These fourteen steps that you are 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 —
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.
JESUS IS CONDEMNED
In Pilate’s hands
I see my Father’s 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 Pilate’s rule
because this is my Father’s will
can you refuse obedience
to those who you are accountable to?
My Jesus, Lord,
obedience cost you your life.
it costs an act of will
and yet how hard it is for me to bend.
Remove the blinkers from my eyes
that I may see that it is you whom I serve
in all that hold me to account.
Lord it is you.
JESUS TAKES HIS 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 is there with you too
as you carry them.
I will not let your burdens grow
one ounce too heavy for your strength.
My Jesus, Lord,
I take my daily cross.
I welcome the monotony
that often marks my day,
discomforts of all kinds,
the summer’s heat, the winter’s 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 all of mine, except a sliver, in return.
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 are to imitate me
You also must accept without complaint
your human frailties.
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.
JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER
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 her thoughts.
She shares my martyrdom
and I share hers.
We hide no pain, no sorrow
from each other’s eyes.
This is my Father’s will.
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.
SIMON HELPS JESUS
My strength is gone;
I can no longer bear the cross alone.
And so the soldiers
make Simon give me aid.
This Simon is like you.
Give me your strength.
Each time you lift some burden from
you lift as with your very hand
the cross’s awful weight
that crushes me.
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.
VERONICA HELPS JESUS
Can you be brave enough
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 the playgrounds,
in the slums,
the courts, the hospitals, the jails,
wherever suffering exists
My face is there
and I look for you
to wipe away my blood and tears.
Lord, what you ask is hard.
It calls for courage and self-sacrifice
and I am weak.
Please, give me strength.
Don’t 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 people —
so that we may reveal
no more your bloody but your glorious face
JESUS FALLS FOR
THE SECOND TIME
The seventh step
is the 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 can’t go on’.
Then turn to me
my heavy-laden one
and I will give you rest.
Trust me, and carry on.
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 there is nothing I can do.
With you, I can do anything you ask.
JESUS CONSOLES THE WOMEN
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? How kind?
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.
JESUS FALLS FOR
THE THIRD TIME
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.
your body may be broken
but no force on earth and none in hell
can take away your will.
Your will is yours.
I see you take a moment’s rest
then rise again 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 past has been,
I can begin anew.
JESUS IS STRIPPED
Behold, 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 Father’s love.
If you, too, would own everything
be not overly attached
to your food, your clothes, your life.
I offer you my all — whatever I possess
and more — my self.
Detach me from the craving for prestige,
Root out of me
all trace of envy of my neighbour
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.
JESUS IS CRUCIFIED
Can you imagine what 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 my knees
so that my feet are flat against the wood,
they hammer them fast, too.
I look at you and think
Is my soul worth this much?
What can I give you in return?
I here and now pray for acceptance
for whatever sickness, torment, agony
To every cross I touch my lips.
O blessed cross that lets me be with you,
a co-redeemer of my fellow men and women.
The cross becomes a pulpit now.
‘Father forgive them……’
‘You will be with me in paradise……’
‘There is your mother………there…..your son…..’
‘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.
My Jesus, God,
What can I say or do?
I offer you my death with all its pains,
Praying that I can accept the time
and kind of death in store for me.
I offer you my death
for my own sins
and those of my fellow men and women.
My God! My God! Forsake us not.
We know not what we do.
JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN
FROM THE CROSS
The sacrifice is done.
Yes, my Mass is complete,
but not my mother’s and not yours.
My mother must still 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, remember my mother.
Remember me too. I am not remote from you.
I am with you through it all.
In every tear shared, every handshake offered,
every memory recalled, I am with you.
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 will receive them into your loving arms.
Then give me grace to say
‘As it has pleased you Lord to bring them home to you
I bow to your love and the peace you alone can give them.
Grant them eternal rest.’
JESUS IS BURIED
So ends my mortal life.
But now another life begins
for Mary and for Magdalen
for Peter and for John
My work as a human being is done.
My work with and through my church
must now commence.
I look to you.
Day in, day out, from this time forth,
be my apostle, victim, saint.
My Jesus, Lord,
You know my spirit is as willing
as my flesh is weak.
The teachings 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
for you, and in your name.
But I am nothing Lord. Help me!
I told you at the start
My life was not complete
Until I crowned it by my death.
Your ‘way’ is not complete
Unless you crown it by your life.
Accept each moment as it comes to you
with faith and trust
that all that happens has my mark on it.
A simple ‘yes’, this is all it takes,
a breathing in your heart
‘I will it Lord”.
So seek me not in far off places,
I am close at hand.
Your workbench, office, kitchen,
these are altars
where you offer love.
And I am with you there.
Go now! Take up your cross
and with your life
complete your way.