Jesus carries His Cross to the place of The Skull. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Sacrifice so he can embrace self-sacrifice and follow Jesus Christ and by pursuing the Virtue of Patience so he can endure the sorrows of his own personal cross.
See: Holy Week – The Passion of Our Lord – Sunday – Cycle C – Lk 22:14-23:56
After Jesus endures multiple interrogations and brutal torture in an all-night ordeal, to avoid a mass riot and neutralize the Jewish accusations of his treason, Pilate reluctantly grants the Jewish leadership’s vehement demand to crucify Jesus (1st Station of the Cross; Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering).
Jesus is extremely weakened due to sweating blood in Gethsemane, being paraded some two miles, multiple beatings, near-fatal scourging, blood loss, dehydration, lack of food and no sleep for over 24 hours. It is cold (Jn 18:18) and the Roman soldiers strip off the purple robe (Mk 15:17), leaving Jesus only His tunic and Crown of Thorns. Jesus bears His Cross (2nd Station), made of rough timber weighing several hundred pounds, dragging it uphill half a mile to the place of His Crucifixion. Severely exhausted, Jesus falls for the first time, bruising His knees (3rd Station) and then poignantly encounters the Blessed Virgin Mary (4th Station). The soldiers force Simon the Cyrene to help carry Jesus’ Cross (5th Station). After Veronica gives Him a cloth to wipe His bloodied face (6th Station), Jesus falls for a second time (7th Station) and cryptically reveals to some women the horrific destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (8th Station).
Approaching Golgotha (the place of the Skull) outside the city gates (Heb 13:12), Jesus falls a third time (9th Station). The ascent to Golgotha by Jesus is an astounding feat given His extensive wounds: the Shroud of Turin, perhaps Christ’s burial cloth, reveals the man of the Shroud had over 100 deep scourging wounds to the back, sides and legs, some 30 puncture wounds around his head, significant swelling around the eyes and the nose, blunt trauma bruises on the shoulders and back (impact of the Cross during His falls), deep abrasions on the knees and extensive blood loss.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be astounded by Jesus, Perfection of Fortitude: Perfection of Magnanimity, Jesus remains focused on the greatness of His Sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins; Perfection of Magnificence, Jesus takes up His Cross and carries it; Perfection of Courage, Jesus heroically goes to meet His agonizing death at Golgotha; Perfection of Perseverance, Jesus demonstrates astonishing human Strength and Stamina in His Via Dolorosa despite His extensive wounds and exhaustion; Perfection of Patience, Jesus, without complaint, endures the horrific physical suffering and the unfathomable mental suffering of the abandonment of His Apostles, the murderous evil of the Jewish leadership and mob, and the realization many will go to Hell, despite His infinite sacrifice.
Embrace self-sacrifice to follow Christ
Realize: After repeatedly revealing a man must “pick up your cross and follow Me” (Mt 16:24; Lk 9:23, 14:27), Jesus reveals the astounding sacrifice He calls men to when He carries His Cross.
Believe: Reflect upon Christ’s call to Pick up your Cross (CCC 618, 1435, 1642, 1816, 2427, 2012-2016).
Pray: Jesus, Crucified Christ, help me build the Virtue of Sacrifice (a part of Justice) so I turn from self-indulgence to self-denial, commit to follow and sacrifice for You, and heroically give of myself to build Your Kingdom.
Seek Patience to endure your cross
Realize: The Carrying of the Cross from the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary has traditionally been meditated upon to grow in Patience (a part of Fortitude).
Believe: Reflect upon the Virtue of Patience (CCC 227, 736, 1466, 1832, 2104, 2219, 2522, 2533, 2613, 2668, 2772).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Patience, help me build the Virtue of Patience (a part of Fortitude) so I can persevere with calmness and confidence in times of trial, stress and suffering.