Stations for Penitents

1. Pilate condemns Jesus to death.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

As a sinful ruler condemned Jesus, the sinless Son of God, to death, so we  whom God calls to a life of penance, meaning a life of conversion, examine our own lives and are appalled at how far from perfect we are. We know that the old self must die and be remade anew in God. 

My Jesus, You were sinless yet were condemned by sinful men to die a death suitable for sinners. I am a sinner. You died for me. Help me to be willing to die to myself and my wishes for love of You.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full). 

2. Jesus accepts His cross.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

As Jesus accepted His cross, so do we, called to a life of penance (conversion), struggle to accept the crosses that will come with that choice.

My Lord, I accept whatever crosses You will give to me in my life of conversion to You. I know that personal change is difficult. Be with me and guide me, uphold me and inspire me, so that I may become all whom You created me to be.

 Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

3. Jesus falls the first time.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Jesus fell from physical weakness, but we who embark on the path of penance (conversion) may soon fall from spiritual weakness. Sadly, despite our best efforts, we will probably relapse into familiar, persistent sins.  

My Lord, I want so much to follow You. But I am weak. Here I am, barely beginning to do penance, and already I have failed. Help me not to be discouraged by my fall, Lord, but to get up, confess my sins, and move on with my desire to follow You.

 Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

4. Jesus meets His sorrowful Mother.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Just as the Blessed Mother met Jesus in His Passion, so is she there for all who embark on a path of penance (conversion). Accompanying her are all the saints who walked this path before. Eventually realizing this, we turn to Mary and to the other saints for help and example. 

My Lady and all the saints, pray for me as I strive, with God’s grace, to become fully His. You know how I am struggling. Intercede for me, a poor and weak sinner. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

5. Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Just as Simon helped Jesus carry His cross, so others will help us struggling penitents in the journey of conversion. How difficult it is to walk the path of conversion alone! Thank God for those who walk it with us. 

My Lord, I need others to walk with me as I try to follow You. So many in the world do not think of You. Send me someone to support me, My God. I need a human companion on my spiritual journey. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

A compassionate woman from the crowd wipes the bloody face of Jesus. So, too, we penitents feel compassion for others who are trying to draw closer to God. We are familiar with pain and struggle and so offer solace and support to one another. In doing so, we, like Veronica, touch the face of Christ in others. 

My Lord, I am not very strong in my spiritual life, but I am willing to be a support for others on the way. Help me to minister to those who need encouragement. My own words and actions are inadequate, but make up my lack through Your Holy Spirit. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

7. Jesus falls the second time.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Physical weakness makes Jesus fall again under the cross. So, too, we penitents fail again and again to do all that we wish on our journey of conversion. How discouraging this can be! 

Lord, why can’t I follow You wholeheartedly? Why do I keep falling into sin? Why do I neglect to do what I should? Why do I resist change? Lord, help me! I am so weak. I want to be Yours, but I do not want to make the changes that will make me so. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

8. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Just as the women of Jerusalem wept over Jesus as if to make Him feel that His self-sacrifice was in error, so well-meaning friends and relatives try to dissuade us from a life of penance (conversion). Why make things so hard for yourself? You were fine before. You were not doing anything wrong. The arguments are well meaning, persuasive, seductive.  

Dear Holy Spirit, others mean well when they tell me that my desire for penance is misguided, extreme, unnecessary. They do not understand that, for me, it is very necessary. I need to give myself to You through the discipline of a penitential life. Otherwise I will never be Yours. Give me the strength to follow You despite what others may think. My life of penance is the one You called me to.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

 9. Jesus falls the third time.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

As Jesus draws closer to Calvary, His weakness overtakes Him and He falls again. Just so, as we penitents draw nearer to final surrender to God, we often grow weak and weary. The journey seems endless, the trials unbearable. We falter and do not know how we can go on.

Lord, God, the last miles of a long journey are the most difficult because we are weary and worn out. You have led me along a difficult path to help me fully surrender to You. Give me Your strength to make the final and total gift of myself to You. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

10.  Jesus is stripped of His garments.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

The last vestige of dignity is stripped from Jesus. Similarly, in the last stages of our penitential journey, God strips us of all attachments that hold us to the world. It is a painful relinquishment. As we struggle to accept our losses, God slowly reveals that what we thought was so vital is less important than our total surrender to His Will. 

My Lord, as You take away from me the very things that keep me from You, I fight against Your Will and struggle to hold on to what You wish to have. Grant me the grace of total surrender, the grace Our Lord showed when He made no objection to any of His tormentors. They hurt Him out of malice. You are dealing with me out of good. Lord, help me to give You my all.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

 11. Jesus is nailed to the cross.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Now, unless God would work a miracle, there is no turning back for Jesus. He is nailed to the cross. He will not be taken down until He dies. So, too, we, on our spiritual journey, reach a point of no return. We realize that our old way of life has been crucified.  

Lord, now I know what following You means. It means giving up my own way of doing things, giving up what I think is vital. I have to grow accustomed to Your way of doing things. Help me, Lord, so that I can be Your good servant. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

12. Jesus dies upon the cross.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

For our sins, Jesus died. He told us to take up our cross and follow Him. A cross is not something to be put into a closet. It is an instrument of death. If we carry our cross after Jesus, then we will eventually die to some of our former ways because of that cross.  

My Lord, the cross of my penitential life has caused the self I knew ten years ago to die. Some of the penances I chose, through Your inspiration. Others You chose for me. You know best. I hardly recognize the person I used to be. Who will I become, Lord? 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

13. Jesus is taken down from the cross.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Jesus’ brave followers remove His body from the cross. His Mother cradles Him as she did when He was an infant in her lap. Just so she, who is with us on our spiritual journey, cradles us when we discover that our life is forever altered because of our cross.  

Mother of my Lord and my Mother, hold me close to your maternal heart. I am hurting, dear Mother, for the journey has been long and much has been lost. I hardly know how to go forward, but with your prayers and support, I know that God will be there to guide me. I am totally in His hands.  

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

14. Jesus is placed in the tomb.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

The dead body of our Lord lies in the quiet darkness. So, too, we, when we have given all to God, lie in the spiritual darkness of our lives. We cannot see the future. We are no longer so confident about our abilities. We are forced to trust that God will enlighten us when He wishes. 

My Lord, I cannot control my future. I leave it up to You. I am like a dead body that can be carried wherever anyone wants to take it. I am all Yours, My God. Live in me. Do with me what You will.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

 15. Jesus is raised from the dead.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.

            -- Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. 

Three days after Jesus’ death, His women followers hurry to the tomb to anoint a body that is no longer there. He has risen, and He will appear in His glory soon. Those who knew us before our surrender will look for our old selves and will be startled to see that we have changed. Will our surrender to God help them to surrender also? With God’s grace, may it be so! My Lord, You have brought me to a new birth. How can I ever thank You? I know that You are not yet done with me, for I am far from perfect. Give me Your grace to continue on the path of conversion until I live forever with You. Help me, my Lord, to praise You for the graces in my life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (each prayed in full).

Lord, may You bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

© 2016 by The Confraternity of Penitents, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN USA 46803   www.penitents.org

 

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