Monday, 5 March 2018

Following the Stations
of the Cross in Lent 20:
Millstreet 3: Jesus
falls the first time

Station 3 at Saint John’s Well, Millstreet, Co Cork … Jesus falls the first time (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I ought to be in Warsaw this morning, on a short city break in the Polish capital. But the weather conditions in Ireland and the risks involved in travelling on the motorway to the airport means that visit has been called off. However, I am continuing my Lenten journey in which, each morning in Lent, as part of my meditations and reflections for Lent this year, I am being guided by the Stations of the Cross from three locations.

The idea for this series of morning Lenten meditations came from reading about Peter Walker’s new exhibition, ‘Imagining the Crucifixion,’ inspired by the Stations of the Cross, which opened in Lichfield Cathedral last month and continues throughout Lent.

Throughout Lent, my meditations each morning are inspired by three sets of Stations of the Cross that I have found either inspiring or unusual. They are the stations in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, at Saint John’s Well on a mountainside near Millstreet, Co Cork, and in the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield.

In my meditations, I am drawing on portions of the Stabat Mater, the 12th century hymn of the Crucifixion (‘At the cross her station keeping’) attributed to the Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi. Some prayers are traditional, some are from the Book of Common Prayer, and other meditations and prayers are by Canon Frank Logue and the Revd Victoria Logue of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

For these two weeks, I am looking at the 14 Stations of the Cross at Saint John’s Well in a forested area on the slopes of Mushera, outside Millstreet in north Co Cork and close to the Cork/Kerry border.

Saint John’s Well is 8 or 9 km south-east of Millstreet, on the slopes of Mushera, on the Aubane side of the mountain, opposite the entrance to Millstreet Country Park. The Stations date from 1984 and were designed by Liam Cosgrave and Sons, Sculptors, of Blackpool, Cork.

Millstreet 3: Jesus falls the first time

In the third station by Liam Cosgrave in Millstreet, Jesus is alone in the city streets as he falls to his knees beneath the weight of the cross. This is one of the traditional Stations of the Cross that depict Passion scenes that are not recalled in any of the Gospel accounts.

Cosgrave’s stations are marked by their simple lines and their uncluttered compositions. In this station, unlike others, we see know soldiers goading Christ as he falls, jeering his efforts to stand again; no-one looks on in horror; no one offers to help in charity. In the Millstreet stations, it is a stark and lonely journey to Calvary.

From Stabat Mater:

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
O, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole-begotten One!


Stumble. Waver. Collapse.
Jesus’ sweat mingles with dust as he falls to the earth.
The weight of the sins of the world on his shoulders.
Barely able to stand.
He cannot carry the cross without falling.


Lion of Judah, you know our weaknesses, our temptations and our failings. Support us by the power of the Holy Spirit that we do not stumble so as to fall away from you. This we pray in the name of Jesus, our crucified Lord, the King of Glory, the King of Peace. Amen.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Jesus, the cross you have been carrying is very heavy.
You are becoming weak and almost ready to faint, and you fall down.
Nobody seems to want to help you.
The soldiers are interested in getting home,
so they yell at you and try to get you up and moving again.

A prayer before walking to the next station:

Holy God,
Holy and mighty Holy immortal one,
Have mercy on us.

Tomorrow: Station 4: Jesus meets his mother.

Yesterday’s reflection

A mural of the Mill Race on the gable end of a house in Millstreet (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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