THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS

Welcome to this contemplative experience. The first thing to keep in mind is that this is prayer. It isn’t an intellectual exercise, but rather an opportunity to practice the presence of Christ.
As you come to each station, remember this is also an imaginative exercise. Imagine Jesus Christ speaking the words printed in green directly to you – and then respond to Him with the provided prayer. The purpose of the stations is not a historical examination of what really happened that day. This is an opportunity to use these traditional prayers to allow Jesus to touch you by showing the depth of His love.
Journeying with Jesus through the fourteen stations can add a new dimension to your Easter celebration. As you kneel or sit, take time to look at the picture and contemplate what you see. Feel free to linger in meditation and prayer before you move on to the next station. May your heart be filled with gratitude through this experience.
Introductory Prayer
My people, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  I am always with you.  You approach me now to pray, to reflect, and to find meaning for your life from my experience with death.  You do me honor.
My friends, fear not my agony…it will help you cope with yours.  Pity not my hurting…I know that you hurt too.  Mourn not my death…for it brings us all to life.
Prologue
Come with me across the valley to the Garden.  Pray with me as I collect my thoughts and prepare myself for what will be a turning point in human history.
Please do not interpret my desire for your company as a sign of weakness.  I want you with me only to witness and share my agony so that when our walk along the way of the cross is completed, you will better comprehend the meaning of my victory.  This victory is the basis of your hope in me.
To you, Father, I say firmly but with understandable apprehension, “Thy will be done!”  I will drink this cup for everyone in Your name.
To you, my followers, I say do not make promises of faithfulness to me just yet.  Judas has his mind made up as he approaches with the crowd.  Even Peter and the sons of Zebedee, my dearest friends, are hasty to swear their fidelity and equally quick to bend with the pressure of the crowd.  Instead, I ask you to walk thoughtfully along the way with me.  Weigh carefully your decision.  Then at the end of our walk, be prepared to pledge to me your fidelity and commitment to love.  I promise you reason to hope.
Come now.  It is time to go.  Walk close to me.
Next

Station One: Jesus Is Condemned to Death by Pilate

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
Since we left the garden together last night, the scribes and elders have accused me, and I have been brought before the high priest. I have been mocked and spat upon by the soldiers. They want me to die. “What need have we of witnesses?” they asked.
Already, my friends have denied me. Peter said, “I do not know the man!” while Judas called out weakly, “I have betrayed innocent blood.”
I now stand before Pilate, governor from Rome, awaiting his sentence upon my life. “Are you the King of the Jews?” he asks. “Do you not hear the charges?” Too weak to decide for himself, he turns me over to the crowd. “Let him be crucified!” they cry. A judgment has been made. The stage is set for evil to run its course upon me, the Son of God made Man.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord Jesus, and I praise you, for by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Lord Jesus, it was not Pilate; no, it was my sins that condemned You to die. I love You, my beloved Jesus, more than I love myself. With all my heart I repent of ever having offended You.
I beg you, Lord Jesus to forgive the careless judgments I have made of others around me. Help me understand that the world is not always anxious for me to express my opinion. The words of Scripture, “but Jesus remained silent,” and “judge not that you may not be judged,” ring now in my ears. Following your example, I resolve never to betray innocent blood by my judgement of others.
Thank You for forgiving my sin so that I am no longer separated from You. Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Two: Jesus Accepts His Cross

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
You have watched this mockery of justice incited by the leaders of the people.  You have heard the verdict of “death by crucifixion” shouted by the crowds.  Water does not easily wash away stains like these.  Stripping and scourging and crowning with thorns do not make a true King less of a king any more than they make a cross less of a throne for the Savior of the world.  Therefore, knowing what my destiny and purpose are, I willingly accept this cross as proof of my indescribable love for you.  But as I do so, my child, I challenge you in turn to take up your cross daily and follow me.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Lord Jesus, I embrace all the trials destined for me in this life.  I beg You, by all You suffered in bearing Your cross, to help me bear mine with Your perfect peace and resignation.  
I, too, have been mocked and spat upon, stripped and scourged, crowned and crucified in many ways.  I appreciate Your anxiety because it is my anxiety.  I feel Your cries because they are my cries.  I will take up my cross and follow You.  I ask only that you forgive me, Lord, for adding weight to the crosses of others by my willful of thoughtless behavior in my home, in my workplace and in my play.
I love you, Jesus.  I repent of ever having offended You.  Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Three: Jesus Falls the First Time

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
This crossbeam is so heavy and painful.  Am I already so weak, or is this burden just too heavy for me to bear?  As I stumble to the ground beneath its weight, my immediate urge is to call out to you for help. But let me not call you too quickly before I have tried and tested my own strength  to bear my appointed cross. 
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Lord, I see You stumble and fall under the weight of the cross You bear.  The loss of blood from scourging and crowning with thorns has weakened You so that You can hardly walk.  Yet, You embrace Your mission;  You stand again and again and move forward to Your Calvary.  I sense the challenge of Your example to press myself, to push beyond, to extend my endurance.  
Perhaps we as humans run too quickly from our pain.  When we grow weak from our own hurting, help us to press forward by Your example and by Your grace.  Help me to keep in step as I move ahead through Your strength which enables me.
I love You, Jesus, with all my heart; I am sorry that I have offended You with my sin.  Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Four: Jesus Meets His Mother

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
As I make my way along the road, I notice your faces, telling me your inner story, even as you react to mine. On some faces I read pity and anger; on others blank stares of disbelief. Some eyes seem so dull and uncaring, while others appear nervous and turn away as if afraid to look at me. Many are the faces I see along this road – as many are the stories they tell. Then I see my mother, one among you, yet special beyond all. She carried me in her womb as a virgin. Our glances meet and blend; we have no need for words. We loved each other so tenderly as only a mother and son can love one another.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, I am grateful for the caring look You give to each of us, no matter who we are or what we have done. But that reverent glance You gave Your mother carried a special message for me. In that moment, it became clear that Your commandment to “Honor your father and your mother!” is not for young children alone. It is surely for adults as well, who see their parents growing old, deserving honor, and needing care. Even as I am busy carrying my own cross in life, I, like You, will care for them and do them honor. As I honor them, I honor You, Lord Jesus.
I love You, Jesus, above all things. I repent of ever having offended You. Never allow me to offend You again. Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Five: Simon Helps Carry the Cross

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
In the confusion, Simon of Cyrene appears at my side, as if to represent you.  He reaches out to assist me with my burden.  I do not have the energy to talk with you, Simon.  However, I do wonder what is going on in your mind as we struggle together with this cross.  Are you doing this willingly or only because you were forced?  Are you angry or embarrassed?  Do you find my burden heavy or light?  Are you more concerned with what the crowds are thinking or are you filled with concern for me?  I know that you were just a passerby, perhaps totally unaware of what was taking place.  Whatever your answer to my questions, please know that I am grateful for what you have done for me. 
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
 I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Lord Jesus, each of us is thrown into unexpected situations in life.  Knowing what to do, how to react, and when to become involved is most difficult.  My beloved Jesus, I will not refuse the cross.  I accept and embrace it.  I accept in particular the death that is destined for me with all the pains that may accompany it.  I unite it to Your death and offer it to You.  You have died because of your great love for me; I will die for my love for You and to please You.
I pray now for Your guidance through the Holy Spirit and the courage to do Your will.  Then, Lord, when I do respond in actual life situations, let me never look back with doubt.  Let me rest in the comfort that I have sought to do Your holy will.
I love You, Jesus.  I repent of ever having offended You.  Never let me offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Six: A Daughter of Jerusalem Wipes the Face of Jesus

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you
A large number of people followed me down the way of the cross.  Many in the crowd were women who mourned and wailed for me; the Daughters of Jerusalem.  Wanting to do something to ease my pain, one daughter extends her veil to enliven me and wipe my face dripping with blood and sweat, just a moment of refreshment though a simple gesture of care.  It is by such actions that I know mine, and mine know me – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, making peace, wiping the face of the weary.  It may challenge your faith as you gaze upon me now.  But I invite you to come to me, all you who labor and are burdened.  I promise that I will, in turn, refresh you.  I am your faithful Lord.  I keep my promises.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Your invitation, Lord Jesus, includes each of us.  As I struggle with the crosses of life, my worries and cares, my doubts and fears, my uncertainties and limitations hide within my soul.  You invite me to come to You and You heal me, comfort me, and refresh me without exposing my inner struggles.  You also invite me to join You in Your comforting mission.  “Do unto others as you would have them do for you!” I, like the Daughters of Jerusalem, accept your invitation, aware that I do not have to look far to find the weary, the burdened, the poor and the lonely.  They are everywhere.  They are always with me.
I show my love for You as I serve and love the poor and lonely in society.  I repent of ever having offended You.  Never let me offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Seven: Jesus Falls the Second Time

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
Since my first fall, I have met you in the company of my mother, Simon, and the Daughters of Jerusalem who have supported and comforted me.  In spite of your refreshing care, I stumble and fall again.  I am not ashamed to tell you that I hurt.  Physically, I am near exhaustion.  Psychologically, I am humiliated.  Emotionally, I am drained.  More and more my tormentors wear me down.   But, I must stand again and press on.  I must bring forgiveness to all.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
My most gentle Jesus, how many times You have forgiven me; and how many times, over and over, I have fallen and begun to offend you again.  Jesus, reconciling Lord, Your endurance along the way of the cross demonstrates Your tireless love for both saints and sinners.  You invite me to share in Your healing and forgiving grace.
You make it possible for me to stand up and approach You with dignity and say, “Lord, I’m sorry! Lord, I repent.”  Knowing this, I ask Your forgiveness for my sins of commission and omission.  With new understanding I dare to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
I love you, Jesus, with all my heart.  I am sorry that I have offended You.  Never let me offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Eight: Jesus Speaks to the Women

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
The crowds continue to follow.  The women continue to weep with compassion seeing me so distressed and dripping with blood as I walk along.  Please tell me that your tears stem not from guilt.  Guilt is neither a virtue nor a gift of the Spirit of God.  Rather, assure me that they are tears of compassion, sorrow, and repentance.  Weep, too, for your children tugging at your skirts and struggling in your arms.  They are shaken and confused by my pain.  Tell them as they grow what my suffering means.  Tell them that they were there when I was crucified.  Assure them, though, that when their time comes for tears, I will be there with them.  As they continue to weep, I say to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not so much for me, but rather for your children.”  Now, however, I must move on.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
How kind of You, Lord Jesus, to pause to talk to us.  How often we say to one another, “I don’t have the time!” I say to my children when they ask, to the needy when they beg, to neighbors when they seek my help, “I don’t have time.”  Yet, time is really all I have.  I cannot make it or demand it.  Time is your gift, Lord, but I can waste it.  When it is past, I cannot replace it.  So, before I move on, Christ Jesus, help me embrace time and share it with others in Your love.
My Jesus, I love You more than myself.  When I love others I demonstrate my love for You in selfless worship.  I am sorry that I have offended You.  Never allow me to offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Nine: Jesus Falls the Third Time

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
For the third time, I fall to the ground.  My sweat and blood and tears blend with the dust of the earth.  The weight and oppression are unbearable.  An inner temptation urges me to give up, to lie here and welcome death as blessed relief.  But to do so would leave all my striving incomplete and unfulfilled.  I am so close to my goal – my mission – so near to my Calvary.  Please lift me up, my friends.  Stay close to me as in the garden.  Support me carefully to Golgotha where my death will lead to resurrection and victory over sin.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
It is time, Suffering Servant of God, for me to refresh my memory.  In the garden, You urged me not to make hasty promises.  However, now that I have walked prayerfully with You along the way of the cross, I sense that the moment of decision is near.  I, like You, am faced with the choice of giving up or going on.  “Come follow Me,” You faintly call.  There is no longer an option to be lukewarm.  Hot or cold, for You or against You, I must choose now.  However, I pause to remember that You are always for me; and I recall “if You are for me, who can be against me?” Relying on Your grace, I accept Your call for help and choose to follow wherever You may lead.
I love You, Jesus my Love, with all my heart.  I am sorry for ever having offended You.  Never permit me to offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Ten: Jesus Is Stripped of His Clothing

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
Golgotha is my place.  Now is my time.  It is a comfort to have you by my side.  They wish to strip me now, strip me of everything I possess. Do not stop them.  I endure this stripping that I may experience in my flesh and share in my soul what the sick feel when they are stripped of health, what the sorrowing endure when they lose joy, what the separated experience when their unions rupture, what widows and widowers suffer when loving companionship vanishes.  I want to be with the young when life begins to test them and with the aged as their strength fades.  The inner garments are adhered to my lacerated flesh.  The soldiers tear them off so roughly that my skin comes with it.  Like all who suffer, I could now ask, “Why?”  But I won’t.  I will endure this too with my eyes fixed on the Father.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
My innocent Jesus, by the torment You suffered in being stripped of Your garments, help me to strip myself of all attachment for the things of earth.  Help me to place all my love in You who are so worthy of my love.  You have brought me face to face with the mystery of life’s suffering.  With sensitivity, You show Your love for all who suffer.  Humbly, You ask me not to question, “Why?”  It is not for me to rob this mystery of its secret.  Just forgive my lack of understanding.
I am sorry for ever having offended You.  Never let me offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Eleven: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
As I am thrown down upon the cross, the Roman guards stretch out my arms and feet.  Little do they know I am offering these outstretched arms to my eternal Father as a sacrifice of my life for their salvation…and the salvation of the world as well.  I am nailed to the cross; the nails piercing my feet and hands become my only means of support.  Your hands, my friends, reach out to help me in this final hour.  But I tell you, if you wish to extend your helping hands to me, lend them to others.  “What you do to the least of them,” I tell you, “That you do unto me.”  Remember these words!  Soon, my Father’s hands will welcome me.  Into His hands I will commend my spirit.  I will not, however, forget you.  I will not abandon you.  I will return to you.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
My Jesus, despised and rejected, nail my heart to the cross that it always may remain there to love You and never leave You again.  You know how I am prone to wander; prone to leave the God I love.  In this final moment I pledge my fidelity to you, Son of God made Man.  To tell you that I believe is easy.  To prove my belief is a different matter.
As You leave me, I thank You for commending me to the care of each other.  My mutual love will prove my love for You. I love You more than myself; I am sorry for ever having offended You.  Never permit me to offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Twelve: Jesus Dies Upon the Cross

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you. 
As I hang suspended between heaven and earth, my mind and vision clear for one final look at my creation.  I see you, Mother.  I love you with a special love.  I see you, John.  Please care for my mother.  I see you, crucified thieves and cruel soldiers.  I see you, weeping friends and faithful followers.  I see you, My Child, and I love you with an everlasting love.  Remember me.  Remember that I love you even unto my death upon the cross.  After six hours of agony on the cross, I am finally overwhelmed with suffering and, abandoning myself to the weight of my body, I bow my head, commit my spirit into my Father’s hands and die.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, I deserve, because of my sins, to die a terrible death, but Your death in my place is my hope.  Give me the grace to die embracing Your feet and burning with love for You.  I yield my soul into Your hands.  Forgive me my trespasses, Jesus of Nazareth.  You are King of all creation and truly Son of God.  As you hang before me in the silence of death, my mind is clear.  I now see a new light upon the cross and sense its deepest meaning.  It is not a silent symbol hung for centuries in loving memory.  It is life-giving to all who have accepted your sacrifice.  It is a throne of strength, not a glorification of weakness.  It is a sign of love and a fountain of grace.  It is Your redeeming atonement.
I love you with my whole heart, Lord Jesus.  I am sorry that I have offended You.  Never let me offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Thirteen: Jesus Is Taken Down Off the Cross

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
After my last breath, I am taken down from the cross by two of my followers, Joseph and Nicodemus, and placed in the arms of my afflicted mother.  She received me with unutterable tenderness and pressed me close to her heart.  As I rest in my mother’s arms, what are you thinking?  I suspect that you are confused.  You have high expectations of me because I frequently made promises along the way.  You want to hope in me, but I am dead.  You call me “Savior,” and so I am. Yet, you are uncertain.  Faith and doubt struggle within you.  Hope encourages your believing and then fades as doubt returns.  In the end you will come to know that your wondering is not in vain.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
Faith still wrestles with doubt.  Hope still challenges despair.  Love still suffers from sin.  Lord Jesus, my Redeemer, since you have died for me, allow me to love you, for I desire only You and nothing more.  I love you, my Jesus, and I am sorry that I have offended You.  Never let me offend You again.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.
Next

Station Fourteen: Jesus Is Placed In the Tomb

> Sit and listen as you imagine Christ speaking these words to you.
At last my place of rest is reached.  You have kindly wrapped my body with a shroud and placed it in the tomb of Joseph.  Pilate is assured that I am dead.  The chief priests and Pharisees are nervous about my promise:  “After three days, I shall rise again.”  Guards are sent to insure against any fraud by you, my friends.  As you secure the tomb with stone and seals, do not bury your hopes in my grave.  I always keep my promises.  Three days later I will rise again.  Then forty days after, I will ascend to the right hand of my Father in Heaven.  One day, I will come for you to take you home with me.  Until then, remember that I am with you always by my Holy Spirit, even to the ends of the earth. I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.  I love you with an undying love.
> Kneel or sit and respond to Christ with this prayer.
I adore You, Lord, and I praise You, because, by Your sacrifice on the cross, You have redeemed the world.
I have come to a moment when time meets eternity.  Past, present and future blend together.  The past records memories of Your passion and death.  The present gives opportunities for loving and serving in Your Church and world.  The future promises a fuller life of having walked with you along the way of the cross.
Lord Jesus, You did gloriously rise again on the third day.  I pray that by Your resurrection, I may be raised gloriously on the last day, to be united with You in heaven, to praise You and love You forever.
I love You, Jesus, and I repent of ever having offended You.  Grant that I may love You always, and that I strive to do Your will for my life everyday.  Now, Lord, I actively await the fulfillment of Your promise with undying hope.  In Christ’s name I walk this way of the cross and pray these prayers.  Amen.