The Third Station – Jesus falls under the weight of the Cross the first time.
In the Movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ there is a scene where we see Mary following her son along the Via Dolorosa; she is pushing herself through the crowds while keeping her eyes on Jesus – the eyes of love. On the other side of Via Dolorosa, moving in the same direction and looking at Christ is Satan – sneering. They are both looking at the same event, but seeing totally different things. There is a strong parallel, though diametrically opposed, within this station, that upon reflection allows us to better evaluate our own journey.
- Jesus falls down.
- Satan falls from heaven.
- Jesus falls under the weight of the Cross – the weight comes from you and me – our sins.
- Satan falls under the weight of himself – pride and rebellion. ‘Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven’.
- Jesus falls because of others, but Jesus falls because of himself as well – for love for his Father he falls, for love for us he falls.
- Satan falls because he sees only himself, love for self.
- Jesus falls but is at peace – seeing in his fall mercy and justice for everyone.
- Satan falls and howls in rage – seeing injustice towards his self.
- Jesus falls under the weight of the cross and the heavenly hosts praise the triune God – seeing strength in love.
- Jesus falls under the weight of the cross and Satan and his minions howl with glee – seeing weakness in God.
- Jesus rises from the strength of love and continues again with the cross of our burdens.
- Satan knows nothing but self-love and pride – he is too heavy to rise.
- Jesus sees the good buried beneath the evil of mankind and strives to bring it forward.
- Satan desires everyone to share his anguish, misery loves company.
- Jesus simply offers himself to the Father; so their desire, that we might be forgiven and saved, can come to fruition.
- Satan plots and plans and manipulates to bring his obsessive desires to fruition – ‘if I can’t have heaven then God’s children can’t have Him’
As we, in our own lives, walk the Via Dolorosa with Jesus, how do we view the weight of our own Cross? Do we follow Jesus and offer it up to God’s for his plan of salvation; or do we withdraw into our own self-pity and bitterness, seeing only the negative – adding more self-weight to our journey?
Heavenly Father may our Lenten observance strip our selfishness and empower our self-giving, may this purgation cleanse us from our tendency to weigh ourselves down, and allow us to rise with our cross and bring forth the love of God.