Saturday, 9 April 2022

Praying at the Stations of the Cross in
Lent 2022: 9 April 2022 (Station 7)

Jesus falls for the second time … Station 7 in the Stations of the Cross in the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

We are at the end of what is often known as Passion Week, and tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Before today day begins, I am taking some time early this morning (9 April 2022) for prayer, reflection and reading.

During Lent this year, in this Prayer Diary on my blog each morning, I have been reflecting on the Psalms each morning. But during these two weeks of Passiontide, Passion Week and Holy Week, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, Short reflections on the Stations of the Cross, illustrated by images in the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford, and the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the lectionary adapted in the Church of Ireland;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Station 7, Jesus falls for the second time:

In an unusual arrangement, the Stations of the Cross in the church in Clonard are set in the curved outer wall of the church in 14 windows designed by Gillian Deeny of Wicklow. In her windows, she emphasises the role of women in the Passion story.

Her windows were made in association with Abbey Glass, where she worked with the cut-out shapes of coloured glass, the pigment being a mixture of lead oxide, ground glass and colour. Each window is signed by the artist.

The Stations of the Cross on the north and south walls of the nave in Stoney Stratford were donated in memory of John Dunstan (1924-1988).

The Seventh Station in the Stations of the Cross has a traditional description such as ‘Jesus falls for the second time.’ Although Simon of Cyrene has come to help Jesus carry his cross, although Veronica has sought to sooth his brow, Jesus falls beneath the weight of his cross a second time.

In Station VII in Clonard, Jesus seems to seek to break his fall by holding his hand towards a rock on his path. In Station VII in Stony Stratford, Simon is seen trying to lift the cross with both hands with dignity as Jesus stumbles and falls on the city streets; he is no reluctant conscript but actively trying to share Christ’s burden.

So often, I have felt I am a broken and fallen man. In the past, at times, the Church had an appalling record for how it treated people regarded as ‘fallen.’ Instead of helping many women in distress, it has condemned them to the Magdalene laundries, and often conspired in the inhumane treatment of their children.

But the Church has also responded with both hands to people who have fallen to the bottom of the system because of political, economic and social policies.

I pray this morning for people from the churches who are working together throughout Europe with refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, the families, neighbours and friends those refugees have left behind, and those who have fallen victims of this appalling war.

Jesus falls for the second time … Station 7 in the Stations of the Cross in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

John 11: 45-57 (NRSVA):

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’ 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! 50 You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ 51 He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53 So from that day on they planned to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?’ 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Meeting the Invisible.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana Do Brasil. The prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (9 April 2022, Saints, Martyrs and Missionaries of South America), invites us to pray:

We give thanks for the saints, martyrs and missionaries of South America. Let us continue to work with partners in South America to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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