Caryll Houselander

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 14 Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb by Caryll Houselander

March 31, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Every birth of Christ into this world is in one sense a parting from his mother.  It must be so.  Now he is lifted from her arms by his disciples and made ready for his burial. His burial is like his birth.  When he was born his mother was in a strange city, she was not in Nazareth in the little home that she had prepared for him.  She had with her some swaddling bands to wrap him in; the beautiful little garments she had been weaving for him were left at home.  She did not know, when she and Joseph set out for Bethlehem, that years would pass before they could return, or that the wooden cradle that Joseph had made for him with such love and care, such scrupulous craftsmanship, would never be used by him [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 13 Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross by Caryll Houselander

March 28, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  While the soldiers divided Christ’s garments among them and cast lots for his seamless cloak, Mary, his mother, she who had woven that beautiful cloak “from the top throughout,” came with other holy women and stood at the foot of the cross.  “So it was, then, that the soldiers occupied themselves; and meanwhile his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen, had taken their stand beside the cross of Jesus,” (John 19:24-25). She had followed him through the narrow streets of Jerusalem as one of the crowd.  He did not speak to her in the crowd as he did to the women who wept over him; neither did he then give her a visible sign of his love as he did to Saint Veronica when he [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 12 Jesus Dies On The Cross by Caryll Houselander

March 27, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  At last the road to Calvary is trodden, and now it lies behind Jesus, who has gone up the mountainside for the last time, and been stripped of his garments and lifted up on the cross.  Now from the cross, before his eyes are darkened, he can look back down that road which is indeed an image of the road through life of all those who will come after him. On that road he has known those things which every Christian, everyone who follows him, must know too on the journey between birth and death.  He has known pain, exhaustion, apparent failure, shame.  But it has not only been tragedy.  He has known, too, the blessed dependence of a man upon other men; he has been helped by them and accepted their help; he has [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 11 Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross by Caryll Houselander

March 23, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  There was an hour of terrible darkness at the beginning of his Passion, when Christ was overwhelmed by the anticipation of the suffering he was to go through, when the vision of the evil for which he was to bear the shame overwhelmed him, and the utter loneliness in which he must face and accept the anguish of spirit that seemed to be beyond human endurance crushed him to the ground.  Those whom he loved, for whom he was going to accept this dreadful suffering and death, could not stay awake to share his anguish with him, to give him even the support of their sympathy. Three times on the way to Calvary his body failed  him.  Even that tremendous will of love which enabled him to accept the Passion after his [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 10 Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments by Caryll Houselander

March 20, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Once more Jesus has been helped to his feet, in order that he may suffer to the end.  Once more the cross has been put upon his shoulders and he struggles on, still dragging it up to the summit of Calvary. All around him, filling his ears, filling his mind, half deafening him, the cries of the crowd break over him like the waves of a sea in storm, a sea in which it would seem impossible not to be drowned.  They are cries of derision, of hatred, of disappointment, of despair, despair with a note of accusation against him; cries of contempt; cries which could, and would, drown the soul of any man who loved less than he loves, who knew less of human nature than he knows. These people, who are disillusioned, [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 9 Jesus Falls The Third Time by Caryll Houselander

March 16, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  At last the pitiful procession has reached the foot of Calvary.  Once more Christ is to go up into a mountain, this time for the last time. Here he is at last at the end of the Via Crucis, at the foot of the mountain, and with him Simon of Cyrene, the stranger who is sharing the weight of his cross; the two thieves who were led out with him, one on each side; and surrounding them, holding the crowds back with their spears and goading the condemned men to the last lap, the steep climb up the hillside, the soldiers of the army of occupation, unwittingly playing their mysterious part in the redemption of the world by carrying out what is for them simply routine duty, obeying orders without question, today as on [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 8 Jesus Speaks To The Women Of Jerusalem by Caryll Houselander

March 13, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Now Christ is followed by a great multitude of people, among them women who mourn over him, who weep loud for him.  A strange thing happens.  He turns to them and says, “It is not for me that you should weep, daughters of Jerusalem; you should weep for yourselves and for your children”: strange because at first sight it seems that he, who accepts every straw of compassion with pathetic gratitude, refuses the brave, open compassion of these women!  It is, or seems to be, a contradiction; it is not like him to refuse anything from anyone. We have seen how until now, and indeed all through his passion, he has accepted the compassion of anyone at all who would give it to him, accepting even the forced helped [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 7 Jesus Falls The Second Time by Caryll Houselander

March 8, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Hardly has Veronica wiped the dirt from his face than Christ is down in the dust again.  He has fallen under the heavy load of the cross! How different it is in reality to the picture on the wall!  There Christ seem rather to be genuflecting under the cross than falling under it; he bows his head, certainly, but hardly a hair is out of place; his robes, the snowy white tunic and the scarlet cloak, are still clean and are not torn. The reality, that which happened two thousand years ago and the reality which happens in the lives of those in whom Christ lives today, is not like that.  Christ is thrown down onto the ground, his face in the dust; he is unable to get up until others come forward to heave the cross [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 6 Veronica Wipes The Face Of Jesus by Caryll Houselander

March 6, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Now, while Simon labors under the cross with Jesus, while Mary, his mother, follows behind him in the crowd, someone – a woman – forces her way through the rabble, even through the guard of Roman soldiers surrounding him, and comes face-to-face with Christ.  She is driven by compassion. The face that the Lord turns to her is terrible to look on; it is difficult to believe that it is the face of the Son of God.  It is difficult even for those who have once seen his face shining with the brilliance of a fire of snow upon Tabor to believe in him now.  Two of them have fled from him, just as those others have done though they have seen him command the wind and the waves and raise the dead. Now that face of [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 5 Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross by Caryll Houselander

March 1, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Jesus has come face-to-face with his mother and gone on his way. Now his mother is following him as one of the crowd.  How often she, who of all people is dear to him, has been among the crowd following him, glad even to catch a glimpse of him and to hear his voice in the distance! He is laboring under his cross.  It is too much for him to carry alone.  Everyone can see that, but no one offers to help him.  Someone, then, must be forced.  The soldiers seize upon Simon of Cyrene.  It has, or he thinks it has, nothing to do with him.  He was simply about his own business in Jerusalem.  It seems to him mere chance that he met this tragic procession – an unlucky chance for him, but there it is!  He is [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 4 Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother by Caryll Houselander

February 27, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Jesus is on his feet again, once more he starts on his way.  As he lifts his bowed head and looks at the road he is to tread, he comes face to face with his mother. It is not by chance that she meets him at this  moment, just as he falls and struggles to his feet again.  She sees that which no one else in that crowd sees, the tiny child taking his first unsteady steps and falling on the garden path in Nazareth.  She is there beside him, holding her breath, longing to put out her hands to hold him, to prevent the fall, but she lets him go alone, the little child whose independence she must respect, her son who must learn to walk on his own feet, and to walk away from her. For his mother, those first steps of [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 3 Jesus Falls The First Time by Caryll Houselander

February 22, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  At the very first step of the way to Calvary, Jesus stumbles and falls.  He is down on his knees in the dirt! What has happened to this man?  This man who had just now declared himself to be king of a spiritual world with legions of angels at his command, who has been known to hold back the overwhelming force of the storm and still the raging seas by an act of his will, who by a mere touch of his hand caused a living fig tree to wither, and has fallen now under the purely material weight of the cross he so lately welcomed! Only a few moments ago he held out his arms to receive it, seemingly with joy.  Now, at the very first shock of its weight on his shoulder, he has fallen! The crowd thronging outside the [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 2 Jesus Receives His Cross by Caryll Houselander

February 20, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  They have put his own garments on him again, and Jesus comes out from the judgment hall of Pilate to receive his cross. He comes to it gladly!  This is a strange thing, for the cross is a symbol of shame, and it is to be his deathbed.  Already he sees the very shape of his death in the wide-spread arms.  From this moment he will be inseparable from it, until he dies on it.  He will labor and struggle under the weight of it until the end comes.  Yet Christ welcomes the cross.  He embraces it, he takes it into his arms, as a man takes that which he loves into his arms.  He lays his beautiful hands on it tenderly, those strong hands of a carpenter that are so familiar with the touch of wood. This is not the [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: 1 Jesus Is Condemned To Death by Caryll Houselander

February 15, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  “Behold the man!” He is a man of sorrows.  He is covered in bruises and stripes.  He is made a laughing stock.  He is crowned with a crown of thorns.  A reed is put into his hand for a scepter, a tattered soldier’s cloak is thrown over his naked shoulders.  His eyes are blind-folded.  His face is covered with spittings.  He is bound like a dangerous criminal.  His own people have chosen a murderer before him.  His friends have forsaken him.  The kiss of treason burns on his cheek. “He has no comeliness whereby we shall desire him!” “He is a worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the people.” And he is condemned to death. “Away with him!  Away with him!  Crucify [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Via Crucis by Caryll Houselander

February 13, 2018

From The Way of the Cross  Three o’clock on a grey afternoon.  Outside, a steady drizzle of rain; inside the church, an odd motley of people. A smartly dressed woman, side by side with one who is shabby and threadbare.  A boy and girl who appear to be in love.  A very old man, so bowed that he is permanently in an attitude of adoration.  A stalwart young soldier whose polished buttons glitter like gems in the candlelight.  A couple of students, shabbily but elegantly dressed in corduroys and bright scarves, rubbing shoulders with a gaunt, round-shouldered man who looks like a tramp.  A sprinkle of small children.  And behind them all, as if he felt himself to be the modern Publican, though there is no reason why he should, a [...]