Over the past few years, one of the spiritual practices I’ve used during Holy Week has been to read the meditations written on the Stations of the Cross by the Pope’s chosen person. For 2015, Pope Francis asked Bishop Renato Corti to write the meditations, and they were posted in advance of Good Friday on the Vatican’s site a few days ago. Here’s the link to them and I highly recommend reading them. My usual habit is to read two or three Stations a day and contemplate their resonance in my own life. This is an excerpt from the meditation on the Fifth Station, Simon the Cyrenean Helps Carry the Cross:
Who doesn’t need a Cyrenean?
Lord Jesus, you told us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. Make us ready to be “Cyreneans” to others. May those who see our way of life find encouragement, as they watch us striving to cultivate all that is beautiful, just, true and essential. May the frail see us as humble, for we too are frail in so many ways. Those who receive tokens of our generosity will realize that we too have a thousand reasons to be thankful. Even those who cannot run can simply stand and wait, for they are dear to us. They will find us ready to slow our pace: we do not want to leave them behind.
Bishop Corti has said that he wrote with a theme of “protecting” in the meditations this year, and that he was inspired by the role of Saint Joseph as protector of the Holy Family. In this article on Catholic News Agency, he says:
Protecting will be discussed in three key topics: the Word of God, the Eucharist, and forgiveness. The meditations will be also filled with a prayer for the coming synod, so that “the works of synod will be accompanied by mercy and truth.”
“I also recalled some grave facts which exist, and which are negations of protecting; for example, the evil done to youth, the abandonment of the poor, and the already-forgotten pillars of peace as recalled by Pope John XXIII: truth, justice, liberty, love.”
Holy Week is the most spiritually profound week of our Christian faith. Even if you’re still working your 9-5 or doing whatever duties your state in life calls you to, even if you can’t make it to a Holy Thursday Mass or a Good Friday service (like Tenebrae!), we still have access to all these wonderful resources online that can help make Holy Week meaningful. Keep a little quieter this week, pray and fast a little more, try to keep the Easter Triduum in your thoughts. The Passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus are approaching. Solemnly, quietly, let us open our hearts to our coming salvation.