Friday is the traditional day for praying the Stations of the Cross during Lent. There are many different versions of prayer material for praying the stations, a devotion commemorating the passion of Jesus. Some of them move me more than others.
A version I find particularly powerful is Clarence Enzler’s, Everyone’s Way of the Cross, published by Ave Maria Press, which attempts to apply Jesus’ suffering to our personal lives. The prayer for each station, which includes both a statement by Jesus of his suffering and our responsive prayer, is accompanied by a black and white photo of everyday life, that aids in one’s reflection.
Since I just spoke yesterday about the Mary’s suffering, I offer for reflection today, Enzler’s prayer for the Fourth Station – Jesus Meets his Mother. It speaks powerfully of something that is always a difficult one for us – seeing the suffering of those we love.
First, Jesus speaks:
My mother sees me whipped.
She sees me kicked and driven like a beast.
She counts my every wound.
But though her soul cries out in agony,
no protest or complaint escapes her lips
or even enters her thoughts.
She shares my martyrdom –
and I share hers.
We hide no pain, no sorrow,
from each other’s eyes.
This is my Father’s will.
In response, we pray:
My Jesus, Lord,
I know what you are telling me.
To watch the pain of those we love
is harder than to bear our own.
To carry my cross after you,
I, too, must stand and watch
the sufferings of my dear ones – the heartaches,
sicknesses and grief of those I love.
And I must let them watch mine, too.
I do believe —
for those who love you
all things work together unto good.
It can be a struggle to pray this station – and to mean the last part of the prayer when faced with tremendous suffering of those we love. Mary can be a good companion in that struggle.