Tag Archives: secular franciscan

Non-New Year’s Resolution

Calvin-and-Hobbes-resolutions-t2LA

Ah yes… new year’s resolutions. Ha. What a silly joke that is every year. Deciding we are going to completely change on January first and throughout the new year BE the person we weren’t the year before. Yeah. Riiiight. No pressure there. Hm.

sarcastic new years

It dawned on me this morning as I was searching and posting new year’s memes on Facebook…  Making a new year’s resolutions is sort of, kind of, a little bit like… drum roll please… Lent!… but instead of 40 days~ for 366 days (leap year!) one must fulfill their resolution!!! o.O … yeah…  wow… UGH. I don’t know about you, but I always think of BIG things to do or give up for Lent and then I always screw up within the week… and sometimes within the first 24 hours… bahahahahahahahahaha … yeah. 😛

So yeah New Year’s Resolutions are pretty much ridiculous…

say-new-years-resolution-one-more-time-thumb

yeah that’s how I feel.

So… I decided this year I am not going to make any resolutions. There I said it.  Not going to make ANY! None! Zero. Zippo. Nada. Ah that feels better. Weight lifted.

Don’t get me wrong… I had thought about it the other day and had an idea for a resolution. An amazing resolution. The king daddy of resolutions! The best resolution I have ever thought of.  Yeah I thought it was the BEST evah. Okay, sure.. I’ll share my idea: to Rejoice Always. Rejoice always? What do I mean by that, you ask? You know that Thessalonians verse awesome St Paul said about rejoicing always, praying without ceasing and giving thanks for everything…? Yeah, that one. What that scripture verse boils down to is pretty much Franciscan joy. To be joyful in ALL circumstances. ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Did you catch that? No matter what happens~ be happy and give thanks. When life rips out your heart, stomps on it, and laughs at your suffering … rejoice. How hard is that? ….  um… VERY! AAHHH! This is not a new year’s resolution… this monster is a lifelong resolution… yes someday I want to be like St. Francis, who strove be like Jesus… but to assume I can be that in one year is …. daunting! and I will set myself up for failure… how depressing.

So like I said. Not making a resolution.

So my non-new year’s resolution (which I just realized IS a resolution!!!) I will just move into the new year free from any looming resolutions… trusting in God and enjoying my journey as a secular Franciscan….

because Lent will be here soon enough … o.O

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Joan Up!

Joan up meme
Yeah… I came up with a new saying… “Joan up!” It came to me yesterday as we, my fellow Secular Franciscan and I, were headed to St. Anthony’s Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine for Franciscan Day. She had gotten us new T shirts to wear… she is always buying us cool Catholic shirts to wear to events. This time she got us St. Joan of Arc T shirts.

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On the front is St Joan on her horse with her banner and on the back it says: “She who is brave is free.” Coolest shirt EVAH… They are made by the company Rangerup.com (cool site, check it out)… so Ranger up… Joan up… that’s where the idea came from~ the idea that we need to do as she did… no matter what the odds and what is before you, no matter the suffering, know that God is with you, He will give you strength… so be brave, charge right in there and DO IT!

Unfortunately tomorrow is the beginning of a new school year as a special education teacher, (unfortunate because it is still summer! I am not ready to go back!) … I think that I need to start off the year with a prayer and a plan…My goal: to BE more like St. Joan of Arc this year. To be brave and courageous… but to also… BE more Catholic and Secular Franciscan-ish…

On the way home yesterday we were talking about how sometimes the old version of us would come out when people made us angry. My friend was in the Army, so for her the inner soldier would come charging out when she was angry. I used to be a Boston Meter Maid back in the day. Let me tell you, I was one crazy…. I had a foul mouth and a fierce pit bull attitude to go with it. If someone freaked out on me for giving them a ticket I would give it right back to them. I would not back down and I let them have it. I would like to say that she is pretty much gone now, that crazy meter maid… years of Catholicity has smothered her …. but… well, it’s not true…she is still there… angry ole me, simmering, waiting for the opportunity to explode. And yeah… once in a while, when some sandpaper person pisses me off, she rears her ugly head. (It’s not pretty). I know I need to control her. I need to be more Christian, more loving, more peaceful, more kind. Because although St. Joan was a warrior, she was a Catholic first.

stJoan quote
So there is that balance … and I want to have that balance in my life. I want to be that brave woman who stands her ground, is fearless and goes for what she wants … But also I want to be the woman who is obedient to her faith and does God’s will, not her own. The woman who loves, who is kind and who fiercely, passionately, courageously does not let others trample all over her.

I feel in the past I have been the extremes. I am either too kind and I let people walk all over me, or I lose it and freak out on them. I need to find the balance between the two. I need to find my inner St. Joan. Control. I need to control myself.

So, as with all things… Probably best to start off with prayer.

Heavenly Father, please, help me to be the woman I am meant to be. Help me be courageous and go after my dreams and pursue what you have in store for me. Help me to step out in faith, knowing you are with me, assisting me along the way. Help me to take a stand when I feel others are stepping all over me and taking advantage of me. Help me to be firm, yet kind when I do not feel I am being heard or given due respect I deserve. Help me to control my temper and not say things I will regret. And most of all help me to forgive others when they wrong me. Help me Lord, to “Joan Up!” and be the brave Church Militant woman I was made to be. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Amen.

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” St Joan of Arc.

st joan dares

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Filed under Brave, Catholic, Christian, courageous, Faith, prayer, Secular Franciscan, special education, St Joan of Arc

Salvation

salvation

I haven’t blogged in awhile… I meant to post this 2 months ago… but then… *sigh* … life got in the way…  I had written this Salvation “talk” for a retreat …actually it was called The Holy Spirit, the Gift of God Parish Mission of renewal back in June…  it was an awesome retreat.  …  and  for several weeks afterwards people who had been to the retreat/mission came up to me praising my courage and told me I was an inspiration.  I was quite surprised at how many people approached me about my talk. I thought, I have to post it (blog)… but I put it off. Well,  It’s funny, tonight at a Daughter’s of Isabella meeting I was thinking about blogging and thinking about posting my talk…  but feeling lazy and wishy-washy about it …again …. BUT then after the meeting a Daughter came up to me and told me she was at the retreat in June and she said I was an inspiration…. I thought, okay, okay…  I need to post it… so here it is…:

God is good. All the time …. all the time, God is good…

Wow. I never thought I would be here, doing this, saying that. If you told me 12 years ago that I would be a passionate “on fire” Catholic~ I would not have believed you. No way.

Fr. Joe already explained what salvation is in his talk. SALVATION is The forgiveness of sins and restoration of friendship with God, which can be done by God alone. My favorite bible verse about salvation is from Ephesians “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; Not of works that no man may glory.”
I am saved and I give all the glory to God!

Since I only have 5 minutes to tell you my “salvation” story I will quickly explain what that means to me and highlight who I was and who I am now.

I like to think of myself as a “Born again” catholic… I am a revert, meaning: I left the faith for a period of time and then came back. I grew up in a good catholic family, but like many others, I left the faith in my late teens. Being religious didn’t interest me and I wanted to do what everyone else was doing. So I and lived a very sinful secular life for over 20 years. You name it… sex, drugs, alcohol … I lived a wild crazy immoral life style… and I was even proud of being a wild woman. I thought I was the coolest chic.

So what happened? By the grace of God I am changed. That is the only way I can explain it. By His grace and because He loves me so much I am a completely new woman. The catalyst that got me here to where I am now was seeing the movie The Passion of the Christ back in 2004. I wept as I drove home from that movie. That intense movie opened a door inside me and a curiosity for my faith was set on fire… I didn’t just go back to my faith; the Holy Spirit ignited a desire inside me! Sure I went back to mass, but I was so incredibly hungry for my faith that I needed to consume as much Catholic stuff as I could.

God worked in me and in my life for over ten years getting me to here, to where I needed to be and helped me become who I am today … through mass, ministries, book clubs, retreats, bible study … I did it all… I had many Holy Spirit moments. I even felt God speak to me and push me into teaching religious ed …. Which terrified me… I had never taught anything in my life! …and now look at me! I am a special education teacher, go figure. If you had told me ten years ago that I would someday be a special education teacher I would not have believed you. That is God working in my life. That is grace! That is His love and mercy. He loved me so much he grabbed me back, set me on fire and gave me a place and purpose.

It has not been easy. Trying to be a good Catholic has been a long difficult journey. At the beginning I had a hard time being the “Jesus freak” that the Holy Spirit was calling me to be. It took me years to be really comfortable in my faith and to talk about it with others, especially non-Catholics. It was really hard to “live the gospel” in my life especially when friends and family were doing and saying things I no longer thought were appropriate. I could not laugh at crass jokes or watch certain movies anymore. I would watch 5 minutes of a rated R comedy and would have to turn it off; horrified, mostly because the old me would have loved it and would have thought it was hilarious. And it was hard to be with old friends and not get caught up in the gossip and swearing. I so easily reverted back to my old self when I was with certain people …. it was disturbing. I actually had to walk away from friendships that were bad for me and that was very difficult. But God was leading me in the right direction, cleaning up my life, and I knew that…. So I just kept following Jesus.

He changed many aspects of my life: I had a drinking problem since I was a teen… now I have been sober for almost 5 years. God literally spoke to me to get me to stop drinking.

I was militantly pro-choice. For over 20 years. Now I am adamantly pro-life and part of an abortion healing ministry called Rachel’s Vineyard.

To get my second marriage right with the church (and God) I had to go through a lengthy annulment process, which took a year. When it was over I remarried my husband in the Catholic Church and then that same year he took RCIA classes and became Catholic too. and is now a Knight (of Columbus).

Getting right with God was hard … but I got the strength from Him to do it. My favorite bible quote is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and I pray that often!

This long, hard, crazy journey has been so worth it. And I am still amazed that I have changed so much. Who would have thought wild, crazy me would belong to a religious order: the Secular Franciscans… One of the things I love about St Francis is that he was blown away by what God did in his life too. He also had a conversion. He said, “If God can work through me he can work through anyone” and I feel the same way.

Saint John Paul the Great said it best  “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”

That is what salvation is to me. God taking me, a prodigal daughter, a wretched sinner and completely changing me, bringing me back into His friendship… and making me into who I was meant to be.
God is good….

all the time.

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Sandpaper People (or Hugging the Leper)

sandpaper people meme
We all have them. Sandpaper people, those annoying people in our lives who just make living our daily lives, at times, unbearable. They rub us the wrong way. They get under our skin. They always say something that makes our blood boil. … they make comments or jokes that make us feel horrible about ourselves … those daily jabs or needlings… little things that after a while build up until we just want to scream. Yeah. Those people.

screaming-woman
My friend calls them sandpaper people… because they are there to make us better Christians. Polish us until we shine … erm… hm. Yeah…. Don’t know about that… ugh.
That’s that whole Franciscan ‘Perfect Joy’ thing… being joyful even in the worst situation. Loving the unlovable… hugging that leper as St Francis did. It all sounds good when we talk about it… but DOING it… LIVING the gospel out in that annoying world is another thing. Again I feel like a complete failure. I was not the good Christian I was supposed to be. I did not handle my sandpaper person well.
Hey I tried. All year long. TRIED! I started off okay. I played the good Christian. I was nice. I let the daily rude, cutting jabs go. ugh… let it go… Don’t….Don’t sing it…

let it go Batman meme
I even confronted the situation in a kind polite way. Nope… didn’t help. So, of course, I prayed, oh yes I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed… I prayed for peace for us and everyone around us. I prayed for the situation. I prayed for the person. I prayed that the person would change. I prayed. For months. And nothing changed. So I grew impatient and discouraged. I felt I had had enough. I had had it up to here. It was too much. It was like I was drowning in negativity. I knew I was going to snap at any moment. Praying, kindness, discussion…. nothing worked and I felt trapped. And the whole situation made me angry and hateful and ugly… and it caused me to swear and rant about it… yes… of course I went to confession! I went to reconciliation a lot.
I felt I had lost my Catholic self… I was worn down by this person and it did not polish me… it made me tired, beaten …. I was in despair. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.
Yesterday, at a Franciscan fraternity retreat our priest brought up this very topic (I laughed out loud!) …. Francis hugging the leper. Our Franciscan life is a life of daily conversion. Of doing penance. Don’t run from circumstances… offer our sufferings up… unify our sufferings with the suffering of Christ. Change SELF… change on the inside.
I believe I had started off doing this, being the Franciscan I was meant to be back when it all started… but when it got too much, when I prayed continuously and nothing happened… I lost faith. I suppose I wanted to SEE the change immediately.
A couple days ago that still small voice inside said to my heart, “Maybe you just needed to pray for that person. That’s all. Maybe you are the only person praying for that person. Maybe they really need your prayers. You are there to pray for them.” That stopped me dead. Oh.
So, though I do not want to be in the way of that person’s wrath anymore… I will continue on until it is over. I will pray. I will be kind and merciful. I will offer it up. I will try to change on the inside. I will realize that God is working… and I may never see the change that is happening or will happen …. But I will endure. I will find peace. I will ask the Holy Spirit: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” I will no longer be led by my anger. I will let the sandpaper person polish me.
I will hug the leper.

francis-and-leper
Questions to ask: Who are the lepers God places in your life? How is the Holy Spirit leading you? How can you do mercy?

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Oh, Saint Anthony!

Anthony
One of my favorite saints… not just because he is Franciscan, but because he is a regular at my house… yeah he practically lives with us. St Anthony, he’s the man! Whenever I (or someone in the house) loses something I pray, “Oh, Saint Anthony, please come down, __________________ must be found!” and voila! Within minutes the object is found! No joke!
st anthony baby
Seriously. Like today~ I was hopping around my bedroom looking for my other sneaker, prayed to St. Anthony…. the laundry basket in the closet, filled with clothes fell over … and underneath it? Yup, my sneaker. Thank you St. Anthony! I love you! Yeah, he’s that cool.
anthony cartoon
Sure, yeah you think I’m nuts… another one of those crazy Catholics… but seriously. Anytime I lose something I stop and pray (intercessory prayer!) to him and then I am quiet and I think. And almost every time a notion, an idea, a lightbulb-ish type moment comes to me, “Look over there by the book shelf”… “Try under the couch”… “Did you look on your dresser?” and yeah… whatever it is …is there…
st anthony meme
Probably the coolest St. Anthony story I have is back “before” … meaning before I came back to the faith. As most of you know, I left the faith for 21 years… but though I did not practice, there were certain things I still did… like pray to St. Anthony (yes I was meant to be a Secular Franciscan!!!). So back in 2003-ish, when 2 of my boys were little, I could not find a plastic video case for a video. I needed it so that I could bring the video back to the store…. And I looked everywhere! Well, I prayed to St. Anthony. But still I couldn’t find it. Dagnabit! Frustrated I thought, ‘Somethings are just not meant to be found’. … But, have faith… all in God’s time… that night I dreamed of the yellow garbage bag I had left in the back hallway. In E. Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where we lived at the time, we had to buy yellow garbage bags to put our trash in or the EB garbage man would not pick them up. I dreamed that the video case was in the yellow trash bag. I vividly saw it. So the next morning, I tore open the trash bag and, yup, there it was. That blew my mind. Now why was the video case in the trash?… anyone who has had little kids know they just LOVE to throw things out… anything and everything! And St. Anthony had my back! Yeah! He’s the bomb!
st anthony baby eggs
One thing I do not want St. Anthony to find for me…. Those 17 pounds I have lost since January! (Wooo hooo!) …. Though I may find some of those pounds after I eat all the Easter candy I plan on shoving in my face on Sunday (hey I gave up candy for Lent!!!)!

st anthony

Love you St. Anthony!

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Mary’s Fiat

mary's fiat

No, no, no… not that Fiat… hahahaha… but yeah, if the Virgin Mary drove a car it would definitely be that one.

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. (Nine months til Christmas!!! AAAAHHH!) … The day that changed the world forever. The day of our salvation. Mary’s obedient Fiat. Her YES to God. The day she said she would be willing to give birth to our Lord and savior.

Imagine being her. A young woman, a girl really, barely a teen. Being visited by an angel, and not just any angel… but Gabriel himself… imagine for a minute … that scene.
The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896
Seeing an angel. Incredible! And having him speak to you, call you holy, and ask you to carry the son of God in your womb! Wow… just imagining that scene blows my mind!

Would you have been as brave as her? Do we ever think of Mary as being brave? We always think of her as this beautiful, pure young woman… but do we think of her as the strong, courageous girl who was willing to do God’s will no matter what?… Knowing full well that she could be stoned to death for being pregnant out of wedlock! Stoned to death. But she did it. She said yes. She accepted. She had faith that God was with her (literally!) and that He would protect her and take care of her. She loved the Lord that much.

Do we have faith like that? Crazy trusting faith! Do we listen to what God is asking us to do? Are we silencing our crazy, busy, loud lives and sitting alone with God? Are we listening to what he wants of us? And when we do hear Him are we responding like Mary by saying “Yes, Lord!”? Are we stepping out of our comfort zones … are we willing to do something crazy for the Lord? Something that will change our lives and probably others…

Sit with Mary, the Mary that just said yes to an angel. Sit down next to her, take her hand. Talk to her. What would you say? What would you ask? How would she respond? What would she ask you? Would she reassure you? Would she speak to you sweetly, comfort you and help you, convince you to say yes to God in your life? Imagine looking into her face, her eyes. Seeing her smile. You got this…

Be not afraid. Nothing is impossible for God. You can do it; with the Lord you can do anything.

Thank you Mary for your Fiat.

The-Annunciation 2

Thank you God for Mary.

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Walking the Stations

Stations of the Cross - Via Crucis - KreuzwegYesterday the Greccio Fraternity had our monthly meeting (secular Franciscan gathering) and I confessed to our spiritual director, Brother Joe (soon to be Father Joe! Yay!), that I felt I had failed at my Lenten fasting.  Again. He remarked that usually when we pick something to do for Lent God usually has something else for us to do. He asked me~ was I listening to what God was saying to me?  Defeated I shrugged, “I dunno.” Then during the meeting I had an epiphany… I was thinking about how I had missed every Friday night’s stations of the cross at our church… and I thought, hey!  There are 14 more days of Lent and 14 stations! I could meditate on a station a day!  GENIUS!!  Thank you Lord!

So walk with me (well, with Jesus) these last two weeks… starting today:

Stations of the Cross

Opening Prayer
ACT OF CONTRITION
O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart I am sorry for all my sins, because by them I have offended Thee, Who art infinitely good. I will die rather than offend thee again.

First Station: Jesus is condemned to death

Leader: We adore Thee, O Christ, and bless Thee.
All: Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Jesus, you stand all alone before Pilate. Nobody speaks up for you. Nobody helps defend you. You devoted your entire life to helping others, listening to the smallest ones, caring for those who were ignored by others. They don’t seem to remember that as they prepare to put you to death.
As a child, sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes I feel that others don’t stand up for me and defend me when I am afraid. Sometimes I don’t feel like I am treated fairly, especially if I am scolded or corrected.
As an adult, sometimes I feel abandoned and afraid as well. Sometimes I too, feel like I am treated unfairly or blamed for things unfairly. I have a hard time when people criticize me at home or at work.
Help me be grateful for what you did for me. Help me to accept criticism and unfairness as you did, and not complain. Help me pray for those who have hurt me.
My Jesus, often have I signed the death warrant by my sins; save me by Thy death from that eternal death which I have so often deserved.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory Be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Second Station: Jesus carries His cross
Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, as you accepted your cross, you knew you would carry it to your death on Calvary. You knew it wouldn’t be easy, but you accepted it and carried it just the same.
As a child, sometimes I don’t like the problems that come my way. Sometimes I try to get others to take care of them or solve them for me. Sometimes I become upset and crabby when I’m asked to do even the smallest thing to help others.
As an adult I sometimes feel like I’m not appreciated. Sometimes I feel as if I accept more responsibility that I need to. I can feel sorry for myself, even though the crosses others carry are much larger than my own. In my self-pity, I don’t reach out to help.
My Jesus, Who by Thine own will didst take on Thee the most heavy cross I made for Thee by my sins, oh, make me feel their heavy weight, and weep for them ever while I live.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory Be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Third Station: Jesus falls the first time
Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, the cross you have been carrying is very heavy. You are becoming weak and almost ready to faint, and you fall down. Nobody seems to want to help you. The soldiers are interested in getting home, so they yell at you and try to get you up and moving again.
As a child, sometimes I start to do something, but then get tired of it. I hurry to get finished and sometimes don’t do my work well. Sometimes I don’t pay attention to what I should be doing. When things get hard for me, sometimes I give up.
As an adult, I sometimes put things off. I give up too easily, and sometimes don’t do my work as well as I know I can.
My Jesus, the heavy burden of my sins is on Thee, and bears Thee down beneath the cross. I loathe them, I detest them; I call on Thee to pardon them; may Thy grace aid me never more to commit them.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory Be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, you feel so alone with all those people yelling and screaming at you. You don’t like the words they are saying about you, and you look for a friendly face in the crowd. You see your mother. She can’t make the hurting stop, but it helps to see that she is on your side, that she is suffering with you. She does understand and care.
As a child, sometimes I feel like too many things are going on. Sometimes other kids pick on me and call me names. I need to look around me for a friendly face, and for the help I need. I need to share my troubles with those who truly care about me.
As an adult I sometimes feel overwhelmed by many things. Life is so competitive, and I worry so much about my future and those who have some control over it. I need to remember that being an adult does not mean having to solve every problem all by myself. I need to look around me for a friendly face, for the help I need.
Jesus most suffering, Mary Mother most sorrowful, if, by my sins, I caused you pain and anguish in the past, by God’s assisting grace it shall be so no more; rather be you my love henceforth till death.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, the soldiers are becoming impatient. This is taking longer than they wanted it to. They are afraid you won’t make it to the hill where you will be crucified. As you grow weaker, they grab a man out of the crowd and make him help carry your cross. He was just watching what was happening, but all of a sudden he is helping you carry your cross.
As a child, sometimes I see people who need my help. Sometimes I pretend not to hear when my parents call me. I disappear when I know others could use my help.
As an adult, sometimes I try to do as little as I can and still get by. Others might need my help, but I ignore their needs. Even when I’m asked to help, I sometimes claim to be too busy.
My Jesus, blest, thrice blest was he who aided Thee to bear the cross. Blest too shall I be if I aid Thee to bear the cross, by patiently bowing my neck to the crosses Thou shalt send me during life. My Jesus, give me grace to do so.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, suddenly a woman comes out of the crowd. Her name is Veronica. You can see how she cares for you as she takes a cloth and begins to wipe the blood and sweat from your face. She can’t do much, but she offers what little help she can.
As a child, sometimes I know someone could use a little help and understanding. They may be picked on or teased by others, or just sad or lonely. Sometimes I feel bad that others don’t step in to help, but I don’t help either.
As an adult, I notice the needs around me. Sometimes my own family members crave my attention, and I don’t even seem to notice. Sometimes a co-worker, friend, or family member could use help or understanding, but I don’t reach out to help lest I be criticized, or that they demand more of me than I’d like to give.
My tender Jesus, Who didst deign to print Thy sacred face upon the cloth with which Veronica wiped the sweat from off Thy brow, print in my soul deep, I pray Thee, the lasting memory of Thy bitter pains.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
This is the second time you have fallen on the road. As the cross grows heavier and heavier it becomes more difficult to get up. But you continue to struggle and try until you’re up and walking again. You don’t give up.
As a child, sometimes things get me down. Others seem to find things easier to do or to learn. Each time I fail, I find it harder to keep trying.
As an adult, sometimes I think I should know more than I do. I become impatient with myself and find it hard to believe in myself when I fail. It is easy to despair over small things, and sometimes I do.
Help me when things seem difficult for me. Even when it’s hard, help me get up and keep trying as you did. Help me do my best without comparing myself with others.
My Jesus, often have I sinned and often, by sin, beaten Thee to the ground beneath the cross. Help me to use the efficacious means of grace that I may never fall again.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have Mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.
Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, as you carry your cross you see a group of women along the road. As you pass by you see they are sad. You stop to spend a moment with them, to offer them some encouragement. Although you are have been abandoned by your friends and are in pain, you stop and try to help them.
As a child, sometimes I think a lot about myself. I think about what I want and would like people to spend their lives pleasing me.
As an adult, sometimes I act like a child. I become so absorbed in myself and what I’d like that I forget about the needs of others. I take them for granted, and often ignore their needs.
Help me think more about others. Help me remembers that others have problems, too. Help me respond to them even when I’m busy or preoccupied with my own problems.
My Jesus, Who didst comfort the pious women of Jerusalem who wept to see Thee bruised and torn, comfort my soul with Thy tender pity, for in Thy pity lies my trust. May my heart ever answer Thine.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have Mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, your journey has been long. You fall again, beneath your cross. You know your journey is coming to an end. You struggle and struggle. You get up and keep going.
As a child, sometimes I fail time and time again. I find it hard to get along with my sisters and brothers, sometimes I’m not honest, sometimes I’m lazy. I’m tempted to stop trying. It’s just too hard sometimes.
As an adult, I often feel I should have conquered my weaknesses by now. I become discouraged when I’m confronted by the same problems over and over again. Sometimes I get weary. When I have health problems, I can become discouraged and depressed.
Help me think of the cross you carried. Help me continue to hope that I can make the changes in my life I need to. You didn’t give up. I can have the strength to get up again as well.
My Jesus, by all the bitter woes Thou didst endure when for the third time the heavy cross bowed Thee to the earth, never, I beseech Thee, let me fall again into sin. Ah, my Jesus, rather let me die than ever offend Thee again.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace.
All: Amen.

Tenth Station: Jesus clothes are taken away

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
The soldiers notice you have something of value. They remove your cloak and throw dice for it. Your wounds are torn open once again. Some of the people in the crowd make fun of you. They tease you and challenge you to perform a miracle for them to see. They’re not aware that you’ll perform the greatest miracle of all!
As a child, sometimes I’m tempted to repeat stories I know are unclean and disrespectful. I sometimes try to act grown up by using crude and bad words.
As an adult, sometimes I repeat stories that are disrespectful of others. I can entertain thoughts that are not clean. Sometimes I give the young people around me a bad example to follow.
Help me to keep myself pure and clean. Help me say things that build up the people around me. Help me overcome worldly desires that I may become more like Jesus. Help me set a good example for others to follow.
My Jesus, stripped of Thy garments and drenched with gall, strip me of love for things of earth, and make me loathe all that savors of the world and sin.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
You are stretched out on the cross you have carried so far. The soldiers take big nails and drive them into your hands and feet. You feel abandoned by the people you loved so much. People seem to have gone mad. You have done nothing but good, yet they drive nails through your hands and feet.
As a child, sometimes I hurt others. Sometimes I join with friends and decide not to like another. We gang up against another and cause them hurt and pain. Sometimes I say or do hurtful things to my brothers and sisters. I can wonder what they’d think about themselves if they believed everything I told them about themselves.
As an adult, sometimes I discriminate against others. Even without thinking, I judge others because of their color, intelligence, income level or name. I forget that I am to live as a brother or sister to all people. Sometimes I use harsh words when I speak to my children and family members. I can find it easy to look for something that isn’t very important and make it very important.
Help me look again at the people around me. Help me see the hurt and pain I have caused in others. Be with me to help me make amends for the harm I have done.
My Jesus, by Thine agony when the cruel nails pierced Thy tender hands and feet and fixed them to the cross, make me crucify my flesh by Christian penance.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross

Image of Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
As Jesus hung on the cross, he forgave the soldiers who had crucified him, and prayed for his mother and friends. Jesus wanted all of us to be able to live forever with God, so he gave all he had for us.
Jesus, let me take a few moments now to consider your love for me. Help me thank you for your willingness to go to your death for me. Help me express my love for you!
My Jesus, three hours didst Thou hang in agony, and then die for me; let me die before I sin, and if I live, live for Thy love and faithful service.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Thirteenth Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, how brutally you were put to death. How gently you’re are taken from the cross. Your suffering and pain are ended, and you are put in the lap of your mother. The dirt and blood are wiped away. You are treated with love.
As a child, sometimes I treat others better when they’re sad or in pain. When somebody dies, I become very gentle and kind. I notice the good and kind things people say about those who have died.

As an adult, I seem to be kinder when someone dies. If only I could learn to see the good things about them while they were alive. If only I would tell those around me how much I love them, while I still have the opportunity to do so.
Help me look for the good in those around me, especially those I love the most. Help me live this day as if it were the last. Help me become a more gentle and loving person through my greater appreciation for those around me.
O Mary, Mother most sorrowful, the sword of grief pierced thy soul when thou didst see Jesus lying lifeless on thy bosom; obtain for me hatred of sin because sin slew thy Son and wounded thine own heart, and grace to live a Christian life and save my soul.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: Have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
Jesus, your body is prepared for burial. Joseph gave you his own tomb. He laid your body there and rolled a large stone in front of it, then went home. What a sad day it has been for so many people.
As a child, sometimes I try to keep everything for myself. I find it hard to share my things with my brothers or sisters and with my friends.
As an adult, I can be selfish too. I can accumulate things and keep them for myself. I try to make sure I have what I want before I share what I have with anybody else.
Help me think of Joseph of Arimathea, who risked his own life as he accepted Jesus’ body for burial. Help me think of how Joseph loved Jesus so much that he gave him his own tomb.
My Jesus, beside Thy body in the tomb I, too, would lie dead; but if I live, let it be for Thee, so as one day to enjoy with Thee in heaven the fruits of Thy passion and Thy bitter death.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be to the Father….
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified.
All: have mercy on Us.
Leader: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in peace.
All: Amen.

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