Thursday, February 28, 2008

Walking the Way of the Cross

One of my very favorite Catholic devotions is making the Stations of the Cross. That was not always so. As a little girl I didn’t like to “go” to Stations. The liturgy was long and mysterious and there were a lot of ups and downs – genuflecting! But oh, as I have grown in my relationship with Jesus I have grown in my love of the Stations.

The stations are stops along the way of Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion. In the early Church pilgrims who would visit the Holy Land would stop and pray at the various sites of Jesus’ journey to Calvary. When the Franciscans took over the care of the Holy Land sites the devotion became more formalized.

Traditionally the Stations of the Cross are prayed on Fridays during Lent. However we can meditate on them at any time and at places other than in Church. In Catholic Churches the 14 Stations are pictures or plaques hung along the wall. Sometimes retreat houses have outdoor stations. The goal is to “walk” along with Jesus as he makes his way to His Crucifixion.

There are many versions of the Stations, especially on the Internet. I have included two links here for you to try: http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/Stations/face.htm
http://www.usccb.org/nab/stations.htm if you are interested. Or perhaps you have your own prayer booklet. We can also walk the Stations meditating on the scenes and saying prayers that emanate from our own heart.

Once, while praying the Stations, I took a look at my own life and recognized some of the more painful memories there. It occured to me that they were my very own stations of the cross. We can join our stations with Jesus’ stations, and as we walk with him be aware that, without realizing it, he has been with us all along, helping us to carry our cross!

We need to remember that with the Passion – the Stations – comes the Resurrection! As we continue into the fourth week of Lent let us remember that we are on our way to Easter!

2 comments:

the mother of this lot said...

The Stations have always upset me, Sister, right from me being a little girl.

I'm going tonight though - it can be my penance for today!

alyson.thomas said...

"stumbling" across an outdoors Stations was one of the steps on my journey to becoming Catholic-it was a very moving experience for me so I am particularly fond of outdoor stations!
I read in the works of Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich that Mary introduced the original Staions. After she moved to Ephesus with John she set up a series of white stones, each marking an event on her son's path to Calvary, and each placed the exact number of steps apart. She had walked his journey so often in the days following his crucifixion that she had memorized the distance between each spot! I love to think that I am following in her footsteps!