Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death.
"And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, 'Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.' But let the scriptures be fulfilled." (Mar 14:46-49 RSV)
"Where is the strength of Christ? 'Horns are in his hands, there is his strength hid.' Indeed horns are in his hands, because his hands were nailed to the arms of the cross. But what strength is there in such weakness, what height in such lowliness? What is there to be venerated in such abjection? Surely something is hidden by this weakness, something is concealed by this humility. There is something mysterious in this abjection. O hidden strength: a man hangs on a cross and lifts the load of eternal death from the human race; a man nailed to wood looses the bonds of everlasting death that hold fast the world. O hidden power: a man condemned with thieves saves men condemned with devils, a man stretched out on the gibbet draws all men to himself. O mysterious strength: one soul coming forth from torment draws countless souls with him out of hell, a man submits to the death of the body and destroys the death of souls." (St. Anselm of Canterbury, "Meditation on Human Redemption" from Prayers and Meditations)
Station 2: Jesus carries his cross.
"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?'" (Matt. 16:24-26)
"Holiness is not the luxury reserved for a few favourite persons. All are invited to be holy. I think only holiness will be able to overcome evil and all the sufferings and miseries of the people, and of our own lives. Because we too have to suffer, and suffering is a gift of God if we use it in the right way. The cross must be there, so let us thank God for this." (Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living, pg. 342.
Station 3: Jesus falls the first time.
"For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isa. 53:2-3 RSV)
"He who follows Me, says Christ our Saviour, walks not in darkness, for he will have the light of life. These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by them we are admonished to follow His teachings and His manner of living, if we would truly be enlightened and delivered from all blindness of heart.
"Let all the study of our heart be from now on to have our meditation fixed wholly on the life of Christ, for His holy teachings are of more virtue and strength than the words of all the angels and saints. And he who through grace has the inner eye of his soul opened to the true beholding of the Gospels of Christ will find in them hidden manna." (St. Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chapter 1)
Station 4: Jesus meets his afflicted mother.
"And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also) that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.'" (Luke 2:33-35 RSV)
"She herself stands at His side like the Church, and assists in His work of redemption like its prototype, the Mother of God, in whom it has its origin. The complete surrender of her entire life and being is to live and work with Christ; but that means also to suffer and die with Him -- that fruitful death from which springs the life of grace for all humanity." (St. Edith Stein, "Church, Woman, Youth", from Essays on Woman.
Station 5: Simon helps Jesus carry his cross.
"Never omit carrying a corsage of the holy sufferings of Christ on the Altar of your heart, gathering the flowers in the morning in the flowering meadow of the divine mysteries undergone for our salvation by the Son of God. In that way you will always keep burning the fire of holy love." (St. Paul of the Cross, Letter 525 to Thomas Fossi, March 16, 1748, Vol II, The Letters of St. Paul of the Cross.
Station 6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'" (Matt. 25:37-40)
"A Christian is never alone... If you feel abandoned, it is because you do not want to look at that Christ who is passing so close to you... perhaps with the Cross." (St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way of the Cross, Station 6.
Station 7: Jesus falls the second time.
"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; and we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:4-6 RSV)
"Have great love for trials and think of them as but a small way of pleasing your Bridegroom, who did not hesitate to die for you.
"Bear fortitude in your heart against all things that move you to that which is not God, and be a friend of the Passion of Christ." (St. John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love)
Station 8: Jesus speaks to the holy women.
"And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us'; and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?'" (Luke 23:27-31 RSV)
"My Jesus, laden with sorrows, I weep for the offenses I have committed against You, because of the pains they have deserved, and still more because of the displeasure they have caused You, Who have loved me so much. It is Your love, more than the fear of hell, which causes me to weep for my sins. My Jesus, I love You more than myself; I repent of having offended You. Never permit me to offend You again. Grant that I may love you always; and then do with me what You will." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, A Scriptural Way of the Cross with Meditations)
Station 9: Jesus falls the third time.
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth." (Isa. 53:7-9 RSV)
"[F]or when we have many things to do, when we are persecuted and in trouble, when we cannot have much rest, and when we have our seasons of dryness, Christ is our best Friend; for we regard Him as Man, and behold Him faint and in trouble, and He is our Companion; and when we shall have accustomed ourselves in this way, it is very easy to find Him near us, although there will be occasions from time to time when we can do neither the one nor the other.
"For this end, that is useful which I spoke of before: we must not show ourselves as labouring after spiritual consolations; come what may, to embrace the cross is the great thing. The Lord of all consolation was Himself forsaken: they left Him alone in His sorrows. Do not let us forsake Him; for His hand will help us to rise more than any efforts we can make; and He will withdraw Himself when He sees it be expedient for us, and when He pleaseth will also draw the soul forth out of itself, as I said before." (St. Teresa of Avila, The Life, Chapter 22)
Station 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments.
"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus to the praetorium, and they 'gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him." (Matt. 27:27-31 RSV)
"The sick are to be admonished, to the end that they may keep the virtue of patience, to consider incessantly how great evils our Redeemer endured from those whom He had created; that He bore so many vile insults of reproach; that, while daily snatching the souls of captives from the hand of the old enemy, He took blows on the face from insulting men; that, while washing us with the water of salvation, He hid not His face from the spittings of the faithless; that, while delivering us by His advocacy from eternal punishments, He bore scourges in silence; that, while giving to us everlasting honours among the choirs of angels, He endured buffets; that, while saving us from the prickings of our sins, He refused not to submit His head to thorns; that, while inebriating us with eternal sweetness, He accepted in His thirst the bitterness of gall; that He Who for us adored the Father though equal to Him in Godhead, when adored in mockery held His peace: that, while preparing life for the dead, He Who was Himself the life came even unto death. Why, then, is it thought hard that man should endure scourges from God for evil-doing, if God underwent so great evils for well-doing? Or who with sound understanding can be ungrateful for being himself smitten, when even He Who lived here without sin went not hence without a scourge?" (Pope/St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, Part III, Chapter XII)
Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.
"And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right, and one on the left. And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'" (Luke 23:33-34 RSV)
"You are quite willing to have a cross, but you want to choose it yourself; you would have it common, corporal, and of such and such a sort. What is that, my well-beloved daughter? Ah! no, I desire that your cross and mine be entirely crosses from Jesus Christ. And as to the imposition of them, and the choice, the good God knows what He does and why He does it: for our own good, no doubt." (St. Francis de Sales, Letter to Jane de Chantal, from Thy Will Be Done: Letters to Persons in the World)
Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross.
"So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." (John 19:25-27 RSV)
"These created things should have and could have been obedient to their own Lord and maker, and not to the creature who was misusing them. But the most profound, most faithful, and totally extraordinary humility of this most high and majestic God deflates and confounds our pride-filled nothingness! The very author of life, who alone is, wished to be annihilated and made subject to all creatures, even the insensible ones, so that you, who were dead and had become insensible to divine realities, might have life through his humility and abasement. And you, O man, who were nothing, know that he, who alone is, has loved you with a love so pure and so faithful that solely out of love for you he wished to be annihilated, in order to give you most perfect being." (Bl. Angela of Foligno, The Book of the Blessed Angela (Instructions), Instruction XXII.
Station 13: Jesus is taken down from the cross.
"Now there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimethea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid." (Luke 23:50-53 RSV)
"Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee. Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delightful taste. May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God; may it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end; and be Thou alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen." (St. Bonaventure, Prayer after Communion)
Station 14: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre.
"And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus . . . . And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid." (Mark 15:42-43, 46-47 RSV)
“'But Joseph went, and begged the body.' This was Joseph, who was concealing his discipleship of late; now however he had become very bold after the death of Christ. For neither was he an obscure person, nor of the unnoticed; but one of the council, and highly distinguished; from which circumstance especially one may see his courage. For he exposed himself to death, taking upon him enmity with all, by his affection to Jesus, both having dared to beg the body, and not having desisted until he obtained it. But not by taking it only, nor by burying it in a costly manner, but also by laying it in his own new tomb, he showeth his love, and his courage. And this was not so ordered without purpose, but so there should not be any bare suspicion, that one had risen instead of another.
“'And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.' For what purpose do these wait by it? As yet they knew nothing great, as was meet, and high about Him, wherefore also they had brought ointments, and were waiting at the tomb, so that if the madness of the Jews should relax, they might go and embrace the body. Seest thou women’s courage? seest thou their affection? seest thou their noble spirit in money? their noble spirit even unto death?" (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, Homily LXXXVIII)
Photos: The bronze stations of the cross shown here were cast by Max DeMoss for Church of the Nativity, Rancho Santa Fe, California, and were photographed there on February 26, 2006. You can also see them in the photo album in the right column of this blog.