by his Sufferings, he falls under the weight of his Cross. It is the first fall, and marks the Third Station.

He falls, not so much by the weight of his Cross, as by that of our sins! The Soldiers roughly lay their hands on him, and force him up again. Scarcely has he resumed his steps, than he is met by his afflicted Mother. The Valiant Woman, whose love is stronger than death, was not to be absent at such an hour as this. She must see her Son, follow him, keep close to him, even to his last breath. No tongue could tell the poignancy of her grief. The anxiety she has endured during the last few days has exhausted her strength. All the Sufferings of Jesus have been made known to her by a divine revelation ; she has shared each one of them with him. . But, now, she cannot endure to be absent, and makes her way through the crowd. The Sacrifice is nigh its consummation ; po human power could keep such a Mother from her Jesus. The faithful Magdalene is by her side, bathed in tears; John, Mary, (the

, mother of James the Less) and Salome, (the mother of John,) are also with her: they weep for their Divine Master, she for her Son. Jesus sees her, but cannot comfort her, for all this is but the beginning of what he is to endure. Oh! what an additional suffering was this for his loving Heart,—to see his Mother agonizing with sorrow! The executioners observe the Mother of their Victim, but it would be too much mercy in them to allow her to speak to him; she may follow, if she please, with the crowd; it is more than she could have expected, to have been allowed this Meeting, which we venerate as the Fourth Station of the Way of the Cross.

But from this to the last there is a long distance, for there is a law, that criminals are to be executed outside the City Walls. The Jews are afraid of Jesus' expiring before reaching the place of Sacrifice. Just at this time, they behold a man coming from the country; his name is Simon of Cyrene; they order him to help Jesus to carry his Cross. It is out of a motive of cruelty to our Lord, but it gives Simon the honour of sharing with him the fatigue of bearing the instrument of the world's salvation. The spot where this happens is the Fifth Station.

A little farther on, an incident occurs which strikes the executioners themselves with astonishment. A woman makes her way through the crowd, and setting the soldiers at defiance, comes close up to Jesus. She holds her veil in her hands, and with it respectfully wipes the Face of our Lord, for it is covered with blood, sweat, and spittle. She loves Jesus, and cares not what may happen to her, so she can offer him this slight comfort. Her love receives its reward :—she finds her Veil miraculously impressed with the likeness of Jesus' Face. This courageous act of Veronica marks the Sixth Station of the Way of the Cross.

Jesus grows weaker at each step :-he falls a second time: it is the Seventh Station. Again do the soldiers violently raise him up, and push him along the road. It is easy to follow in his footsteps, for a streak of Blood shows where he has passed. A group of women is following close behind the soldiers; they heed not the insults heaped upon them; their compassion makes them brave. But the last brutal treatment shown to Jesus is more than they can bear in silence; they utter a cry of pitiful lamentation. Our Saviour is pleased with these women, who, in spite of the weakness of their sex, are showing more courage than all the men of Jerusalem put together. He affectionately turns towards them, and tells them what a terrible chastisement is to follow the crime they are now witnessing. The Chief Priests and Scribes recognise the dignity of the Prophet that had so often spoken to them: they listen with indignation,


and, at this the Eighth Station of the great Way, they hear these words: Daughters of Jerusalem ! weep not over me, but weep. for yourselves and for your children.

For behold the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains : Fall upon us ! And to the hills : Cover us !1

At last, they reach the foot of the hill. Calvary is steep; but is the place of Jesus' Sacrifice. He begins the ascent, but falls a third time: the hallowed spot is counted as the Ninth Station. A third time the soldiers force Jesus to rise and continue his painful journey to the summit of the hill, which is to serve as the Altar for the holocaust that is to surpass all others in holiness and power. The executioners ' seize the Cross and lay it upon the ground, preparatory to their nailing the Divine Victim to it. According to a custom, practised both by the Romans and the Jews, a cup containing wine and myrrh is offered to Jesus. This drink, which had the bitterness of gall, was given as a narcotic, in order to deaden, in some degree, the feeling of the criminal, and lessen his pain. Jesus raises to his lips the cup, which was

, proffered him rather from custom than from


idea of kindness; but he drinks not its contents, for he wishes to feel the full intensity of the sufferings he accepts for our sakes. Then the executioners, having violently stripped him of his garments, which had fastened to his wounds, lead him to the Cross. The place where he was thus stripped of his garments, and where the cup of bitter drink was presented to him, is venerated as the Tenth Station of the Way of the Cross. The first nine, from Pilate's hall to the foot of Calvary, are still to be seen in the streets of

1 St. Luke, xxiii. 27-31.

Jerusalem ; but the Tenth and the remaining four are in the interior of the Church of Holy Sepulchre, whose spacious walls inclose the spot where the last mysteries of the Passion were accomplished.

But we must here interrupt our history: we have already anticipated the hours of this great Friday, and we shall have to return, later on, to the hill of Calvary. It is time to assist at the service of our holy Mother the Church, in which she celebrates the Death of her Divine Spouse. We must not wait for the usual summons of the Bells; they are silent; we must listen to the call of our faith and devotion. Let us, then, repair to the House of God.


The Service of this morning consists of four parts, which we now proceed to explain. First of all

, we have the Lessons; next, the Prayers ; thirdly, the Veneration of the Cross; and lastly, the Mass of the Presanctified. These solemn and unusual rites announce to the Faithful the sacredness of this Day, as also the suspension of the daily Sacrifice, for which they are substituted. The Altar is stripped; the

. Cross is covered with a black veil ; the Candles are of yellow wax;—everything in the Sanctuary bespeaks mournfulness. As soon as the Choir have recited None, the Celebrant and sacred Ministers approach the Altar; their black Vestments denote the grief of holy Church. Being come to the foot of the Altar, they prostrate, and pray in silence, whilst the Acolytes cover the Altar with a single cloth, instead of the three which are always required when Mass is celebrated. The Celebrant and Ministers then rise, and the Lessons are begun.


The first portion of this morning's function consists of two prophetic passages from the Old Testament, and of the Passion according to St. John. The passage from the Prophet Osee tells us of the merciful designs of God in favour of his new people, the Gentiles, who were dead, and who, nevertheless, were to rise again, in three days, with Christ, whom they do not so much as yet know. Ephraim and Juda are to be treated otherwise : their material sacrifices have not been acceptable to a God, who loves mercy above every other gift, and rejects the offerings of those whose hearts are filled with bitterness.


(Osee, Chap. VI.) Thus saith the Lord : In Hæc dicit Dominus : In their affliction they will rise tribulatione sua mane conearly to me. Come, and let surgent ad me. Venite, et us return to the Lord : For he revertamur ad Dominum : hath taken us, and he will quia ipse cepit, et sanabit heal us : he will strike, and he nos : percutiet, et curabit will cure us.

He will revive nos. Vivificabit nos post us after two days; on the third duos dies : in die tertia day he will raise us up, and suscitabit nos, et vivemus we shall live in his sight. We in conspectu ejus. Sciemus shall know, and we shall fol- sequemurque, ut cognoscalow on, that we may know the mus Dominum. Quasi diLord. His going forth is pre


præparatus est pared as the morning light, egressus ejus; et veniet and he will come to us as the quasi imber nobis tempoearly and the latter rain to the raneus et serotinus terræ. earth. What shall I do to Quid faciam tibi Ephraïm? thee, O Ephraim ? what shall Quid faciam tibi Juda? MiI do to thee, O Juda ? Your sericordia vestra quasi numercy is as a morning cloud, bes matutina : et quasi ros and as the dew that goeth mane pertransiens. Propaway in the morning. For ter hoc dolavi in prophetis, this reason have I hewed them et occidi eos in verbis oris by the prophets, I have slain mei : et judicia tua, quasi

2 H


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