In 2011, during the Stations of the Cross in Holy Week, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said…

“Let us look more closely at that man crucified between earth and heaven. Let us contemplate him more intently, and we will realize that the cross is not the banner of the victory of death, sin and evil, but rather the luminous sign of love, of God’s immense love, of something that we could never have asked, imagined or expected: God bent down over us, he lowered himself, even to the darkest corner of our lives, in order to stretch out his hand and draw us to himself, to bring us all the way to himself. The cross speaks to us of the supreme love of God and invites, today, to renew our faith in the power of that love, and to believe that in every situation of our lives, our history and our world, God is able to vanquish death, sin and evil, and to give us new, risen life. In the Son of God’s death on the cross, we find the seed of new hope for life..”

May these reflections composed by the residents of Santa Teresita allow you to glimpse with ever greater depth the love of Christ who was crucified to bring us life.

The Way of the Cross:

Reflections written by the Residents of Santa Teresita, April 2014

The Pharisees didn’t like Jesus because a lot of people did and many followed him. The Pharisees were angry and jealous. There was a lot of turmoil at this moment. Pilot said, “I wash my hands of this innocent man”. He didn’t want to be the bad guy, but it turned out that he was one of them. Pilot handed Jesus over to the people and they yelled, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

What must have gone on in the minds of the friends of Jesus when they heard his death sentence pronounced? For some their world must have stopped for a moment. Others could not wrap their minds around it. Some may have felt a need to go out and find someone to share the news with. For all of them it must have seemed unreal.

We are all sometimes faced with rejection, disappointment, betrayal, or being misunderstood. In this station Jesus shows us the way to keep trying — don’t give up — stay “on course” — and you will eventually be rewarded for your efforts.

Jesus is condemned by the angry people. May we never condemn anyone.

Jesus pays for all the sins we have committed, all the atrocities, the sins of the flesh. As he walked the cross got heavier and heavier. He was carrying the weight of the world. Our crosses are very easy compared to what he carried himself. Blood was dripping down from the thorns on his head, just as his heart was bleeding for sinners. His sweat was mixed with his blood.

Jesus, in picking up your cross you not only taught me that I’ll die, but I will have to accept death with the love of God. Your great lesson gives me the strength to face it with serenity, and not hesitation or weakness. Grant me the grace to continue embracing my cross and never to complain.

This was because the Cross got so heavy because of our sins that Jesus carried with him. That’s why he fell, yet he forgave them. It really hurt him to fall. He might have stepped on a little stone and it caused him to fall. He couldn’t get up. He fell face first, the cross on his back. The wood was rough since it was made from a felled tree. It cut up his skin, and dug deep into his back and shoulders. He saw his mother there supporting him without a word.

May this serve as an example for all with addictions who want to stay put and can’t get up. May God give them the strength to get up.

Jesus Falls on the Road to Calvary – St. Joseph Chapel, Santa Teresita

The first thing he saw on this journey of the cross was his mother and she knows the depth of his misery. Together they communicate. She gives Him strength for the ordeal.

Woman, behold thy son. This was very sad for Mary and traumatic. She was suffering a lot to see her child suffer, but Jesus was suffering more. He knew how painful it was for her to be there and in a way, he didn’t want her to see what he was going through. At the same time, it helped to have Mary there. Just looking at her gave him support.

We, too, turn to others in our crosses of life. May we find comfort in those to whom we turn for consolation.

The cross was too heavy, especially going up hill, and Jesus was so weak, and tired. He could only carry it a few step and then he fell. Simon did not want to carry the cross with Jesus, he resented it. He was not happy. He didn’t want to be near Jesus but he was eventually converted when he started to feel bad for Jesus. He realized Jesus was dying for his sins.

We are all called to be like Simon of Cyrene when we help others in their crosses in life. May we come to the aide of the dying, that they may not die alone.

When she was wiping his face, the image appeared on her veil. It was a miracle! The sweat was coming down, all full of blood. She was sad to see Him suffer.

Maybe she had met him before and had been one of his followers. Perhaps she saw him heal people or heard him preach. Maybe she really liked Jesus as a friend. She was amazed when she saw his likeness. It was awesome. Incredible. Veronica was very brave. There were many who disapproved.

Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross – St. Joseph Chapel, Santa Teresita

Our sins were so big, some so terrible, that they made the cross heavier for Jesus. He fell into mud, rocks, stones, and dirt, completely down on his face. He wasn’t able to catch himself well because he had the cross. He had wounds on his knees, the palms of his hands, and on his face from where the crown of thorns pushed into his head.

The cross itself was so heavy that the soldiers could hardly pick it up. In his heart Jesus said, “This is the Will of God. Father, forgive them.” Crying quietly, he got up because he forgave. He was very strong inside.

We, too, are like children when we stumble and fall. We hold on to our father or mother. May we hold on to Jesus when we fall.

They saw him the way he was; the cross, blood, wounds, crowds of people surrounding him. There were mobs of angry people and groups of people who were for him.

The women were for him because they knew that he was innocent. The women of Jerusalem go to Jesus for consolation. May we also go to Jesus for consolation.

This was his last fall. Simon was still there to help but Jesus was getting weaker and weaker after loosing so much blood. Falling is very frightening. One has no control – a sensation we are not accustomed to. Was Jesus frightened as He fell three times? They were near the top now. The bystanders wondered if he was going to get up and he did to fulfill his mission.

We all fall many times on our journey of life. May we remember this ninth station when we fall.

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments – St. Joseph Chapel, Santa Teresita

This was a most painful experience for Jesus, for God. His cloths were stuck to his body with blood and the soldiers ripped them off. He was exposed before everyone, he who was so modest. In his heart he forgave them.

The garments for us are not clothes but painful habits, so we are to be stripped of our sinful habits and ways.

This was Jesus’ final humiliation. The nails were like railroad spikes, big, square and heavy. The agony and pain was unbearable. Yet, Jesus knew exactly what he was sent here for. He knew he was fulfilling God’s Will.

We are reminded of our suffering brethren in Syria and all over the world.

We also are called, not to be nailed to a cross, but to accept the sufferings that come to us.

Forgive. Forgive us. Forgive them.

Jesus said, “Woman, behold thy son”, asking John to take care of his mother. They heard the thump of the cross as it was brought into a vertical position. Jesus’ arms dropped down and the blood flowed out. This was the climax of sadness for his followers. Seven swords pierced the heart of Mary. “Why, my son?” she thought.

He said, “I thirst” and they gave him vinegar to drink. Then, “It is finished.” As the last dying breath leaves the body everything turns cold and there is no comfort in it. The disciples were probably all lost in their own thoughts and prayers at that moment. Were they able to find warmth and comfort in each other? And what about Mary? Did someone turn to comfort her?

He lay in Mary’s lap. O what a moment! Even to think of it pierces the soul. How it must have felt to His mother. John, Mary Magdalene, Martha and others were there praying, trying to console Mary, the sorrowful mother. Her sadness was heightened for she knew he was innocent in every way.

The 13th station speaks to us about the final gift of life which here is portrayed in Jesus being given to Mary, His mother.

Laying a loved one’s remains to rest is very painful, very powerful and so very final. Now it begins to feel real. The disciples did not know, as Jesus did, what lay ahead. For them, this was the end. What were they supposed to do now? They may have felt lost in the desert with no guide, no idea what to do next. That is a very empty feeling and each one had to figure it out for him/her self. They rolled the stone over the entrance to seal the tomb.

This station speaks to us about the gift of our life which is ultimately returned to God.