Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tattoo You

Ok...me.

That's right, once again I have stepped into my own personal quicksand and emotional bear trap.
I was joking with a girlfriend that I need to tattoo this on my forehead, so I'll see it every single time I brush my teeth:

It's not about me.

Right here.  That's where it needs to go...

Yuh...see, because, it always so is, I make it so (Just like Jean Luc Picard! But not so elegantly. Not near....).  And, yeah, by posting I'm continuing the cycle..I know I know...you see how I get stuck?!
But I need to remember it, chant it, memorize, do homeschool copy work:

it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it's not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me...

Anyhow, you get the idea.  One of my favorite mama trauma bloggers had a post all too similar up like this, except hers really wasn't about her, it was about someone else who was terrific and a link to their post.  I am sure I've stolen it in some lesser form out of my tortured memory today....See, still, not good.  Go read her blog tho, if you want insight or profundity or just a breather from some of the tough time in parenting land....

Because, no, it's not about me.  So if it's not....why can't I step out of it all, parent more SIMPLY, take the breather that the concept offers...and stop the hard and hurt of it all on the bad days? Parent the behavior and not the emotions.
Why can't I just let go?
Simple huh?
Apparently...not so much.

Tattoos....looking better all the time.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Setting Fire


Today is the feast day of another of my favorite saints, more so now than ever: St. Catherine of Siena.
Siena also happens to be one of my top two favorite towns in Italy, I loved it there!
So much to say about this saint, but this quote from this amazing holy faithful pushy humble strong woman, Doctor of the Church, really sums it up:
"If you are who God made you to be, you will set the whole world on fire!"
-St. Catherine

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Turn-Keys in Adoption: Family Dinner

 Ah, the family dinner.
A subject that greater minds and bigger hearts than mine have explored and pondered for many years. Indeed, it's  a fixation of modern shelter magazines and cable shows; how to cook and create a wonderland of fantasy meals. 


I'm not gonna attempt to lay down new paths or thoughts; that's above my pay grade.
This post is my ongoing consideration of dinner, supper, and what it means to the family, especially one built through the often messy process of adoption. 

In fact, I have come to believe that the seemingly simple concept of dinner is really, for us at least, a turn key in attachment.
Yep, this is another one of those posts.  I have a series of them, sporadically put up as I need to process things or I start stewing about stuff {go here:trust, touch, transitions, schedules, Christmas, prayer}.

I think that the whole idea of family dinner is one that is super easy to brush off.  We've heard it all before, from our own parents to the modern beta parents on tv: Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Spock, Judge Judy...heck, everybody's got an opinion.  But this forum is mine and thus this blog post is about my meandering musings down the dinner table.


Now, I'd love to say that our family has beautiful Rockwell quality dinners.  That we all sit down in a calm and mannered fashion to an elegant and/or chic table every night and linger easily over interesting and savory local, foodie creative meals that nourish our bodies and souls.  Right.  But if I did, I'd be lying.

Ramare Bearden, Color Screenprint, 1993
 Our dinners are often a jumble; kids needing to be called to the table, fetched from outside,  hollered for repeatedly (yes, we/I holler, it's not my proudest moment).  Kids race to snag the primo chair; which designation will ever remain an unfathomable mystery to us parents.  {Sometimes it's a mystery to the racers too, but the race is on, nightly, nevertheless.}  This frequently leads to some sulking about not claiming said spot and  having to sit in the "stupid" spot.  Dinner is considered and often declared "gross" or "yuk" and the sulk extended.  We parental types try to regain calm by lighting a candle or two and then beginning with prayer, going around the table to nudge each kid to come up with something, anything, to be thankful for this day...all the while reminding the wild small boys to sit on their chair, hands off their legos, cars off the table, sshh, with significant looks and the not infrequent verbal cue.  After that, we try to have real conversation as we dine (ok, we eat).  This effort rarely succeeds; what with two teenage girls and two preteen girls, any variation thereof who can often be found nursing some level of mood. Occasionally, one of the girls might be working an angle to get some yet unknown advantage and thus launch a bright and superficially charming conversational gambit.  Those nights the repartee is especially exciting for the unknown results and volatility.  Otherwise the conversation can be rather stilted attempts at extracting details of the day at school (yes, much like pulling teeth, actually) and continuing to referee sulking players; all the while leaving us two over forty craving scintillating discussion of current events or politics or heck, number theory...anything at all to change it up. (I lied, I will never crave discussion of number theory, evah.)


 Jean Foss, "Family Dinner"

Often enough one or three kids will thank me for the cooking, signaling the end of the meal; a truly lovely and appreciated gesture (always Marta, sweet habit) and then bolt to the beyond of upstairs to escape the ensuing chaos that erupts after dinner.  Then the dishes are clattered to the counters and sinks, reminders of dish night assignments handed out, and the dinner comes to a close as I try to scoot/race the little boys up to the bedtime routine.

Thus we have three phases to our dinners: preparation, partaking, and cleanup.   All of them are key to our family dinner and to the foundation that is laid.  It is the whole of the process that makes the family dinner so important, and yes, a turn-key to adjustment.
I want to say that again: I think the whole of the process: the prep, the sitting/eating, and the aftermath, is important to the bonding and attachment found in the family dinner.

The importance of this meal, it's function as a key for us, is coming more and more clear to me; especially over these past few months of our adjustment to our newest daughter Marta.  She has a need for a very defined order to her days, she counts on it, it is her safety zone.  And the dinner routine, as close to 'no  matter what' we can get, is key to her sense of well being, and thus, attachment.
I daresay it is the same for our other children, young and old, bio or adopted. 

Family dinner counts.

The time to prepare it shows our newest daughter, without words, that this time is important to us as family.  She sees me, as do all  my kids, thinking about it in advance, shopping, preparing it, prepping the table for it.  If it wasn't important I wouldn't bother.  They all know it.
If I can get it together during the day, I try to have the table set and dinner planned and begun to prep as she/they arrive home from school....yes, it's very Donna Reed, but it's very very comforting and secure.  All of my kids, each and every one, ask me, every day within minutes of seeing me after school: "What's for dinner?"  Each one of them need that answer, sometimes I say "I don't know!" But, if I name a meal,  it's an almost visible sigh out of them to hear the answer - even if it's not their favorite.  Because it signifies that I am on it and life is secure.  Now, they won't say it that way, but I see it that way now...because of my newest daughter.  Her life was not secure and dinner wasn't a guarantee or even always an option.  So, yeah, this is important stuff...for all of them, but absolutely critical for her. 
It is a turnkey on so many levels: food, primal sustenance, comfort, family, routine.

Peter Blume, Vegetable Dinner, 1927
The sitting down together is a coming together, a pause in the day to nourish our bodies and us as a group together, to nourish our sense of family.  The kids can't see that, sometimes it's just a chore...for me too.  (I can easily, if I were to choose, skip the eating of dinner, most any day.....)
But beyond that obligation and duty lies great unspoken meaning: family, it's important and this is ours.
And happily enough, that meaning is not reliant on the context of perfection or glossy fantasies of "should be" or "looks like."
I will go out on a cyber limb and even say that the very chaotic mess of our dinners, and it's own particular kind of standard chaos, defines our own family culture and is a feature of this key to attaching into our family. 

The cleanup, well, its not nearly the pretty part.  Not that any part of our dinners every really are so much...but cleanup is a mess and a job.  But by having the kids all take part (they rotate dish duty) and their dad usually giving them a boost of help...they learn that they too are contributors to the family. They don't only take...they too give to each other and the family.  Giving back is part of the key to attachment.  Unless you are invested in something or someone, by serving them in some form (time, attention, effort), it's very hard to have a two way attachment. Now, that's just my opinion...but I hold it close.  I think you love by doing.  I think the best way to help a child learn that they are an integral part of the family is to  have them pitch in and help that family, just the same as the other kids (or to their ability).  

So, who'da thunk it?
Family dinner, be it vichyssoise or burgers, means ever so much more than the calorie count.  And really, it's not even about the actual food or the quality of it; be it fancy french or sub sandwiches.
It's about the whole process of the dinner, as a family.
I think it's one of the better keys in your tool belt as a parent.  
I think that so much of what we do, we feel we have to follow the perfect script or recipe or rules or recommendations.  But the beauty in the messy chaos and routine of the family dinner is that it allows for our unique seasonings and tweaks and settings.  It is our own. 
It is in the very making and prepping and sitting and tastings of it, we find our own selves and each other. 
This is a turn key to attachment for each of us, adopted or not, for healing and blending together as a family.  It is a key that is not a hard metal bit to be clanged about...rather this one is as a red ripe tomato, bursting with goodness, begging to be savored.

Jos van Riswick, Tomato 15x15

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Word of joy

It is an ancient tradition, this phrase in the liturgy.
But it's one that keeps rolling around  my head this morning, after the beautiful late vigil Mass last night...
Rubens, "The Resurrection of Christ"

"I announce to you a great joy: it is the Alleluia."

My Chris was telling me about this being part of the Easter Vigil last year at the Vatican too. It's not always a part of the liturgy, but the deacon brings this message to the Pope (or, in our case, our pastor) and then the bells start ringing and we sing the Alleluia once again, because today...today the news of great giddy joy IS The Alleluia!
He is risen indeed....

Michaelangelo's drawing, "The Resurrection of Christ"


Happy Joyful Glorious Easter! 
My favorite day of the year.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Silence of Holy Saturday

Shhh.
Listen.
Be still.
I know...it's that day.
It's the day of the tomb.
Silent as a tomb....

Holy Saturday is a day of silence.


It is the tomb.
It is the day of grieving and being still, quiet for it...or mindful of it and trying to find that still silent spot inside; ever difficult in our modern days and my busy loud life.
This is the day when the tabernacles, across the world, are barren.
And the emptiness is visceral.
I feel it.
I think the world feels it.
I do.


Tonight is the vigil and the promise of the return of the light, Light itself.
But for today. 
It is the deposition, the tomb.

And the noise, it's a racket.  
My kids and the calling across the house a jangle of sound.
But even my kids, loud always, anticipating the joy and sugar of Easter tomorrow...they see the solemnity of this day, a little tiny bit.
The prayers are solemn, the see it, feel it, hear it as we pray through this day.
I crave to carve out some quieting time this day.  
I crave to go sit in adoration, but the tabernacle - it's empty. 
I feel the loss and out of sorts, even as I prep for tonight and tomorrow.  
It's so often a cranky fussy day, because exactly this out of alignment, the soul knows this marking and reacts with a squeezed ache.  
It is noisy in this silence, the noise of my children yes but the noise of my heart beating, looking for Him and thinking of her weeping this day.


It is a clanging silence....
So.  We wait.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Via Crucis, week 6: Good Friday

Every Friday in Lent I'm putting up the Stations of the Cross.
It's an uber Catholic thing....but then again not.
Anyone can meditate on the Stations of the Cross, and lent is the perfect time to do so. 
It is a rigorous walk, in prayer...and has it's own hard beauty.
Take a look, read, pray if you are inclined:

These are from the UCSSB site, and typically these are prayed with others.  But I tend to pray them alone...because I send Tom and the bigs to the church to pray them and I stay with the  littles and pray them on my own.  Either way, it works for me. 
Some tips: Yes, we pray all fourteen stations, every time.  Yes, it's long but if you meditate on the station/image it's very powerful. Yes, I do get distracted, always, it's a given.  I just redirect, again and again. 
"The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations1 and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ's passion."
So, let's begin:
Michele Gautsch, Stations

Before each station:

Minister (or family leader, or you):
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

After each station:

All:
Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.


Opening Prayer:

Minister:
God of power and mercy,
in love your sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.

All:
Amen.

Stabat Mater, sung:
*At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last


First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Reader:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 25:36-41

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things


*Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword has passed


Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
Mark 14: 43-46

Minister:
Lord,
grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

* O, how sad and sore depressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole Begotten One


Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us," but he replied to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth."
Luke 22: 66-71

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

* Christ above in torment hangs
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son


Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly.
Matthew 26: 69-75

Minister:
Lord,
grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

* Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold.


Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas... [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
Mark 15: 1-5, 15

Minister:
Lord,
grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

*Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain
In that Mother's pain untold?

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Reader:
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly.
John 19: 1-3

Minister:
Lord,
grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

*Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
John 19: 6, 15-17

Minister:
Lord,
grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

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

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
Mark 15: 21

Minister:
Lord,
grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

*O sweet Mother! Fount of Love,
Touch my spirit from above
Make my heart with yours accord.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"
Luke 23: 27-31

Minister:
Lord,
grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

*Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."]
Luke 23: 33-34

Minister:
Lord,
grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

*Holy Mother, pierce me through
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23: 39-43

Minister:
Lord,
grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

*Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19: 25-27

Minister:
Lord,
grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

*Let me mingle tears with thee
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
Luke 23: 44-46

Minister:
Lord,
grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth is ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

*By the cross with you to stay
There with you to weep and pray
Is all I ask of you to give.

Michele Mahan, Stations

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Reader:
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
Matthew 27: 57-60

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

*Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine

Closing Prayer:

Minister:
Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.

All:
Amen.

Scripture excerpts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament Copyright © 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce these excerpts in free distribution of these stations.

How Can this Day be Good?

Detail of painting, Tissot
Good Friday.
High Holy Day.
The Passion of Christ.
Via Dolorosa.
Crucifixion.
Utter sorrow.
Fasting.
Veneration of the Cross.
Empty tabernacles.
Hungry, tired, hard, sad.
Really, horror.

Nikolaï Gay (1831-1894)
Unfathomable.
An unspeakable, truly, tough day.
Good, yes, but the hardest most unspeakable kind of good.
A mystery of good.

Painting by Tissot, "What Christ saw from the Cross"
But yes, glorious good; if unseen as such then, and sometimes now.
We wait.
*Reposted from several years ago*

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Different Night

"Why is this night different from any other night?"

It is Holy Thursday.
The first day of the Triduum.
It's also known as Maundy Thursday
But, no matter the term used, it's a high holy day, and it's one of the ones that is rich and complex and beautiful and difficult all at the same time.

(And, as an aside, everyone I know is kind of suffering all sorts of larger and smaller slings and arrows this week, escalating today.  Right.  Exactly. I guess that's how we know it's Holy Week and we get to participate in our own mini-wimpy-passion....because "we can't handle the truth" {to paraphrase Jack} of the real experience.  Just saying.....)

Sadao Watanabe print
Tonight the Mass remembers that special Passover supper, the last supper.  This is the supper of the institution of the Eucharist.  The disciples didn't even really realize what was going on...how typical, then, and now.  But, oh the beauty of it all.


So too, this night, Christ washed their feet, showing them how to be the servant of servants that they would be called to be...that we are called to be.  How often do I forget that one? Daily, how many times a day is the better question.


Sigh.  This is such a complex layered night.  I can't begin to do it justice.  The emotions range all over the map: from the quiet humbling of the washing of the feet, to the beauty of the institution of the eucharist, to the stripping of the altar and processing out that brings me to blinking away the tears.....It's a rigorous beautiful piercing night. For me, this night does begin the vigil...the vigil that doesn't end until the close of Saturday night's vigil Mass (finishing Sunday) 

"Why is this night different from any other night?"  
This is one of the Passover questions.  So too, it is our question, mine.
And these three days ahead, I get to ponder it and pray over it and grow my heart bigger to answer it well, or try.

There is also a long tradition of a late Holy Thursday night service, called Tenebrea that means, literally, "shadows" or "darkness."  This service is one of the hardest and most beautiful.  It starts in light and over the course of the service moves to darkness....because these are the three days of darkness and the greatest of suffering.  It ends with a cacophony of clapping wood.  It jangles and disturbs me deep inside, as it should, as it's meant to.  The Sisters of Carmel explain it well, go read the whole thing here, but below is a snip from it:
 
There is placed in the sanctuary, near the altar, a large triangular candlestick holding fifteen candles. At the end of each psalm or canticle, one of these fifteen candles is extinguished, but the one which is placed at the top of the triangle is left lighted. During the singing of the Benedictus (the Canticle of Zachary at the end of Lauds), six other candles on the altar are also put out. Then the master of ceremonies takes the lighted candle from the triangle and holds it upon the altar while the choir repeats the antiphon after the canticle, after which she hides it behind the altar during the recitation of the Christus antiphon and final prayer. As soon as this prayer is finished, a noise is made with the seats of the stalls in the choir, which continues until the candle is brought from behind the altar, and shows, by its light, that the Office of Tenebrae is over.





Wishing you a mindful and Blessed Triduum.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Andy Warhol, Crosses, Giclee print, 1981-82
Even modern artists, under their oh so clever hip society cap, 
might surprise us and ponder the call of this season.
 
We are marching toward Jerusalem: Wednesday, Holy Week.

for more Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Palms

Waking up today....this was rolling through my head.



Not exactly the Basilica where Buddybug and Booboo are this morning...But still, apropos of the day I suppose.
Notre Dame Basilica, ah, bliss.

 I would just like to point out that, yes, I am quite well aware of how this opening video dates me and reaffirms just how old I am.  Additionally, I would like to point out that this is one of the unspoken curses of growing up in the 70's (For the most part). This was formative stuff for me.  I know! It's a wonder I came back to the church at all, no? But, thanks be to God, I did and now I get to live with some scars: a wedding anniversary during lent (doh) and this song/video rolling through my mind as an earworm every single year on Palm Sunday.

But still, apropos of the day I suppose.
Today is one of the longest Masses of the year, and it's one of the hard ones. Sure it seems like it's all the rejoicing like in the video above...but no we also have to read the long reading of when it all turns and Christ is taken to Pilate, and in the liturgy we respond, "Crucify him!" again and again.
I HATE that.
It makes me cringe.
It hurts and makes me wince.
I often want to stand silent, thinking, "No. I won't. I can't say that."
But of course, I do, darn near every day in my selfish thoughtless words and snapping temper.
So, sure I could stand there and be silent today.....but oh, what a hypocrite.
And since I'm already that already too.....I will quietly, achingly whisper, "Crucify him" and try not to cry.

For more, ever so much better stuff on Palm Sunday, go here and here and, always, go here. anytime!

** Note: Palm Sunday Mass with toddlers means you don't actually hear all the readings because you are juggling small boys who are playing swords with the palms that are given out. Long Mass, somber readings (Mark 14:1-15: 47), (Psalm 22), crowded pews, and toys, erk, palms...equals chaotic Mass!**

Friday, April 15, 2011

Via Crucis, week 5

Every Friday in Lent I'm putting up the Stations of the Cross.
It's an uber Catholic thing....but then again not.
Anyone can meditate on the Stations of the Cross, and lent is the perfect time to do so. 
It is a rigorous walk, in prayer...and has it's own hard beauty.
Take a look, read, pray if you are inclined:

These are from the UCSSB site, and typically these are prayed with others.  But I tend to pray them alone...because I send Tom and the bigs to the church to pray them and I stay with the  littles and pray them on my own.  Either way, it works for me. 
Some tips: Yes, we pray all fourteen stations, every time.  Yes, it's long but if you meditate on the station/image it's very powerful. Yes, I do get distracted, always, it's a given.  I just redirect, again and again. 
"The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations1 and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ's passion."
So, let's begin:
Michele Mahan, Stations

Before each station:

Minister (or family leader, or you):
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

After each station:

All:
Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.


Opening Prayer:

Minister:
God of power and mercy,
in love your sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.

All:
Amen.

Stabat Mater, sung:
*At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last


First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Reader:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 25:36-41

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things


*Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword has passed


Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
Mark 14: 43-46

Minister:
Lord,
grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

* O, how sad and sore depressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole Begotten One


Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us," but he replied to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth."
Luke 22: 66-71

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

* Christ above in torment hangs
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son


Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly.
Matthew 26: 69-75

Minister:
Lord,
grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

* Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold.


Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas... [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
Mark 15: 1-5, 15

Minister:
Lord,
grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

*Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain
In that Mother's pain untold?

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Reader:
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly.
John 19: 1-3

Minister:
Lord,
grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

*Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
John 19: 6, 15-17

Minister:
Lord,
grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

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

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
Mark 15: 21

Minister:
Lord,
grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

*O sweet Mother! Fount of Love,
Touch my spirit from above
Make my heart with yours accord.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"
Luke 23: 27-31

Minister:
Lord,
grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

*Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."]
Luke 23: 33-34

Minister:
Lord,
grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

*Holy Mother, pierce me through
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23: 39-43

Minister:
Lord,
grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

*Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19: 25-27

Minister:
Lord,
grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

*Let me mingle tears with thee
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

Michele Mahan, Stations


Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
Luke 23: 44-46

Minister:
Lord,
grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth is ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

*By the cross with you to stay
There with you to weep and pray
Is all I ask of you to give.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Reader:
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
Matthew 27: 57-60

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

*Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine

Closing Prayer:

Minister:
Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.

All:
Amen.

Scripture excerpts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament Copyright © 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce these excerpts in free distribution of these stations.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gems

Ok, so the blog's been all solemn lately, with serious posts.
Just so you all don't think I need an intervention or something, here's something to brighten the mood for today.




Saw this at the great site, Love that Max, and well, this video says it all and makes me smile.
And yeah, it's cheery and STILL apt for this season of lent.
Yup, lent isn't only about the tough bits, it's a season of cheer in a weird way...because we can see and smell the rain, Easter, just around the bend.
Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

C'mon Rain

Georgia O'Keefe, Horses Skull on Blue, 1030
It's lent.  The last full week of lent, actually.
Maybe that's why its so hard.
Its quiet.
  Slow.  Heavy.  Parched.
  These last days.
They are a dust of indigo.
A hollow.... of what?
A mere funk?
Something more?
Maybe, but not what we might think.
Not permanent or medical.
Spiritual.
I think it is a hollow.

I am fallow.

I am, viscerally, waiting.
And my body and soul senses it; even before my intellect can process and analyze it.
I turn in when the quiet comes to the house.
And its good, that, but its hard. It brings unbidden sadness and constriction.
The gifts of busy with my clanging days offset this, and force me to see this flip side of the hard fallow time now.
The call to put that hollow hard into service, to serve, to draw myself bodily out of my head and heart by tangibly touching serving setting out to others.
My children call me back out; my husband looks over the car at me, with squinting eyes, gauging it all.
Considering.
He calls me during the quiet of the day.
I tell him it is just this time, this fallow hardness of lent.
It is here and I feel it.
And I don't want to, not really.
But I think I must and really, maybe I do want that still indigo dust.
Because its the desert.
Its dry.
I thirst.
So does He.
Ah, now I get it; I understand a glimmer bit more.
Lent.
Its dry. Hard.
Desert fallow,
an open mouth waiting for the life giving rain.
But...
Easter - around the corner.
The smell of drops on the air, days off, faint. 
C’mon rain.


Louisa McElwain, Desert Rain God, Oil on Canvas, 54" x 72 "

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grief Box

 So, yesterday was another day of undefinable mood for our Marti.
And yes, many days with any teen girl are days of undefinable moody mood....but this one had a different tone.  Some of the clues, right away, that we were gonna have "one of those days" were that she got dressed in a gray sweater dress, despite temps starting in the 70's and said to rise into high 80's.  I told her that it was warm and gonna be hot, but there was no changing.  So, sweater dress it was.  Saturday also was a foreshadowing of the day; with double naps.  Naps are one of the ways that she copes and pulls in when she is blue (Not a terrible coping mechanism; quiet but oddly disconcerting).  Another, now classic, sign was that her hair was slicked back tight against her head; a sure sign of some dis-regulation and blue or black mood descending or already in. 

Seeing these signs, right at the start of the day were clues.  Tom and I went kind of automatically into mood-day mode and knew to let much slide, not make too many demands, make sure food was set out and available as soon as we got home from Mass and tried to keep to as standard a Sunday routine as possible.  Now, the day could'a gone way way south, and might have in months past.  This one was just very very quiet; with an obviously blue Marta.   She was aloof and yet shadowing us around too; which is this whole contradictory head-spinning quiet hard behavior; so I figured it was better to address it all head on instead of pretending that it was just a regular Sunday.

One of the tools that a dear friend has suggested to me is a "Grief Box." She came across this in one of her Hague training videos and mentioned it to me, weeks ago.  I finally went and watched the whole grief training video last week.  It is a good video, worth watching, especially if you are new to the older child adoption world or the world of grief in our children.    So, seeing as it was a Sunday afternoon, with time a plenty, I thought of the grief box.   

Now, I know, a lot of these sort of suggestions need to be done with a proper licensed therapist.  Well, we don't have one for Marta at this point; it's complicated tremendously by her lack of language and cognition.  So, with that, it was just us and we were winging it as usual (hopefully not to anyone's detriment - but really ya never really know in all this, flying blind and all)

Anyhow, I sat and talked with Marta about her feeling sad.  I asked her if many days she feels sad and she agreed.  I asked her if she was "afraid she would forget the sad things?"  She agreed again.   I talked with her that sometimes when we have many things that are sad and hard it can feel like we have to hold on tight to them all, every day.  I acted it out, she nodded.  I said, "Would you like to make a box, a safe box to keep, that we could write down all the sad/hard things and put them in your box?  So you can keep them safe; not forget.  And if you wake up feeling sad, you can open the box and think about them, or show me? "  She said yes.

So we picked out a shoe box.  I pulled out a small pile of construction paper and helped her cover the box in the colors she picked out.  She wrote "Marta's Sad Box" on the top.  Then we sat and  made a list of the sad things she  holds onto, her losses (the one's she willing to try with this).  We talked about each one of them.  She talked, I listened.  Her list was what you'd expect from a child who lost her culture and family: parents, home, country.  One of her items surprised and yet, didn't at all: English.  Yes, english is one of her "sad's." Because it's hard.  And she can't speak it yet, not really.  And it's very hard to learn under the best of circumstances.  And she has that deck stacked against her.  But if it's a grief thing, it can go in the box.  It's her box, her pick.  I wrote each thing simply on a slip of paper, and she drew a picture of it on the back of the slip.  Then she put it in the box.  Then we closed the box up, lid on.  Then I told  her she can keep it in her room and we can talk about it or about anything at all, ever.  Hard, sad, angry, bad things, good things, old, new. 

She went to her room for a short bit, again.  I went in, after a little bit, and told her again, that she can talk to us, me, dad, about anything, any time.  That I was different than her first mom.  But that I loved her and have big ears to hear and will be here.  She hugged tight and smiled.  And last night, well, it was still a smiley good day sticker, not a "hard day" claimed.  Though I pointed out to her that in truth it was hard, and that was ok.  She shook her head and hugged us tight.


So, I'm wondering, have any of you, with kids from hard places or hard starts, have you used a "Grief Box" and has it helped you? If so, please leave a comment, tell me how it worked for you.  If not, have you used something else? Some of these "hards" are so very hard.  Especially without the language to process it all, how to you help your child to acknowledge it, process it, and move beyond it into a healthier place? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Via Crucis, week 4

Every Friday in Lent I'm putting up the Stations of the Cross.
It's an uber Catholic thing....but then again not.
Anyone can meditate on the Stations of the Cross, and lent is the perfect time to do so. 
It is a rigorous walk, in prayer...and has it's own hard beauty.
Take a look, read, pray if you are inclined:

These are from the UCSSB site, and typically these are prayed with others.  But I tend to pray them alone...because I send Tom and the bigs to the church to pray them and I stay with the  littles and pray them on my own.  Either way, it works for me. 
Some tips: Yes, we pray all fourteen stations, every time.  Yes, it's long but if you meditate on the station/image it's very powerful. Yes, I do get distracted, always, it's a given.  I just redirect, again and again. 
"The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations1 and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ's passion."
So, let's begin:
Michele Mahan, Stations

Before each station:

Minister (or family leader, or you):
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

After each station:

All:
Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.


Opening Prayer:

Minister:
God of power and mercy,
in love your sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.

All:
Amen.

Stabat Mater, sung:
*At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last


First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Reader:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 25:36-41

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things


*Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing

Now at length the sword has passed

Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
Mark 14: 43-46

Minister:
Lord,
grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

* O, how sad and sore depressed
Was that Mother highly blessed

Of the sole Begotten One

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us," but he replied to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth."
Luke 22: 66-71

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

* Christ above in torment hangs
She beneath beholds the pangs

Of her dying, glorious Son

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly.
Matthew 26: 69-75

Minister:
Lord,
grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

* Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep

Christ's dear Mother to behold.

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas... [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
Mark 15: 1-5, 15

Minister:
Lord,
grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

*Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain
In that Mother's pain untold?

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Reader:
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly.
John 19: 1-3

Minister:
Lord,
grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

*Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
John 19: 6, 15-17

Minister:
Lord,
grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

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

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
Mark 15: 21

Minister:
Lord,
grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

*O sweet Mother! Fount of Love,
Touch my spirit from above
Make my heart with yours accord.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"
Luke 23: 27-31

Minister:
Lord,
grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

*Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Michele Mahan, Stations
Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."]
Luke 23: 33-34

Minister:
Lord,
grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

*Holy Mother, pierce me through
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23: 39-43

Minister:
Lord,
grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

*Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19: 25-27

Minister:
Lord,
grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

*Let me mingle tears with thee
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
Luke 23: 44-46

Minister:
Lord,
grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth is ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

*By the cross with you to stay
There with you to weep and pray
Is all I ask of you to give.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Reader:
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
Matthew 27: 57-60

Minister:
Lord,
grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

*Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine

Closing Prayer:

Minister:
Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.

All:
Amen.

Scripture excerpts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament Copyright © 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce these excerpts in free distribution of these stations.