Via Dolorosa means “Way of Suffering” in Latin and is a traditional pilgrimage route in Jerusalem commemorating Christ’s journey to the cross, Golgotha, Calvary, the place of crucifixion (Mark 15:20-23).
Nowadays, there are 14 stations of the cross or the events that transpired during that exhausting journey. I selected nine out of fourteen stations based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I hope and pray that you can meditate on each photo with prayer so that you can commemorate the Passion of Christ on Good Friday.
Jesus is Condemned to Die
Jesus stands, strong in His silence, as He is condemned to die for a crime He did not commit. He has been betrayed by His disciple, falsely accused, and judged wrongly. And yet He accepts His punishment without a word of protest.
Jesus, what a terrible injustice to see You condemned to death. Your own people, the Roman judges and the soldiers didn’t recognize that You were the Son of God. Give us the grace to see, respect and love You in all people, both innocent and guilty. Change our hearts that we may see with new eyes those we might otherwise condemn. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus Takes Up His Cross
Jesus begins His terrible journey up the hill to Calvary. The weight of the cross bites into His shoulders and He is reminded with each step that the pain He bears will be the cause of our joy. Despite His pain, His mind is filled with thoughts of us.
May we see Your presence Lord in all the burdens we carry today. Help us to share our burdens more freely, not to be afraid to acknowledge our fears and our pain. May we be more aware of the crosses that others bear and make time to alleviate their burden. May Your face shine on each one of us through the crosses we bear. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Simon Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross
Just when Jesus begins to think that He can go no farther, just when the soldiers begin to doubt that Jesus can make the long journey up the hill, they grab a man from the side of the road and force Him to carry the cross. Simon feels the bite of wood on His shoulder, and certainly he must have wondered why He, an innocent man, should be asked to do this.
Lord, help us to grasp our opportunities to be a Simon in our world. In those times when we can help, let us have the generosity to do so. May we continue the spirit of Simon through all who work to alleviate suffering in our world. Lord, may we have the humility to accept all the Simons along our road who reach out to help us in our moments of need. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem
As Jesus walked along the road toward His death, some people laughed. Some stood in silence and wondered who He was. Some cheered. But one group of women, seeing Him hurting, tired, and beaten down, cried. This small act of faith and courage in the face of hardship supported Jesus in His grief, perhaps when He needed it most.
Lord, open our hearts to the suffering of all people in our world. Give us the generosity of spirit to help us recognize their pain, the courage to challenge the systems that place intolerable burdens on them and the compassion to support them. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
Jesus finally reaches the top of the hill – the place of His death. His reward for completing this part of the journey is to be savagely and brutally stripped. His open wounds cling to His garments, so the pain is excruciating as the soldiers rip His garments from His body, taking flesh and blood along with the cloth. To be forced to stand naked before the jeering crowds is humiliating for Jesus.
Forgive us Lord for being an irreverent mob prying into people’s lives. Forgive us for being consumers of gossip under the name of ‘news’. Let us never expose anyone. May we respect the dignity of others and leave judgement to God. Let us see the good in those around us and so enable them to reach their full potential. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
With a thief to His left and right and encircled by a crowd of onlookers, Jesus gently and willingly stretches out His hands and accepts the torture of the nails. In the midst of this most intense agony, His heart remains on His people: “Father, forgive them,” He prays, “for they know not what they do.”
Jesus, we pray on behalf of those who cannot reach out to You at this moment. We pray for all victims of violence; those who suffer it and those who inflict it. We pray especially for children, for the elderly and those too vulnerable to defend themselves. May victims of cruelty and oppression know that You are always with them. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus Dies on the Cross
Jesus didn’t immediately die when they nailed Him to the cross. He suffered for three long, agonizing hours first. The giver of life, who stood side by side with the Father at the moment of creation, was now dead. His mission on earth was nearly accomplished. He gave up his spirit, and gave us His life.
Let us stand with those who watched and prayed in silence while Jesus breathed His last. As we cannot measure love, so we cannot dilute this ultimate act of love and forgiveness with words. Let our love span the silence. Lord! Let our love and forgiveness speak Your praise. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
When the crowds finally went away, a few of Jesus’ followers were brave enough to ask for His body so they could bury it. Two men carefully remove the body from the cross and lay in the arms of His waiting mother. Tears run down Mary’s cheeks as she holds the son given to her so many years before.
Help us Lord to accept the partings that must come. Help us to offer our loved Ones back to you. Faced with the silence of death, let us not despair but find hope. May the finality of death not oppress us. Help us to trust in You, the Lord of the living and the dead. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Mary and the friends of Jesus prepare His body for burial and lay it in a tomb cut from solid rock. They have forgotten or perhaps failed to believe – the promise Jesus made to them. He will rise from the dead. As they roll the rock across the doorway, sealing the tomb, they feel that this special time with Jesus has come to an end. They know their lives will never be the same again.
Jesus, each day You put before us life or death. Help us always to choose life. We ask for the gift of faith when we are faced with the darkness of the tomb and our own death approaches. May we have eyes to see the promise of new life that the darkness can hold. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.