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MessagePosté le: Dim 9 Juil - 17:34 (2017)    Sujet du message: TheWayoftheHolyCross Répondre en citant


The Way of the Holy Cross
by Arthur Martin
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INTRODUCTION.

The Way of the Cross means that space of ground which was travelled over by our Blessed Saviour, from the Governor's Hall, where he was condemned, to the top of Mount Calvary, where he finally expired upon that instrument of martyrdom; and the exercise of the way of the Cross consists in following this Divine Model along the traces which His blood has left, and meditating, meanwhile, upon the sufferings which his love caused Him to undergo there for our sake.

According to a very credible tradition, this pious practice may be traced back to the earliest period of the Church, and the august Mother of God is said to have been the first to set the example. "During her latter years," says St. Andrew, of Crete, "she used to frequent incessantly those places where her Divine Son had been loaded with contumely and nailed to the cross." But why seek for written testimony? Doomed to sojourn as an exile upon the earth, away from Him, in whom she loved at once her Son and her God, how could her affectionate heart have been satisfied if she had not visited again and again the spots consecrated by the most memorable events in the life of her Beloved?—and Calvary, above all, where, standing by His side, she had sustained those inward sufferings which have caused her to be styled the Queen of Martyrs? How often must she have been seen, in the evening of her days, musing, with weeping eyes, along the road where her Son had passed, bearing the load of His cross!—and standing, overwhelmed with grief, on the heights where He expired! Fond and inconsolable Parent, she saw Him yet hanging by His wounded hands, His head crowned with thorns, His body mangled, pale, agonizing and dying, and in His agony casting a look from His dying eyes on her. It was here that she caught His last sigh—here, that she had seen the lance enter His heart—here, that she had received into her arms, and clasped to her bosom, His sacred body weltering in its blood. How could she do otherwise than recur often to such scenes, kissing, a thousand times, the earth which had been reddened with His blood, and watering it incessantly with her tears?

How, also, must St. John and the holy women have accompanied the Mother of sorrows, and in these same spots, mingled their tears with hers! The Apostles too, must they not have followed in the same track, when by the descent of the Holy Ghost, they had been changed into other men? In their burning love for their good Master, could they have chosen a more fitting place of resort, than that in which he had expired, abandoned by them all? Especially when the thought of bewailing their base ingratitude, and of animating themselves to embrace sufferings and death, if they could only propagate the knowledge and the love of Him in the hearts of men? The first Christians, also, even those who lived at a great distance from Jerusalem, were naturally impatient to contemplate spots where such mysteries had been accomplished, and to learn from eye witnesses every circumstance of their Lord's agony; thereby to nourish their own and their children's piety, with the most important events that had ever taken place.

From that time, a pilgrimage to Calvary became the favourite devotion of the faithful. Even during the sanguinary persecutions, which extended over the three first centuries, illustrious pilgrims, such as St. Alexander, St. Ephrem and St. Eustachius, were seen running in crowds to the holy Sepulchre.

"It would be too long to recount," says St. Jerome, the "names of all the bishops, of all the martyrs, of all the famous doctors who have flocked to Jerusalem, from year to year, from our Lord's Ascension to this day. The most illustrious persons in Gaul came here: Christians from the centre of Britain, from the farthest extremities of the West, leave their homes that they may view here the spots, with which pious letters and the veneration of whole kingdoms have made them familiar. What shall I say of the ...


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