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Thursday, 3 June 2021

Calvary Through the Eyes of Mary - Helen Pepper - CTS Devotions

Calvary Through the Eyes of Mary
Helen Pepper
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 
9781784695538
eISBN 9781784695828
ASIN B078THX66D
CTS Booklet D827


Over the last several years, I have read almost 200 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society, CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. I have read many books for Lent and Easter both from the CTS and other sources. This however is the first by Helen Pepper that I have read, and I believe it is her only book in print. The description of the booklet is:

“It has been a Catholic tradition through the centuries to meditate on the Stations of the Cross so that it becomes our way of life. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, made that first way of the cross. The stations in this booklet present that viewpoint.
Stopping with Mary at each of the fourteen locations that mark events in the final days of Jesus’s life, we share her sentiments and bear witness to her sorrow as she suffers alongside her son.

As we go deeper into her suffering we will come out of this spiritual journey with a deeper love for Mary, a greater appreciation of what her son did for us, and find an example of how to take up our own cross to follow Christ in a spirit of total love.”

And the chapters in the book are:

Introduction
First Station
Second Station
Third Station
Fourth Station
Fifth Station
Sixth Station 
Seventh Station
Eighth Station
Ninth Station
Tenth Station
Eleventh Station
Twelfth Station
Thirteenth Station
Fourteenth Station
Marian Prayers

I was unaware when I purchased this book that it was a Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross. I picked it up just based on the publisher and the title. So I did not really know what I was getting. But I got a wonderful resource for personal or group devotion. The introduction of this volume states:

“This book will accompany Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as she follows in her son’s footsteps on the Via Dolorosa. The purpose is not simply to define the Stations of the Cross from her perspective, but to experience them with her.

We join Mary as she traces Jesus’ journey on his way to Calvary to be crucified. We see through her eyes the suffering Jesus endured and take a moment to reflect upon Jesus’ great sacrifice. We join her in the realisation of the purpose of Jesus’ ministry: the crucifixion as a necessity to redeem humanity from the bondages of sin, and as a prelude to the glory of the Resurrection.”

And further on:

“Mary’s relationship with Jesus is unique. It is because of this that we trust in Mary and she is able to intercede on our behalf. It is because of this that we trust in Mary; she is the Mother of the Church, and through her maternal and protective embrace we ask her for help as we strive to change our own lives and become better disciples. Furthermore, Mary’s clarity in understanding what the Lord had planned for her can be emulated by us in our own lives if we imitate her faith and courage. In times of difficulty we should trust in the Lord’s plan for us, knowing that hope will triumph from hopelessness.

As we join Mary on the way to Calvary, may we bear witness to all the events that took place. May we open our hearts and strive to mirror Mary’s motherly love and devotion. May we take a moment to reflect on Christ’s great sacrifice for us, but also to embrace his great love for humanity, appreciating all he has done and continues to do for us.”

This stations is very different than any of the others I have used. It is an excellent devotion. A sample station is:

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.

You fall for a second time. Your body is weak from thirst and exhaustion. My heart is completely torn. I want this journey to end. But how can a mother want to see an end such as this? I am filled with sorrow at the very thought of what is to come.

You falling has taken me back to a happier time, when we presented you at the Temple. Joseph brought two turtle-doves as a sacrifice. I was so pleased with you, as you had grown in wisdom and stature, and found favour in God. An old man named Simeon rushed towards us; he knew how special you were, his eyes had seen your salvation. But he warned us of your fate. “This one is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel and a sword will pierce your own heart.” I am watching in agony as you fall. But with trepidation and hope as you rise up.

Reflection

Leader: May we all remember those who fall in life and encourage them to have faith in the Lord in helping them rise up in times of strife.

All: Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…
Leader: Jesus Christ Crucified,
All: Have mercy on us.”

This is a wonderful booklet. And excellent ‘Way of the Cross’. Each Station is preceded by an art print of that station. The majority are from Paintings from Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-va n-Hanswijkbasiliek Church, Mechelen, Belgium, these ones are for Stations 1-5, 7-9, and 11-14. Station 6 is from Station 6. G. Guffens, St. Michael church, Leuven, Belgium. Station 10. 19th century art, St Niklas and Jean’s Church, Brussels, Belgium. And the painting of Immaculate Conception. Basilica di San Vitale. Giovanni Battista Fiammeri, 1530 – 1606 precedes the Marian Prayers section of the booklet. There are a few general prayers and then prayers specific to feasts of Mary.
 

We are informed that the selection of Marian Prayers at the end of the book come from Marian Prayer Book from the Catholic Truth Society. I really greatly enjoyed reading and praying my way through this volume. And know I will use it often. If you are looking for a great version for use during Lent, or throughout the year, I can highly recommend this one. It is another great resource from the Catholic Truth Society! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.


For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.

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