The meditations this year were composed by families, which gives them a very distinct and intimate character. I was a little surprised to find that they are a bit different from what I’m accustomed to. (Among other things, this version begins with a station meditating on the Agony in the Garden, and also includes a station in which Jesus entrusts his mother to the beloved disciple.)

One of the most poignant and powerful stations, Christ’s death on the cross, was composed by a Ukrainian family and a Russian family.

The opening prayer:

Lord Jesus,
on this day hallowed by your Passion,
we lift our voices to you,
confident that you will hear our prayer.
We bless you, for you are the source of our life.
You took upon yourself our sufferings
and by your holy Cross you redeemed the world.
We believe that by your wounds we are healed,
that you do not abandon us in times of trial,
that your Gospel is true wisdom.
We see your tortured body in so many of our brothers and sisters:
in those persecuted, the violence you endured;
in the agony of those put to death, your abandonment.
You who chose to live in a family,
look with kindness upon our families,
hear our prayers,
listen to our complaints,
bless our plans and resolves,
accompany us on our journey,
reassure us in our doubts,
console our hurt feelings,
give us the courage to love,
bestow the grace of forgiveness,
make all families open to the needs of others.

Lord Jesus,
crucified and risen from the dead,
may we not let ourselves be robbed
of the hope of a new humanity,
of new heavens and a new earth,
where you will wipe away the tears from every eye,
where pain and mourning will be no more,
for the old things will have passed away
and we will be one great family
in your home of love and peace.

The 13th station, Jesus dies on the cross:

Thirteenth Station
Jesus dies on cross

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

At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  And one of the bystanders ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down”.  And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.  (Mark 15:34.36-37)

Death everywhere.  Life that seems to lose its value.  Everything changes in a few seconds.  Our life, our days, the carefree winter snow, bringing the children to school, work, embraces, friendships… everything.  Everything suddenly loses meaning and value.  “Where are you Lord?  Where are you hiding?  We want our life back as before.  Why all of this?  What wrong did we do?  Why have you forsaken us?  Why have you forsaken our peoples?  Why did you break up our families like this?  Why do we no longer have the desire to dream and to go on living?  Why has my land become as dark as Golgotha?”  We have no tears left.  Anger has given way to resignation.  We know that you love us, Lord, but we don’t feel this love and it drives us to desperation.  We wake up in the morning and feel happy for a few moments, but then we suddenly think how difficult it will be to reconcile ourselves to all this.  Lord where are you?  Speak to us amid the silence of death and division, and teach us to be peacemakers, brothers and sisters, and to rebuild what bombs tried to destroy.

Lord Jesus, you loved us to the end.
R/.  Dona nobis pacem.

By dying, you destroyed death.
R/.  Dona nobis pacem.

Breathing your last, you gave us life.
R/. Dona nobis pacem.


Our Father…Lord Jesus,
your pierced side
became the wellspring of reconciliation for all peoples.
Hear our humble prayer.
Grant that families devastated by tears and blood
may believe in the power of forgiveness
and make us all builders of peace and harmony.
You who live and reign forever and ever.

R/.  Amen.

Read the complete devotion here.