Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Seventh Station

The Seventh Station-Jesus Falls the Second Time

"My most gentle Jesus, how many times You have forgiven me; and how many times I have fallen again and begun again to offend You! By the merits of this second fall, give me the grace to persevere in Your love until death. Grant, that in all my temptations, I may always have recourse to You. I love You, Jesus, my Love, with all my heart; I am sorry that I have offended You. Never let me offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will." The Way of the Cross, composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori

(The Seventh Station of the Cross
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee)

I have been greatly blessed with a fabulous spiritual director and friend, Fr. Don Hying who is the Rector of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee. He never fails to look inside my heart and get right to the crux of my struggles. Then he lifts me up with his profound words of wisdom and I am encouraged to continue to follow the narrow path of the Lord. Recently, I complained to him about my lack of fervor in prayer, in fact, it has truly been a lack of desire for prayer, and he shared his very insightful thoughts with me about his favorite station of the cross, the Seventh Station.

As Jesus made that tragic journey along the Via Dolorosa to his crucifixion, whatever energy he might have had at the beginning was surely depleted by the time he suffered his second fall under the weight of the wood that transversed his back. There he lay, face in the dirt, dripping sweat and blood, scraped knees embedded with gravel, shoulders aching, in fact, everything aching! Our sin did that to him. The weight of our many sins crushed Him to the ground. And the excruciating pain that he endured wasn't simply physical, but it was also a mental, emotional and spiritual trauma. What he wouldn't have done to just end it right there! Yet the Seventh Station was only the halfway point to the end. He still had so far to go. Somehow, he had to pick himself back up and continue all the way to the end, to the brutal crucifixion.

Our lives can be like that as well. We come to mid-life and we're halfway done with our time on earth. We've experienced so much of the joys and sorrows of life. There are times when those sorrows weigh us down so heavily that we become tempted to give up right then and there. Prayer becomes dry. Chores become meaningless. Joy seems non-existent. We wake in the morning and long to pull those covers back over our heads and stay right where we are. But God is not done with us yet. Somehow, we have to pick ourselves up, swing our feet out of bed and onto the floor and rise to face another day. Somehow, we have to continue with our prayers, our chores and our lives. We have to move past the Seventh Station.

We can't possibly know how long it will take us to reach the end of our journey. We don't know what pains may still be waiting for us as we carry our own crosses through life. All we can do is continue on in faith and trust, day after day, holding on to our hope in Christ Jesus and his great love for us.

How fortunate we are that we can look to Jesus and his experience of the Seventh Station. We are not alone in our failures and struggles. Jesus lived it as well. He found the strength to get up again after he fell and to carry on, to continue his torturous journey to the end. He will help us if we but ask for His assistance. When we fall, we only need to lift a hand to the Lord, and He will be reaching down to lift us up. He will lift our cross onto His shoulder and help us to carry it. He will walk every step of our own way of the cross with us and when we reach the end, He will be there to guide us into heaven.

-as seen on


  1. What a beautiful post. Very motivational. I have to admit, I never looked at the 7th station quite like that. And the part where you wrote "Our sins did that to him." hit me in the gut. Its true, and it hurts.
    God bless you!

  2. Anne,
    When I saw the Passion of the Christ, I had that same thought; my sins did that to Him. As Michael said, it is like a blow to your gut.
    The other thing I took from that movie was that Jesus seemed to draw strength to go on from His mother. I think we need to do the same. Mary will help us along our own roads of suffering so that as you say, we can move past the 7th station.
    Thanks for this beautiful post.

  3. An incredible post, Anne. I know what I will be meditating on tonight. Thank you. Meditating on Christ's passion has always touched me immensely and filled me with the grace of perseverance.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful meditation Anne.
    Like Karinann, when I first saw the Passion years ago...I was actually weeping and crying out loud in the theater when He fell: "I'm sorry! I'm so so sorry!"
    This comparison of our mid-life stage with the Seventh Station is very powerful. I look forward to sharing it with my friends.
    I saw your interview on John's blog!!!!!

  5. Thank you so much for this wise post.

    God bless you.

  6. Thanks, Anne for a great reflection. I can't help but think how this event in Christs life must parallel with yours. You are in my prayers every day. Peace.

  7. Anne,

    There's a line from Keys to the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin which says, "All human suffering is an act of repentance." I've always loved that line because it seems to redeem and signify our suffering by raising it above the level of brute misery.

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection Anne!

  8. Thank you all for your kind words and for your prayers. It means so much to me! I am so grateful to God if He has used my words to help you in your meditation of Christ. God bless you all!