The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
My strength is dried up like a potsheard, my tongue cleaves to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. (Psalms 22:15)
Jesus is almost to the summit now. Soldiers dismiss Simon from his task of assisting Him to the Place of the Skull. Simon, reluctant to follow the orders of the soldiers once again, withdraws and transfers the entire weight of the cross back onto Jesus, and He falls one last time. The soldiers stop anyone from intervening as the wood crushes His battered body on the rocky earth. My sins, your sins, the sin of the whole world, past, present, and future, hold Jesus’ humanity captive. With the last ounce of strength left in Him, Jesus lifts the cross and stands.
Jesus, you have fallen again under the weight of my sins, my selfishness, my pride. It is not Your weakness but mine that makes You fall. When I fall repeatedly, I am often tempted to give up, to think that my struggle for progress is in vain. Jesus, I am too comfortable with the dirt and the stones, the mud and the filth of my failures. I am content to stay here rather than to put in the hard work of getting up. But You, Lord, crushed by the cross and suffocated by the blood, the sweat, and the stench all around You, raise one foot, then another. You push off the ground and hoist the cross back on Your lacerated shoulders. I do not have Your strength, but You have made possible what I cannot do by myself. With two hands, I grasp Yours. I feel a strong but gentle push on my back from Your mother as You hoist me up to stand. Jesus, help me to remember that I am never left alone to carry a cross that seems too heavy. Without You, I cannot help myself, let alone my children, with their crosses. To be overwhelmed is to have forgotten that I am a child of God. Children are not thwarted by what they cannot do by themselves. They have no pride moving them to make false assumptions about their abilities. They simply assume they need help, and they ask or cry until they get it.
Points to consider:
Do I often remember that I am a child of God?
Do I remind my children that they are God’s children, even before they are mine?
Do I remember to act like the child I am and ask for help from God, a spiritual advisor, my husband, and others?
Am I content to live with vices and sins that have become a habitual part of my routine?
Do I realize that I can even ask for the help to want to fight during those times that I really do not want to?
Must you continue to be your own cross? No matter which way God leads you, you change everything into bitterness by constantly brooding over everything. For the love of God, replace all this self-scrutiny with a pure and simple glance at God's goodness. Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, mother