Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Following the Stations
of the Cross in Lent 29:
Millstreet 12: Jesus
dies on the cross

Station 12 at Saint John’s Well, Millstreet, Co Cork … Jesus dies on the cross (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 a month ago 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 12, Jesus dies on the cross

In the twelfth station by Liam Cosgrave in Millstreet, Christ is abandoned by all but for his Mother and the Beloved Disciple. The dark clouds that we saw above in the previous station have now descended.

The three stakes depicted by Liam Cosgrave and used to keep the cross in place at the base could also be a reminder of the Trinity.

Five years ago, the Cuban artist Erik Ravelo stirred controversy with a work he called as The untouchables. He used six photographs of children crucified, each for a different reason and a clear message,as he sought to reaffirm the right of children to be protected and the need to report abuse they suffer, especially in countries such as Brazil, Syria, Thailand, the US and Japan.

The first image refers to paedophilia in the Vatican, the second to child sexual abuse in tourism in Thailand, the third to the war in Syria, the fourth to the trafficking of organs on the black market, the fifth linking the free availability of weapons in the US to school shooting, and the sixth image linking obesity to the multinational fast food companies. Another version has a panel linking children’s deaths to nuclear disasters.

His work caused controversy, and has been taken down by Facebook from his own page and deleted from several repostings.

But why were people more offended by Erik Ravelo’s work than by the causes of child abuse and child deaths that he pointed to?

Where do you see the innocent Christ being crucified by the sins of others in today’s world?

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.

As Jesus hung on the cross, he forgave the soldiers who had crucified him, and prayed for his mother and friends. Jesus wanted all of us to be able to live forever with God, so he gave all he had for us.

Jesus, let me take a few moments now to consider your love for me. Help me thank you for your willingness to go to your death for me. Help me express my love for you!

A prayer before walking to the next station:

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

Tomorrow: Station 13: Jesus is taken from the cross.

Yesterday’s reflection

The Crucifixion in the East Window in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Nicholas, the 14th century parish church in Beaumaris on the island of Anglesey (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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