Archbishop Ganswein: The First & Second Stations of the Cross

Editor’s note: The following is the first station of the The Way of the Cross by Archbishop Georg Ganswein. We also recommend “Praying the Stations of the Cross Amidst COVID-19” by Kathleen Beckman. We will offer these and other reflections on the Stations in hopes of preparing for Good Friday and, ultimately, Easter. We pray for all of you to experience the paschal hope we find in Christ.

First Station: Jesus is condemned to death

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

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

Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Mark 15:15

During the night, all of Jesus’ apostles abandoned Him. His closest friends had fallen asleep as the fear of death overcame them. He was betrayed, though, with a kiss, the most intimate sign of love. He was condemned to death that same night by the tribunal of the high priest, with a judgment that had long since been passed. He was also beaten then, right before the eyes of the judge. Now, though, He stands before the highest secular authority of Jerusalem, the representative of the mighty emperor in Rome. In this trial He has no advocate. Nevertheless Pilate hesitates for a long time with the sentence, because he can find no guilt in Him.

“What is truth?” the governor asks Him, when the Truth is standing before him in the flesh. Then he has Him scourged, crowned by his soldiers with a cap of thorns and mocked, and he himself speaks a truth until the end of days when he presents Him to the furious crowd that is demanding His death. “Behold the man,” he exclaims as he shows them the Man of all men, the “Son of man,” the first and last Image of all the images of God. Then he has a servant bring a bowl of water and washes his hands in innocence. Seconds before that, he delivers the accused man over to his persecutors with the words: “Take Him and crucify Him.”

R: Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory be…

R: At the Cross, her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last.

V: Crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ,

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

Second Station: Jesus shoulders the Cross

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

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

Jesus went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.

John 19:17

At the top of the staircase leading to Pilate’s palace, Jesus appears, covered with blood, wearing a blood-red soldier’s cloak. Staggering, He totters down the steps. Thorns as long as a thumb have gotten under His scalp, encircling His field of vision. Behold the man! His blood drips onto the white marble. Here, at the beginning of the Way of the Cross, He seems about to fall already, in the middle of the staircase. A legionary holds up in front of Him the guilty verdict on a board: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

Below in the courtyard, He meets two other condemned men who are also “going to the cross,” as the Romans call this path: brawny, unscrupulous highwaymen guilty of murder, who now are losing their own lives. They were not scourged; they were not mocked with a crown of thorns. Jesus is now lined up between these murderers.

He seems about to collapse when the legionaries lift the heavy wooden Cross onto His shoulders. He totters again and staggers out of the palace courtyard onto the street, to His final path through the Holy Land.

R: Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory be…

R: Through her heart, His sorrow sharing, all His bitter anguish bearing, now at length the sword had passed.

V: Crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ,

R: Have mercy on us and on the whole world

This article is from a chapter in Archbishop Ganswein’s The Way of the Cross, which is available from Sophia Institute Press.

You can find other reflections on the Stations of the Cross in the article “Praying the Stations of the Cross Amidst COVID-19” by Kathleen Beckman.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein

By

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. He is the author of How the Catholic Church Can Restore Our Culture and The Way of the Cross.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

MENU