Franciscan Way of the Cross

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statue of St. Francis of Assisi holding the Crucified Christ on the Cross, Holy Spirit Friary, Franciscan University, Steubeville OH

 

The Stations of the Way of the Cross
According to the Method of Saint Francis of Assisi

Current Superiores, ut pium Viae Crucis exercitium feria VI, vel alia hebdomanae die, numquam a Communitate omittatur; quod etiam loco meditationis vespertinae haberi poterit.

Let the superiors take care that the devout exercise of the Way of the Cross never be omitted from Community on Friday or another day of the week. The [Way of the Cross] may also be celebrated in place of the evening meditation.
Const. No. 214 (translation from Latin)
 

Photo credits: © Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR All Rights Reserved
   St. Francis Holding Crucified Christ - Holy Spirit Friary Courtyard, Steubenville OH
   Stations of the Cross mosaics - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA
Text: Original Source Unknown

 

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Preparatory Prayer

O most merciful Jesus! With a contrite heart and a penitent spirit I bow down in profound humility, before Your Divine Majesty. I adore You as my Supreme Lord and Master; I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended You, my supreme and only Good. I resolve to amend my life; and although I am unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Your holy Cross, on which You did die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will, therefore, meditate on Your sufferings, and visit the stations of Your bitter passion in company with Your sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the intention of promoting Your honor and saving my soul.

I desire to gain all the indulgences granted for this holy exercise: a plenary one for myself, and all others for the souls in purgatory.

O merciful Redeemer, Who has said: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself," draw my heart and my love to You, that I may perform this devotion as perfectly as possible, and that I may live and die in union with You. Amen.
 

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First Station

First Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus is Condemned To Death
 

V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Jesus, most innocent, who neither did nor could commit a sin, was condemned to death, and, moreover, to the most shameful death of the Cross. To remain a friend of Caesar, Pilate delivered Him into the hands of His enemies. A fearful crime – to condemn Innocence to death, and to offend God in order not to displease men.

Prayer:
O innocent Jesus, having sinned, I am guilty of eternal death, but You willingly did accept the unjust sentence of death, that I might live. For whom, then, shall I henceforth live, if not for You, my Lord? Should I desire to please men, I could not be Your servant. Let me, therefore, rather displease men, and all the world, than not please You, O Jesus.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Second Station

Second Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Carries His Cross
 

V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

When our Divine Savior beheld the Cross, He most willingly stretched out His bleeding arms, lovingly embraced it, and tenderly kissed it, and placing it upon His bruised shoulders, He, although almost exhausted, joyfully carried it.

Prayer:
O my Jesus! I cannot be Your friend and follower, if I refuse to carry the Cross. O dearly beloved Cross! I embrace You, I kiss You, I joyfully accept You from the hands of my God. Far be it from me to glory in anything, save in the Cross of my Lord and Redeemer. By it the world shall be crucified to me, and I to the world, that I may be Yours forever.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Third Station

Third Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

 Jesus Falls the First Time
 

V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Our dear Savior, carrying the Cross, was so weakened by its heavy weight as to fall exhausted to the ground. Our sins and misdeeds were the heavy burden which oppressed Him: the Cross was to Him light and sweet, but our sins were bitterness and insupportable.

Prayer:
O my Jesus! You did bear my burden, and the heavy weight of my sins. Should I not, then, bear in union with You my easy burden of suffering, and accept the sweet yoke of Your commandments? Your yoke is sweet and Your burden is light: I therefore willingly accept it. I will take up my cross and follow You.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Fourth Station

Fourth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

How painful and how sad it must have been for Mary, the sorrowful Mother, to behold her beloved Son laden with the burden of the Cross! What unspeakable pangs her most tender heart experienced! How earnestly did she desire to die in place of Jesus, or at least with Him! Implore this sorrowful Mother, that she assist you in the hour of your death.

Prayer:
O Jesus! O Mary! I am the cause of the great and manifold pains which pierced your loving hearts. O that also my heart would experience and feel at least some of your sufferings. O Mother of Sorrows! Let me participate in the sufferings which You and Your Son endured for me, and let me experience Your sorrow, that, afflicted with You, I may enjoy Your assistance in the hour of my death.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Fifth Station

Fifth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus To Carry The Cross


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world

Simon of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His Cross, and Jesus accepted his assistance. How willingly would He also permit you to carry the Cross: He calls, but you hear Him not; He invites you, but you decline. What a reproach to bear the cross reluctantly!

Prayer:
O Jesus! Whosoever does not take up his Cross and follow You is not worthy of You. Behold, I join You in the Way of Your Cross; I will be Your assistant, following Your bloody footsteps, that I may come to You in eternal life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Sixth Station

Sixth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the word.

Veronica impelled by devotion and compassion, presents her veil to Jesus to wipe His disfigured face. And Jesus imprints on it His holy countenance; a great recompense for so small a service. What return do you make to your Savior for His great and manifold benefits?

Prayer:
Most merciful Jesus! What return shall I make for all the benefits You did bestow upon me? Behold, I consecrate myself entirely to Your service. I offer and consecrate to You my heart; imprint on it Your sacred image, never again to be effaced by sin.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us. 

 

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Seventh Station

Seventh Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Falls the Second Time


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

The suffering Jesus, under the weight of the Cross, again falls to the ground; but the cruel executioners do not permit Him to rest a moment. Pushing and striking Him, they urge Him onward. It is the frequent repetition of our sins which oppresses Jesus. Witnessing this, how can I continue to sin?

Prayer
O Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Offer me Your helping hand, and aid me, that I may not fall again into my former sins. From this very moment I will earnestly strive to reform; never more will I sin! You, O sole support of the weak, by Your grace, without which I can do nothing, strengthen me to carry out faithfully this my resolution.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Eighth Station

Eighth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

The Daughters of Jerusalem Weeping Over Jesus


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

These devoted women, moved by compassion, weep over the suffering Savior. But He turns to them saying: "Weep not for Me, who am innocent; but weep for yourselves and for your children." Weep You also; for there is nothing more pleasing to our Lord, and nothing more profitable for Yourself, than tears shed in contrition for Your sins.

Prayer:
O Jesus! Who shall give to my eyes a torrent of tears, that day and night I may weep for my sins? I beseech You, through Your bitter and bloody tears, to move my heart by Your divine grace, so that from my eyes tears may flow abundantly, and that I may weep all my days over Your sufferings, and still more over their cause, my sins.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Ninth Station

Ninth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Falls the Third Time


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Jesus, arriving exhausted at the foot of Calvary, falls for the third time to the ground. His love for us, however, is not diminished, not extinguished. What a fearfully oppressive burden our sins must be to cause Jesus to fall so often. Had He, however, not taken them upon Himself, they would have plunged us into the abyss of hell.

Prayer:
Most merciful Jesus! I return You infinite thanks for not permitting me to continue in sin, and to fall, as I have so often deserved, into the depths of hell. Enkindle in me an earnest desire of amendment; let me never again relapse, but vouchsafe me the grace to persevere in penance to the end of my life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Tenth Station

Tenth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

When our Savior had arrived at Calvary, He was cruelly stripped of His garments. How painful this must have been, because they adhered to His wounded and torn body, and with them parts of His bloody skin were removed. All the wounds of Jesus are renewed. Jesus was stripped of His garments that He might die possessing nothing; how happy will I also die, after laying aside my former self with all evil desires and sinful inclinations!

Prayer:
Induce me, O Jesus! To lay aside my former self, and to be renewed according to Your will and desire. I will not spare myself, however painful this should be for me: stripped of things temporal, of my own will, I desire to die, in order to live for You forever.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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 Eleventh Station

Eleventh Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Jesus, being stripped of His garments, was violently thrown upon the Cross, and His hands and feet nailed to it. In such excruciating pains he remained silent, because it pleased His heavenly Father. He suffered patiently, because He suffered for me. How do I act in sufferings and in troubles? How fretful and impatient, how full of complaints l am!

Prayer:
O Jesus, gracious Lamb of God, I renounce forever my impatience. Crucify, O Lord, my flesh and its concupiscences, scourge, scathe, punish me in this world; do but spare me in the next. I commit my destiny to You, resigning myself to Your holy will: may it be done in all things.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Twelfth Station

Twelfth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Is Raised Upon the Cross and Dies


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Behold Jesus Crucified! Behold His wounds, received for love of you! His whole appearance betokens love: His head is bent to kiss you, His arms are extended to embrace you, His heart is open to receive you. O super-abundance of love! Jesus, the Son of God, died upon the Cross, that man may live and be delivered from everlasting death.

Prayer:
O most amiable Jesus! Who will grant me that I may die for You? I will endeavor at least to die to the world. How must I regard the world and its vanities, when I behold You hanging on the Cross, covered with wounds? O Jesus, receive me into Your wounded heart: I belong entirely to You; for You alone do I desire to live and to die.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Thirteenth Station

Thriteenth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross and
Placed In the Arms of His Blessed Mother


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Jesus did not descend from the Cross, but remained on it until He died. And when taken down from it, He, in death as in life, rested in the arms of His divine Mother. Persevere in your resolutions of reform, and do not part from the Cross; he who perseveres to the end shall be saved. Consider, moreover, how pure the heart should be that receives the body and blood of Christ in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus! Your lifeless body, mangled and lacerated, found a worthy resting place in the arms of Your Virgin Mother. Have I not often compelled You to dwell in my heart, full of sin and impurity as it was? Create in me a new heart that I may worthily receive Your most sacred body in Holy Communion, and that You may remain in me, and I in You, for all eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

 

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Fourteenth Station

Fourteenth Station of the Cross mosaic - St. Francis Friary Chapel, Loretto PA

Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher


V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

The body of Jesus is interred in a stranger’s sepulcher. He who in this world had no where to rest His head, would not even have a grave of His own, because He was not of this world. You who are so attached to the world henceforth despise it, that you may not perish with it.

Prayer:
O Jesus! You have set me apart from the world: what, then, shall I seek therein? You have created me for heaven: what, then, have I to do with this world? Depart from me, deceitful world, with Your vanities. Henceforth I will follow the way of the Cross, traced out for me by my Redeemer, and journey onward to my heavenly home, there to dwell forever and ever.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to…

V. Lord Jesus crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

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Conclusion

Almighty and eternal God, merciful Father, Who has given to the human race Your beloved Son as an example of humility, obedience, and patience to precede us on the way of life, bearing the Cross; graciously grant us that we, inflamed by His infinite love, take up the sweet yoke of His Gospel together with the mortification of the Cross, following Him as His true disciples, so that we shall one day gloriously rise with Him, and joyfully hear the final sentence: "Come, you blessed of My Father, and possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning," where You reign with the Son and the Holy Spirit, and where we hope to reign with You, world without end.

Amen.

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