The Way of the Cross by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

The Stations of the Cross, or Way of the Cross, is a form of devotion commemorating the Passion and death of Christ, consisting of a series of 14 meditations, or stations. Here is a version of “The Way of the Cross” by Saint Alphonsus Marie Ligouri. It has beautiful prayers and meditations. Making the Stations of the Cross carries with it indulgences.

The Way of the Cross
Kneeling before the altar or crucifix, make an act of Contrition, and form the intention of gaining the indulgences, whether for yourself or for the souls in Purgatory.

Preparatory Prayer

My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee; but now I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee, I repent sincerely for ever having offended Thee. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to Thee.

Dear Jesus, Thou dost go to die
For very love of me:
Ah! let me bear Thee company;
I wish to die with Thee.

1. The First Station – Jesus is Condemned to Death

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross.

My adorable Jesus, it was not Pilate, no, it was my sins that condemned Thee to die. I beseech Thee, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, to assist my soul in its journey towards eternity. I love Thee, my beloved Jesus; I love Thee more than myself; I repent with my whole heart for having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

2. The Second Station – Jesus Carries His Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on His shoulders thought of us, and offered for us to His Father the death He was about to undergo.

My most beloved Jesus, I embrace all the tribulations Thou hast destined for me until death. I beseech Thee, by the merits of the pain Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation. I love Thee, Jesus my love; I love Thee more than myself; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

3. The Third Station – Jesus Falls the First Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider this first fall of Jesus under His Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges. His head crowned with thorns and He had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that he could scarcely walk, and yet he had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times in His journey.

My beloved Jesus, it is not the weight of the Cross, but my sins, which have made Thee suffer so much pain. By the merits of this first fall, deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. I love Thee, O my Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

O how sad, and sore distressed,
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

4. The Fourth Station – Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey. Jesus and Mary looked at each other, and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly.

My most loving Jesus, by the sorrow Thou didst experience in this meeting, grant me the grace of a truly devoted love for Thy most holy Mother. And thou, my Queen, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, obtain for me by thy intercession a continual and tender remembrance of the Passion of thy Son. I love Thee, Jesus my love; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

5. The Fifth Station – Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how the Jews, seeing that at each step Jesus from weakness was on the point of expiring, and fearing that He would die on the way, when they wished Him to die the shameful death of the Cross, constrained Simon the Cyrenian to carry the Cross behind our Lord.

My most beloved Jesus, I will not refuse the Cross, as the Cyrenian did; I accept it; I embrace it. I accept in particular the death Thou hast destined for me; with all the pains that may accompany it; I unite it to Thy death, I offer it to Thee. Thou hast died for love of me; I will die for love of Thee, and to please Thee. Help me by Thy grace. I love Thee, Jesus my love; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

6. The Sixth Station – Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so afflicted, and His face bathed in sweat and blood, presented Him with a towel, with which He wiped His adorable face, leaving on it the impression of His holy countenance.

My most beloved Jesus, Thy face was beautiful before, but in this journey it has lost all its beauty, and wounds and blood have disfigured it. Alas, my soul also was once beautiful, when it received Thy grace in Baptism; but I have disfigured it since by my sins; Thou alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. Do this by Thy Passion; O Jesus. I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?

7. The Seventh Station – Jesus Falls the Second Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the second fall of Jesus under the Cross – a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord.

My most gentle Jesus, how many times Thou hast pardoned me, and how many times have I fallen again, and begun again to offend Thee! Oh, by the merits of this new fall, give me the necessary help to persevere in Thy grace until death. Grant that in all temptations which assail me, I may always commend myself to Thee. I love Thee, Jesus my love; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent:

8. The Eighth Station – The Women of Jerusalem Weep over Jesus

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how those women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in such a pitiable state, streaming with blood, as He walked along. But Jesus said to them: Weep not for Me, but for your children.

My Jesus, laden with sorrows, I weep for the offenses I have committed against Thee, because of the pains they have deserved, and still more because of the displeasure they have caused Thee, who hast loved me so much. It is Thy love, more than the fear of hell, which causes me to weep for my sins. My Jesus, I love Thee more than myself; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

9. The Ninth Station – Jesus Falls the Third Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the third fall of Jesus Christ. His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive, who tried to hasten His steps when He had scarcely strength to move.

My outraged Jesus, by the merits of the weakness Thou didst suffer in going to Calvary, give me strength sufficient to conquer all human respect, and all my wicked passions, which have led me to despise Thy friendship. I love Thee, Jesus my love, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

10. The Tenth Station – Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the violence with which the executioners stripped Jesus. His inner garments adhered to His torn flesh, and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Compassionate your Savior thus cruelly treated, and say to Him:

My innocent Jesus, by the merits of the torment Thou hast felt, help me to strip myself of all affection to things of earth, in order that I may place all my love in Thee, who art so worthy of my love. I love Thee, O Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

11. The Eleventh Station – Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how Jesus, after being thrown on the Cross, extended His hands, and offered to His Eternal Father the sacrifice of His death for our salvation. These barbarians fastened Him with nails, and then, raising the Cross, allowed Him to die with anguish on this infamous gibbet.

My Jesus! loaded with contempt, nail my heart to Thy feet, that it may ever remain there, to love Thee, and never quit Thee again. I love Thee more than myself; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

12. The Twelfth Station – Jesus is Raised upon the Cross, and Dies

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how thy Jesus, after three hours’ Agony on the Cross, consumed at length with anguish, abandons Himself to the weight of His body, bows His head, and dies.

O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the Cross on which Thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death; but Thy death is my hope. By the merits of Thy death, give me grace to die, embracing Thy feet, and burning with love for Thee. I yield my soul into Thy hands. I love Thee with my whole heart; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

13. The Thirteenth Station – Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how, after the death of our Lord, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross, and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed Him to her bosom.

O Mother of sorrows, for the love of this Son, accept me for thy servant, and pray to Him for me. And Thou, my Redeemer, since Thou hast died for me, permit me to love Thee; for I wish but Thee, and nothing more. I love Thee, my Jesus, and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

14. The Fourteenth Station – Jesus is Laid in the Sepulchre

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how the disciples carried the body of Jesus to bury it, accompanied by His holy Mother, who arranged it in the sepulchre with her own hands. They then closed the tomb, and all withdrew.

Oh, my buried Jesus, I kiss the stone that encloses Thee. But Thou didst rise again the third day. I beseech Thee, by Thy resurrection, make me rise glorious with Thee at the last day, to be always united with Thee in heaven, to praise Thee and love Thee forever. I love Thee, and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

After the Stations, say the “Our Father“, “Hail Mary” and “Glory be” five times, in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and once for the intention of the Holy Father.

Indulgence
Making the Stations of the Cross carries with it a partial indulgence or plenary indulgence.

To gain a partial indulgence, in addition to the usual conditions, one must:

  • Be in a state of grace (free of mortal sin). A good Confession isn’t otherwise necessary, but a contrite heart for even venial sin is.
  • Intend to receive the indulgence
  • Perform the prescribed action of the indulgence

To gain a plenary indulgence, the following norms must be followed, in addition to the usual conditions:

  • The pious exercise must be made before Stations of the Cross legitimately erected.
  • For the erection of the Stations of the Cross fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.
  • According to the more common practice, the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings, to which some vocal prayers are added. However, nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.
  • A movement from one station to the next is required. But if the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their place.

The usual conditions are:

  • Have the intention of gaining the indulgence.
  • Receive the Sacrament of Penance (within several days before or after the prescribed action of the indulgence, though the same day is best, if possible).
  • Receive the Eucharist (within several days before or after the prescribed action of the indulgence, though the same day is best, if possible).
  • Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be for the intentions of the Holy Father (within several days before or after the prescribed action of the indulgence, though the same day is best, if possible).
  • Perform the prescribed action of the indulgence.
  • Be free from all attachment to venial sin.
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