We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ Seventh Station of the Cross. Brandsma’s sincere sorrow and love shine through these meditations, the portent of his own Christ-like passion and death at Dachau. Using the question(s) at the end of each reflection, Allow Titus’ words to inspire your own authentic prayer and meditation.
My god, you can go no farther. Even walking under the cross, which strong arms make lighter, is too much for you. The cross weighs on your shoulders. Although you do not have to drag it alone, the heavy tree weighs you down, while you have all you can do to keep from collapsing. The stumbling ceases, for your feet refused to serve you; you fall to the ground. One arm still embraces the cross, the other you hold out to avoid falling entirely, but if you’re surprised helper does not quickly lift up the heavy beam, your arm also will not be able to prop you up, And you will lie flat on the ground. You can go no farther. A moment’s relaxation may make possible a final exertion of strength and enable you to stand up. Your strength has abandoned you, and powerless, you bow your head to the ground.
O impotence of my god, O frightful humiliation, O horrible fall! Your garment rasps your wounded skin and tears your wounds opening again; the rough and unplanned beam of the cross cuts into arm and shoulder and drives the crown of thorns into your temple. The hard, sharp, stony ground, covered with dust and dirt, bruises and dirties your hands, knees and feet. Blood stains ground and clothing. Yet no pity rises in the hearts of your executioners. They are not satisfied yet. They see that you have not succumbed. The closer you come to the slaughter, the crueler their treatment becomes.
A few more steps and you have reached your goal. That final expenditure of strength they will require of you. It may kill you; you must die. So close to the end, they no longer fear that you will elude death on the cross. They mock at your lack of strength and laugh at it, as though you were trying to avoid death on the cross. They do not realize that this second fall shows that you are calling on your last reserve of strength in order to reach Calvary and die for us there. You also sacrifice your strength, your proud manly strength.
And then I complain about heavy crosses. I think only because I have neither the courage nor the love to carry them with you. I let you lie under your cross and stir not a foot to show that I do not want you, wearied to death, to carry it until you fall under it. O us Jesus, I do not wish it to be so. Do not allow my deeds to be at variance with that will.
What heavy crosses do you find yourself complaining about in your life?