On the Tenth Station of the Cross.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Tenth Station of the Cross.
Contemplate to-day the heartrending picture presented in the tenth station of the cross, when Jesus is stripped of His garments. At last our Lord has reached the summit of Calvary, wearied to death. How glad He would have been to have seated Himself on the hard rock in order to rest a little, to regain His breath and recover Himself somewhat after the arduous exertion of climbing the terrible way of the cross in His exhausted state. But no, there is no more rest for Him here below. The soldiers come up to Him, they tear the cloak off His shoulders, they seize His seamless tunic, they drag it over His bleeding, thorn-pierced head with jeers and curses. There He stands exposed to view, the Son of man, trembling and helpless.
1st. Consider the physical pain caused by the stripping off of His garments. Contemplate the Saviour of mankind as He stands there shivering, shuddering, the very image of misery, covered with blood and bruises, with wounds some open, others half-dried, with stripes and marks of violence. How cruelly the fierce executioners dragged off His garments, the woolen fabric of which, dried into the sores in some places, is fast bound by the congealed blood to the fresh, deep wound made by the pressure of the heavy cross on His shoulder, a wound which is inexpressibly painful. How excruciating was the torture when, finding they could not easily get His clothes over His head on account of the crown of thorns, they roughly tore it off, tearing open all the wounds anew. Yes, my soul, contemplate Him, contemplate your Lord as He stands before you stripped of His garments, His poor body mangled, lacerated, swollen, with fragments of His clothing still adhering to the places where the blood has dried. Contemplate Him and weep, weep tears of sorrow and of compunction; grieve that Jesus should have to make so awful an atonement for the license wherewith thousands have stained the sacred robe of original innocence.
2d. Consider the mental pain caused by stripping off our Lord’s garments. What words can describe the horrible distress and anguish experienced by the chaste, modest Son of God when the executioners tore His clothes off His person in the sight of the multitude? If one meets with mortal men who would rather die than disclose their sufferings to a physician because the nature of the malady leads them to shrink in shame from the exposure, what must it have been to the Son of the immaculate Virgin Mary to be stripped from head to foot, exposed to the gaze of the lowest of the people? Doubtless this was far more bitter to Him than death itself; the very sun, in horror of the ignominy inflicted on its God, withdrew its light, and cast a veil around the afflicted Saviour to hide His nakedness. Consider, my soul, on your part, why our Lord had to endure this shame; ask yourself whether you by your sins had not a share in stripping Christ of His garments.
3d. Consider how in this tenth station of the cross our Lord expiated Adam’s prevarication. He, the second Adam, who had come down from Heaven, stands naked upon Calvary because the first Adam, who sprang from earth, felt on account of his fall from innocence ashamed of his nakedness and hid himself from the face of God. . . He, the Son of God, whose are all things, who clothes all His creatures, who can call the Heavens and the earth His own, departs out of this world destitute and naked, as destitute and naked He came into it, in order to win for us the robe of sanctifying grace which we had lost. Whilst you have before you the spectacle of our Lord’s poverty, the example of poverty carried to the uttermost limit, renew, my soul, your vow of poverty; resolve to keep it faithfully and nevermore to be ashamed to expose yourself to the world’s derision in the poor and lowly habit of your Order, remembering how our Lord endured ignominy incomparably greater in presence of the rude and mocking multitude.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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