Archive for April 2012

Stations of the Cross: Good Shepherd Theme

April 20, 2012

Reflection on this holy card sparked this week’s meditations
on the Stations of the Cross during my time of Eucharistic Adoration
in the chapel of the school where my prince teaches:

The sheep that stay always near
to the shepherd
are the most favored.
He gives them always
some part of the nourishment
with which He himself is nourished."
~St. Teresa of Jesus (St. Teresa of Avila)
Copyright:Holy Card Heaven
http://imagesofthegoodshepherd.blogspot.com/
Accessed April 12, 1012

1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world
(at this point in each Station, I kiss the ground,
as I would if I were in Jerusalem, walking the Via Dolorosa–
which is what the Stations are meant to represent)

The lost sheep is a condemnation of the Shepherd-a rejection of Him,
preferring something else over Him (illusion though it is),
going its own way, not wanting to stay close to Him

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

2nd Station: Jesus takes up His Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

The Shepherd takes up His staff for the search

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

The search is over rough terrain. The Shepherd falls.
He goes over every nook and cranny, searching for His sheep.
He expects His sheep to have fallen, and gets down to search for it.
He will not “stand on ceremony”.
No spot is too distasteful or low or dangerous for Him
(brothels, bars, the rough side of town, etc.)

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

4th Station: Jesus meets His mother
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

"She brought me back to You,
O my Good Shepherd.
I will never leave you again."
Copyright: Holy Card Heaven
http://divinebergere.blogspot.com/
Accessed April 24, 1012

The shepherdess joins the search. She, too, loves the lost

Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down at noon;
for why should I be like one who wanders
beside the flocks of your companions?
If you do not know, O fairest among women,
follow in the tracks of the flock
and pasture your kids beside the shepherd’s tents
-Song of Songs 1:7-8

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

5th Station: Simon of Cyrene is forced to help Jesus carry the Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Some are not so willing, but join the search by unworthy motives–
still God can use them.
They have no love for the sheep or the Shepherd-but that can change!
Being in God’s company tends to do that
(although that’s not absolute–it didn’t work for Judas)

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

6th Station: Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Others give a little help along the way.
They share the reward nonetheless–
God appreciates the smallest gestures and repays accordingly

And whoever gives…even a cup of cold water…
shall not lose his reward
-Matthew 10:42

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

7th Station: Jesus falls a second time
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

The Shepherd keeps lowering Himself.
This cave? This ravine? This tight spot?
Where’s My beloved sheep?!
He’s getting dirty, scraped up, weary in the search,
but He’s steadfast, determined.
He won’t rest until He’s found His own!
He’s getting down low for a sheep’s eye view
to see where he might’ve gone
(through a hole in the hedge invisible from a higher vantage point?)

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

8th Station: Jesus meets the weeping women of Jerusalem
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Don’t weep-search!
You have your own lost sheep to find.
Don’t waste precious time in despondency over Me.
Pluck up your courage and bring them back–
you’ll be doing Me a much greater service that way
than by merely wallowing in sympathy

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

9th Station: Jesus falls a third time
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Down again. He just won’t quit.
Lower and lower He searches.
More and more mud and briars and stones are ground into Him.
He doesn’t care.
His thoughts are riveted on finding His sheep.
He spies it!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

The Good Shepherd
Copyright: Holy Card Heaven
http://imagesofthegoodshepherd.blogspot.com/
Accessed April 12, 1012

10th Station: Jesus is stripped of His garments
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

His garments are ripped off. He’s going through briars, clothing caught.
He won’t let that stop Him.
He leaves His robes behind and presses on.
St. Clare said that if you’re stripped, the enemy can’t hold you (poverty–First Letter to St. Agnes of Prague).
Wrestlers used to strip for combat for that reason.
The young man in Gethsemane left his garment behind
in the hands of his would-be captors
& ran off (see Mark 14:51).

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

11th Station: Jesus is crucified
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

His lamb is in the lion’s mouth (David: see I Samuel 17:34-35).
He’s manhandled, set upon by wild beasts, pierced–
many dogs surround Him (Psalm 22:16).
His heart is set on His sheep.
He takes them on.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

12th Station: Jesus dies on the Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

It’s a fight to the death. He gives His life for His sheep

The Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep
Copyright: Holy Card Heaven
http://agardenenclosed-carmel.blogspot.com/
Accessed April 12, 1012

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

13th Station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

It looks like it’s over.
The Shepherd’s friends claim what’s left of Him.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

He’s gone lower than anyone dreamed He could,
down to the gates of the netherworld itself.
There He’s found His lost sheep,
hoisted it on His shoulders and begun the journey Home
(tombs opened and many were raised and appeared to those in Jerusalem after Jesus rose from the dead, see Matthew 27:52-53).
The harrowing of hell

THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Rejoice, for I have found my sheep that was lost.
Luke 15:6
Copyright: Holy Card Heaven
http://imagesofthegoodshepherd.blogspot.com/
Accessed April 30, 2012

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

I Prefer You

April 18, 2012

I stumbled on an immense treasure last week.
Holy Card Heaven and the accompanying sites are just incredible!

I printed a handful to carry with me for my prayer time
and they’ve already borne more fruit than I have time to post,
but here’s a sample:

Characteristics of Divine Love
Reverent Love
I leave everything
for the One I prefer
above all things 

The dove symbolizes the soul.
Her earthly attractions are either burning
or being washed downstream
as she flies to the Lord with flaming heart.

I prefer You above all things

In prayer I “heard” the divine reply:
“I prefer you above all things.”

What I leave behind for God will perish anyway–
things that can never satisfy.
I’ll tire of them or they’ll break–
even if they’re exactly what I hoped for,
I’ll find myself wanting something more, something better, something…?
It only makes sense for me to prefer God
–fully satisfying forever Love–
over these transitory trinkets.

But Jesus…!

He left behind Heaven!

For me.

He emptied Himself of eternal treasure, of lasting happiness,
of glory and splendor and power

…all because He preferred…

me.

He lived a tedious hidden life of monotonous drudgery for 30 years.

For me.

He suffered the ungrateful “what’s in it for me” of the crowds,
the weariness and homelessness of continual travel,
the thick-headedness of His apostles,
and being hunted by the religious leaders
for the three years of His public ministry.

For me.

He made Himself vulnerable
to the most excruciating sufferings we experience as men–
the crushing weight of our guilt, betrayal, desertion,
being taken by force, unjust accusation and condemnation,
exposure, mockery, physical torture, searing cramping,
suffocation, agonizing thirst,
watching His loved ones suffer, and feeling forsaken by God.

For me.

“I prefer you.”

As I prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary,
the theme re-echoed in each decade:
“I prefer to go through this rather than to lose you.”

What tenderness!

What ardor!

What strength beyond imagining!

This came to mind:

Except Jesus is saying,
“She’s not heavy–she’s My bride!”
…under the weight of the cross.

So Jacob served seven years for Rachel
and they seemed to him but a few days
because of the love he had for her.
-Genesis 29:20

(and then he served seven more years for her
after his father-in-law tricked him into marrying her older sister first!)

Our divine Bridegroom will not be outdone in Love
by any mere mortal!

for the sake of the joy that was set before Him
[Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame
-Hebrews 12:2

That’s talking about me!
I am His joy!

My mind boggles…

This isn’t just for me.

Jesus is gazing penetratingly, passionately at you.
He knows you through and through–the good, the bad and the ugly–
He knows what it will cost Him to win you…
much more than it cost Jacob to win Rachel!
But His voice is firm and powerful…and full of joy!

“I prefer you!”

I aspire to live this holy card,
flying to those open arms, with heart aflame
with love.

Stations of the Cross for Marriage

April 13, 2012

I offered the Stations for marriage this time…

1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world
(at this point in each Station, I kiss the ground,
as I would if I were in Jerusalem, walking the Via Dolorosa–
which is what the Stations are meant to represent)

We point fingers in the wrong direction–
condemning people rather than sin.
Fight the right enemy!
We’re unjust judges,
handing down corrupt decisions (cf. James 2:4)

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

2nd Station: Jesus takes up His Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

We are given burdens to be carried–
precious, priceless burdens to be embraced out of love,
preferred to all others because they come from love.
Love lightens the load
(it’s not heavy–it’s my beloved)

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

We’re limited.
We’re going to fall.
It teaches us compassion for the fallen.
We need to help each other up.
A fall–yours or another’s–is not the end.
It’s part of the process.
Welcome it too!
Don’t let it stop you.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

4th Station: Jesus meets His mother
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Our parents are part of the process too.
They care.
They help in their own way (sometimes it’s painful).
Welcome them too.
You can be sure that St. Joseph would’ve been there too
(and certainly was following everything in spirit with great love!)
The Holy Family is pulling for you.
Acknowledge them.
Love for love.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

5th Station: Simon of Cyrene is forced to help Jesus carry the Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

There’s a sense in which we’re all unequally yoked
–we’re different
unwilling sometimes, unable others.
Still, there’s a grace in working together,
sharing the burden no matter how unjust it maybe.
In the end, justice will win out, despite injustice.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

6th Station: Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Little things make such a big difference!
We need to keep vigil to recognize and meet the little needs
and to appreciate the little kindnesses done for us.
They make love grow stronger on both sides
(inside & outside–we’re one, after all!).
And on the other side,
keep vigil to avoid perpetrating little annoyances
& overlook the ones done to us.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

7th Station: Jesus falls a second time
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Falling isn’t something that only happens once & is gotten out of the way.
Coordinating doesn’t happen all at once.
Failure is progress.
It means you tried, you risked.
And you’re not God…but even God allowed Himself to fall.
You’re better than He?
Turn the humiliation into humility.
Celebrate it, get up, and keep going.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

8th Station: Jesus meets the weeping women of Jerusalem
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

You’ll meet people who just don’t get it.
They’ll praise things that don’t matter (or are downright wrong)
and grieve your successes.
Gently point them to the truth.
Love them in their creaturehood.
Redirect their misguidedness with compassion.
They really are trying.
Credit where it’s due.
But don’t leave them to the error of their ways
to be swept away by destruction!
Then move on.
You’ve got your own mission to fulfill.
Don’t let them stop you.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

9th Station: Jesus falls a third time
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Don’t ever consider yourself “safe” from falls.
Don’t relax your vigilance.
Keep attentive to the end.
You’ll still fall, but you’ll be prepared to handle it.
It ain’t over ’till its over.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

10th Station: Jesus is stripped of His garments
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

You don’t know what’s really you
and what can be, must be, stripped away,
chipped and chiseled away
to fully reveal you.
Marriage is God’s workshop
where that happens.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

11th Station: Jesus is crucified
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Marriage anchors us open.
That’s what it’s for.
Sometimes that hurts.
But it’s love.
It’s what we were made for.
It lifts us up as an example to the world
of what Heaven is all about.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

12th Station: Jesus dies on the Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

“’till death do us part”…and beyond…
Death to self, mortification.
Forgiveness, desire (“I thirst”, John 19:28),
giving of parents, giving of paradise, giving of all.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

13th Station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Picking up the pieces,
loving to the end and beyond,
being a burden
but still pouring out our heart

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.

14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Giving with no thought of return,
emptiness of loss–price of love,
trusting One greater than ourselves to fill the gap.
Stillness.
Abandonment.
Love spilling over in tears that water new gardens of faith.
Hope that endures beyond the grave
and waits to return with coming dawn.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.


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