Monday 7 August 2023

The Way of the Cross at the Colosseum - Pope Benedict XVI - Good Friday 2010

The Way of the Cross at the Colosseum
Good Friday 2010
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781601371485

The Way of the Cross at the Colosseum - Pope Benedict XVI - Good Friday 2010

Over the years I have prayed a number of different Stations of the Cross either written by or given by Pope Benedict XVI. In this version the meditations and prayers are by His Eminence Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General Emeritus of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome. They were delivered on Good Friday 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, and the edition was released in 2011. 

The description of this volume is:

“Thee Way of the Cross combines text, meditations, and prayers to help us appreciate the great lesson of love that God gave on the Cross, that we may experience a renewed desire to change our hearts and live each day with a love that could change the world.”

Each year through lent I try and pray a stations of the cross. And Each Friday throughout the year I strive to pray on as well. I would love if there was an eBook edition of this version so it could be one I could have on me always. This is one I know I will return to again. A sample station is:

Third Station
Jesus Falls The First Time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 53:4-6

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
  our sufferings that he endured,
While we thought of him as stricken,
  as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
  crushed for our sins,
Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
  by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
  each following his own way;
But the LORD laid upon him
  the guilt of us all.

The Gospels do not record Jesus falling beneath the Cross, yet this ancient tradition is very likely. We have only to remember that, before taking up his Cross, Jesus had been flogged at Pilate’s command. After all that had happened after nightfall in the Garden of Olives, his strength would have been, for all intents and purposes, spent.

Before turning our attention to the most profound and interior aspects of Jesus’ Passion, let us take a moment to consider the physical pain that he was forced to endure. Enormous, awful pain, even to his last breath on the Cross, a pain which had to be frightful.

Physical suffering is the easiest type of pain to eliminate, or at least to ease, with our modern techniques and practices, with anesthetics or other pain treatments. Even though, for many reasons, whether natural or due to human behavior, a massive amount of physical suffering continues to be present in the world.

In any event, Jesus did not refuse physical suffering, and thus he entered into solidarity with the whole human family, especially all the many people whose lives, even today, are filled with this kind of pain. As we watch him fall beneath his Cross, let us humbly ask him for the courage to break open, in a solidarity which goes beyond mere words, the narrowness of our hearts.

Our Father...
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!”

I loved the address by Benedict XVI that is at the end of this stations. This is another excellent version of this devotional practice. I have a few stations I return to over and over again, but occasionally it is nice to pray a different version and refocus my thoughts and heart on those 14 steps. It is an excellent version for personal or communal prayer. I can easily recommend this stations, I am certain that all who pray them will be blessed and challenged. So I encourage you to track it down and give it a try. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Benedict XVI:
The Way of the Cross - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - Pope Benedict XVI
Finding Life's Purpose: Inspiration for Young People
Don't Be Afraid To Be Saints - with Pope John Paul II
Confession Advice and Encouragement from Pope Benedict XVI 

From the Depths of Our Hearts - Pope Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah
Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers
Way of Calvary: Stations of the Cross 
Spiritual Masters Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium 
Spiritual Masters Medieval Fathers and Writers

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