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Stations of the Cross Inspired by the SVP: The First and Second Stations

Walk alongside Jesus in his passion and Cross and be prepared to walk with compassion alongside our suffering brothers and sisters, with these meditations on the Way of the Cross in light of the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. The First and Second Stations are included in this blog.

We’ll be praying our way through Lent two Stations of the Cross at the time, using Stations of the Cross: In Light of the Work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. These stations, inspired by the work of SVP, uniquely help us to walk not only with Jesus in His Passion and Cross, but also alongside our suffering brothers and sisters. We’ll begin by praying the first and second Stations of the Cross: Jesus is condemned to death, and Jesus takes up his cross.

1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus stands before Pontius Pilate. Pilate thinks that he stands higher than Jesus, but this does not mean that he has right on his side. It only means that he has power. It is the power that has been given to him by his country’s military occupation of another country. He feels uneasy before Jesus. Maybe Pilate knows that he is about to make a wrong decision. Perhaps, deep down inside himself, he has the sense that this moment is much bigger than two men facing each other. Pilate has power, nothing else.

Sometimes we are faced with unjust attacks. Often this is a case of someone with power wanting to exercise that power over us. Jesus, the Lord of Life, stood seemingly powerless before the might of the Roman army. ‘You would have no power if it had not been given to you,’ he said to Pilate. If we can unite our own suffering to the suffering of Jesus, then it may help us in our work with others in their suffering and powerlessness. When we can see our life as a gift from God it helps us to see that even our suffering can become sacred suffering. The prophet Isaiah: ‘Ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried.’

I love you Jesus
my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended you.
Never permit me
to separate myself from you again.
Grant that I may love you always
and then do with me what you will.

 Holy Mother, pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Saviour crucified.

2nd Station: Jesus takes up his cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

 When Jesus takes up the cross it is the action of an innocent man who has been condemned to death. He had been betrayed and scourged. Now he was carrying the cross on which he would be brutally put to death. Even for a guilty person it would have been an unjust punishment. If someone is guilty of a crime, the State has the right to take away that person’s liberty, their ability to move freely in society. The State, however, does not have the right to take away a person’s dignity. This attack on Jesus was an assault on the human person.

At a meeting of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, its founder, Frédéric Ozanam, spoke of the political unrest under which France was living at the time. He highlighted the plight of thousands of poor people: in addition to the danger to life, because of political fighting, which they had to endure like everyone else, they also had the danger to life which came from their poverty. Frédéric declared that people were not created poor by God.1 He criticised the parliament for not doing enough to respond to the situation.2 In this way, Frédéric was issuing a call for social justice. But it was not a party-political statement. He was showing us it was as the Church that we needed to speak up for the poor.

I love you Jesus
my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart
for having offended you.
Never permit me
to separate myself from you again.
Grant that I may love you always
and then do with me what you will.

 Holy Mother, pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Saviour crucified.


These Stations are extracted from our book Stations of the Cross: In Light of the Work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Walk alongside Jesus in his passion and Cross and be prepared to walk with compassion alongside our suffering brothers and sisters, with these meditations on the Way of the Cross in light of the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

Pray these Stations at church, alone or with your parish, by ordering your copy of Stations of the Cross: In Light of the Work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.