“I am exhausted by sorrow, and weeping has shortened my life. I am weak from all my troubles; even my bones are wasting away. All my enemies, and especially my neighbours, treat me with contempt; those who know me are afraid of me; when they see me in the street, they run away.” (Psalm 31:10-11, Good News Translation)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
The ninth station visualises Christ’s third painful fall in the city street. This fall is mirrored in the words of Psalm 31, a song which has a special connection with the crucifixion. Christ prayer to God as he died upon the cross – “Into your hands I commend my spirit” – was taken from this psalm (Psalm 31:6; Luke 23:46).
This opus sectile mosaic pictures Christ flat on the ground, being ordered to get up by a Roman soldier. The message of this station, and of Psalm 31, is that even when we feel that is impossible to go on, God is our refuge and our help. When we are exhausted by sorrow, Christ is there to revive us and give us the strength to persevere.
St Paul reminds us that “suffering develops perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4) The idea that suffering can have a positive value can be challenging to us. Yet, the saints have consistently taught that the way of the cross is the true path to spiritual growth.
O Jesus, you strengthen those who are weak and tired. By this third fall, O Jesus, come quickly to my aid if I should I fall under the weight of my sins or sufferings. Give me the strength I need to keep going; revive me according to your word. (Psalm 119:25)
Sign from the Old Testament
Job persevered while experiencing unrelenting suffering, saying: “If we accept good things from God, should we not be willing to accept sorrows as well?” (Job 2:10; 6:10)
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