Archbishop Ganswein: Reflecting on the Third & Fourth Stations

Editor’s note: The following are the third and fourth stations from the book, The Way of the Cross by Archbishop Georg Ganswein. The previous stations can be found by clicking here. We also recommend the article, “Praying the Stations of the Cross Amidst COVID-19” by Kathleen Beckman.

Third Station: Jesus falls the first time under the Cross

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,

R: Because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

 

John 12:24

Jesus stumbles through the crowded bazaar. A throng of people prevents Him from going forward. Tomorrow is Pascha, Jerusalem’s most solemn feast. It is the feast of the “Passover of the Lord,” which the Lord was not to experience again. The verdict against Him was issued on this eve of the feast, on the “Day of Preparation.” Now everyone in the city is in a hurry.

All Jerusalem is up and about, before the feast begins right at dusk—a feast that no one celebrates alone here. Everyone in the crowd through which Jesus drags the wood of His Cross is loaded down with last-minute purchases and provisions. A squad of executioners from the Roman Legion with clubs and whips brutally clears a way for Him through the festive crowd.

Suddenly He falls. Did He stumble on a projecting stone? On an outstretched foot? Did someone trip Him up? Hard to say. Wickedness does not diminish in the face of the Holy One, but rather increases. The executioners’ blows continue to rain down on Him.

R: Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory be…

R: Oh, how sad and sore distressèd, was that Mother highly blessèd, of the sole-begotten One!

V: Crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ,

R: Have mercy on us and on the whole world.

The Fourth Station: Jesus meets His Mother

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,

R: Because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Simeon said to Mary His Mother: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against; and a sword will pierce through your own soul also.

Luke 2:34–35

Then suddenly Mary, Jesus’ Mother looks at Him from the crowd. Through the tumult, she has made her way to the front to meet Him. She has followed Him since the days in Galilee. Did she wait for Him behind an archway? “His hour has not yet come,” she knew three years ago in Cana. Now she is there again and knows that His final hour has struck, but she only watches, in unspeakable sorrow. Her only Son, the One and All of the whole world: He, too, is silent and watches—only looks at her.

Blood runs down His face from the wounds of the thorns as their glances meet. Two seconds? Three seconds? An eternity. Mary falls to the ground, stretches out her arms toward Him. Then the legionaries, with their clubs and their rough shouts, drive her aside into the crowd of bazaar-goers, among the bystanders watching the spectacle of the execution.

R: Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory be…

R: Christ above in torment hangs; she beneath beholds the pangs of her dying, glorious Son!

V: Crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ,

R: Have mercy on us and on the whole world.

This article is from the book The Way of the Cross by Archbishop Georg Ganswein. It is available as a paperback or ebook from Sophia Institute Press.

The First & Second Stations of the Cross by Archbishop Ganswein can be found here on Catholic Exchange.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein

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Archbishop Ganswein serves as Private Secretary for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and previously served as Prefect of the Papal Household for Pope Francis, and as the chaplain to Pope John Paul II.

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