This month, as we continue journeying with Jesus on his ‘Way of the Cross,” we come to Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
Despite the intensity of his suffering, Jesus knew with certainty that God was with him. Mary MacKillop, in her time of direst suffering also experienced the ‘calm, beautiful presence of God.’ As you look back, can you now recognise that God has been with you through your darkest times?
Station 11: Jesus is Stripped of his Garments
- First: reflect upon what is happening to Jesus in this eleventh Station
- Next: ponder the Moments in the life of Mary MacKillop
- Finally: reflect upon how this links with your own life
Finally Jesus arrives at the place of crucifixion. It is now time for Jesus to face the intense physical suffering of this form of death. It was the practice to offer the condemned man wine mixed with myrrh to ease the pain, or perhaps to actually prolong the time before death. Jesus refuses this offer as the crowd taunt him with possibility that Elijah come to save him. Jesus in his last moments commends his spirit into the hands of the God who loves him.
Moments in the Life of Mary MacKillop
Excommunication is the most serious penalty that the Church can inflict upon an individual. It is the penalty for a very grave offence, and deprives an individual of all participation in the sacraments. On 22 September, 1871, Mary MacKillop was wrongly excommunicated by Bishop Sheil on the grounds that, she had “incited the sisters to disobedience and defiance.”
As a result of this excommunication Mary MacKillop and forty-seven Sisters were also expelled from the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Yet despite the serious nature of this event, Mary MacKillop keeps focused on God. She recalls, “I do not know how to describe the feeling but that I was intensely happy and felt nearer to God than I had ever felt before. I can only dimly remember the things that were said to me, but the sensation of the calm, beautiful presence of God I shall never forget.”
Moments in My Life
- In this moment: first name, then try to embrace the crosses in your life, God is there in the midst of them.
- How does it feel to have God present?
Take a moment to reflect in silence upon these aspects of your life. It is tempting to run from suffering, to do anything to avoid it, yet suffering is part of the human condition. God is present with us in those dark moments. As you identify the pain in your own life let God love you.
Jesus you embrace the suffering of the cross in order to transform it. Help me to understand that in the midst of your brokenness is abundant life. In times of suffering let me find a place of refuge and healing within the compassionate heart of God. May I be open to your grace shown to me through the care and concern of others.
Forgive me Lord for the times that I have created barriers, refusing to allow others to minister to me when I need help. Give me the desire to be an instrument of your healing love for others. Help me to be open to the possibility of transformed faith in you.
Stations of the Cross: A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – Valerie DeBrenni
© 2012 Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart
Available for purchase @ $7.95 from Mary MacKillop Place Bookshop, Mount Street, North Sydney, or online
Station 11: j. Used with permission