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Seventh Station of the Cross
Jesus falls
for the second time

with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Good Friday 2005, at the Colosseum in Rome

From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (53: 2-3)
He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

From the Book of Lamentations (3: 1-2, 9,16)
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light. He has blocked my way with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes.

The tradition that Jesus fell three times beneath the weight of the Cross evokes the fall of Adam – the state of fallen humanity – and the mystery of Jesus’ own sharing in our fall. Throughout history the fall of man constantly takes on new forms. In his First Letter, Saint John speaks of a threefold fall: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. He thus interprets the fall of man and humanity against the backdrop of the vices of his own time, with all its excesses and perversions. But we can also think, in more recent times, of how a Christianity which has grown weary of faith has abandoned the Lord: the great ideologies, and the banal existence of those who, no longer believing in anything, simply drift through life, have built a new and worse paganism, which in its attempt to do away with God once and for all, have ended up doing away with man. And so man lies fallen in the dust. The Lord bears this burden and falls, over and over again, in order to meet us. He gazes on us, he touches our hearts; he falls in order to raise us up.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have borne all our burdens and you continue to carry us. Our weight has made you fall. Lift us up, for by ourselves we cannot rise from the dust. Free us from the bonds of lust. In place of a heart of stone, give us a heart of flesh, a heart capable of seeing. Lay low the power of ideologies, so that all may see that they are a web of lies. Do not let the wall of materialism become unsurmountable. Make us aware of your presence. Keep us sober and vigilant, capable of resisting the forces of evil. Help us to recognise the spiritual and material needs of others, and to give them the help they need. Lift us up, so that we may lift others up. Give us hope at every moment of darkness, so that we may bring your hope to the world.

Our Father ... Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, she beheld her tender Child, all with bloody scourges rent.

7ª estación - Jesús cae por segunda vez       
Meditaciones y Oraciones del Cardenal Joseph Ratzinger (Papa Benedicto XVI)

7ème station - Jésus tombe pour la deuxième fois    
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. 
Plus, you can listen / subscribe to the Via Crucis podcasts in English, French, Portuguese & Spanish on Spotify, iTunes or from Totus2us' RSS feeds.

with Julian of Norwich      

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

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons of glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2: 10)

And in this his woe he suffered seven great pains. The first was the sore bruising he took in his falling, which was to him a pain proper to his human condition; the second was the heaviness of his body; the third was the feebleness following from these two; the fourth that he was blinded in his reason and stunned in his mind, to such length that he had almost forgotten his own love; the fifth was that he might not rise; the sixth was most marvellous to me, that he lay all alone and I saw none to help him; and the seventh was that the place where he lay was hard and grievous. And I marvelled how this servant might meekly suffer there all this woe. (Julian of Norwich - XIV Revelation, Ch 51)

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.

with 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

“I am a worm, and no man; scorned by men, and despised by the people” (Ps 22, 6). These words of the Psalm come to mind as we see Jesus fall to the ground a second time under the Cross.
Here in the dust of the earth lies the Condemned One. Crushed by the weight of his Cross. His strength drains away from him more and more. But with great effort he gets up again to continue his march.
To us sinners, what does this second fall say? More than the first one, it seems to urge us to get up, to get up again on our way of the cross.
Cyprian Norwid wrote: “Not behind us with the Saviour’s Cross, but behind the Saviour with our own Cross.” A brief saying, but one that conveys much truth. It explains how Christianity is the religion of the Cross.

It tells us that every person here below meets Christ who carries the Cross and falls under its weight.
In his turn, Christ, on the way to Calvary, meets every man and woman and, falling under the weight of the Cross, does not cease to proclaim the good news.
For 2000 years the gospel of the Cross has spoken to man.
For twenty centuries Christ, getting up again from his fall, meets those who fall.
Throughout these two millennia many people have learned that falling does not mean the end of the road.
In meeting the Saviour they have heard his reassuring words:
“My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12, 9). Comforted, they have gotten up again and brought to the world the word of hope which comes from the Cross.
Today, having crossed the threshold of the new millennium, we are called to penetrate more deeply the meaning of this encounter.
Our generation must pass on to future centuries the good news that we are lifted up again in Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, you fall under the weight of human sin and you get up again in order to take it upon yourself and cancel it. Give to us, weak men and women, the strength to carry the cross of daily life and to get up again from our falls, so that we may bring to future generations the Gospel of your saving power. To you, O Jesus, our support when we are weak, be praise and glory for ever.

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

From the Book of Lamentations (3: 1-2, 9, 16)
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light... He has blocked my ways with hewn stones he has made my paths crooked... He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes.

"I am a worm, and no man, scorned by men, and despised by the people" (Ps 22:6). The prophetic words of the Psalmist are wholly fulfilled in these steep, narrow alleys of Jerusalem in the final hours before the Passover. We know that those hours before the feast are unnerving, the streets teeming with people. This is the context in which the words of the Psalmist are being fulfilled, even though nobody gives this a thought. Certainly it passes unnoticed by those who jeer, those for whom this Jesus of Nazareth, as he now falls for the second time, is a laughing-stock.

And he wills all this, he wills the fulfilment of the prophecy. And so he falls, exhausted by all the effort. He falls in accordance with the will of the Father, a will expressed in the words of the Prophet. He falls in accordance with his own will: "How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" (Mt 26:54). "I am a worm, and no man" (Ps 22:6). Not even an Ecce homo here (Jn 19:5), but something much less, much worse. A worm creeps along the ground, whereas man, like a king among creatures, walks above it. A worm will gnaw even at wood: like a worm, remorse for sin gnaws at man's conscience. Remorse for the second fall.

Jesus of Nazareth, you became an outcast among men, in order to ennoble all creatures.
R. Kyrie, eleison.
Jesus, servant of life, crushed by men, yet raised up by God.
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.

The pain of His wounds and the loss of blood increasing at every step of His way, again His limbs fail Him, and He falls on the ground.

What has He done to deserve all this? This is the reward received by the long-expected Messias from the Chosen People, the Children of Israel. I know what to answer. He falls because I have fallen. I have fallen again. I know well that without Thy grace, O Lord, I could not stand; and I fancied that I had kept closely to Thy Sacraments; yet in spite of my going to Mass and to my duties, I am out of grace again. Why is it but because I have lost my devotional spirit, and have come to Thy holy ordinances in a cold, formal way, without inward affection. I became lukewarm, tepid. I thought the battle of life was over, and became secure. I had no lively faith, no sight of spiritual things. I came to church from habit, and because I thought others would observe it. I ought to be a new creature, I ought to live by faith, hope, and charity; but I thought more of this world than of the world to come—and at last I forgot that I was a servant of God, and followed the broad way that leadeth to destruction, not the narrow way which leadeth to life. And thus I fell from Thee.

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.