Sunday 13 March 2022

Way of the Cross for Loved Ones Who Have Left the Faith - Father Jeffrey Kirby STL

Way of the Cross for Loved Ones Who Have Left the Faith
ISBN 9781681926759
eISBN 9781681926766

Each year I try and pick up a new Way of the Cross or 2 to pray during Lend. Over the last few years I have tried to pray the stations each day through Lent and at least weekly through the rest of the church year. I have used many over the years. Some I only use once or twice, others I have prayed countless times. This is one that will be used often. It is an excellent book I challenge you to pick it up and make it part of your Lent or for use throughout the year. 

Last year I read 5 volumes from Father Kirby and have twice than many that he has written in my ‘to be read pile’ or on ‘my wish list’. I have been blessed by each of his works I have read, and had high expectations for this one. It did not disappoint. 

This is an excellent Way of the Cross. One of the best I have ever used. It is perfect for corporate use, either in a public service or small group setting. And it can be prayed on your own easily as well. The description of the book is:

“When a loved one leaves the Catholic Faith, it can be devastating. Often, we feel helpless, unable to do anything to bring them back. Yet there is something we can do.

The best way to bring our loved ones back to the Faith is through prayer. In addition to invitations and conversations, we can't forget the power we have to pray for them. What better way to do that than by joining our fears and sufferings with those of Jesus in the Stations of the Cross?

In this Way of the Cross for Loved Ones Who Have Left the Faith, the fourteen Stations have two emphases: intercession for loved ones and guidance for those still practicing the Faith. While contemplating our Savior's sacrificial love, readers of this devotional can intercede for friends and family as they spiritually carry the cross with Jesus, asking him to lead our loved ones back to fellowship with God and his Church.

The Lord Jesus gives us hope. More than anyone else, he suffered from the indifference of those who did not believe, those who ignored or mocked his offer of salvation. If we will allow it, Jesus can teach us to respond, as he did, with compassion and love.”

But to be honest I had not even read that before picking it up. I picked it up based on my experiences with the authors other works. I just knew that it if was from the devoted pen of Father Jeffery Kirby it would be well worth the read. And Even with my high expectations, it exceeded them all. In the introduction we are given this overview of these stations:

These Particular Stations
Since this particular walk through the Stations of the Cross is written for our loved ones who have left the Faith, it will have a specific structure of prayers. Please note that each Station follows this format:
     Traditional Opening. Each Station begins with the traditional name of the Station and the prayer, “We adore you, O Christ …”
     Scripture. After the opening prayer, there is a small Bible passage that relates to the particular Station.
     For Our Loved Ones. After the Scripture reading, there is a prayer “For Our Loved Ones.” This prayer applies the Station to the life of our loved ones and expresses our concern and anxiety for those in our lives who do not have regular contact with God and his grace.
     For Us. After the prayer for our loved ones, there is a prayer “For Us.” This is a petition for God to heal us from our pain and help us to become helpful instruments in bringing about the return of our loved ones. Oftentimes, in our supplication for loved ones, we can forget to ask God to strengthen us with the grace we need to be positive witnesses and models of the Christian way of life.
     Closing Prayers. Each Station ends with an Our Father, an Act of Faith, and a prayer to our guardian angels. These prayers are offered for both ourselves and our loved ones. Each Station also includes an optional personal prayer, particularly for those who choose to pray these Stations in private.

With the above explanation in mind, it’s time to turn our anxiety into prayer and our frustration into supplication. It’s time to pray!”

And a sample station is:

The Seventh Station
Jesus Falls the Second Time

Leader: The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you …

All: Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Leader: We hear in the Sacred Scriptures:

All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the LORD I cut
them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded
me on every side;
in the name of the LORD I cut
them off!
They surrounded me like bees,
they blazed like a fire of thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut
them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was
but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my
he has become my salvation.
(Psalm 118:10–14)

Leader: Let us pray. Lord Jesus, your Cross was overwhelming. Its weight knocked you down a second time. As you struggled to complete the mission given to you by the Father, your body was breaking, and you couldn’t walk. Your soul was heavy, burdened with the sins and sorrows of humanity. And you accepted this bitterness of body and soul because of your love for the Father and for each of us. You focused only on the saving mission given to you.

Lord Jesus, our loved ones have fallen under the burdens of this world. They have refused your Cross. They avoid it and the hope that comes with it. Without such hope, they cannot trust you or see your ways. And without a firm trust in you, they cannot truly trust others. Without hope, their hearts are susceptible to the pain of desolation, distrust, and despair. They have fallen, Lord, and they need you. As you fell under the weight of the Cross, we ask that you meet our loved ones there — under the Cross. Give them the grace of hope and strengthen their trust in you. Please, Lord, bring our loved ones back to you. Give them the grace to trust in you and seek your fellowship in all they do. Bring them back to your Church.


All: Lord, in your second fall, you showed us how deeply you desire to accompany us and be with us through the sorrows and sufferings of life. You understand disappointment and hurt. You also know betrayal. Because you know the fallenness of the world and the sorrows of our hearts, you walk with us and offer us hope. Hope points us to eternity and reveals to us the face of our Father. Hope gives us confidence. It brings light to darkness and shows us that sin and death do not have the last word. Hope gives us victory and saves us from the darkness of our fallen world. Lord, you are our only Hope. You are the Light of the world, the Morning Dawn, and the Beginning and End of all things. In our hurt, we have refused to remember the fallenness of our loved ones, and how their brokenness has drawn them away from you. We have allowed self-righteousness and self-pity to weigh us down.

Lord, we ask you to help us. Fill us with repentance for our own fallenness and open our hearts to accept the hope that you offer to all men and women. Help us to see all things from the light of eternity and to trust in your compassion for our loved ones who are away from you. Strengthen us! Help us to be joyful in hope, patient in suffering, and faithful in prayer. Lord, please bring our loved ones back to you and to your Church!


All: Our Father …

Leader: We pray an Act of Faith for ourselves and our loved ones.

All: O my God, I firmly believe
that you are one God in three divine Persons,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I believe that your divine Son became man
and died for our sins and that he will come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe these and all the truths
which the Holy Catholic Church teaches
because you have revealed them
who are eternal truth and wisdom,
who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
In this faith I intend to live and die.

Leader: We ask the assistance of the holy angels in bringing our loved ones back to the Faith.

All: Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

Optional Personal Prayer
Act of Hope
O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

This is an excellent version of the Stations. I love the optional personal prayers at the end of each station. A few of them were already prays I try and say each day. And a few were new to me and have been added to my personal prayer booklet. It is wonderfully written. Even you by some chance you do not have a loved one you pray to see returned to the Church it is a great version to pray. The only thing that would make it better would be if there was an audio download available of Father Kirby leading it, so that you could pray it with him.

An excellent resource for Lent or throughout the year I highly recommend this book.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

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

Books by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby STD:
101 Surprising Facts About St. Peter's and the Vatican
A Pastoral Guide to Opening Your Parish
Be Not Troubled
Doors of Mercy: A Journey Through Salvation History
God's Search for Us
Living in Peace
Lord Teach Us to Pray
Luke: The Gospel of Mercy
Thy Kingdom Come

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