Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, quia per sanctam crucem Tuam redimisti mundum.
I. First Station
Jesus, though you are completely innocent, you are condemned to death because of my sins. You have all power in heaven and on earth and you can walk away, pass through their midst, but you remain, for me.
II. Second Station
I have made a Cross for you with my sins. It is huge. It is unwieldy. It is heavy with all my sins. They bring it to you and say “Pick it up! And start walking, now!” You pick it up for me.
III. Third Station
With what You’ve already been through, scourging, torture, thorn-crowning, it is no wonder that You fall. Even though You know what’s coming, in all its gory detail, for me, you get up, with my cross on Your shoulder, and you walk on.
IV. Fourth Station
You see your mother, Mary, and although she knows what you have told her, she is weeping. You don’t tell her ‘Look, what he did to me. I have to suffer because of him turning away from Me and his rejection of the will of My Father.’ No, you cover for me, you don’t tell her I am the cause of your pain, and you try to comfort her as best you can. You hold her until the soldiers drag You away from her. You know she is going to follow, all the way to Calvary.
V. Fifth Station
One courageous son-of-a-gun, Simon from out of town, sees you suffering for my sins and he says ‘You bunch of pantywaist cowards.’ Then, ignoring the soldiers who glare at him, and those screaming for your crucifixion, he puts his shoulder under my cross and carries it with you.
VI. Sixth Station
Even braver than Simon, a young girl walks right past the soldiers, who stand back in awe, and she wipes away the dirt and the blood, revealing Your face for all to see. She reveals You to the world. You gift her with Your image. I cannot imagine her looking at it day after day after you are gone. I cannot imagine how she must have shared this with others. I doubt I could look on it.
VII. Seenth Station
You fall again under my Cross. Now it is very painful and You know what is waiting for you on Calvary because of my sins. You could stay down, never get up, end it all now. For me, you get up again and bear my Cross despite the pain.
VIII. Eighth Station
You see the group of women of Jerusalem crying and wailing about Your suffereing and pain. You don’t complain or blame me. You try to make them feel better, and then you warn them that they really should not be weeping for You, but for themselves and their children, perhaps because some of them have sinned as I have.
IX. Ninth Station
You fall again. You are ready to die, right there. You can see the bottom of the hill of Calvary, and You know what awaits you at its crest. But, for me, you rise and struggle up the hill. You could stop at any moment, but you keep on going up, one painful step at a time, to the small group of soldiers there waiting for you, not with love, but with dice, and spears, and nails.
X. Tenth Station
You reach the top and they stand you up and tear off your garments, with the cloth that has hardened into the scabs over your wounds, wounds from head to toe inflicted by my sins. And as they pull, each wound is reopened and Your blood flows freely down Your entire body onto the ground. Your mother, your newly-ordained priest John the apostle, the teenager, the only apostle brave enough to be there, and some friends see all this and grimace in pain and cry out for You. You stand now naked, quiet, covered in blood, for my sins.
XI. Eleventh Station
The nails are sharpened by my sins so that they will only need a few strikes with the large hammer to get them through your hands and feet and into the wood. They make you lie down on my Cross and they hold you down so you won’t try to move away as they begin to drive the first nail in. They don’t hit it hard enough to get it into the wood in one blow, and as you are writhing in pain, they increase the force to hold you down and again, and again, they hit the nail, as they and your mother and your friends hear the sound of bone breaking, hear you cry out, and hear the nail going into the wood. It is easier to hold your other arm down since one hand is already pinned to the cross and they get the second nail in in only three blows of the hammer. Since you are now almost unconscious from the pain, it is a simple matter for them to put one of your feet on the other and to drive one nail through both of them into the wood.
XII. Twelvth Station
Now they raise my Cross and stand it upright so everyone can see You suffering, hanging from the nails, in pain, dying. You are the public spectacle of my sins. You hear Dismas the Good Thief, crucified next to you, and he asks You to remember him, and you say “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Then You ask Your Father to forgive everyone and me. And you die for me.
XIII. Thirteenth Station
Because you are now dead, they do not worry about handling your body roughly in detaching it from the Cross, and they tear some of your flesh. They jerk your hands and your feet free. Blood and skin and flesh remain on the Cross after they have put your body on the ground in front of Your mother, Mary. She is beyond grief. She believes what You told her. Since she is sinless, she knows You will soon return to her; but this does not help. Her little boy who moved and kicked in her warm womb lies dead before her, and she has felt every pain You have felt as only a mother can. As she holds your bruised and torn body, she knows this was done to You because of my sins. But she too forgives me.
XIV. Fourteenth Station
A few people with Your mother go with the men carrying Your body to the tomb. They put your body inside in the darkness and then soldiers roll a huge stone in front of the tomb opening. For some time Your mother waits there. She is no longer weeping. She knows, with the certainty of total belief, she is going to see You on Sunday, her Son, glorious, resurrected as He has promised her. She is not yet full of joy, but she knows she will be.
Some additional thoughts about the Way of Cross: