Easter: The Fifteenth Station (Fulfillment!)

THE FIFTEENTH STATION:  THE FULFILLMENT

Candle 2Jesus has conquered sin and death.   He is Risen!

He’s the incomparable One:  God’s Son and Saviour, even come as one of us.   The Church starts each Easter in celebrating Jesus as the Light of the World.  A lit Easter Paschal candle              (representing Jesus) enters into a dark church at the Vigil Mass, but soon all have received it’s light, in their holding candles.   Each Easter Vigil begins also with the Exultet Song.

Let’s ponder upon some words of the Exultet…

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

thD6S3GMD9Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.   On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human. 

May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Candle

 

 

 

14th Station Meditation

Jesus is laid in the tomb.  IMAG1095_1

Some final male figures emerge at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry to publicly show their belief upon Him.  They show that , before one’s own death, it’s never too late to believe upon the Lord.

The two men here, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimithea, assist in the respectful burial of Jesus.  They reveal their faith, love and loyalty to Him in this action.  Both were leading Jewish figures, showing that not all the leading Jews had conspired to crucify Christ.  Jesus had followers among the leaders, too, though they feared coming out in strong public witness for Him.  But the Love Story of God in Christ Jesus Crucified compelled these two men to even take care of The Lord’s burial.  It even turned out that Joseph of Arimethea had a nearby cave in his ownership.  There they placed Jesus’ body.  Nicodemus, who had followed Jesus secretly (see John 3), was now unashamed to show all his trust in Jesus.

Nick’s conversion might move us out of our own reservations to witness for Jesus.  Are we loving, or timid, or in- between evangelizers for The Faith in Jesus Christ?

Joseph was a well-off person, showing that the financially sound can be wise and humbled, too, in the Offer of Jesus.  Jesus gives what money (nor poverty) cannot buy.  It is the surrendered heart that becomes rich.

The other latecomer believers in the story were Dismas, the repentant thief and defender of Jesus, on a cross besides Jesus’ one.  Jesus promised paradise to him.  Also, in a last-second joining to Christ, was the centurion who had pierced Jesus’ side with a lance. When the Blood and water spilled onto him, he was converted, saying: “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

We might pray that Jesus’ Body and Blood (in sacrament) do a work in us to have us further testify to Christ among us.  Let us draw people to Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament.  He said: ” I AM the Bread of Life… anyone who partakes and eats in this Bread, my flesh, will live forever.”(Jn. 6)

 

13th Station Meditation

Jesus is taken down from The Cross.

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There is no more sorrowful a scene on earth than this one.   The great artist Michelangelo made a masterpiece of it in his Pieta work.

One can imagine the hours and days and months that this artist used to try to “see” the moment.   Here in this station, we pause to consider the same dear, real moment in history, with Jesus’ bloody body in death, in Mary’s arms, on Golgotha, with St. John standing by, “the one Jesus loved.”

While we can’t penetrate this Sorrowful Mystery with full understanding,  as even Michelangelo learned, perhaps putting ourselves in this scene as John, as another “one Jesus loved,” we can show our compassion for the Sacred Heart so wounded , and for Mary’s Immaculate Heart, so pierced here for her Son.

 

 

 

12th Station Meditation

Jesus Dies.  IMAG1093_1

 

 

Finally, the work of Love by Jesus is done.   He utters the decree in His last breath and words: “It is finished.”

Mary is there underneath the foot of The Cross.  John is beside her.

John would reflect later upon this moment in His Gospel, in its third chapter. “The Son of Man came down from Heaven…and the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert (to bring healing to those dying in sin)…then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.  God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ( in this way) that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”. (Jn.3)

The Crucified Lord Jesus is on Whom we believe: God’s only Son, sent to save us.

By Your Mercy, Lord save us!

See Jesus in this Holy Offering.   Know that the Holy Mass presents the One and the Same Jesus of Offering. The Lamb once slain, Who does no more, but is presented to people of the world as their offering for sin.

As it was said at Jesus’ trial:  “Behold the Man.”.  Perhaps now the Cross now stands as our trial for acceptance or denial of Him– can we behold Him Who died for our sins, so as to save us, and live in us, making Peace with God between the sinner and The Sacred.

 

11th Station Meditation

Jesus is nailed to The Cross.   IMAG1092_1

 

It was just before Noon that Friday, when Our Lord was pierced by some very large nails, at least a foot long each, with large piercing points to drive through the flesh of hands and feet.  This piercing brought on much bleeding and would bring on His death in just three hours.  Most crucifixions took longer, but Jesus had endured much from Thursday night on. It was incredible how He had even made it to Calvary’s hill.   His determination was quite immeasurable.  

Up to this piercing, He had been physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally drained in the Gethsename prayer time, even sweating out blood prior to His arrest.  Then, taken into custody to hostile enemies, He suffered from psychological torture, while being forcibly led around the city for interrogations and judgments.  Demons used these pawns for their attacks on His will and spirit.  Physically, He endured many hard beatings and the ripping off of His beard hair, then a chaining in a dungeon, then with the horrifying scourging in a courtyard, and a crowning of thorns, all adding to the torment and pain upon our Lord.  As they judged and sentenced Him to death by crucifixion in a mock trial, they led Jesus to even carry the rough, heavy cross beams through the streets to this execution hill.  His falls and the stripped off clothes, pulling off the skin left in his front and back, adding to the excruciating pain on His body. 

Now the lightning, rifle-shot pains moved through His nervous system to heap on worse suffering.   They nailed Jesus to the Cross and hoisted Him up.

10th Station Meditation

Jesus is stripped of his garments.IMAG1091_1

Maybe here in this station we most see how Jesus humbled Himself and took on all our brokenness.  As everything is seemingly taken from Him, even clothing off his torn body,  we notice by faith that Jesus willingly GAVE it all of Himself for our salvation.  Jesus was identifying with us totally.

At the time of death, humanity had looked at our expiration as the loss of everything, now, instead, Jesus makes it a time of shedding (sin) and putting on ( eternal life).

1st Peter 2 says:  “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps….Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in turn; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him Who judges righteously.”

If Jesus could handle this 10th Station, then we can borrow from Him a capacity to bear things in Him, such as an ability for us to endure some embarrassment or persecution for the cause of righteousness and sake of Jesus’ Gospel.  .

 

 

9th Station Meditation

IMAG1090_1Jesus Falls a Third Time.

The weight of the world is so heavy on Jesus.  We had become so separated from God, by such sins as our greed and lusts and self-vanity.   The devil has tried to tempt us to look over all the world’s desires and things and take it so selfishly in, via exchange for our soul.

What a wicked deal, for he doesn’t have the world to give, but only misery and death in disguise.

“Vanity of vanities” quotes Solomon , the Hebrew king who had it all yet was left still in want , and in covetousness.   The deception of our same foe begins in plays to our vanity.   Yet can we pray with Jesus in that 23rd Psalm, ” The Lord is My Sheoherd, I shall not want…. in fact, a table of plenty is set for the believers’ feast, even in full sight of the foe (or our enemies)… and I shall dwell in the House of The Lord!”

8th Station Meditation

The Next Station of The Cross.  Jesus meets women and children on The Way.  As Jesus makes His Way out of Jerusalem city, there at its gates are these sorrowful folks.   

Soon it will be a small crowd only at the ghastly place of the skull, Golgotha.  He will feel nearly alone.   His sense of abandonment will be strong, causing Jesus to pray His memorized Psalms. Psalm 22:  Why have you abandoned Me?  Psalm 23:  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for THOU art with  Me…  and ahead I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for all years/ages to come.    Psalm 89: I have set a covenant with My chosen, given thy servant Thy Word… age to age– God’s faithfulness.

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7th Station Meditation

Jesus falls the Second Time.IMAG1088_1

We are reminded from the meditation of the First Fall of Christ, that three common falls into sin have plagued humankind. They are Living in the Pride of Flesh,   Lusting for Power and Control, and Being Greedy and Utterly Selfish.

Those three major mortal sins have been committed so very heavily through time by humankind versus God.  Pondering the immensity of it, one might sense how all these sins then WEIGHED on Jesus.

In tempting us to power or control, the devil takes us to a pinnacle and dares us to prove God is good, by our leaping off into the oblivion of some disguised rejection of God, (that ours, really, belong power and control).   Rather, in not being so foolish, the believers opts for acting in wisdom and prudence and love and self- control.  We would rather ‘leap’ into the love of God by our trusting heart; we need no cliffs nor dares.  God already is trustworthy as He has always been.   Jesus shows us this Trust, as He presses on.

The Son of Man who was once tempted in the wilderness has prevailed to trust the Father in all things.  Right to the finish. That’s the path we shall follow, as we go the Way of Jesus.

Below on the road, spills some more of the Precious Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus. Much has poured out already, at the bead droplets in the Garden of Gethsename prayer time, then gushing out at the flogging courtyard, again at the prison dungeon (of His thorny crowning) and now along this Way, and finally ahead at Golgotha. At this mid-way point, we praise God in the value of Jesus’ Blood.

6th Station Meditation

Veronica wipes the Holy Face of Jesus.   While not a specific Scriptural account, it is in the spirit of Luke’s Good News that revealed how it was mostly women disciples who were the most brave and steadfast in witness to the Suffering and Sorrowful Jesus in Passion and Crucifixion.  There likely would have been a Veronica on the Via Delorosa.   The story of the picture on a cloth and/or the photo- like image on Jesus ‘ shroud have fascinated people for ages.  The attraction is to connect to the Crucified Jesus in some way.  How can WE love the Passion of Christ?  That’s the point here in the Sixth Station.

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Perhaps the answer is right before us here:  to love another deeply in a holy way.

One simple but deeply loving and courageous act of Veronica is this sixth devotion on The Way.   God bless all Veronicas in this world.

How often is it that an extra-special outreach to someone is what is remembered by them for a lifetime?!

I recall a roadway , flat-tire incident that trapped my father’s hand under our car. Dad was driving all of us to our new house; in a long trip through a snow storm. All of a sudden came a tire blow- out under our fully loaded auto. Trying to change the tire, the car slipped and the car tire landed on his hand, trapping dad.  It occurred during a winter’s blizzard on a New York State Thruway, with our family now in desperate need.  Out on the roadway, and being a youngster, I tried to flag down a passing motorist to help get the car lifted off of dad’s broken hand. Some men in a car stopped and rescued us.  They were from a Catholic seminary. What an obvious God-send and blessed relief to the situation!.  Their help required a few hours of assistance to our family. But they did so.  They are my Veronica story. They offered relief in a crucial moment for the Barry family.  Do you such a story, too?

Another aspect of the story is the reason Veronica helped.  She came to console the Holy Face.

So can we– seek the Face of the Lord and you shall live– says The Scriptures.

And do it with holy, deep living– as inspired by the Holy Spirit.