She was born in the Garden of Gethsemane and introduced to the pilgrimage that is the 'via Dolorosa'; and so the agony began. Pontius was called, and together he and the others preyed over her.
Father we present to you this child, praying that you will receive her into the fellowship of Christ's Church.
Her soul saved from the clutches of the damned they now recited the seventh and final sacrament; the Anointing of the sick.
Through this holy unction and His own most tender mercy may the Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed.
I am sin itself, for I live despite your prayers.
Now aware of her sin she was burdened with the Passion of the Christ and bore it like no babe should. The cross was dragged through the muddied shame of Jerusalem, a constant symbol of the taint she inflicted upon them all.
Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been many years since I last confessed.
Adorned in the seven colours of the sacred sacraments, she was given the Holy Eucharist so that her body may liken itself to Christ's.
Do you believe that you are a sinner?
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
But she wasn't.
She was afflicted with a vengeful scourge time and time again. The bleeding wounds continued to weep throughout her journey causing the wood to slip from her grasp.
Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod he shall not die. Thou shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
She fell. She wanted to die, but did not. Instead she was thrice denied.
I am not her friend.
She is not my family.
I will not heal you.
She trod forth and they invited her to be re-born – without sin, without fault, without deformity. One only had to believe.
Do you receive Jesus, the Son of God, in your heart for the salvation of your soul? Let us now repent your sins.
She fell backwards under the water, but came out dirty. Verily she came upon her mother who was flanked by the Pharisees of the church. The woman had been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and the men now placed their hands on the ailing Mary.
I lay my hands upon you and cast out the devil. I cast out the demons and abominations that dwell within your heart and command that you be healed in the name of the Lord.
The healing hands also threw the child to the ground, but nought could remove the crown of shame entangled in her hair; her sins too great to cast out.
A sibling was thrust forward and made to share the burden of blame.
Lord we have sinned against you. Merciful Lord, hear our prayer.
The Lord did not afford mercy and smote their mother.
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
The Lord did not speak.
The new sin clung to the cross like a gnarled barnacle from the sea. The girl now struggled under the weight of her lost salvation.
Let us pray. Father in Heaven, please forgive their lack of strength and deliver the soul of their mother into Your divine light.
An aunt stepped forth and with her veil removed the sweat and blood from the child's brow. A semblance of comfort washed over her; but the cross of shame cut into her shoulders and pressed her spine to the earth.
Have mercy on me God, in your kindness and your compassion, blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
But the aunt was the only on to show compassion. All others, even God, had forsaken the child.
The evangelist reminded her of the Glory of the Jehovah. He piped a merry tune, but forgot the rats. Instead he took all the mums and dads. All the while the crippled, diseased and maimed children trailed behind, their heels nipped and taunted by the Devil.
Be on your guard against false prophets; they come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are really like wild wolves.
A waning faith, cultivated by children's services began to take hold. Their Earthly father reminded them of their duty to God.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Still the weight of the cross bore down on the child. It made her tired and sleepy. She looked towards the promised hands of healing, and prayed for purification. He placed his open palm upon her brow.
Devil, I command thee, in the name of the God Almighty, rise up and leave this child. Raise your hands in prayer. Hallelujah, glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I command you to be healed.
She fell for the second time, but was not healed.
The women of Jerusalem watched without compassion, their weeping and wailing was not for her.
Raise your hands to the glory of God. We pray to you, the God Almighty. Praise be your name.
She tried to speak, but they were deaf to her voice. They thought one so young did not have knowledge, and chose to ignore the cross strapped to her back.
We speak in tongues dear Lord, that you may hear our prayer. We wash in the blood of the Lamb, and sing your praises.
She did not understand their voices and knew this as a sin.
Therefore tongues are a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers.
The ground became rocky and treacherous to trek. The mountains loomed ahead. It was a scene that beguiled all except the child who bore the cross.
I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.
She knew that she did not want to go to the same place as them, and this knowledge was a sin.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
The rocks slipped under her feet, and she fell for the third time.
She was stripped of her clothes, poked and prodded until all her faults were proclaimed.
Let us pray.
She knew this was not the way to heal, but had no voice. She spoke in a different tongue, one that could not be heard. She did not understand why God did not bless her.
They would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.
The cross of shame tore the skin from her back as she climbed the worn path to Golgotha. The crowd continued to jeer and spit. Verily she heard a new voice.
He who speaks in tongues edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
And they took her hands and feet and nailed them to the cross. Their prayers shamed her more; the non-believer.
I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
The skies trembled in fear and grew dark, blinding the child. She had thirst, and they proffered her the bitter gall and mocked as she would not drink.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
And they said,
'No unclean thing can inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.'
The child looked at her flesh and saw that it was putrid and stained with woe, and she became afraid.
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
And while she hung there on the cross, she did hear them sing out praises to the Lord. She did repent again, to no avail, instead she cried out,
'It is finished.'
Verily, the Passion she had carried died there nailed to the cross, and she recalled the words of Pilate.
'Why what evil hath she done?'
It came to pass that in death, the Passion became separate from the child. The sinewed limbs of the cross were no longer a suffering that had to be endured. She ripped her hands and feet from the wood and climbed down under the veil of dark.
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion?
A new voice. Yet this question could not be answered because all she had learnt told her that she was not deserving of these promises.
Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
And so he did answer her, to show that the sins were not hers, but those of the faithful, who had misread his words and used them to blame.
In all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the scriptures.
Still it was hard to not feel the blush of shame knowing that her body had not yet become whole.
She journeyed forth to a cave of stone and lay to rest her soul. The lore closed off the entrance and none could pass.
'I am not sin,' sayeth the child.
And so she began to heal.
(Via Dolorosa – Way of Sorrows/ Way of Pain)
NB: You may have noticed that the italicised parts are quite religious. They are a mixture of actual elements of a Catholic Mass or ritual, Prayers or questions often recited in the myriad religious groups I have been involved in, or direct references from the Bible. I will take the time to footnote each direct quote in due course, but please note that I am not trying to pass of parts of the Bible (etc) as my own writing. My writing is, of course, the placing together of ideas, and the use of the references to make a critical comment and prompt social thought on the nature of religion.