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Tenth Station of the Cross
Jesus is stripped
of his garments

with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
(Pope Benedict XVI) Good Friday 2005, at the Colosseum in Rome

From the Gospel according to Matthew (27: 33-36)
And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.

Jesus is stripped of his garments. Clothing gives a man his social position; it gives him his place in society, it makes him someone. His public stripping means that Jesus is no longer anything at all, he is simply an outcast, despised by all alike. The moment of the stripping reminds us of the expulsion from Paradise: God’s splendour has fallen away from man, who now stands naked and exposed, unclad and ashamed. And so Jesus once more takes on the condition of fallen man. Stripped of his garments, he reminds us that we have all lost the “first garment” that is God’s splendour. At the foot of the Cross, the soldiers draw lots to divide his paltry possessions, his clothes. The Evangelists describe the scene with words drawn from Psalm 22:19; by doing so they tell us the same thing that Jesus would tell his disciples on the road to Emmaus: that everything takes place “according to the Scriptures”. Nothing is mere coincidence; everything that happens is contained in the Word of God and sustained by his divine plan. The Lord passes through all the stages and steps of man’s fall from grace, yet each of these steps, for all its bitterness, becomes a step towards our redemption: this is how he carries home the lost sheep. Let us not forget that John says that lots were drawn for Jesus’s tunic, “woven without seam from top to bottom” (Jn 19:23). We may consider this as a reference to the High Priest’s robe, which was “woven from a single thread”, without stitching (Fl. Josephus, a III, 161). For he, the Crucified One, is the true High Priest.

Lord Jesus, you were stripped of your garments, exposed to shame, cast out of society. You took upon yourself the shame of Adam, and you healed it. You also take upon yourself the sufferings and the needs of the poor, the outcasts of our world. And in this very way you fulfil the words of the prophets. This is how you bring meaning into apparent meaninglessness. This is how you make us realize that your Father holds you, us, and the whole world in his hands. Give us a profound respect for man at every stage of his existence, and in all the situations in which we encounter him. Clothe us in the light of your grace.

Our Father ... Make me feel as you have felt; make my soul to glow and melt with the love of Christ our Lord.

10ª estación - Jesús es despojado de sus vestiduras
Meditaciones y Oraciones del Cardenal Joseph Ratzinger (Papa Benedicto XVI)

10ème station - Jésus est dépouillé de ses vêtements
Méditations et prières du Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pape Benoît XVI) au Colisée

Music: from 'Triduum - Contemporary Sacred Music' by David Bevan & Neil Wright.
To download the free mp3 audio recordings individually, right/double click on the blue play buttons.
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with Julian of Norwich      

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2: 6 8)

Our good Lord showed me in the spirit a sight of his homely loving. I saw that he is to us everything that is good and comfortable to our help. He is our clothing that for love is wound round us and wraps us up and shrouds us, and all encloses us and is twined about us for tender love, that he may never leave us. For as the body is clad in flesh and the flesh in the skin and the bones in the flesh and the heart in the whole, so are we clad and enclosed in the goodness of God. Yes, and he is yet more homely, for all these vanish and pass away but the goodness of God is ever whole and more near to us without any comparison." (Julian of Norwich - I Revelation, Chs 5 & 6)

I love you Jesus, my love, above all things; I repent with my whole heart for having offended you.
Never permit me to separate myself from you again.
Grant that I may love you always, then do with me as you will.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be.

on Pope St John Paul II in the Jubilee Year
Good Friday, 21 April 2000, at the Colosseum in Rome
- also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“When he tasted it, he would not drink it” (Mt 27:34).
He did not want a sedative, which would have dulled his consciousness during the agony.
He wanted to be fully aware as he suffered on the Cross, accomplishing the mission he had received from the Father.
That was not what the soldiers in charge of the execution were used to. Since they had to nail the condemned man to the Cross, they tried to dull his senses and his consciousness.
But with Christ this could not be. Jesus knows that his death on the Cross must be a sacrifice of expiation.
This is why he wants to remain alert to the very end.
Without consciousness, he could not, in complete freedom, accept the full measure of suffering.
Behold, he must mount the Cross, in order to offer the sacrifice of the New Covenant.
He is the Priest. By means of his own blood, he must enter the eternal dwelling-places, having accomplished the world’s redemption.
Conscience and freedom: these are the essential elements of fully human action.
The world has so many ways of weakening the will and of darkening conscience.
They must be carefully defended from all violence.
Even the legitimate attempt to control pain must always be done with respect for human dignity.
If life and death are to retain their true value, the depths of Christ’s sacrifice must be understood, and we must unite ourselves to that sacrifice if we are to hold firm.

Lord Jesus,
who, with supreme dedication, accepted death on the Cross for our salvation,
grant to us and to all the world’s people a share in your sacrifice on the Cross,
so that what we are and what we do may always be a free and conscious sharing in your work of salvation.
To you, O Jesus, Priest and Victim, be honour and glory for ever. Amen.

with Papa San Giovanni Paolo II in 2003
- also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

From the Gospel according to Mark (15: 24)
The soldiers divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

As Jesus is stripped of his clothes at Golgotha, our thoughts turn once more to his Mother. They go back in time to the first days of this body which now, even before the crucifixion, is covered with wounds. The mystery of the Incarnation: the Son of God takes his body from the Virgin's womb.
The Son of God speaks to the Father in the words of the Psalmist: "Sacrifice and offering you desired not; but a body you have prepared for me" (Ps 40:7; Heb 10:5). A man's body is the expression of his soul. Christ's body is the expression of his love for the Father: "Then I said, 'Lo, I have come to do your will, O God" (Ps 40:7; Heb 10:7). "I always do what is pleasing to him " (Jn 8:29). With every wound, every spasm of pain, every wrenched muscle, every trickle of blood, with all the exhaustion in its arms, all the bruises and lacerations on its back and shoulders, this stripped body is carrying out the will of both Father and Son. It carries out the Father's will when it is stripped naked and subjected to torture, when it takes unto itself the immeasurable pain of a humanity profaned.
The human body is profaned in any number of ways.
At this Station we must think of the Mother of Christ, because in her womb, in her eyes and in her arms the body of the Son of God was most fully adored.

Jesus, sacred body, still violated in your living members.
R. Kyrie, eleison.
Jesus, body offered in love, still divided in your members.
R. Kyrie, eleison.

with St John Henry Newman

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

At length He has arrived at the place of sacrifice, and they begin to prepare Him for the Cross. His garments are torn from His bleeding body, and He, the Holy of Holiest, stands exposed to the gaze of the coarse and scoffing multitude.

O Thou who in Thy Passion wast stripped of all Thy clothes, and held up to the curiosity and mockery of the rabble, strip me of myself here and now, that in the Last Day I come not to shame before men and Angels. Thou didst endure the shame on Calvary that I might be spared the shame at the Judgment. Thou hadst nothing to be ashamed of personally, and the shame which Thou didst feel was because Thou hadst taken on Thee man's nature. When they took from Thee Thy garments, those innocent limbs of Thine were but objects of humble and loving adoration to the highest Seraphim. They stood around in speechless awe, wondering at Thy beauty, and they trembled at Thy infinite self-abasement. But I, O Lord, how shall I appear if Thou shalt hold me up hereafter to be gazed upon, stripped of that robe of grace which is Thine, and seen in my own personal life and nature? O how hideous I am in myself, even in my best estate. Even when I am cleansed from my mortal sins, what disease and corruption is seen even in my venial sins. How shall I be fit for the society of Angels, how for Thy presence, until Thou burnest this foul leprosy away in the fire of Purgatory?

Pater, Ave, Gloria ...
V. Have mercy on us, O Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.

May the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.