Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Jessica Zwarra and Sister Mary Beth Kornely get real about what the 1st and 4th Stations of the Cross mean to them. Our Sister Victoria Masil’s portrayal of these moments in Jesus’ life illustrate the thoughtful Lenten reflections.
The 1st Station…Jesus is Condemned
The most innocent Jesus accepts the unjust sentence of death pronounced against Him by Pilate. No, Pilate, how could you condemn Jesus. who devoted His life to helping others, caring for those who were ignored, and listening to the smallest ones. Pilate, you said He was innocent and yet had him beaten and now send Him to die. I want to send for a lawyer and demand justice.
O Jesus, what have I done to You! How often have I judged unjustly or not stood up for those in need. Help me to accept unfairness without complaining, criticism. Help me to work for justice and pray that our government legislators have the wisdom and courage to do what is right.
Francis, as I see you gaze on your Beloved, help me to imitate your self-giving love. Lead me to follow the Franciscan path to peace which involves bearing infirmities and tribulations as you did to mirror the crucified Christ.
-Sister Jessica Zwarra, OSF
The 4th Station…Jesus Meets His Mother
As I think about the Fourth station, I can’t help but notice how Jesus and Mary gazed at each other.
Nothing else mattered at that moment,
that brief moment, so brief,
that moment that was so overwhelming for each of them –
so overflowing with love and pain for each other.�
No words were needed.�
Their hearts reached out to each other in love and pain.
Each sharing the love, the hope, the promise of what this was all about in the midst of all the pain.
They were one at that moment.
Questions arise within me – When I gaze on Christ – what do I see in his eyes?
When Christ gazes into my eyes, what does he see deep within me?
When I gaze on Christ, do I recognize him – in others?
When I am with others that I live with, work with, have contact with, do I see the suffering Christ – the loving Christ? Do they see Christ within me?
Gazing into the face of Christ – the more I gaze, the more I see what love is and involves. Letting Christ gaze into my being, my soul, is like letting him tell me I am loved, and that makes all the difference in my life. Letting Christ gaze into my heart allows him to expose what he sees so that healing can take place and new life can emerge from there. All this without words – but with hearts touching. Gazing upon Christ shows me how to lose my life – so I can bring love and healing and comfort to others who yearn to find life, to find God, to experience God. And all the while I can have Mary, by my side, to guide me, because she knows so well what it is all about.
Gazing upon Christ carries us through life – through death –into life. What an amazing treasure we have deep within us.
-Sister Mary Beth Kornely, OSF