READING THE SIGNS: A Via Crucis for the Quincentenary of Christianity in the Philippines

READING THE SIGNS

A Via Crucis for the quincentenary of Christianity in the Philippines 

 

by Jason A. Baguia 

First station: Jesus is condemned to death 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for being unjust judges. 

 

We offend against justice whenever we rashly condemn our brother or sister as bobotante, dilawan, bayaran, pinklawan, Dutertard, rebelde or any other character that fits our criteria of who to hate. 

 

We behave like the crowd calling for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus whenever we applaud the killing without due process of those suspected of involvement in the illegal drugs trade, the extermination instead of rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse disorders, the incarceration of people based on false accusations and testimonies. 

 

Like Pilate, we commit the sin of indifference when we do nothing in the face of the silencing and deprivation of livelihood of journalists whose critical works test our political leaders’ quality of stewardship. 

 

Like the priests who plotted to kill Jesus, we become complicit in the culture of death when we do nothing to honor the memory of those who were murdered, tortured, arrested without warrant, or forcibly disappeared during the dark moments of our history. 

 

We dishonor them and the grief of the loved ones they left behind who continue to suffer the pain of loss. 

 

We add insult to injury when we support the persons and political structures behind the claim that those days of corruption and carnage were glorious years for us all. 

 

Lord Jesus, unjustly condemned, give us the grace of right judgment. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Stabat Mater Dolorosa,

Iuxta Crucem Lacrimosa,

Dum Pendebat Filius. 

 

Second station: Jesus takes up his Cross 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for sinning against fortitude. 

 

We do so when we look for an easy way; when we believe every video that we watch, every text message that we receive, every website and social media content that we read and make them the basis of our political decisions without going through the painstaking work, without taking up the cross of checking whether what we consume are factual. 

 

Lord Jesus, you took up your Cross. Give us the grace of strength to carry ours. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Cuius animam gementem,

contristatam et dolentem

pertransivit gladius. 

 

Third station: Jesus falls the first time 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for participating in corruption. 

 

We do this whenever we accept money from political parties and candidates in exchange for our votes. 

 

We also participate in corruption when we encourage politicians to act as if their projects such as buildings, bridges, and others are their property for which we should treat them as political idols to support at all costs, even when they fail us or our laws. 

 

Lord Jesus, you fell under the weight of our sins. Give us the grace of seeing you rise in others through the virtues you grant us. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

O quam tristis et afflícta

fuit illa benedícta,

mater Unigéniti! 

 

Fourth station: Jesus meets his Sorrowful Mother 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for promoting abuses of our motherland and of our mother, the Church in our life as a nation. 

 

We forget that democracy is all about sharing in the responsibilities of nation-building and instead construct pseudo-families headed by political dynasties in which we repose power generation after generation even when more qualified people are at hand to nominate and help elect to public office. 

 

Although we are baptized, we attack the Church, especially our bishops, clergy, and religious, when they try to help us discern how best to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our political life. 

 

We criticize them out of a mistaken zeal for the separation of civil and religious affairs, instead of recognizing that since we are priests, prophets, and kings, being incorporated by baptism into Jesus’ mystical body that is the Church, our citizenship should be a demonstration of the vitality of the Church in the world, our vote should show that we are followers of Jesus. 

 

Lord Jesus, Man of Sorrows, Son of Our Lady of Sorrows, give us the grace of being like her, a steadfast consoler. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Quae mœrébat et dolébat,

pia Mater, dum vidébat

nati pœnas ínclyti. 

 

Fifth station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for abandoning instead of helping one another in our life in common. 

 

Simon helped Jesus carry the Cross. In contrast, we are often content to throw away our crosses. 

 

When helping boys and girls grow into good men and women turns complicated, we leave them where unchristian sexual practices and politics may drag them. 

 

When marriages become difficult, we look for the separation or divorce button. 

 

When friends take a different political position, we unfriend them, violating the eternity of friendship instead of engaging in loving dialogue and the hard work of teaching and learning from one another. 

 

When crime and addiction are rampant, we reach for the lethal injection instead of questioning how our failure to care, our failure to love opened doorways that entice people to the darkness. 

 

Lord Jesus, you accepted the help of Simon of Cyrene. Give us the grace of being generous to those who need our help, especially when we do not feel like helping. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Quis est homo qui non fleret,

matrem Christi si vidéret

in tanto supplício? 

 

Sixth station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for being ungrateful for the help that come our way and for failing to be compassionate like Veronica. 

 

To be grateful is to be forever accessible. Our Lord, grateful for the compassion of Veronica who wiped his face, imprinted the image of his face onto her veil. Through this icon, He is always accessible to us. 

 

For the gifts of life and health that are ours with the help of our parents, guardians, and healthcare workers, we fail to be grateful when we abuse food and drink, neglect good hygiene and exercise, refuse to be vaccinated when necessary, thus becoming prone to sickness, becoming inaccessible. 

 

For the gift of public trust through election or appointment to public office, we fail to be grateful when we break our campaign promises and out of fear use the privileges of our office to avoid being held accountable, thus losing transparency and becoming inaccessible. 

 

Lord Jesus, the imprint of your face on Veronica’s veil shows that nothing we give you goes without your thanksgiving. Give us the grace of living each moment as an act of thanksgiving to You. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Quis non posset contristári

Christi Matrem contemplári

doléntem cum Fílio? 

 

Seventh station: Jesus falls a second time 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for our sins against peace, for our violence in word and deed, and for the silence and stone-heartedness by which we become accomplices to violence. 

 

Even as we pray for the upliftment of the poor, we turn a blind eye when teachers,  activists, and others who serve our brothers and sisters in the peripheries are killed in cold blood. 

 

We assume without evidence that victims of so-called street justice are evil persons who must be purged from society. 

 

We no longer know how to pray: If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, who would survive? 

 

We continue to support politicians who use guns and intimidation to corner votes. 

 

We do not register outrage against internet trolls who wish harm such as rape on their targets. 

 

Lord Jesus, you fall under the weight of our violence. Give us the grace of lifting you up in the men, women, and children of today by being peacemakers. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Pro peccátis suæ gentis

vidit Jésum in torméntis,

et flagéllis súbditum. 

 

Eighth station: Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for preferring a faith that only comforts instead of a Christianity that prunes us for growth. 

 

The women of Jerusalem meant well in shedding tears for the Nazarene. But He directed them to cry for themselves and their children. 

 

We need not cry for the suffering Lord. But if we remain without tears for ourselves and our children, it could be because we are content to watch the Lord bear his Cross without ourselves having any plan of taking up our very own. 

 

Lord Jesus, you console the women of Jerusalem by showing them the full measure of the crosses they and their children have to bear. Give us the grace of accompanying others in our household of faith in truth as well as in love. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Vidit suum dulcem Natum

moriéndo desolátum,

dum emísit spíritum. 

 

Ninth station: Jesus falls a third time 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for the sin of selfish ambition. In our worship of the false god of upward mobility, we sacrifice the gifts of which God made us stewards. Jesus falls under the weight of the Cross when we use him as a mere stepping stone to our imagined better lives. In this illusory elevated life, we cut off people who need us, refuse to have and raise children, run away from the hard work of reconciliation in the face of conflict, see our brothers and sisters in the human family as others instead of fellows, as competitors instead of friends and loved ones. We seem to be social climbing but in reality become anti-social. We put ourselves at the center of existence in the mad rush for upward mobility. But what life can possibly be better without him and without vulnerable, loving hearts? 

 

Lord Jesus, give us the grace of lifting you up in our brothers and sisters instead of crushing them and You under our 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Eja, Mater, fons amóris

me sentíre vim dolóris

fac, ut tecum lúgeam. 

 

Tenth station: Jesus is stripped of his clothes 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for the times we violate the dignity of the human person and abuse human sexuality. 

 

In Jesus violently undressed, we see that there is a God-given dignity in the human person that nothing and no one can take away. In his nakedness, we behold the carefree God-wardness of the Son of God and of everyone who becomes son and daughter of God in the Holy Spirit. His nakedness reveals—in contrast to the nakedness of Adam and Eve that shames, and this shameful nakedness persists in human trafficking, especially of children, in prostitution, in pornography, in sexual relations within and outside marriage that are rooted in the reduction of soul-infused bodies into nothing but playthings, in indifference to victims of sexual abuse, in the weaponization of sexual sins, real or otherwise, to assassinate people’s characters, in the cult of the body that pervades the media and the internet, where inhuman standards of beauty are glamorized to the point of desensitizing audiences to the holy beauty of those who look different, sick, old, poor, or dying, to the point of a decadence in which looks become a criterion for withholding love and excluding those who suffer. 

 

Lord Jesus, clothed by Mary in the manger and revealing of your divinity amid your nakedness on the Way of the Cross, give us the grace of looking at one another with the Father’s gaze. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Fac, ut árdeat cor meum

in amándo Christum Deum

ut sibi compláceam. 

 

Eleventh station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for our refusal to know well enough to be responsible for our choices and for our lovelessness when we try to share the truth. Our Lord prays for the absolution of our sins because we know not what we do, but we often continue to crucify him by refusing the Spirit’s gift of knowledge–of his word, of the teachings of the Church, of his inspirations, of the commandments that He has written in our hearts. We would rather be motivated by flawed human opinions, gossip, and rumor as well as by fake news and other forms of information disorders.Yet when we sit and judge one another, we are merciless and assert that ignorance of the law excuses no one. In our instances of feigned ignorance of spiritual truths and moral law and in our rash condemnations of one another, we drive the nails into our Lord’s hands and feet with greater force. 

 

Lord Jesus, give us the grace of living courageously in your light and of patiently shepherding one another as we strive to follow you in this valley of tears. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Sancta Mater, istud agas,

crucifíxi fige plagas

cordi meo válide. 

 

Twelfth station: Jesus dies on the Cross 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for living as if we are outside our heavenly Father’s hands. In his final moments on the Cross, our Lord commended his Spirit into our Father’s hands. How habitually do we commend our spirits to God amid the difficulties of daily life, when we are called to the practice of dying to ourselves? Do we not, instead of looking to our Father for the courage to die to and to give ourselves, panic and seek escape by means of riches, honors, power, and pleasures? The poor and the stranger do not have places at our tables. Our enemies do not have places in our benedictions and prayers. We sacrifice as long as our sacrificing is manageable and within our comfort zone. We love only when return on investment is guaranteed. We take pains to ensure that we are constantly entertained and forget that if the seed does not fall to the ground, it will not bear fruit. 

 

Lord Jesus, grant us the grace of loving to the very end the ones You entrust to us, so that therein experiencing the plenitude of God’s love for ourselves and for all, we may overcome any temptation to leave our Father’s house. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Tui Nati vulneráti,

tam dignáti pro me pati,

pœnas mecum dívide. 

 

Thirteenth station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for our lack of compassion. Instead of comforting the sick, we speculate that they may be cursed by God. Instead helping those who offer genuine help, we insinuate that they are politicking. Instead of mourning and praying for those who die and sympathizing with the bereaved, we inquire intrusively into the manner of death or blacken the memory of the one who passed. Instead of standing up for victims of injustice, we tell them that their plight serves them right. We make excuses not to give workers a living wage and security of tenure. We refuse to give second chances to children in conflict with the law. Like a mob, we let our passions run high and do not think twice about supporting capital punishment or restrictions on basic human rights. 

 

Lord Jesus, grant us the grace of being merciful, like Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, our Sorrowful Mother, and Saint John your beloved disciple who all took care of your body in deathyy so that mercy may be shown to us. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Fac me tecum pie flere,

crucifíxo condolére,

donec ego víxero. 

 

Fourteenth station: Jesus is laid in the tomb 

 

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

 

We beg for forgiveness for settling for hopes that are smaller than the hope of the Resurrection, for giving in to cynicism and despair. For everything that we do without considering its eternal implications, for every action that we do without love, for behaviors that make those who are with us doubt the truthfulness of the Church and the existence of God, tempting them to believe that God is dead, for living as if there are areas of existence such as private life or the state that are outside God’s jurisdiction and therefore exempted from subjection to the law of love, Lord, have mercy. 

 

Lord Jesus, give us the grace of the conviction that nothing in the universe is beyond the touch of your love, for even when your body lay in the tomb’s deathly silence, you were harrowing Hell and proclaiming liberty to Adam and Eve and to every soul who waited on you. 

 

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

sanctificetur nomen tuum;

adveniat regnum tuum;

fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a malo. 

 

Juxta Crucem tecum stare,

et me tibi sociáre

in planctu desídero.

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