The Order of Saint Benedict

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Lectio Divina

The Way of the Cross

by Jean Debruynne


First Station

They wanted nothing more,
they had everything.
They had the truth,
they had the law,
they had certainty,
they had Moses and the Prophets,
the Pope, the Bishops and the Priests,
they had the Mass,
they had the Church ...

All they were missing was God.
They had just bought him for thirty coins.

God is their prisoner.
The prisoner of their definitions
the prisoner of their laws
of their book and their religion.

They condemn God to death.
They damn him
they throw him into Hell ...
The fools!
That is just where he dreamt of going!

God had had enough of cathedrals
of the reverences of religion
of the formality of ritual
of the tawdry gilt of ceremonies.

God only felt at ease
with the poor
with the damned
the condemned, the prisoners
the immigrants
the exiles
the rejects
the lame of life
the paralytics of misfortune
the lepers of luck ...
God only came into the world
to be alongside those whom the world rejects.

They thought they could humble God
by condemning him to a man's death,
but it was precisely in showing himself
as one condemned to death
as the ally of the vanquished, the beaten
the scorned and the tortured,
it was precisely in showing himself in his poverty
that God refused
to be part of their order.

From now on, the man put to death
will always be the fiery image of God.


Second Station

Peter, the rock, is alone,
because rocks are always alone.

Peter disowns the man,
it is only the man he denies.

From now on, to deny the man
will always be to deny God.

God is no longer an idea
a principle, a concept.

By disowning him
Peter gave life to God.
God is no longer a notion
but a face with eyes full of tears.

God is no longer hidden from our wants
God no longer stays remote in his shelter
God can be hurt.

On that night, Peter started to see.
To be perfect
God had chosen to let himself be denied.

They sentence him to the cross.

Like an illiterate,
God signs with a cross.


Third Station

God is forced out of the town
because the town is their paradise.
Like Adam
God in his turn is thrown out
condemned to go away, to quit,
to leave.
Like Adam, God is condemned to die.

God on his way
in search of far away
there to rejoin Adam.

From now on, can God only be God
because he is absent?

They conduct him to their borders
but God can only be a rebel:
his very eternity a disobedience.
They accuse him of sowing disorder
They accuse him of being God.

God falls to the ground,
embracing his new homeland.
God falls like a dead leaf
God on the ground like a discarded newspaper.
God falls into the uncertain
the temporary
events
accidents
thus filling the emptiness
left by his word.

God falls
and a man rises.

God falls:
it is the sign of his authority.


Fourth Station

Jesus meets Mary
God passes his mother.

She brought him to birth.
She is here.
Come here
to bear him up to death.

It is very true
that death is a birth
and that we are never finished with birth.


Fifth Station

There is Simon
A man!
Requisition him!

It is a man who helps God,
not an angel, an archangel or a seraph.
A man who comes to the aid of God.

God has become capable of needing.
God calls on tenderness.
Simon, the saviour of God
is not a priest, not an archdeacon
not a theologian, not a liturgist
not a saint.
He's just a passer-by,
the first on the scene.

Simon, giving the aid of his shoulder
has just shown
that man cannot be destroyed
but except for that same aid
man's destruction is limitless.

There we see the face of God.


Sixth Station

Showing himself in the hands of Veronica,
giving this woman
the trace of his face
God shows his nearness in the face of the stranger.

God takes off his mask
but in doing so adopts another;
for, once we have looked
on the face of God
never, never again
can we recognize the stranger among us.


Seventh Station

God falls a second time.

God falls like rain
on the desert dunes;
the stones of the prairies break into flower.
The silent becomes a garden.
God falls like the sunlight
in the springtime.

Fallen for the second time,
God becomes not our world,
but our desire.


Eighth Station

They came to see a conqueror
and here is a lamb led to the slaughterhouse.
They expected a bronzed
dynamic body
with fine muscles and a smile like steel
and they find a common convict.
They dreamed of a messiah
and find a worm.
They came to acclaim a miracle,
but this time
the water does not change to wine:
it is blood which is poured out.

Ninth Station

For the third time
the Highest of the High
has fallen to the depths.

God is not playing at being man
like an actor in a play.

The body of God is not a disguise
The body of God is not a second home.

God falls for the third time.

God is his body.
His skin has become the deepest part of him
his flesh a Word at risk,
his body is the state of his spirit.

God is reaching the limit.
And it is thus
that God is God.
In taking flesh
God chose to take himself
the way of the stranger.


Tenth Station

God is naked.
Naked like a baby being born
like the new-born
on the threshold of his mothers womb:
This is another birth.

God is naked.
He will take nothing from the world,
he brought nothing with him
of our goods, our profits
our little concerns.
God is going as naked as he came.

Squatting, the soldiers
throw dice for
God's clothes.
They will be relics
the mortal remains of God.
They will attract
just the things from which God fled:
They will raise some enormous basilica,
but God is already elsewhere:
the clothes are empty.


Eleventh Station

For the nails
God must open his hands
which sowed the seeds;
God must raise his feet
which walked on the water.

Twelfth Station

The cry is empty,
the unknown without a solution,
and nothing ....

Silence.

God has accomplished the miracle of death.


From Chemin de Croix, Jean Debruynne, Desclee, 1982. Translation by David Aldred, Good Friday, 1996.

 


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