The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will. (Luke 23:24-25)
After weeks and months of plotting and planning, the hour of Jesus’ betrayal comes. The greeting and kiss of a friend could not conceal his real purpose. Quickly, the soldiers bind him to be sure He will not escape. They worry in vain; He is fully aware that this is His hour, the time for Him to submit fully to their will. They did not catch him by surprise; he was waiting for them. All through the night, they harass, abuse, mock, and beat Him.
In the morning, He stands before the crowd—judged, scourged, condemned. Less than a week before, this same crowd had hailed Him as its king; now He is its scapegoat. He looks on them—on me—knowing my fear and my weakness as I join in the cries, “Crucify him!” A tear of compassion escapes His eye and mingles with the dirt and blood that disfigure His face.
Jesus, you were innocent of any fault or sin, but you were treated like a liar and a blasphemer. You were put on an equal footing with murderers and thieves. How often am I quick to judge my children’s actions? Do I give them the benefit of the doubt? I know that frequently when I correct them, even if they do not intend it, I take personal offense. Even if they are guilty of some mistake or vice, I overreact and let the other stresses of my day influence my response. Help me, Lord, to temper my dealings with my children with mercy. I want to always let my children know that I am correcting out of love and concern for their souls and not because I lack the patience to put up with their defects.
I need your help to guide my thoughts and my tongue. Holy Spirit, give me the prudence, temperance, and wisdom to know when, where, and how to correct my children. Help me take into consideration their unique personalities and temperaments. Remind me to pray for the grace to correct well. Help my children to listen and to take my corrections to heart. My guardian angel, help me to see the things for which I can also praise my children. I can also ask my children’s guardian angels to help them in their struggle to grow in specific virtues.
As mothers, we must play the long game for the souls of our children. We do need to correct them at times, but it is even more important that we guide them through life with our example of virtue, our prayers, and mortifications offered for them.
Points to consider:
How often do my words and actions fail to match up? Do I resemble Peter in his bold proclamations of faith but weakness in the moment of trial?
Do I let human respect influence how I treat the people I deal with? Is my husband or child a king one moment and a criminal the next? What about store clerks, teachers, neighbors?
Do I try to save face when I have made a mistake, or do I apologize and admit my error? Do I humbly accept correction myself?
Do I seek praise and acknowledgment for my successes, or do I recognize that any good I do was only done with God’s grace?
O Jesus, Son of God, You Who were silent in the presence of Your accusers, restrain my tongue until I find what I should say and how to say it. Show me the way, and make me ready to follow it. It is dangerous to delay yet perilous to go forward. Answer my petition, and show me the way. As the wounded go to the doctor in search of aid, so do I come to You. O Lord, give Your peace to my heart. Amen.
— Saint Bridget of Sweden, mother