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Carrying of the Cross - background view

Carrying of the Cross - background view by Dan Paulos
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“To know the Cross is not merely to know our own sufferings. For the Cross is the sign of salvation, and no man is saved by his own sufferings. To know the Cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ Who underwent suffering and death in order to save us. It is, then, to know Christ.”
—Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

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1. Condemned to die on the Cross.

2. They present the Cross to Jesus, Who embraces it with love in His Heart.

3. Jesus shoulders the Cross and carries it in a spirit of good will.

4. Jesus falls beneath the heavy weight of the Cross, so that we may consider the enormous weight of our sins.

5. On His journey with His Cross Jesus meets His Mother, who is plunged in terrible grief.

6. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross.

7. Veronica wipes Jesus' Face and His holy features leave their likeness on the cloth.

8. Some women weep at seeing Jesus in such pain. Jesus tells them to weep not for Him but for themselves and for their children.

9. Jesus again falls beneath the weight of the Cross.

10. After terrible pain and fatigue Jesus reaches Mt. At the demand of the people, who have been roused by their leaders, Jesus is Calvary.

And when they led Him, they took one Simon of Cyrene coming from the country, and they laid the cross upon him to carry after Jesus. And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women which bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not upon Me, but weep upon yourselves and upon your children. For behold the days shall come wherein they shall say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not born, and the paps that have not given suck.' Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if in the green wood they do these things, in the dry what shall be done?" And there were led also other two malefactors with Him to be executed.
(Saint Luke 23: 26-32)

And in going they found a man they found a man of Cyrene named Simon: him they forced to take up His cross. And they came into the place that is called Golgotha, which is, the place of Calvary.
(Saint Matthew 27: 32-33)

And they forced a certain man that passed by, Simon, a Cyrenian, coming from the country, that father of Alexander and Rufus, to take up His cross. And they bring Him into the place Golgotha, which being interpreted is, the place of Calvary.
(Saint Mark 15: 21-22)

Then therefore he delivered Him unto them for to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him forth. And bearing His own cross He went forth into that which is called the place of Calvary, in Hebrew Golgotha.
(Saint John 19: 16-17)

Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross: My loving Jesus, it was not Pilate, no, it was my sins that condemned Thee to die. I beseech Thee by the merits of this sorrowful journey to assist my soul in its journey towards eternity.

Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on His Shoulders, thought of us, and offered for us to His Father the death He was about to undergo: My most beloved Jesus, I embrace all the tribulations that Thou hast destined for me until death. I beseech Thee, by the merits of the pain Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation.

Consider the 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 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: My adorable 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.

Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother which took place on this journey. Their looks became as so many arrows to wound those Hearts which loved each other so tenderly: My Jesus, by the sorrow Thou didst experience in this meeting, grant me the grace of a truly devoted love for Thy most holy Mother. And thou my Queen, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, obtain for me, by thine intercession, a continual and tender remembrance of the Passion of thy Son.

Consider how the Jews, seeing that at each step Jesus was on the point of expiring, and fearing He would die on the way, when they wished Him to die the ignominious death of the Cross, constrained Simon the Cyrenian to carry the Cross behind our Lord: My most loving Jesus, I will not refuse the Cross, as the Cyrenian did; I accept it, I embrace it. I accept in particular the death Thou hast destined for me, with all the pains that may accompany it; I unite it to Thy death, I offer it to Thee; Thou hast died for the love of me; I will die for the love of Thee, and to please Thee. Help me by Thy grace.

Consider how the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so afflicted, and His Face bathed in Sweat and Blood, presented Him with a towel, with which He wiped His adorable Face, leaving on it the impression of His holy Face: My most sweet Jesus, Thy Face was beautiful before, but in this journey it has lost all its beauty. Alas, my soul also was once beautiful, when it received Thy grace in Baptism; but I have disfigured it since by my sins; Thou alone, my Redeemer, canst restore it to its former beauty. Do this by Thy Passion; O Jesus, and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Consider the second fall of Jesus under His Cross - a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds of our afflicted Lord: My most beloved Jesus, how many times hast Thou pardoned me, and how many times have I fallen again, and begun again to offend Thee! Oh, by the merits of this second fall, give me the necessary helps to persevere in Thy grace until death. Grant that in all temptations which assail me I may always commend myself to Thee.

Consider how those women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in such a pitiful state, streaming with Blood as He walked along. But Jesus said to them, "Weep not for Me, but for yourselves and for your children:" My most beloved Jesus, laden with sorrows, I weep for the offenses I have committed against Thee, because of the pains they have deserved, and still more because of the displeasure they have caused Thee, Who hast loved me so much. It is Thy love, much more than the fear of hell, which causes me to weep for my sins.

Consider the third fall of Jesus. His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of His executioners excessive. They tried to hasten His steps when He could scarcely move: Ah, my outraged Jesus, by the merits of the weakness Thou didst suffer in going to Calvary, give me strength sufficient to conquer all human respect, and all my wicked passions, which have led me to despise Thy friendship.
— The Stations of the Cross of  Saint Alphonsus