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Stations of the cross

 

Introduction

Then taking the Twelve aside he said to them, 'Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of man is to come true. For he will be handed over to the gentiles and will be mocked, maltreated and spat on, and when they have scourged him they will put him to death; and on the third day he will rise again.' But they could make nothing of this; what he said was quite obscure to them, they did not understand what he was telling them. (Lk 18, 31-34)

We already know about Christ, what these words mean, we know the drama of the Passion, we know that we owe it salvation and eternal life. Christ You are God and man. And in your life, we find our human fate, our paths. We find ourselves. And each of us has his own small way of the cross, according to his capabilities and cross to bear. And as a community we have our own way of the cross.

We go with You, O Christ, to look at You, learn from You, in order to be able to find in our daily lives signs of Your nearness and to be able to read Your will. Because you say yourself that fulfilling the will of the Father is the distinction between Your true and false students. And only he who does the will of the Heavenly Father is Your true disciple.

O Christ. At the sound of the words of the Cross - my heart trembles. My Jesus, I will follow you. I will follow you derided, ridiculed, accused and convicted, but my God. Christ, I will follow you throughout my life, through sins and joy, to learn from You how to get to God throughout life.

 

The First Station

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged. (…) Pilate came outside again and said to them, 'Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case against him.' Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, 'Here is the man.' (…)Pilate then said to him, 'Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?' Jesus replied, 'You would have no power over me at all if it had not been given you from above; that is why the man who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.' From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, 'If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar's; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.' Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. 'Here is your king,' said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, 'Away with him, away with him, crucify him.' Pilate said, 'Shall I crucify your king?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king except Caesar.' So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. (John 19,1.4-5.10-15)

Lord Jesus Christ, You stood in the court prepared by man – sinful man, full of pride and belief in his power and indestructibility, and was convicted.

It has been two thousand years, and it seems that many of us do not understand your message and the purpose of your martyrdom. Many of us still, seem to think that we are masters of this world. We still characterized by lack of humility, and above all faith in the word that you preached. We still forget that though you give us free will, but you also gave us the Ten Commandments, which set the limits of that freedom. You gave the right of choice: between good and evil, brightness - radiating from timeless divine values, and the black abyss of the kingdom of Satan.

You gave us understanding to allow us to see your presence on every path of our life, so that we could walk down the path shown by You, so that we could distinguish virtue from sin, so that we could live by those values ​​which guarantee us triumph in the last judgment.

We People of the Sea - ask You, to shake our hearts, to awaken our conscience and to ask You for forgiveness of our sins, from which we are not free.

 

The Second Station

JESUS TAKES UP HIS CROSS

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.’ (Mt 16, 24-25)

Indeed, the Apostles must have been filled with sadness and dread at Your words. Speaking of the cross after, You had multiplied the bread, after Peter's confession that you are the Messiah, is jarring. At that time they did not understand these words. Now, they understood them fully. Behold the Cross: a thing real and concrete. It has to be lifted by sore arms and taken onto take bruised and scarred shoulders. Human crosses: shortcomings, failures, poverty and misery, illness and pain, these too are real things and real pain. Our disappointed hopes, our humiliations. And also, grey days, when hopelessness seeps. Our loneliness, our great fatigue.

Jesus took the cross on his shoulders, because it was also a human cross. Our iniquities he laid on the shoulders of the Son. He laid also our weaknesses, poverty and misery. He did not take the cross upon his shoulders just to suffer for the sake of suffering, but in order to save all man’s crosses from meaninglessness.

Let us think of the People of the Sea, who are far from land, but also sometimes far from God and the Church. Let them understand that Jesus is the Supreme Captain of the Seas and Oceans.

O Lord! You are the sea of love and kindness. Assist us so that we imitate you eagerly. Let those who are indifferent understand that our victory relies only on you. Let them draw an incentive to their own conversion from the religious attitude of their colleagues, and also from their participation in Sunday Mass when in port.

 

The Third Station

JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME

You have schooled many others, giving strength to feeble hands; your words supported any who wavered and strengthened every failing knee. And now your turn has come, and you lose patience, at the first touch on yourself you are overwhelmed! Does not your piety give you confidence, and your integrity of life give you hope? (Job 4, 3-6)

The burden seems to be beyond his strength... Jesus falls under it… He rises with difficulty and goes on, still bearing his cross. Yes he must. There is a power in it that allows him to get up and move on. It would be easy to stay in the dust of the road. To lie… To give up… But you have to get up, you need to go on. You have to go to the end. Jesus falls beneath the Cross. Not long ago he commanded the winds and the sea. He gave evidence of great love for man. He encouraged and added courage.

The cross is a burden. Its weight surpasses human strength. Sometimes we fall because of lack of faith, because of a sense of the absurd, the lack of meaning and purpose in life. The seafarer often falls, long separation from family, threats of contaminated civilization. This fall helps you understand that the way of a Christian is not easy, that it commits to bear witness continuously. Our falls should lead us to seek God's help continuously. Lord! Despite all the threats, which I experience at sea and on land, I feel safe when I know that You are with me, that you walk beside me. And that furtive glance cast at your face, which is also a human face.

O Lord, You who fell on the road for us,
Add to our strength, add to our grace.
Help to raise our eyes from the ground, look up to heaven,
Arise again, take the burden...
The larger the cross, the closer you stand next to me....
Do not let the weakness of my soul enslave me down to the bottom...

 

The Fourth Station

JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER

It was you who drew me from the womb;
and soothed me on my mother's breast.
On you was I cast from my birth,
from the womb I have belonged to you.
Do not hold aloof, for trouble is upon me,
and no one to help me!
(Ps 22, 10-12)

Lord Jesus, meeting your mother on your way to the hill of your martyrdom, you had to feel a terrible, additional pain, a pain tearing the love of a Son to a Mother. A tearing due to the awareness of inevitable death and separation from a loved one.

What a terrible, a hundred times stronger and pain from a spear piercing her heart, had to be the emotions of your mother who gave you life, education and protection, and who knew that your mission on earth is coming to an end, and parting with her is near.

Mother…
- Birth Mother
- Cherished Mother
- Guardian Mother
- But… and Mother of the Earth –

The one, who by decree of the Most High almighty gives us everything that we need for life on earth. Gives, but also demands; demands a great respect and observance of His own laws, which even the knowledge of the most eminent scholars is not able to explain completely. Our exploration is therefore just a greater or lesser drawing nearer to the mystery of the truth. It is an increasingly stronger awareness of the divinity of the world, and from this, how infinitely wise is the Creator of this work, how unsurpassed and undiscoverable is his wisdom is to man. These facts must cause in all healthy-minded people a feeling of great humility and, perhaps, the Divine intention is one of the ways of subduing our sinful, human pride.

Seafarers - are people who interact with mother nature, people who feel its power, whose power calls many of us to the eternal watch, whose generosity and fertility gives us gifts, including gifts of the sea. Through the intercession of Mary - Our Lady of Czestochowa we ask the Most High
- for the generosity of the gifts of the sea that give the food and work for many generations of fishermen,
- for the wise management of fish stocks, so that the pursuit of profit not destroy what the Lord has given us,
- for a wisely pursued policy of environmental protection, for it to remain preserved for future generations,
- for wise observance of the laws of nature, and not changing them by the hand of man.

 

The Fifth Station

THE CYRENIAN HELPS JESUS CARRY THE CROSS

Carry each other's burdens; that is how to keep the law of Christ. (Gal. 6,2)

Help is so much needed. Every vessel coming into port needs tugs, linesmen, remote control and many other people from port operations. Without it, it would not have reached the destination port, nor moored at the waterfront. Help is needed by everyone in every moment of life.

Being a Christian means being on the road, it is aiming throughout life to the port which is God. During the pilgrimage of life we all need help more than once.

How often we are similar to Simon, who at the least expected time must help someone. Today’s Simon has even less time. He attempts to settle all matters on the move as soon as possible, with minimal effort. And that is when You Lord stand before him, seeking help.

I was naked, I was thirsty, I was a prisoner, I carried the cross. Did you take it with me, did you really take it with me? Did you even once look at My human face, which is also the face of God?

The Sixth Station

VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me. (Mt 25, 40)

Love is at the start of good deeds… Veronica – a fragile woman - rushes over with a shawl to Jesus, she risks being driven away by the soldiers. Yet love overcame fear, concern - that most selfless, which gives, not expecting anything in return... For this service dedicated to God – to a Man being led to death but she was rewarded – she received the image of His face imprinted on shawl...

Nowadays how easily we can see the face of Christ. His face is in the faces of all people, but especially in the faces of those most afflicted, the poor, the abandoned… Often Seafarers suffer and are abandoned, especially those remaining for many months away from their loved ones...

Jesus make it so that there is no shortage of those - both at sea and on land, who bring spiritual, and when necessary,  material help to seamen, fishermen, port and shipyard workers and their families. That there is no shortage of pastors and lay people hurrying, with no hesitation and as much as their strength allows, to help Seafarers, to support them in carrying their daily cross.

 

The Seventh Station

JESUS FALLS FOR THE SECOND TIME

When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me, I shall let you find me - Yahweh declares - I shall restore your fortunes and gather you in from all the nations and wherever I have driven you, Yahweh declares – and  I shall bring you back to the place from which I exiled you. (Jer 29, 12-14)

He fell a second time crushed by the burden. Christ's life was leaking away in narrow rivulets of blood. He has to get up and carry on. It would be so nice just to lay there with the cheek against the cool earth. The earth spinned in the eyes of the falling one, the stones accepted the sweat and blood.

A man at sea is a very tiny. He sees his emptiness, and at the same time the enormity of the space that surrounds him. And so you would like to return to family, friends, to those whose help we can count at any time. And yet constantly the greyness of everyday life: frequent watches, very hard work, mental workload due to the separation from home, limited contact with his family.

All this leads to stress and anxiety. Evil lurks, waiting for that moment, when superhuman effort causes consciousness to border on of unconsciousness, when the cold and piercing wind makes the hands freeze to the nets, when through lack of sleep the body becomes stiff, when the berth is the only dream. Then the mind does not remain on good terms with the conscience and it is easy to fall. Then the existential emptiness, which is so easily born, cannot be filled by movies, or sparse information from, and of, the country.

The sea is an incredibly powerful element. Yet at sea the bond of man with God also deepens. Sunrises and sunsets, the motion of the waves speak of the power of God the Creator. It gives time for reflection on life: What are you doing on this world? It is here that you feel the power of God who is above the world and continually helps. Because it is here more so than on land that one can see a need for divine protection.

Help us Lord to overcome adversities and constantly arise from our failures!

 

The Eight Station

JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM WHO WEEP FOR HIM

Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. (Lk 23, 27-28)

At sea, seafarers face many hardships, a lot of suffering: various mental breakdowns, difficult weather conditions, the minimum number of crew, brief stopovers in ports, excessive hours of work - even on the Lord's day. However, do not forget that a sailor's families also are hurt by times of separation from the husband, the father. The wife herself educates the children and cares for them to persevere in the faith, she herself maintains the house, children also yearn longingly after father.

You know, Lord, that during the voyages we worry about the fate of our families and our children. However we trust limitlessly in Thy infinite love and Thy mercy. We entrust you with our families, the road we have to walk, our destinies and all workplaces associated with fishing. Distance us from all wrong and bring us to what is good and comes from You, and lead us to love of God and neighbour.

 

The Ninth Station

JESUS FALLS FOR THE THIRD TIME

From the depths I call to you, Lord:
Lord, hear my cry.
Listen attentively
to the sound of my pleading!
(…)
I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for dawn.
(Ps 130, 1-2, 5-6)

To you O Lord I am walking along the twisting roads of my life, my life's Way of the Cross. And this path consists also of work, which is an inseparable part of every life. Sometimes a very big effort is related to work. Man eats the bread earned by the sweat of his brow, amongst many tensions, conflicts, crises related to work.

Lord, You see that human dignity does not always draw attention. Crews are reduced drastically, time worked lengthens and the speed of voyages between ports, safety standards and terms and conditions of contracts are disregarded. We are afraid to even assert our rights so as not to get on the ship owners "black list", making it impossible to find a job.

And yet Thou, Lord, created the world so that work plays an important role in the process of creation. You did not create the world once and forever, butat the beginning having made heaven and earth, you gave the latter into possession man, that he would continue the work of creation and praise the Creator by the fruits of his labour. I appeal to You, because in You only can a man see the sense of his life and labour.

 

The Tenth Station

JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS

Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I shall return again. The Lord gave, the Lord has taken back. Blessed be the name of the Lord! (Job 1, 20-21)

He healed the sick. He opened the eyes of the blind. The crippled He put back on their feet. He raised the dead. He offered the heritage of the Sons of God. He gave witness to the truth. Scourged, hurt, spat on, crowned with thorns, to mockery clothed in scarlet with a reed instead of a sceptre, rejected by the people, stripped of his garments, and so the remnants of dignity. Here is a man uncertain of tomorrow, worried about the future, to whom the spectre of bankruptcy his workplace more than once looks into in his eyes, and following him material poverty and misery of the family. Here is a man released from work, taken on again, whose fate is bargained in the name of short-term interests, who does not know whether the squeezed handful of money is not the last payment which he receives.

Here is a man whose life is difficult, full of complaints and dramas. Whose life revolves around work, mess and berth.

Here is a man whose face is full of depression and the pain of separation from family. Those faces are familiar to everyone and maybe even in some part our own, mine and yours. May the mercy of the Lord be upon us.

 

The Eleventh Station

JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

'You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people, rather than that the whole nation should perish.' He did not speak in his own person, but as high priest of that year he was prophesying that Jesus was to die for the nation and not for the nation only, but also to gather together into one the scattered children of God. From that day onwards they were determined to kill him. (Jn 11, 49-53)

Thus it was decided about your death, and now, when this terrible plan directed against you was implemented, Lord Jesus Christ - we bow our heads at the foot of the Cross on which your body hung with a still smouldering spark of life. Our hearts are filled with a deep meditation and reflection on your indescribable suffering which marked the end of the earthly pilgrimage. The pilgrimage which for the subsequent millennium was to teach us faith, love and hope - virtues leading to eternal liberation from the shackles of our frailties.

You, through Your teaching, warned us about the power of temptation and evil lying in wait at every step. You taught us: "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, let him take up his cross and follow me".

We Seafarers in stand before another cross in deep meditation - a symbol of salvation and victory of God's Love. Our hearts beat stronger. We realize how apparently easy, but in practice extremely difficult, is the task you have set before us.

We see that the only hope is in imploring you Jesus for help, so that we can continue to work for Your glory.

 

The Twelfth Station

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said: I am thirsty. A jar full of vinegar stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the wine he said, 'It is fulfilled'; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit. (Jn 19, 28-30)

The sacrifice of Christ took place, and his mother stands beneath the Cross and takes part in the drama of the death of her Son. We also grieve over the death of our relatives and loved ones. Sometimes the sea takes our husbands, sons, grandsons and all too often does not even give up their bodies, so that we were could put them in their graves. How hard it is for us then, O Christ, to join in with Your suffering and that of Your mother. Help us to understand that the moment when you take them to Yourself, it may be the salvation for their souls. Give us the grace to come to terms with Your will, and let them enjoy eternal happiness, so dearly purchased by you, O Lord. Here, more so than on land one can see the need for God's protection.

 

The Thirteenth Station

JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS

All you who pass this way, look and see: is any sorrow like the sorrow inflicted. (Lam 1,12)

"Woman, behold your Son" - Christ's last will from the cross is fulfilled... The Saviour of the world after ending the Passion was placed in the arms of His Mother... That which then Mary felt will forever remain a secret of Her heart...

By working faithfully with her Son in the cause of redemption, she persevered unto the cross and became the Co-Redeemer, Mother of all believers.

Her tender heart always turns to those who beg for Her intercession and protection. Today, Seafarers ask Mary for this maternal intercession and care - for whom She is the star of the Sea, indicating the way to the Port of Salvation.

O Mary! Just as you embraced your Son in Your arms and heart - so also gather into your arms those who have bound their lives and their families to the sea ... Keep them safe on the seas and oceans of the world.

 

The Fourteenth Station

JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB

Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. (Jn 15, 4-5)

The Body of Christ was laid in the tomb. We all are moving towards death, so that through it would be born for heaven. Life at sea tossing between heaven and the waves is a constant sailing to you Lord! The tomb of Jesus Christ is the place where death was fulfilled by the resurrection. O Lord the graves of your disciples are quietly waiting for the miracle of Easter Sunday until the word of your promise fulfilled: "He will not die ... I will raise him on the last day ..." make our life also a continuous search for You, so we may safely arrive in port of destination. We ask you Jesus, receive into your kingdom those who have their grave on the seabed. Show them your mercy.

 

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by Dr. Radut.