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Everyman's Way of the Cross
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Take up thy cross

Take up thy cross, the Saviour said,
If thou wouldst My disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after Me.

Take up thy cross, let not its weight
Fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
His strength shall bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.

Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
Thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
And saved thy soul from death and hell.

Take up thy cross then in His strength,
And calmly sins wild deluge brave,
Twill guide thee to a better home,
It points to glory oer the grave.

Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
Nor think til death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,
All praise forevermore ascend:
O grant us in our home to see
The heavenly life that knows no end.

Introduction

Jesus voice             These fourteen steps    
that you are now about to walk                    
you do not take alone.                                  
I walk with you.    
Though you are you,                                    
and I am I,              
yet we are truly one­                                      
one Christ              
And therefore         
My way of the cross                                    
two thousand years ago                                
and your way now                                    
are also one.           
But note this difference.                               
My life was incomplete                                
until I crowned it   
by My death.         
Your fourteen steps                                      
will only be complete                                   
when you have crowned                               
them by your life.

Station 1 -- Jesus Is Condemned

Jesus voice             In Pilates hands, My other self,                        
I see My Fathers will.                                                                       
Though Pilate is unjust,                                                                      
he is the lawful governor                                                                     
and he has power over Me.                                                                
And so the Son of God                                                                       
obeys a son of man.                                                                            
If I can bow to Pilates rule                                                                
because this is My Fathers will,                                                       
can you refuse obedience                                                                    
to those whom I place over you?

Response 1              My Jesus, Lord,                                                 
obedience cost You Your life.                                                         
For me                   
it costs an act of will­--                                                                      
no more­--              
and yet how hard it is for                                                                 
me to bend.           
Remove the blinders                                                                        
from my eyes        
that I may see that it is                                                                    
You whom I obey 
in all who govern me.                                                                       
Lord, it is You.  

There is a green hill far away  

There is a green hill far away,
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

Refrain

O dearly, dearly, has He loved,
And we must love Him, too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let us in.

O dearly, dearly has He loved,
And we must love Him, too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.  

Station 2 -- Jesus Takes His Cross

Jesus voice             This cross,                                                     
this chunk of tree,  
is what My Father chose for Me.                                                 
The crosses you must bear                                                            
are largely products of your daily life.                                          
And yet My Father chose                                                             
them, too, for you. 
Receive them from His hands.                                                       
Take heart, My other self,                                                            
I will not let your burdens grow                                                    
one ounce too heavy for                                                                
your strength.

Response 2              My Jesus, Lord,                                            
I take my daily cross.                                                                  
I welcome the monotony                                                            
that often marks my day,                                                           
discomforts of all kinds,                                                             
the summers heat, the                                                              
winters cold,       
my disappointments, tensions,                                                  
setbacks, cares.    
Remind me often that                                                                 
In carrying my cross,                                                                  
I carry Yours with You.                                                              
And though I bear a                                                                    
sliver only            
of Your cross,       
You carry ail of mine,                                                                 
except a sliver,     
in return.  

Station 3 -- Jesus Falls

Jesus voice             The God who made the universe,                         
and holds it in existence                                                                        
by His will alone,   
becomes, as man, too weak to bear                                                       
a piece of timber's weight.                                                                    
How human in His weakness is                                                            
the Son of Man.     
My Father willed it thus.                                                                     
I could not be your model                                                                     
otherwise.              
If you would be My other self,                                                            
you also must accept without complaint                                             
your human frailties.

Response 3              Lord Jesus, how can I                                         
refuse?                  
I willingly accept my                                                                          
weaknesses,          
my irritations and my moods,                                                           
my headaches and fatigue,                                                                
all my defects of body,                                                                        
mind,                     
and soul.               
Because they are Your                                                                       
will for me,           
these handicaps, of my humanity,                                                
I gladly suffer them.                                                                           
Make me content with all                                                                 
my discontents,    
but give me strength to struggle                                                       
after You.  

First Reading:

A reading from the Prophet Isaiah

 

See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him-- so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals--so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.  Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.  They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.  Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

The Word of the Lord  
Thanks be to God.

Station 4 -- Jesus Meets His Mother

Jesus voice             My Mother sees Me whipped.                     
She sees Me kicked and                                                                  
driven like a beast. 
She counts My every wound.                                                        
But though her soul cries                                                                
out in agony,          
no protest or complaint                                                                  
escapes her lips      
or even enters on her thoughts                                                       
She shares My martyrdom­-                                                           
and I share hers.     
We hide no pain,    
no sorrow,              
from each others eyes.                                                                  
This is My Fathers will.

Response 4              My Jesus, Lord,                                            
I know what You are                                                                    
telling me.            
To watch the pain of                                                                    
those we love        
is harder than to bear our own.                                                  
To carry my cross after You,                                                       
I, too, must stand and watch                                                        
the sufferings of my dear ones;                                                  
the heartaches, sicknesses and                                                  
grief of those I love. 
And I must let them                                                                     
watch mine, too.   
I do believe--­         
for those who love You                                                                
all things work together                                                              
unto good.             
They must!  

Station 5 -- Simon Helps Jesus

Jesus voice             My strength is gone;                                 
I can no longer bear the cross alone.                                         
And so the legionnaires                                                             
make Simon give Me aid.                                                          
This Simon is like you, My other self.                                     
Give Me your strength.                                                            
Each time you lift some                                                            
burden from           
Anothers back,     
you lift as with your very hand                                                
the crosss awful weight                                                           
that crushes Me.  

Response 5              Lord, make me realize                         
that every time I wipe a dish,                                              
pick up an object off the floor,                                            
assist a child in some small task,                                       
or give another preference                                                  
in traffic or the store;                                                           
each time I feed the hungry,                                               
clothe the naked, 
teach the ignorant,  
or lend my hand in any way ­                                               
it matters not to whom ­                                                        
my name is Simon. 
And the kindness I extend to                                               
them I really give to You.    

Must Jesus bear the cross alone

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
and all the world go free?
No, theres a cross for everyone,
and theres a cross for me.

How happy now the saints of God,
who once went sorrowing here;
they rest in joy, lifes crown is theirs,
they know no pain nor tear.

They trod the path the Saviour trod,
they bore the cross he bore;
and none may look to wear the crown
without the cross before.

Then help me, Lord, my cross to bear,
till death shall set me free,
and so at last obtain my crown,
for theres a crown for me.

Station 6 --Veronica Helps Jesus

Jesus voice             Can you be brave enough,                                     
My other self,        
to wipe My bloody face?                                                                     
Where is My face, you ask?                                                                 
At home whenever eyes fill                                                                  
up with tears,         
at work when tensions rise,                                                                  
on playgrounds, in the                                                                          
slums, the courts, the                                                                            
hospitals, the jails­--   
wherever suffering exists­--                                                                    
My face is there.    
And there I look for you                                                                       
to wipe away My blood and                                                                
tears.

Response 6              Lord, what You ask is hard.                               
It calls for courage and                                                                       
self-sacrifice,        
and I am weak.     
Please, give me strength.                                                                   
Dont let me run away                                                                       
because of fear.    
Lord, live in me 
and act in me        
and love in me.     
And not in me alone--in                                                                     
all men­--so that we may reveal                                                         
no more Your bloody but                                                                   
Your glorious face on earth.

Station 7 -- Jesus Falls Again

Jesus voice             This seventh step, My other self,               
is one that tests your will.                                                           
From this fall learn to persevere                                                  
in doing good.         
The time will come    
when all your efforts seem to fail                                                
and you will think, 
I cant go on.      
Then turn to Me,   
My heavy-laden one, 
and I will give you rest.                                                               
Trust Me               
and carry on.

Response 7              Give me your courage, Lord.                    
When failure presses                                                                
heavily on me       
and I am desolate,    
stretch out Your hand                                                               
to lift me up.         
I know I must not cease,                                                           
but persevere,       
in doing good.       
But help me, Lord.   
Alone theres nothing I can do.                                               
With You, I can do anything                                                    
You ask.                
I will.

Second Reading:

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

 

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds, he also adds, I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.  Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.  Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Word of the Lord.  
Thanks be to God.  

Station 8 -- Jesus Consoles the Women

Jesus voice             How often had I longed to take                            
the children of Jerusalem                                                                      
and gather them to Me.                                                                        
But they refused.   
But now these women weep for Me                                                    
and My heart mourns for them­--                                                         
mourns for their sorrows                                                                      
that will come.       
I comfort those who seek to solace Me.                                              
How gentle can you be, My other self,                                                
How kind?

Response 8              My Jesus,                                                            
Your compassion 
in Your passion    
is beyond compare.  
Lord, teach me,    
help me learn.      
When I would snap at those                                                              
who hurt me with their ridicule,                                                      
those who              
misunderstand,    
or hinder me with some                                                                    
misguided helpfulness,                                                                     
those who intrude upon                                                                     
my privacy­--then help me curb my tongue.                                    
May gentleness become my cloak.                                                   
Lord, make me kind like                                                                   
You.  

Station 9 -- The Third Fall

Jesus voice             Completely drained of strength                        
I lie, collapsed, upon the                                                                  
cobblestones.         
My body cannot move.                                                                    
No blows, no kicks,   
can rouse it up.      
And yet My will is Mine.                                                                
And so is yours.    
Know this, My other self,                                                               
your body may be broken,                                                               
but no force on earth  
and none in hell      
can take away your will.                                                                  
Your will is yours.

Response 9              My Lord,                                                             
I see You take a   
moments rest      
then rise and stagger on.                                                                 
So I can do            
because my will is mine.                                                                  
When all my strength is                                                                  
gone and guilt and   
self-reproach        
press me to earth and                                                                       
seem to hold me fast,                                                                        
protect me from the sin                                                                    
of Judas­--save me from despair!                                                     
Lord, never let me feel                                                                     
that any sin of mine                                                                         
is greater than Your love.                                                                
No matter what my post                                                                   
has been I can begin                                                                         
anew.  

When I survey the wondrous cross  

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!  
Did eer such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Station 10 -- Jesus Is Stripped

Jesus voice             Behold, My other self,                                     
the poorest King who ever lived.                                                      
Before My creatures I                                                                      
stand stripped.       
The cross--My deathbed­--                                                               
even this is not My own.                                                                 
Yet who has ever been so rich?                                                         
Possessing nothing, I own all--                                                         
My Fathers love.  
If you, too, would own everything,                                                  
be not solicitous     
about your food, your clothes,                                                         
your life.


Response 10            My Lord,                                                          
I offer You my all­--  
whatever I possess, 
and more, my self. 
Detach me from the                                                                       
craving for prestige,                                                                       
position, wealth.  
Root out of me      
all trace of envy of my neighbor                                                   
who has more than I.                                                                      
Release me from the vice of pride,                                               
my longing to exalt myself,                                                           
and lead me to the lowest place.                                                   
May I be poor in spirit, Lord,                                                        
so that I can be rich in                                                                   
You.  

Station 11 -- Jesus Is Crucified

Jesus voice             Can you imagine what a                                     
crucifixion is?         
My executioners stretch                                                                     
My arms;               
they hold My hand and                                                                      
wrist against the wood                                                                       
and press the nail until it                                                                    
stabs My flesh.      
Then with one heavy                                                                          
hammer smash       
they drive it through                                                                       
and pain bursts like a bomb                                                                
of fire in My brain.    
They seize the other arm;                                                                   
and agony again explodes.                                                                  
Then raising up My knees                                                                 
so that My feet are flat                                                                      
against the wood,   
they hammer them fast,                                                                      
too.

Response 11            My God,                                                             
I look at You and think:                                                                  
Is my soul worth this much?                                                           
What can I give You in return?                                                      
I here and now accept                                                                      
for all my life       
                                whatever sickness, torment,                           
agony may come. 
To every cross I touch my lips.                                                       
O blessed cross that lets                                                                  
me be­--                  
with You­--             
a co-redeemer of my                                                                        
fellowmen.


Third Reading:

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed by John

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe.  They kept coming up to him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.  So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, Here is the man!  When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, Crucify him! Crucify him! Pilate said to them, Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.  The Jews answered him, We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.  Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.  He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, Where are you from? But Jesus gave him no answer.  Pilate therefore said to him, Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?  Jesus answered him, You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.  From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.  When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judges bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.  Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, Here is your King!  They cried out, Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him! Pilate asked them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but the emperor.  Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.  There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.  Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.  Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Do not write, The King of the Jews, but, This man said, I am King of the Jews.  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.  So they said to one another, Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it. This was to fulfill what the scripture says, They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.  And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mothers sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, Woman, here is your son.  Then he said to the disciple, Here is your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.  After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), I am thirsty.  A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the wine, he said, It is finished. Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed.  Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.  (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.)  These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, None of his bones shall be broken.  And again another passage of scripture says, They will look on the one whom they have pierced.  After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body.  Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.  They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.  Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.  And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. 

Station 12 -- Jesus Dies

Jesus voice             The cross becomes a pulpit now--                        
Forgive them, Father                                                                       
You will be with Me in Paradise                                                           
There is your mother                                                                        
There your son     
I thirst.  It is complete.                                                                        
To speak I have to raise Myself                                                           
by pressing on My wrists and feet,                                                      
and every move engulfs Me                                                                  
in new waves of agony.                                                                         
And then, when I have                                                                          
borne enough,         
have emptied My humanity,                                                                
I let My mortal life depart.

Response 12            My Jesus,                                                             
God,                       
what can I say or do?                                                                          
I offer You my death                                                                           
with all its pains, 
accepting now       
the time and kind of                                                                           
death in store for me.                                                                         
Not by a single instant                                                                       
would I lengthen my lifes span.                                                       
I offer You my death                                                                           
for my own sins    
and those of all my  
fellowmen.            
My God! My God!    
Forsake us not.    
We know not what we do.  

Station 13 -- Jesus Is Taken Down - Pieta

Jesus voice             The sacrifice is done.                                      
Yes, My Mass is complete;                                                           
but not My mothers 
and not yours,        
My other self.        
My mother still must cradle                                                           
in her arms             
the lifeless body of the Son she bore.                                             
You, too, must part from                                                               
those you love,      
and grief will come to you.                                                             
In your bereavements think of this:                                               
A multitude of souls were saved                                                    
by Marys sharing in My Calvary,                                                
Your grief can also be 
the price of souls.

Response 13            I beg You, Lord,                                            
help me accept the partings that                                                
must come­--          
from friends who go away,                                                          
my children leaving home,                                                         
and most of all,    
my dear ones        
when You shall call them                                                           
to Yourself.           
Then, give me grace to say:                                                        
As it has pleased You, Lord,                                                      
to take them home, 
I bow to Your most holy will                                                       
And if by just one word                                                                
I might restore their lives                                                           
against Your will,    
I would not speak.  
Grant them eternal joy.  

O Love that will not let me go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshines blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust lifes glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red
life that shall endless be.  

Station 14 -- Jesus Is Buried

Jesus voice             So ends My mortal life.                                 
But now another life begins for Mary,                                          
and for Magdalen,  
for Peter and for John,                                                                   
and you.                 
My work as man is done.                                                              
My work within and                                                                     
through My Church   
must now commence.                                                                    
I look to you, My other self.                                                        
Day in, day out,     
from this time forth,  
be My apostle   
victim--                  
saint.

Response 14            My Jesus, Lord,                                           
You know my spirit is as willing                                               
as my flesh is weak.
The teaching You could not impart,                                         
the sufferings You could not bear,                                            
the works of love You                                                                 
could not do          
in Your short life on earth,                                                        
let me impart,      
and bear,               
and do through You.
But I am nothing, Lord.                                                              
Help me!

Conclusion