Monday, March 1, 2010

The Way of the Cross - 3rd Station

Jesus Falls The First Time

Hebrews 4: 15-16
For the High Priest we have is not incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us, but has been put to the test in exactly the same way as ourselves, apart from sin.

Hebrews 12:11-12
Of course, any discipline is at the time a matter of grief, not joy; but later, in those who have undergone it, it bears fruit in peace and uprightness. So steady all weary hands and trembling knees and make your crooked paths straight; then the injured limb will not be maimed.

The initial enthusiasm with which Christ resolutely took up the cross is now being sorely tested. The weight of the cross, the blood he has lost, the horrific treatment of his body up to now, have the combined effect of making the going one immense struggle. Did he trip on a stone, did his legs simply fold beneath him, or was it a sudden swoon from loss of blood. Any and all of these might be involved, and the Lord falls on his face, his holy face already so bruised is buried in the dust and rocks of the Via Crucis. And the heavy cross comes crashing down on him, on his head, and buries that terrible crown of thorns ever deeper into his sacred head. He gets to his feet again. On he moves to Calvary.

Lord this is your first fall. Headlong you plunge into the dust, a symbol of mankind who from the dawn of creation rushed headlong in disobedience back into the dust from which we are made. Dust we are and unto dust we shall return, though we were made in your image and likeness. This fall is also a symbol of your Incarnation, lowering yourself to be like us in all things, but sin. But as you raise yourself with great effort from that dust, even here we see the seeds of resurrection beginning to sprout. In this scene you speak to our hearts and say: Arise, Oh Man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. (Office of Readings – Holy Saturday).

Lord you desire to give us life to the full, raise us out of dead ways and dead works, raise us out of the dust of sin, let us dust ourselves off, turn with confident resolution towards you and continue walking. Give us strength Lord to walk that journey of faith. We are weak and so we do not expect that we will never fall again. But Lord, when we fall give us the faith and hope to always rise again, relying on your merciful love, give us the strength to continue on. Lord give this day the gift of confidence to all those who believe in your name and may many rise again through the sacrament of penance; your image restored to them, and the dust of sin wiped away.

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