The stations of the Cross in the light of Laudato Sì will be held at the Borghese Park, Roma
on Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016. The said event will be sponsored by the JPIC Commission
USG-UISG. The complete text ( in other major languages) could be downloaded from the JPIC Rome website.
Today we gather to participate in the Stations of the Cross, conscious of the fact that although we have much to celebrate in our lives of faith, we also have much to grieve. The commemoration of Christ’s Passion is our opportunity each year to take stock of the many ways we have broken covenant with God and have acted selfishly, seeking to secure our own power and material advantage at the expense of the well-being, not just of our fellow humans, but of the whole of creation. It is our opportunity to own that we have neglected our responsibility as stewards, lovers, and nurturers of God’s creation. Pope Francis reminds us that “when human beings fail to find their true place in this world, they misunderstand themselves and end up acting against themselves” (Cf. LS 115). While commemorating Christ’s journey to crucifixion, through Pope Francis’ reflections taken from Laudato Si, each station will acknowledge a significant breaking of our covenant with the entire family of God’s creation. Enable the trees, the plants, the rocks, the soil, the water, the birds, and the wind to teach us about these broken relationships. Each station offers prayer for the healing of the dreadful rifts in our covenant with God and all that God has made. May we find the courage and the power to become agents of healing and care of our common home.
FIRST STATION: Jesus is condemned to death
WE REFLECT on OPPRESSION and ABUSE of POWER:
From Laudato Sí—We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures (LS 67). A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth. In response to electoral interests, governments are reluctant to upset the public with measures which could affect the level of consumption or create risks for foreign investment. The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda within the overall agenda of governments. Thus we forget that time is greater than space, that we are always more effective when we generate processes rather than holding on to positions of power (LS 178).
SECOND STATION: Jesus takes up the Cross
WE PRAY WITH LAUDATO SÍ on the EXTINCTION of CREATURES:
God of all Creation, change our hearts to make every effort to protect our world and its rich diversity. Give us the eyes to see glimpses of you in the great variety of creatures. We know this entails profound changes in our lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies. Change our hearts and give us the motivation and courage to curb bad conduct and embrace good habits of “ecological citizenship”. Assist us in our personal transformation to becoming more and more in your image and likeness. Give us the good power to cultivate sound virtues to make a selfless ecological commitment through little daily actions that can bring about real changes in lifestyle. May all we do reflect a generous and worthy creativity that brings out the best in us as an act of love for you and your Creation. (Cf. LS 5, 21)
THIRD STATION: Jesus falls the first time
WE REFLECT on the EXTINCTION of BIODIVERSITY:
From Laudato Sí—It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right (LS 33). These situations have caused sister earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness (LS 53).
FOURTH STATION: Jesus meets his Mother
LET US PRAY WITH LAUDATO SI on the CRY of the EARTH, the CRY of the POOR:
God of all Creation, bring us closer to our Mother Mary. She, who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of your Son Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power. She treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), and now understands the meaning of all things. So, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom. Give us ears to hear the cry of the earth, the cry of the poor. (Cf. LS 49, 241)
FIFTH STATION: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross
WE REFLECT on OUR DISCONNECTION from the WEB of CREATION:
From Laudato Sí—The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home (LS 13). We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference (LS 52).
SIXTH STATION: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
LET US PRAY WITH LAUDATO SÍ on the IMPORTANCE of AWARENESS and PERSONAL SUFFERING:
God of all Creation, our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it. For all our limitations, through your boundless love for us, gestures of generosity, solidarity and care cannot but well up within us, since we were made for love. (Cf. LS 19, 58)
SEVENTH STATION: Jesus falls the second time
WE REFLECT on CLIMATE CHANGE:
From Laudato Sí—The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it (LS 23). Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule (LS 56). We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary (LS 65).
EIGHTH STATION: Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem
WE REFLECT on CONFLICT and WAR:
From Laudato Sí—The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations. This in turn distorted our mandate to “have dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), to “till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). As a result, the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature became conflictual (cf. Gen 3:17-19). It is significant that the harmony which Saint Francis of Assisi experienced with all creatures was seen as a healing of that rupture (Ls 66). Moreover, when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one. It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is contrary to human dignity. Peace, justice and the preservation of creation are three absolutely interconnected themes, which cannot be separated and treated individually without once again falling into reductionism (LS 92).
THE NINTH STATION: Jesus falls the third time
WE REFLECT on POLLUTION and WATER:
From Laudato Sí—The Psalms frequently exhort us to praise God the Creator, “who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:6). They also invite other creatures to join us in this praise: “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created” (Ps 148:3-5). We do not only exist by God’s mighty power; we also live with him and beside him. This is why we adore him (LS 72). If we scan the regions of our planet, we immediately see that humanity has disappointed God’s expectations (LS 61). The Patriarch Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs (LS 9).
TENTH STATION: Jesus is stripped of his garments
LET US PRAY WITH LAUDATO SÍ on the DEPLETION of NATURAL RESOURCES:
God of all Creation, give us global vision to see the impact of our consumerism and economic structures. Then give us also a local vision to not overlook the complexities of local problems which demand the active participation of all members of the community. Help us respect local culture, local reality and give us the ears to hear the wisdom of local, especially our indigenous, peoples. We stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it. We are stripping the earth of natural resources and ignoring the immediate reality of poverty with no thought of future generations or recognition of your boundless generosity. God, help us! (Cf. LS 27, 105, 144)
ELEVENTH STATION: Jesus is nailed to the Cross
LET US PRAY WITH LAUDATO SI on ABUSE and HUMAN TRAFFICKING:
God of all Creation, this sister Earth now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which you have endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). Our disrespect of your creatures extends to a disrespect of each other. This is clearly seen in the trafficking of women, men, and children throughout the world.
These situations have caused sister Earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be your instruments, so that our planet might be what you desired when you created it and correspond with your plan for peace, beauty and fullness. (Cf. LS 2, 53)
TWELFTH STATION: Jesus dies on the Cross
LET US PRAY WITH LAUDATO SI on the DEATH of the EARTH:
You who created the universe out of nothing can also intervene in this world and overcome every form of evil. Injustice is not invincible. All it takes is one good person to restore hope! Thank you, God of all Creation, for incarnating in the person of Jesus and being the defining good person who restores hope! (Cf. LS 71, 74)
THIRTEENTH STATION: Jesus is taken down from the Cross
WE REFLECT on CONFLICT and ENVIRONMENTAL MIGRANTS and REFUGEES:
From Laudato Sí —Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded (LS 25).
FOURTEENTH STATION: Jesus is laid in the tomb
LET US PRAY WITH LAUDATO SI on FOOD and HUNGER:
God of all Creation, we forget that the ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of you, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth. We want to bury the thought that we believe the ultimate purpose of other creatures is to be found in us. Help us, in your mercy, to fully understand, rather, that all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is you, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Help us to recognize that whenever food is thrown out it as if it were stolen from the table of the poor. Enlighten us in recognizing the solutions to food scarcity and insecurity. Endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, call us out of the tomb of our own making to lead all creatures back to you, their Creator. (Cf. LS 50, 83)
God of all Creation, at the end, we will find ourselves face to face with your infinite beauty and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude. In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which you have entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast. In union with all creatures, we journey through this land seeking you. May we sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope. Praise be to you! (Cf. LS 243, 244)