Meditations on the Old Saint Paul's 'Stations'

The Way of the Cross

We adore you O Christ, and we bless you:
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
We will glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ:
In whom is our salvation, our life and resurrection.

Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy
but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of his cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
    Close to Jesus at the last.
Through her soul, of joy bereavéd,
Bowed with anguish, deeply grievéd,
    Now at length the sword hath passed.

Jesus is Condemned to Death

First Station

Jesus is Condemned to Death

All the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor. Pilate said to them, "What should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" All of them said, "Let him be crucified!" Then he asked, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!" So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he flogged Jesus, and handed him over to be crucified.

Matthew 27:1-2,22-24,26

Jesus Takes Up the Cross

Second Station

Jesus Takes Up the Cross

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:27-31

Jesus Falls for the First Time

Third Station

Jesus Falls for the First Time

My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by the Lord’s hand they were fastened together; they weigh on my neck, sapping my strength; the Lord handed me over to those whom I cannot withstand. For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears; for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my courage; my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed. Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her; the Lord has commanded against Jacob that his neighbours should become his foes.

Lamentations 1:14,16-17

Jesus Meets His Mother

Fourth Station

Jesus Meets His Mother

What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter Zion? For vast as the sea is your ruin; who can heal you? All who pass along the way clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their heads at daughter Jerusalem; "Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?" Cry aloud to the Lord! O wall of daughter Zion! Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite!

Lamentations 2:13,15,18

Simon of Cyrene is Forced to Carry the Cross

Fifth Station

Simon of Cyrene is Forced to Carry the Cross

As they led him away, the soldiers seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Luke 23:26; Matthew 16:24; Matthew 11:29,30

Veronica Wipes the Sweat from Jesus' Face

Sixth Station

Veronica Wipes the Sweat from Jesus' Face

My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people. My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite, until the Lord from heaven looks down and sees. The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Lamentations 3:48-50; Numbers 11:24-26

Jesus Falls for the Second Time

Seventh Station

Jesus Falls for the Second Time

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:3-6

Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem

Eighth Station

Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem

A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord."

Luke 23:27-28; Acts 21:13

Jesus Falls for the Third Time

Ninth Station

Jesus Falls for the Third Time

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever. For evils have encompassed me without number; my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.

Psalm 22:1; Psalm 40:11-13

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

Tenth Station

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

The soldiers took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it." This was to fulfil what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots."

John 19:23-24

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Eleventh Station

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

They took Jesus to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:16-19,25

Jesus Dies on the Cross

Twelfth Station

Jesus Dies on the Cross

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw what took place, they were terrified and said, "Truly this man was God’s Son!"

Matthew 27:45-46,50,54

Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

Thirteenth Station

Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

John 19:38-40

Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Fourteenth Station

Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

John 19:41-42; Luke 23:55-56

Closing Reflections

Jesu, may thy Cross defend me,
And thy saving death befriend me,
    Cherished by thy deathless grace:
When to dust my dust returneth,
Grant a soul that to thee yearneth,
    In thy Paradise a place.

Saviour of the world, by your cross and precious blood you have redeemed us:
Save us, and help us, we humbly beseech you, O Lord.

Grant, Lord,
that we who are baptised into the death
of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
may continually put to death our evil desires
and be buried with him;
and that through the grave and gate of death
we may come to our joyful resurrection;
through his merits, who died and was buried
and rose again for us,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.