Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Way of the Cross - 9th Station

Jesus Falls The Third Time

Isaiah 53: 4-6
Ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying, while we thought of him as someone being punished and struck with affliction by God; whereas he was being wounded for our rebellions, crushed because of our guilt; the punishment reconciling us fell on him, and we have been healed by his bruises. We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord brought the acts of rebellion of all of us to bear on him.

Psalm 38: 4
My sins stand higher than my head, they weigh on me as an unbearable weight.

Many of the onlookers must have thought him dead at this point. There is a gasp from the crowd, but this most pitiful state does not persuade his torturers to go any easier on him. Mercilessly they give vent to their frustration that he has once again fallen. More blows rain down on him, weakening him even further. He struggles to his feet and with one last burst of strength he takes the cross upon his shoulders again. He has given more than any man could possibly give, but he desires that his efforts should reach the maximum possible gift of self. He is filled with his divine zeal to accomplish this supreme gift of self, but the weakness of his human body will not respond as vigorously as he would desire it to. His body is bent under the sheer weight of the cross. By now it seems to be a thousand times heavier than when he first laid his hands to it. His steps are slow and laborious, but each step is made. One after another, step by step, merciful love unfolds itself over poor sinful humanity. For those onlookers the effects of exhaustion might look like reluctance. If they only knew the truth – that he would run to Calvary gladly had he the physical strength to match his desire.

Lord Jesus, help us to have high ideals and aspirations in our lives. Plant in our souls a great zeal for holiness, a great desire to fulfil your will to the best of our ability. But give us the faith and trust not to be discouraged or become frustrated at our weakness which causes us to fall and prevents us from becoming all that your will calls us to be. Rather let these be moments in which we come to know that we are completely dependent upon you who said: Apart from me you can do nothing. “Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20).

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