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9th Station: Jesus falls for the third time

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

From the Book of Lamentations (3: 27-32)
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust - there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

Meditation
What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us.

Prayer
Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

Our Father ... O you Mother, fount of love! Touch my spirit from above, make my heart with yours accord.

9ª estación - Jesús cae por tercera vez        
Meditaciones y Oraciones del Cardenal Joseph Ratzinger (Papa Benedicto XVI)

9ème station - Jésus tombe pour la troisième fois      
Méditations et prières du Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pape Benoît XVI) au Colisée

Music: from 'Triduum - Contemporary Sacred Music' by David Bevan & Neil Wright.
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The Ninth Station of the Cross      

with quotes from Julian of Norwich

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

For we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that, by the grace of God, he might taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2: 9)

And I saw that it is right and fitting by virtue of the Lord's greatness and his own worship that his dearworthy servant, whom he loved so much, should be truly and blissfully rewarded, above all that he would have been if he had not fallen. Yes, and to such a length, that his falling and his woe shall be turned into high and overpassing worship and endless bliss. (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

Via Crucis with Blessed John Paul II

V/. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi. 
R/. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

on Good Friday in the Jubilee Year

21st April 2000 at the Colosseum in Rome
in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Once more Christ has fallen to the ground under the weight of the Cross. The crowd watches, wondering whether he will have the strength to rise again.

St Paul writes: “Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross” (Phil 2:6-8).

The third fall seems to express just this:
the self-emptying, the kenosis of the Son of God,
his humiliation beneath the Cross.
Jesus had said to the disciples that he had come not to be served but to serve.
In the Upper Room, bending low to the ground and washing their feet, he sought, as it were, to prepare them for this humiliation of his.
Falling to the ground for the third time on the way of the Cross, he cries out loudly to us once more the mystery of himself.
Let us listen to his voice!
This Condemned Man, crushed to the ground beneath the weight of the Cross, now very near the place of punishment, tells us: “I am the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). “He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).
Let us not be dismayed by the sight of a condemned man, who falls to the ground exhausted under the cross.
Within this outward sign of the death which is approaching the light of life lies hidden.

Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ,
through your humiliation beneath the Cross you revealed to the world the price of its redemption.
Grant to the men and women of the third millennium the light of faith,
so that, as they recognize in you the Suffering Servant of God and man,
they may have the courage to follow the same path
which, by way of the Cross and self-emptying, leads to life without end.
To you, O Jesus, our support when we are weak, be honour and glory for ever. Amen.

on Good Friday 2003 at the Colosseum
in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

From the Book of Lamentations (3: 27-32)
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust, there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

Meditation
"He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross" (Phil 2:8). Every station along this Way is a milestone of that obedience and self-emptying. We appreciate the scale of that self-emptying when we begin to ponder the words of the Prophet: "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all... All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Is 53:6).
We can appreciate the extent of that self-emptying when we see Jesus falling for the third time under the Cross. We can appreciate it when we meditate on who it is falling, who it is lying in the dusty road under the Cross, at the feet of a hostile crowd that spares him no insult or humiliation...
Who is it who has fallen? Who is Jesus Christ? "Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross" (Phil 2:6-8).

Acclamation
Jesus Christ, You tasted the bitterness of the earth in order to turn our cries of pain into a song of joy.
R. Christe, eleison.
Christ Jesus, you were humbled in the flesh in order to ennoble all creation.
R. Christe, eleison.

with Blessed John Henry Newman

V. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus had now reached almost to the top of Calvary; but, before He had gained the very spot where He was to be crucified, again He fell, and is again dragged up and goaded onwards by the brutal soldiery.

We are told in Holy Scripture of three falls of Satan, the Evil Spirit. The first was in the beginning; the second, when the Gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven were preached to the world; the third will be at the end of all things. The first is told us by St. John the Evangelist. He says: "There was a great battle in heaven. Michael and his Angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels. And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, the old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan." The second fall, at the time of the Gospel, is spoken of by our Lord when He says, "I saw Satan, like lightning, falling from heaven." And the third by the same St. John: "There came down fire from God out of heaven, ... and the devil ... was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone."

These three falls — the past, the present, and the future — the Evil Spirit had in mind when he moved Judas to betray our Lord. This was just his hour. Our Lord, when He was seized, said to His enemies, "This is your hour and the power of darkness." Satan knew his time was short, and thought he might use it to good effect. But little dreaming that he would be acting in behalf of the world's redemption, which our Lord's passion and death were to work out, in revenge, and, as he thought, in triumph, he smote Him once, he smote Him twice, he smote Him thrice, each successive time a heavier blow. The weight of the Cross, the barbarity of the soldiers and the crowd, were but his instruments. O Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, the Word Incarnate, we praise, adore, and love Thee for Thy ineffable condescension, even to allow Thyself thus for a time to fall into the hands, and under the power of the Enemy of God and man, in order thereby to save us from being his servants and companions for eternity.

Or this

This is the worst fall of the three. His strength has for a while utterly failed Him, and it is some time before the barbarous soldiers can bring Him to. Ah! it was His anticipation of what was to happen to me. I get worse and worse. He sees the end from the beginning. He was thinking of me all the time He dragged Himself along, up the Hill of Calvary. He saw that I should fall again in spite of all former warnings and former assistance. He saw that I should become secure and self-confident, and that my enemy would then assail me with some new temptation, to which I never thought I should be exposed. I thought my weakness lay all on one particular side which I knew. I had not a dream that I was not strong on the other. And so Satan came down on my unguarded side, and got the better of me from my self-trust and self-satisfaction. I was wanting in humility. I thought no harm would come on me, I thought I had outlived the danger of sinning; I thought it was an easy thing to get to heaven, and I was not watchful. It was my pride, and so I fell a third time.

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.