us, he touches our hearts; he falls in order to raise us up.
Lord Jesus Christ, you have borne all our burdens and you continue to carry us. Our weight has made you fall. Lift us up, for by ourselves we cannot rise from the dust. Free us from the bonds of lust. In place of a heart of stone, give us a heart of flesh, a heart capable of seeing. Lay low the power of ideologies, so that all may see that they are a web of lies. Do not let the wall of materialism become insurmountable. Make us aware of your presence. Keep us sober and vigilant, capable of resisting the forces of evil. Help us to recognize the spiritual and material needs of others, and to give them the help they need. Lift us up, so that we may lift others up. Give us hope at every moment of darkness, so that we may bring your hope to the world.
|Seventh Station of the Cross, Pfettisheim Saint Symphorian|
Pater noster, …
Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.