Wednesday 17 November 2021

The Third Fall - M.G. Magill - Stations of the Cross

The Third Fall: 
Stations of the Cross
M.G. Magill
Ken Cooke (Illustrator)
ISBN 9781910248256
eISBN 9781788122467
eISBN 9781788122450

This is the eighth book published by Messenger Publications that I have read in as the last few months. The first I read was, Saint Ignatius of Loyola: A Convert's Story by Patrick Corkery SJ, and this was one of the ones I picked up while writing and researching a previous review. Through Lent each year I try and pray a Stations of the Cross, or Way of the Cross most days. I have a few standards I have been using since my youth. There have been some I prayed once or twice and they dropped from my list. And yet others that I pray often. I also try and pray The Stations most Fridays throughout the rest of the year. This was the second from Messenger that I have used the first time this year, the other was A Calvary Covenant: The Stations of the Cross by John Cullen, and both will be mainstays next year during lent. But back to this volume, the description of this booklet is:

“A hard-hitting meditation on the Stations of the Cross. M G Magill reminds us of the sheer brutality involved in the crucifixion, and the dramatic events leading up to that moment. 

This is a very different way of the cross and brings vividly to life the Passion of Christ. Magill’s words will make readers feel that they are really present in the noisy, chaotic and violent scenes surrounding Jesus and his followers.

The meditation is based on research by leading scripture scholars such as Charpentier and Murphy-O’Connor.”
Chapters in this volume:
One Jesus Is Condemned To Death
Two Jesus Carries The Cross
Three Jesus Falls For The First Time
Four Jesus Meets His Mother
Five Simon Of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry The Cross
Six Veronica Wipes The Face Of Jesus
Seven Jesus Falls The Second Time
Eight Jesus Meets The Women Of Jerusalem
Nine Jesus Falls The Third Time
Ten Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments
Eleven Crucifixion: Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross
Twelve Jesus Dies On The Cross
Thirteen Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross
Fourteen Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb
Epilogue To Write This Meditation, I Have Drawn On:
Why Have I Written This Meditation?
This Book Is Illustrated With Paintings Of The Stations Of The Cross By Ken Cooke

I really loved this volume. It is not a traditional way of the cross, or stations. My only complaint is it does not have the prayers. It just has the reflection. But it was easy enough to pray through the stations and just using this book for the reflections. The reflections vary in length for a few sentences, to a few paragraphs to a few pages. A sample one is:

Jesus Falls The Second Time 

You could see at this turn of the road the end point of Your journey. The two others to be executed were further along than You. Your body was in trauma and Your soul was in despair. Perhaps an impatient push from one of the guards threw You off-balance, and you fell for a second time.”

The reflections are wonderful Magill states in the chapter Why Have I Written This Meditation?:

“The focus of the Catholic Mass is The Eucharist. Shortly before the words of the Consecration of the bread and wine, the priest reads out in one of the Eucharistic 

Prayers: ‘At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion…’ 

While I have a sense of Scriptural tradition about sacrifice and Second Isaiah’s foreseeing of the Son of Man’s vicarious sacrifice and the Book of Daniel’s vision about the Messiah, that short introduction to the Consecration, to me, airbrushes the very humanity of Jesus. 

Therefore, where you may have time to read this meditation, you may wish to consider some of the detail of Jesus’s betrayal and execution that led to that sacrifice.”

The artwork accompanying each station is stunning. We are informed that:

“Ken Cooke painted the Stations for himself in 2000. He had been inspired by the exhibition ‘Seeing Salvation’ at the National Gallery in London and a new set of The Stations of the Cross at Liverpool Cathedral in 2000. He did not paint the face of Jesus as he wanted everyone to focus on the body of Jesus.”

The artwork brought to mind the book Praying the Crucifix - Reflections on the Cross by Julien Chilcott-Monk. And I would love to have the option of prints or prayer cards of the images from these stations. This is a wonderful booklet and I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For all review of Messenger Publications books and booklets click here

For all other reviews of Stations of the Cross click here.

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