Monday, 12 March 2018

Following the Stations
of the Cross in Lent 27:
Millstreet 10: Jesus is
stripped of his garments

Station 10 at Saint John’s Well, Millstreet, Co Cork … Jesus is stripped of his garments (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In my meditations and reflections in 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 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments

In the tenth station by Liam Cosgrave in Millstreet, Christ is half naked, but not yet fully naked, as the solider who strips him is seen to grin rather than grimace. The cross is askew in the background, about to be prepared for the final humiliation.

Whoin the world do we strip naked today, leaving them stand alone and isolated in humility? The women who are used to illustrate tabloid newspapers or decorate advertising? The women who are forced through diet to change their body shapes because of social pressures or peer pressures? The children who are the victims of abuse through manipulation on social media?

Do I consider those people who have no choice about the clothes they wear? Because of their financial circumstances? Because of poverty? Because of family control? Because of fashion? Because of the demands of others? Because they could take no clothes with them when they became refugees, asylum seekers or migrants?

Do I grimace, or do I grin?

Or, like Mary, do I stand at the foot of the cross and weep?

Desmond Fisher’s book on ‘Stabat Mater’, prepared for publication recently by his son Michael Fisher (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

From Stabat Mater:

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.


Despised. Rejected.
Eloi, Eloi, Lama sabachthani?
My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
From top to bottom the veil in the Temple is torn in two.


Lamb that was slain, as you cried out to your Father from the cross we learned how deep was your suffering, how complete was your sense of abandonment. Be present with us when others betray us or forsake us that we may find ourselves in your eyes and not theirs. 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.

The soldiers notice you have something of value. They remove your cloak and throw dice for it. Your wounds are torn open once again. Some of the people in the crowd make fun of you. They tease you and challenge you to perform a miracle for them to see. They are not aware that you will perform the greatest miracle of all!

A prayer before walking to the next station:

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

Tomorrow: Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Yesterday’s reflection

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