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Text for Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday

Giulio Napolitano | Shutterstock

Anne-Marie Pelletier - published on 04/13/17

Juan de Valdes Leal via Wikimedia Public Domain


Jesus carries his cross

From the Book of Lamentations

Look and see, all you who pass by, if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger (1:12).

From Psalm 146

He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the Lord his God… It is he who sets prisoners free… who raises up those who are bowed down… The Lord protects the stranger and upholds the widow and the orphan (vv.


Along the rocky way to Golgotha, Jesus did not carry the cross like a trophy! He was completely unlike the heroes of our imagination who triumph over their evil foes.

Step after step, ever more slowly, he went his way, his body weighed down, his flesh bruised and his legs faltering beneath the wood of the cross.

Generation after generation, the Church has meditated on this way, interspersed with obstacles and falls.

Jesus falls, he gets up, then falls again. He resumes his gruelling journey, most likely under the lashings of his military escort, for that is how the condemned of this world are treated and mistreated.

He, who raised the sick from their beds, healed the crippled woman, raised the daughter of Jairus from her deathbed, made the lame walk, now lies sprawled in the dust.

The Most High has fallen to the ground.

Let us fix our gaze on Jesus. Through him, the Most High teaches us that he is at the same time – incredible as it is – the most lowly, ever ready to come down to us, and to descend even lower if necessary, so that no one will be lost in the depths of his or her misery.


Lord our God, you descend into the depths of our night, setting no limits to your abasement, for that is how you come down to the earth, so often thankless and at times devastated, of our lives.

Grant that your Church may testify that the Most High and the Most Lowly are, in you, a single face. May she bring to all who have been brought low the good news of the Gospel: that there can be no fall untouched by your mercy; no loss or abyss so deep that you cannot find one who has gone astray.

Pater noster 

Behold, Lord, I come to do your will.

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