April 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 102


  On Good Friday in 2000, the Holy Father led the Via Crucis meditations with his own words while leading the faithful on the traditional Papal Way of the Cross. His deep spirituality, renewed by a spontaneous visit to Mount Calvary, within the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre during his "Jubilee Journey" to the Holy Land last year is an inspiration we want to share with our readers.

A Plenary Indulgence is attached to this devotion according to article 194 of the Raccolta.

      Stabat Mater:

        O you Mother, fount of love!
        Touch my spirit from above,
        make my heart with yours accord.

10. Jesus is stripped of His garments and offered gall and vinegar to drink

    We adore you, O Lord, and we praise You. Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.
    (genuflect or make the sign of the cross)

        MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, seeing You so cruelly humiliated makes me realize how I cling to my accomplishments, my possessions, my way. Help me to let go of those things in my life that prevent me from growing closer to You and others.

        "When He tasted it, He would not drink it" (Mt 27:34). He did not want a sedative, which would have dulled His consciousness during the agony. He wanted to be fully aware as He suffered on the Cross, accomplishing the mission He had received from the Father.

        That was not what the soldiers in charge of the execution were used to. Since they had to nail the condemned man to the Cross, they tried to dull His senses and His consciousness. But with Christ this could not be. Jesus knows that His death on the Cross must be a sacrifice of expiation. This is why He wants to remain alert to the very end. Without consciousness, He could not, in complete freedom, accept the full measure of suffering.

        Behold, He must mount the Cross, in order to offer the sacrifice of the New Covenant. He is the Priest. By means of His own blood, He must enter the eternal dwelling-places, having accomplished the world's redemption (cf. Heb 9:12).

        Conscience and freedom: these are the essential elements of fully human action. The world has so many ways of weakening the will and of darkening conscience. They must be carefully defended from all violence. Even the legitimate attempt to control pain must always be done with respect for human dignity.

        If life and death are to retain their true value, the depths of Christ's sacrifice must be understood, and we must unite ourselves to that sacrifice if we are to hold firm.


        Lord Jesus, Who, with supreme dedication, accepted death on the Cross for our salvation, grant to us and to all the world's people a share in Your sacrifice on the Cross, so that what we are and what we do may always be a free and conscious sharing in Your work of salvation. To You, O Jesus, Priest and Victim, be honor and glory for ever.


    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Station Eleven: Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Station Twelve: Jesus is crucified and dies for us on the Cross
Station Thirteen: Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the arms of His Blessed Mother

For the shorter meditative group of lessons on the full Stations of the Cross, see WAY OF THE CROSS

For previous meditative Stations composed by the Holy Father, see:
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus willingly takes up His Cross
3. Jesus falls the First Time
4. Jesus meets His Blessed Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the Second Time
8. Jesus comforts the woman of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the Third Time

April 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 102
Return to Today's Issue