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The Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem - Reflection

The 9th Station:
HERE Jesus falls the third time

  

He is almost there. Breathless and speachless, Jesus moves on. Every now and then he is pushed by the guarding soldiers. Every now and then someone shouts out from the crowd. They are already there.

They had prepared the necessary tools for the crucifixion. He can already hear the screams of the two other prisoners who had left the fortress with him. They are crucifying them.

The soldiers are running around keeping the people at bay. Others are guarding the northern side of Calvary lest someone might fall in the garden below. The Jewish guards and the members of the Sanhedrin together with some elders of the people are there too. They wanted to make sure that this impostor gets what he merits.

And again he stumbles. They laugh at him and mock him. The soldiers push him. But he does not give up.

He rises again, steadies himself, walks the last metres separating him from his final destination - the Place of the Skull - Golgotha (Jn 19,17) and softly prays: "The Lord is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (Ps. 27,1-4)

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, here I am wondering what has happened to all those with whom you had shared your life during the ministry. I am wondering why Peter denied you, why Judas betrayed you, why all the others left you, except for John. I am wondering why Peter had to hear the cock's crow to realise he was mistaken. Was it not enough to hear your voice warning him?

And while Judas despaired, Peter repented. Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, looking at your disciples I realize how weak I happen to be and how many a time I left you too, sometimes acting cowardly like Peter to avoid risking my "reputation". Other times I went even further and betrayed your love!

All this, Lord, you carried on your shoulders to help me rise again. Please Lord, fill my heart with strength so that whenever I feel like falling I realise you want me to stand upright in your path!



The Site


A coptic monk sitting next to the column marking the Ninth Station
Continuing the pilgrimage, you enter Market Road and keep moving south. A noisy and busy street, sometimes too busy to let you reflect about the events of the Lord's Passion. You pass among hanging souvenirs, small shops displaying all kind of items, typical of Eastern bazaars. Embedded between shop windows there are isolated pillars which recall the porticos which ran along both sides of the Cardo Maximus. Another turn on the right leads up a large stairway and a winding road to the Ninth Station. The shaft of a pillar encased in the wall of the Coptic Patriarchate marks here the third fall of Jesus, situated behind the apse of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
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A view of the interior of the Coptic
Church of St. Anthony next to the Ninth Station

The spot of Jesus' third fall as he neared Calvary was originally located in the courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre and it was marked by a stone with a cross engraved on it. The interruption of the Way of the Cross in the 16th century seems to have erased the memory of the original site. Later on, the current site was designated as the Ninth Station, in the immediate vicinity of the Church of Saint Anthony.
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The view of the terrace of the
Holy Sepulchre from the Ninth Station

From the Ninth Station the view stretches over the terrace with the protruding cupola of the underground Chapel of St Helen and which covers part of the area of the Constantinian Martyrium. In the 12th century the canons of the Holy Sepulchre had their cloister at this spot. Today this is the residence of Ethiopian Monks.
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Another view of the interior of the Coptic Church.
Another view of the Church of the Coptic Church of St. Anthony near the Ninth Station.
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© copyright 2001. Reflections, prayers and descriptive text
by John Abela ofm edited by Michael Olteanu
based on research by Albert Storm (SBF - Jerusalem)
Hi-Res pictures prepared by Michael Olteanu
Display pictures prepared by John Abela ofm



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