Begin each station by genuflecting and saying, “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. For by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.” Then pray the following meditations at each station:
I: Jesus is Condemned to Death
You stand in my place, Lord. Condemned for my sins. Most merciful Jesus, Mercy Himself, You are sentenced to death by the merciless Pilate. Your Hands are bound by rope, mine by sin. Your silence speaks volumes against the many offenses I have committed with my own tongue. I am spared, a ransomed man, purchased by the Divine Lamb now led to slaughter. Have mercy on me, Lord. I know what I have done.
After each meditation, pray, “Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.”
II: Jesus Takes Up His Cross
You take up a heavy cross, Lord. A cross I don’t want to see, much less carry. But carry it I must. I’ve added to the weight of Your cross by my many transgressions. I take Peter’s words for my own: “Depart from me, Lord. I am a sinful man.” Be merciful to me, Lord. As You walk to Calvary, help me leave sin behind.
III: Jesus Falls the First Time
You fall to the ground, Lord. I can’t count the times I’ve fallen into error. But You know them all, each and every one. The burden You carry frees me. If only I offended You seventy times seven times. My number, I am sure, is far greater. Show me Your mercy, Lord. I am a man liable to fall again and again and again.
IV: Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother
The Mother of Mercy comforts You, Lord, even if for a brief moment along the way. I have no comfort to give You. No words of solace. Nothing to ease Your pain. But I am Your brother through Your gift of Mary’s Divine Maternity at the foot of the cross. I ask Your Mother to pray for me, Lord. May her intercession for mercy on behalf of a man like me find a place of enduring refuge in Your forgiving Heart.
V: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
Simon is a better man than I, Lord. I often seek ways to avoid helping You carry Your cross. I don’t want to bear the weight, endure the toil, or suffer the inconvenience. I don’t want Your Blood staining my clothes, the very Blood that redeems me. I often say I have other things to do. I rationalize that I have other places to be. And, of course, I repeat my favorite line over and over again: I’m too busy. I pray for Your mercy to stop making these excuses.
VI: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
A woman kneels in the dirt to wipe away Your Blood and Sweat, Lord. How infrequently, if ever, I bend my knees to give aid to the suffering, the poor and the downtrodden. I am far from the Good Samaritan You call me to be. Veronica has much to teach me about being a true image of You. I look into the mirror and see, at worst, very little of You. And, at best, not enough of You. Mercifully grant me the grace to reflect Your Image and be more like You.
VII: Jesus Falls the Second Time
You stumble and fall again, Lord. But you summon the strength to rise and continue on Your Way. I stumble often. I fall every day. How often I think, “I will go to confession someday soon.” And I tell myself I have so much going on Saturday afternoons. After all, it’s the weekend. It’s my time. And where does the time go? Be merciful and understanding when I fail to reconcile myself with You. Give me the grace to seek Your forgiveness and absolution.
VIII: Jesus Consoles the Holy Women
Your mother demonstrates her love for You, Lord. Veronica sees to Your discomfort. Now a group of women mourn Your suffering. Where are the men? Peter? James? Andrew? Phillip? Nowhere to be found. Where am I? Capital punishment is such a dirty business. It’s so upsetting to me. So hard to watch. Easy to turn away. Give me the merciful grace to weep for Your Passion. To weep for my sins.
IX: Jesus Falls the Third Time
You lose Your footing and tumble to the ground again, Lord. And nobody stoops to help. If I were there, would I merely watch the spectacle? Would I take Your Arm and pull You back to Your Feet? Would I say a prayer if I saw You or someone else struggling along? I beg Your mercy for the many times I could have used the strength You gave me and helped, but didn’t.
X: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
Your clothing, dignity, and mortality are now stripped away, Lord. Everything on earth has now been taken from You. Everything of Your heavenly glory will soon be restored to You. History knows not the name of the man who tore Your clothes from Your Body. It doesn’t matter. I did it. Mercilessly, I ripped away the garments that covered You. Mercifully, You forgave me for doing it.
XI: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
I was the one who held the hammer. I was the one who drove in the nails. Pounding them into Your Hands and feet with callousness, fury, and indifference, I was the one who crucified You on Golgotha’s rim. I am the man who crucified you on that first Good Friday. I am also the man who crucifies You every day. Have mercy on me, Lord.
XII: Jesus Dies on the Cross
You asked your Father for forgiveness, Lord. I ask you to forgive me. As I see you die on the cross, I see my own death foretold. You know I will die, but only after I have run the race of this life you gave me. I don’t feel I’m running the race to the best of my ability. Help me run a better race. Give me the grace to meet my death with courage like You did, to die as Your friend and in Your favor. I long to hear You call me by name and say those merciful words, “Well done…”
XIII: Jesus’s Body is Taken Down from the Cross
What appeared to be a crushing defeat was the very event that ushered in the greatest victory of all time. The traditional curse of being hung on a tree would give way to the everlasting blessing. A method of execution would forever be transformed into a symbol of faith and hope. As Your Body was removed from the cross, Lord Jesus, man was being restored to God’s grace. I was one of those men. You mercifully laid down Your Life for me. Make me an instrument of mercy so I can lay down my life for others.
XIV: Jesus’s Body is Placed in the Holy Sepulchre
A borrowed tomb in a potter’s field serves as the resting place for Your Body, Lord, a sinless Man who was put to death as a criminal. The stone the builders rejected was rolled into place. The sun sets and darkness covers Calvary as Passover is celebrated throughout the land. The quiet of three days of darkness precedes the glorious joy of the dawn to come. The sun will rise again and the Son will rise again.
The Stations of the Cross of Mercy were composed by guest contributor David M. La Mar.