28 February 2015

Behold our Lord transfigured...


The Gospel reading on the Second Sunday in Lent is the account of our Lord’s transfiguration. The contrast between the sobriety of the season and the splendor of the event makes for a powerful statement.

At the time of the transfiguration St. Peter wanted to build a tabernacle, a permanent dwelling place. He wanted to “capture the moment,” so to speak. By itself, that desire was not wrong; it simply was not the time. There was still work to be done, still truth to be learned. The opportunity would afford itself later, after the passion and death, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. It would be later, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. It would be then that Peter would have the task, along with the other Apostles.

This would be the tabernacle which needed to be built: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.  It would not be built far off on a mountain-top, but it would be a tabernacle in the midst of the world, allowing everyone to worship the One who lives within it.


Behold our Lord transfigured,
In Sacrament Divine;
His glory deeply hidden,
'Neath forms of Bread and Wine.
Our eyes of faith behold Him,
Salvation is outpoured;
The Saviour dwells among us,
by ev'ry heart adored.

No longer on the mountain
With Peter, James and John,
Our precious Saviour bids us
To walk where saints have gone.
He has no lasting dwelling,
Save in the hearts of men;
He feeds us with His Body,
To make us whole again.

With Moses and Elijah,
We worship Christ our King;
Lord, make our souls transfigured,
Let us with angels sing.
Lead us in paths of glory,
Give tongues to sing thy praise;
Lord Jesus, keep us faithful,
Now and for all our days.

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1990
Music: "Ewing" by Alexander C. Ewing, 1853

27 February 2015

A Prayer to Grow in Goodness


May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.
May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.
May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.
May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none.
May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me.
When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.
May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.
May I never fail a friend who is in danger.
When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain.
May I respect myself.
May I always keep tame that which rages within me.
May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances.
May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.

- Eusebius of Caesarea, 263-339

26 February 2015

Learning discipline...


“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  - Hebrews 12:11

I have to admit, as a parent I didn’t always find it easy to discipline my children. No matter how much they seemed to deserve it, I never took pleasure in administering punishment. The old cliché is true: “This will hurt me more than it hurts you…” I never believed it when my father said it, but when I became a father I knew what he meant.

The loving parent knows how important discipline is for the future well-being of a child. It teaches right from wrong. It assigns responsibility and illustrates the inevitability of there being consequences which follow actions. If this is true in our own immediate families, it’s true also in God’s family. It’s true that our own need for discipline saddens the heart of our heavenly Father. And yet, it’s for our eternal good. It helps us to grow in holiness and righteousness.

Therefore, when difficulties present themselves, or when our prayers aren’t answered in the way we think they should have been answered, or when we’re directed in ways which we wouldn’t choose by ourselves, remember this: these things are allowed by our Father who loves us with a depth that is beyond our understanding.

25 February 2015

God at the center...


Living in the grace of God involves a cost. There was a cost felt by the first disciples of Jesus when they left everything to follow Him. As they did this, so each person called to be a disciple must be willing to give up something in the short term in order to receive the Gospel and to live by it.

A willingness to sacrifice doesn't mean that we cannot attempt to improve our lives and the lives of our children. But we do need to be cautioned against letting our lives slip so out of focus that we lose sight of the fact that God Incarnate must be the true center of our lives. To improve one's state in life is good, but not at a cost to others. To be centered on material well-being and security, and not on Jesus Christ, is empty. It is so easy to make idols of things. Remember: it’s not our outward appearance, it’s not the position we have in life, it's not the home we live in, or the job we have, that enables our success in God's kingdom. It’s not the possessions we gather about ourselves that give us personal security. Rather, it’s what happens to us on the inside – our on-going conversion to Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to proclaim the good news that He is God with us. He came to us through the Virgin Mary, and He remains with us in the Most Holy Sacrament. But we have to do our part, and this is our part of the covenant we have with God: to allow Him to be the center of our lives.

A Concert of Chamber Music


Monte Vista Strings

Join us on
Sunday, 1 March 2015 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon
for a program of chamber music
at Our Lady of the Atonement Church.

It will include music by
Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, and others,
performed by
Andrew Small (violin), Lachezar Kostov (cello), and Viktor Balkov (piano).

24 February 2015

Pater noster...



Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


It was an ordinary practice for a rabbi to teach his disciples a simple prayer which they could use on a regular basis, and it would be a prayer that encapsulated the teaching they had imparted to their followers. The prayer Jesus gives to his apostles teaches everything necessary to know about how to pray, and for what to pray.

It begins by addressing God as Father, indicating to us that in prayer we are not coming to someone out from whom we must try and extract gifts, but to a Father who takes delight in supplying His children's needs.

In Hebrew thought the idea of “name” means more than just the name by which a person is called. The name means the whole character of the person as it is revealed and known to us, and this is why Jesus teaches that God’s Name is a holy name. Psalm 9:10 says, "Those who know thy name put their trust in thee." To know the name of God is to know the whole character and mind and heart of God, and makes us willingly put our trust in Him.

The order of the Lord's Prayer is important. Before we ask anything for ourselves, the first order of business is that of God and His glory, and the reverence which is due to Him. Only when we give God His proper place will other things fall into proper order.

Notice how this prayer covers everything in life. It covers our present need, in that it tells us to pray for our daily bread, and indeed it is bread for the day for which we ask, providing a link to the story of the manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-21). Only enough for the needs of the day could be gathered. We are not to worry about the unknown future, but to live a day at a time, which is a reminder of our dependence on God.

The prayer refers to our sin. When we pray, all we can really do is pray for forgiveness, because even the best among us is a sinful man coming before the purity of God. And as we seek forgiveness, so we need to give forgiveness.

It covers future trials, asking that we not be brought to them. “Temptation” means any situation in which we are tested. It includes far more than seduction to sin. It covers every situation which is a challenge to us, and which tests a person's humanity and integrity and fidelity. We cannot escape it, but we can meet it with God. People have asked, “Why would God lead us into temptation?” That’s not really a helpful translation, because the Greek is really more like “Let us not be led into temptation.” In other words, in this prayer we are asking God to protect us from giving into temptation.

The Lord's Prayer is a public prayer of the Church, with its proper place in the liturgy. But it also is a private prayer, which stirs up all manner of holy desires which lead us on into right ways, while at the same time it sums up all we ought to pray for in the presence of God.

23 February 2015

Scrupulosity


One of the joys of priestly ministry is hearing confessions. To be able to say “I absolve you…” to someone who has made a good examination of conscience and a sincere confession is a great privilege. The time I spend in the confessional seems to me to be among the most spiritually productive hours of my week.

I’m sure it’s the experience of every priest, from time to time, to have the difficult task of trying to guide a person who is tortured with the burden of scrupulosity. I haven’t found it to be a common problem by any means, but I come across it often enough to want to mention it here. Of course, the more common task for the confessor is to help people make a complete confession, to assist them in getting away from telling what their spouse or children did and get down to their own sins. But for the person suffering from scrupulosity there is a constant fear that almost everything is, or leads to, sin. Scrupulosity has been called “the doubting disease” because the sufferer lives in constant fear that he has perhaps forgotten to confess something, or that an impure thought might flash through his mind, or that his contrition is insufficient.

Often I have recommended an excellent and helpful article by Mark Lowery entitled “Scrupulosity: The Occupational Hazard of the Catholic Moral Life”, and I certainly recommend it to anyone who thinks he may have tendencies toward scrupulosity. In fact, it would be helpful to every Catholic who seeks that holiness which is in accordance with the divine will of Christ.

A Lesson in Charity


A lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." - Luke 10:25-37

Although it’s a parable being told by our Lord, everyone who heard his response to the young lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor,” knew exactly the stretch of road which Jesus was describing. The journey from Jerusalem to Jericho was on a narrow, rocky road. There were outcrops of rock and sudden turns, which made it a favorite place for thieves to hide. In the fifth century, St. Jerome tells us that it was still called "The Bloody Way." Even in the 19th century it was still necessary to pay safety money to the local sheiks before one could travel on it. When Jesus told this story, he was telling about the kind of thing that was constantly happening on the Jerusalem to Jericho road.

And we look at the characters in the story:

There was the traveler, who must have been reckless and not very prudent. People seldom attempted the Jerusalem to Jericho road alone. There would be some safety in numbers, so they travelled in convoys or caravans. This man, however, had set out by himself, so he really had no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he found himself.

There was the temple priest, who hurried past. He knew full well that if anyone touched a dead man, he was unclean for seven days, according to Jewish law. He couldn’t be sure, but it looked to him as though the man was dead, so to touch him would mean losing his turn of duty in the Temple, and he didn’t want to take that risk.

The Levite was fairly worldly-wise. He knew that the bandits on this road were in the habit of using decoys. One of them would act as though he were wounded, and when some unsuspecting traveler stopped to help, the others would rush in and overpower him. He wasn’t going to fall for that trick.

Then there was the Samaritan. Given the feelings of the Jews towards the Samaritans – a race of people who claimed Jewish roots, but who were half-breeds and so worse than Gentiles – there was no doubt in the minds of those hearing this parable that the real villain of the story had arrived.

But what a surprise! He was the only one prepared to help. He may have been a heretic and an enemy as far as the Jews were concerned, but the love of God was obviously in his heart.

So the young lawyer poses the question, “Who is my neighbor,” and Jesus asks him what is written in the law. And He expands it into a second question: "How do you read?" Why did Jesus ask it in that way? Strict orthodox Jews wore round their wrists little leather boxes called phylacteries, which contained certain passages of scripture, having to do with the love of God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.” So Jesus was saying to the scribe, "Look at the phylactery on your own wrist and it will answer your question." To that scripture, the scribes had added Leviticus 19:18, which teaches that a man should love his neighbor as himself. But this wasn’t enough for the strict Jew. With their absolute passion for defining things, the Rabbis tried to define who a man's neighbor was; and very often they confined the word “neighbor” to apply only to their fellow Jews. For instance, some of them said that it was illegal to help a Gentile woman at the time of childbirth, because that would only be bringing another Gentile into the world. So then, we can see that the scribe's question, "Who is my neighbor?" was an important one.

So we have some important points here:

First, we must help a person, even when he has brought his trouble on himself, as this traveler had done.

Second, any person who is in need is our neighbor. Our help doesn’t stop with our own people, with our own kind. Our charity must be as wide as the love of God.

Third, the help we give must be practical and not consist only in feeling sorry. Compassion, to be real, has to show itself in deeds. This is part of what St. James means when he says: “faith without works is dead.”

And what Jesus said to the scribe, he says to us – “Go and do the same."

22 February 2015

St. Polycarp of Smyrna


Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist. But being part of the second generation of Church leaders had challenges that the first generation had not known. With the apostles gone, heresies sprang up pretending to be true teaching, persecution was strong, and controversies arose.

Polycarp, as a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, found there was only one answer -- to be true to the life of Jesus and to imitate that life. As Jesus often responsed strongly to the Pharisees, so Polycarp, when confronted by a heretic who demanded respect by saying, "Recognize us, Polycarp," was told by Polycarp, "I recognize you, yes, I recognize the son of Satan."

Polycarp faced persecution the way Christ did. He didn’t seek out martyrdom as some did, but he avoided it until it was God's will. One day, during a bloody martyrdom when Christians were attacked by wild animals in the arena, the crowd became so mad that they demanded more blood by crying, "Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found." (They considered Christians "atheists" because they didn't believe in their pantheon of gods).

Polycarp was calm but others persuaded him to leave the city and hide at a nearby farm. He spent his time in prayer for people he knew and for the Church. During his prayer he saw a vision of his pillow turned to fire and announced to his friends that the dream meant he would be burned alive.

As the search closed in, he moved to another farm, but he was discovered. He had a little warning since he was upstairs in the house but he decided to stay, saying, "God's will be done."

Then he went downstairs, talked to his captors and fed them a meal. All he asked of them was that they give him an hour to pray. He spent two hours praying for everyone he had every known and for the Church, "remembering all who had at any time come his way -- small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world." Many of his captors started to wonder why they were arresting this holy, eighty-six-year-old bishop.

But that didn't stop them from taking him into the arena. As he entered the arena, the crowd roared, rather like the animals they cheered. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven above the crowd, "Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man."

The proconsul begged the old bishop to give in because of his age. "Say 'Away with the atheists'" the proconsul urged. Polycarp calmly turned to face the crowd, looked straight at them, and said, "Away with the atheists." The proconsul continued to plead with him. When he asked Polycarp to swear by Caesar to save himself, Polycarp answered, "If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar, you do not know who I am. Let me tell you plainly, I am a Christian." Finally, when all else failed the proconsul reminded Polycarp that he would be thrown to the wild animals unless he changed his mind. Polycarp answered, "Change of mind from better to worse is not a change allowed to us."

Because of Polycarp's lack of fear, the proconsul told him he would be burned alive, but Polycarp knew that a fire which burned only for an hour was far preferable to the flames of eternal fire.

When he was tied up to be burned, Polycarp prayed. The fire was lit and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp, the flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn't being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.

The proconsul wouldn't let the Christians have the body because he was afraid they would worship Polycarp. The witnesses reported this with scorn for the lack of understanding of Christian faith: "They did not know that we can never abandon the innocent Christ who suffered on behalf of sinners for the salvation of those in this world." After the body was burned, they took away the bones in order to celebrate the memory of his martyrdom and prepare others for persecution. The date was about February 23, 156.

O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle St. Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Saviour, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Transforming the desert...


How magnificently God transforms things, bringing order out of chaos, sense out of confusion. Christ went into the wilderness for forty days, and during that time He underwent terrible trials and met even Satan himself. But for those of us who follow Christ, the Lenten wilderness has been transformed. Instead of Satan, we meet Christ; instead of trials, we have at our disposal every means of spiritual help. The redemptive work of Jesus Christ takes place even in the desert, as He transforms a place of desolation into a time of consolation, all out of love for us. Because of that love, we can know that every sorrow will be turned to joy, and every dark moment will, eventually, be flooded with the Light of Christ.

21 February 2015

The Chair of St. Peter


Enshrined in the beautiful Bernini reliquary in St. Peter’s Basilica is a chair which was known in the sixth century, parts of which date to the earliest years of the Christian faith. This is the famous Chair of St. Peter, of which the feast is celebrated each year on February 22nd.

Why would the entire Catholic world celebrate a feast in honor of a chair? Surely it must be for a better reason than that an apostle sat on it. As interesting as that is, the reason is much greater than that alone. This Chair is the concrete symbol to us of the authority and primacy of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, the one to whom our Lord entrusted the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and who was called the Rock on which Christ would build His Church.

The fragments of the Chair (cathedra) of St. Peter are venerated because it was from that very place that the first Pope, the Vicar of Christ, imparted the truth which had been entrusted to him by our Lord Himself, and which has been passed on in its entirety throughout the centuries, and which will continue until Christ returns in glory. The Chair of St. Peter is a reminder to us that we are not members of some man-made religion, but that we are part of the one true Church, founded by Christ upon the Rock which endures.

“…On [Peter] He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigned a like power to all the Apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?"

- St. Cyprian of Carthage, c.251 AD

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Stations of the Cross

PREPARATION – Jesus is betrayed

In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen

THE READING: (St. Mark 14:26, 32, 45; St. Luke 22:41-42; St. John 18:12-13)

They went out into the Mount of Olives.  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane.  And Jesus was withdrawn from the disciples about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done...  As soon as Judas was come, he goeth straightway to Jesus, and saith, Master, Master: and kissed him.  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away.

Let us pray.  Assist us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name; Thy kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven:
R.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

V.   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus:
R.   Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
R.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

V.  Have mercy upon us, O Lord.
R.  Have mercy upon us.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle
Sing the winning of the fray:
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.




The First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Death

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Mark 14:61, 64)

The high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am...  And then all condemned him to be guilty of death.

V.  Oh my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?  Testify against me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy, but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking the Way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Second Station - Jesus Receives the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:14, 17)

Pilate saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?  The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar.  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.  And they took Jesus and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth...

V.  Because I brought thee forth from the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ  (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle
Sing the winning of the fray:
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.



The Third Station - Jesus Falls the First Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 15:18-20)

Jesus said to his disciples: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hated you.  Remember the word that I said unto you:  The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

V.  Because I led thee through the desert forty years, and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good: thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, who hast given thy Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life: Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavor ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

God in pity saw man fallen,
Shamed and sunk in misery,
When he fell on death by tasting
 Fruit of the forbidden tree:
That another Tree was chosen
Which the world from death would free.



The Fourth Station - Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:25-27)

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!  And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

V.  What more could I have done unto thee that I have not done?  I indeed did plant thee, O my vineyard, with exceeding fair fruit: and thou art become very bitter unto me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, the King of Saints, we praise and magnify thy holy Name for all thy servants who have finished their course in thy faith and fear; for the Blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all thy other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech thee that, encouraged by their examples, aided by their prayers, and strengthened by their fellowship, we also may be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Fifth Station - The Cross is Laid Upon Simon of Cyrene

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Mark 15:16, 20-22)

The soldiers...led him out to crucify him.  And they compel one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.  And they bring him unto a place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of the skull.

V.  I did scourge Egypt with her first-born for thy sake, and thou hast scourged me and delivered me up.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, whose beloved Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption; Give us courage, we beseech thee, to take up our cross and follow him, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Thus the scheme of our salvation
Was of old in order laid,
That the manifold deceiver's
Art by Art might be outweighed;
And the lure the foe put forward
Into means of healing made.



The Sixth Station - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Matthew 24:8, 9, 30, 40-41)

Jesus said unto his disciples, All these are the beginning of sorrows, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my Name's sake.  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven... and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

V.  I led thee forth out of Egypt, drowning Pharoah in the Read Sea, and thou hast delivered me up to the chief priests.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered; Make us, we beseech thee, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let thy Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days: that, when we shall have served thee in our generation, we may be gathered unto our fathers, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of a certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious and holy hope; in favor with thee our God, and in perfect charity with the world; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Therefore when th' appointed fullness
Of the holy time was come,
He was sent, who maketh all things,
Forth from God's eternal home;
Thus he came to earth, incarnate,
Offspring of the Virgin's womb.



The Seventh Station - Jesus Falls the Second Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Isaiah 53:3, 5-6)

He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

V.  I did open the sea before thee: and thou hast opened my side with a spear.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy death didst take away the sting of death: Grant unto us thy servants so to follow in faith where thou hast led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in thee, and awake up after thy likeness; for thy tender mercies' sake (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Eighth Station - Jesus Greets the Holy Women

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Luke 23:27-28, 31)

There followed him a great company of people, and of women which bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus, turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

V.  I did go before thee in the pillar of cloud, and thou hast led me unto the judgment hall of Pilate.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Thirty years he dwelt among us,
His appointed time fulfilled;
Born for this he met his passion,
This the Savior freely willed:
On the cross the Lamb was lifted,
Where his Precious Blood was spilled.



The Ninth Station - Jesus Falls a Third Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23)

We are sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way... that is to say, his Flesh; and having an high priest over the House of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.

V.  I did feed thee with manna in the desert, and thou hast stricken me with blows and scourges.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy precious death and passion; Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruits of thy redemption  (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

He endured the nails, the spitting,
Vinegar, and spear, and reed;
From that holy Body broken
Blood and water forth proceed:
Earth and stars and sky and ocean
By that flood from stain are freed.



The Tenth Station - Jesus is Stripped of His Raiment

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23)

They gave Jesus vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.  And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

V.  I did give thee to drink the water of life from the rock: and thou hast given me to drink but gall and vinegar.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord,  (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.


Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Eleventh Station - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Luke 23:33-34; St. John 19:19)

When they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do...  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.  And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

V.  I did smite the kings of the Canaanites for thy sake, and thou hast smitten my head with a reed.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the Cross, that he might draw the whole world unto himself; Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Bend thy boughs, O tree of glory!
Thy relaxing sinews bend;
For a while the ancient rigor
That thy birth bestowed, suspend;
And the King of heavenly beauty
On thy bosom gently tend!



                               The Twelfth Station - Jesus Dies on the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Matthew 27:45-46; St. John 19:28, 30)

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  (kneel)

V.  I did give thee a royal scepter, and thou hast given unto my head a crown of thorns.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus  Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross (who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.  (rise)

Thou alone wast counted worthy
This world's Ransom to uphold,
For a shipwrecked race preparing
Harbor, like the Ark of old,
With the Sacred Blood anointed
From the smitten Lamb that rolled.



 The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:33-34, 38)

When the soldiers came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  After this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

V.  I did raise thee on high with great powers, and thou hast hanged me on the gibbet of the cross.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty and everlasting God, who of they tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



 The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:40-42)

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre wherein never man yet laid.  There laid they Jesus.

V.  O my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?  Testify against me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray thee to set thy passion, cross , and death between thy judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death.  Give mercy and grace to the living, pardon and rest to the dead, to thy holy Church peace and concord, and to us sinners everlasting life and glory (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

To the Trinity be glory
Everlasting, as is meet:
Equal to the Father, equal
To the Son, and Paraclete:
God the Three in One, whose praises
All created things repeat.  Amen.


CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.  O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.