April 3, 2001
volume 12, no. 93


  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:

        At the Cross her station keeping
        stood the mournful Mother weeping,
        close to Jesus to the last.

2. Jesus willingly takes up His Cross

    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, You embraced Your cross to redeem the world. Help me to embrace the crosses in life-the hardships, struggles, disappointments, and pain. Only by recognizing my own weakness, can I discover Your strength.

        The cross. The instrument of a shameful death. It was not lawful to condemn a Roman citizen to death by crucifixion: it was too humiliating. The moment that Jesus of Nazareth took up the Cross in order to carry it to Calvary marked a turning-point in the history of the cross. The symbol of a shameful death, reserved for the lowest classes, the cross becomes a key. From now on, with the help of this key, man will open the door of the deepest mystery of God. Through Christ's acceptance of the Cross, the instrument of his own self-emptying, men will come to know that God is love.

        Love without limits: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

        This truth about God was revealed in the Cross. Could it not have been revealed in some other way? Perhaps. But God chose the Cross. The Father chose the Cross for His Son, and His Son shouldered it, carried it to Mount Calvary and on it offered His life. "In the Cross there is suffering, in the Cross there is salvation, in the Cross there is a lesson of love. O God, he who once has understood you, desires nothing else, seeks nothing else" (Polish Lenten hymn).

        The Cross is the sign of a love without limits!


        Lord Jesus Christ, Who accepts the Cross at the hands of men to make of it the sign of God's saving love for humanity, grant us and all the men and women of our time the grace of faith in this infinite love. By passing on to the new millennium the sign of the Cross, may we be authentic witnesses to the Redemption. To You, O Jesus, Priest and Victim, be praise and glory for ever.

    R. Amen.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Tomorrow: Station Three: Jesus falls for the First Time.

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

April 3, 2001
volume 12, no. 93
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