Step 26: Crucifixion and Death

  

Each prayer session will be structured as it follows:

We go to our place of prayer quiet down a short while and begin with some prayer. After the opening prayer and asking the grace we want to receive in this step then read one of the given Scripture stories then we spend some time with silent prayer. At the end we jot down a diary about the experience of this meditation and share with our companion about it. Finish always with a short prayer. Each session should take at least half an hour and not more than one and the half hour. We remain with the material as long as we feel that it is fruitful in insights and feelings and add more prayer sessions to prolong the time spent with this step, which can take usually one or two weeks if we do it in our daily life with one prayer session a day. The “Orientation” below gives help for how to arrange the sessions of this Step.

Don’t forget to do the "Daily Examination of Consciousness"

The practice of Examination will be a great help that you need to use during this retreat.

 

 

Opening Prayer:

We place ourselves in the presence of God and pray that everything we do would serve the good for us and for all.

 

Asking what we want:

In the contemplations of the Third Phase we pray for the grace of compassion, shame and sorrow which are “unitive” graces, bringing us in union with Christ also in suffering, in the sense as we saw it in the “Introduction”.

 

Orientation:

«Following the opening prayer this exercise consists of the visualization in a global way of the history involved and the historical place it happened, the prayer asking what we want and six points of the contemplation and it ends with a prayerful conversation. For this time of the Exercises the companions are already familiar with the Ignatian contemplation and gained the capability to be enter and stay in the scene spiritually with relative ease. They can do this contemplation with their rhythm and quite flexibly. Similarly to the precedent Phases it is possible to divide the exercises in more prayer sessions taking one point each time or pray through the six points. If the companions decide to do it in six sessions, it is advisable to repeat it in one additional session in the complete form…

 

In this Step we read and contemplate Jesus as he carries the cross to Golgotha his crucifixion and death. The companions arrange the Scripture passages in prayer sessions as it is best for them.

We propose to complement the scriptural contemplation of this Step with picture meditation. This form of prayer means that while we are looking for a prolonged time at a chosen image we let the meditated picture “speak” to us. Some use also background music, but it is not necessary.

 

The companions can use any picture of the crucified Jesus for this prayer. Several such pictures are available also online, so you can pray at your computer screen or you might want to print out these pictures for prayer.

 

In our Photos on our Group page in the album “Christ on the Cross” we give three pictures. One is the drawing of St. John of the Cross showing the crucified Christ. The next is the painting in front of which St. Rita of Cascia prayed when received the mystical gift of a wound on her forehead identifying her with the suffering of Christ from the crown of thorns (this gift is called stigmatization). The third famous representation is painted by St. Alphonsus Liguori (you need to be signed up to the Group in order to access the Photos)

 

On this page you can see these representations: usually picture meditation is without reading, but we chose to accompany it with a prayer, a hymn of which first lines are attributed to St. Francis Xavier. This hymn can be used also separately as aid to conclude our prayer session.

 

During the Third Phase the companions need to read time to time the “Guidelines with regard of Eating” and use some changes in their ambient to support the effectiveness of the exercises.  (For this read [204-207] “Notes on how to proceed” after the end of the second exercise in [200-203] “In the Garden of Gethsemane”  )

 

Some might feel to return sometimes on the meditation on the "Three Degrees of the Love of God", and if the companions desire the third degree they continue to ask for it in the final threefold prayer.

 

Scripture passages:

 

You might choose on of the four Gospel passages and use the others for repetitions

1. Jn 19: 16-37

2. Mt 27:32-56

3. Lk 23:26-56

4. Mk 15:21-41

 

Final Prayers:

At the end of each prayer session there is a prayerful dialog with Jesus Christ, which the companions might want to do as silent prayer and share with each other later what desire is born in their hearts and ask for it together. Some might be compelled to be finish with the threefold prayer to accept the way of Christ as in the “Three Types” [156], and in the “Two Standards” [147], or in the prayer of “paradoxical intention” described in [157]. (You find [157] toward the end of the "Three Types" meditation).