Why The Stations of The Cross?
After the events of the Crucifixion and Resurrection were accomplished, pilgrims from throughout the ancient world started to stream into Jerusalem to walk the actual steps of our Lord to commemorate His love and passion for our salvation. There is a tradition that Mary daily walked His path to Calvary with tears as she contemplated the suffering of her son.
In the Middle Ages, Jerusalem was under the control of the Saracens and pilgrimages stopped. Therefore, churches began to erect their own replicas of the Stations of the Cross to commemorate His passion. This devotion spread throughout Europe and to this day most, if not all , Catholic Churches have the stations of the cross displayed in the sanctuary for the faithful to pray them. During Lent, many Churches pray the stations of the cross each Friday. I have come to love this beautiful spiritual practice and it has really helped me to appreciate all that Christ has suffered for me. There are 14 stations and each has a prayer and meditation. I have a copy of these that I read at home and keep on my Palm Pilot so I can pray the stations at other times throughout the year.
In addition to this Lenten practice, I never realized that the Catholic Church has always held every Friday(Not just Good Friday) as a day to remember his death and suffering on the Cross. Hence, I have developed the habit of either avoiding meat and/or spending more time in prayer on a Friday as a way of honoring Jesus and drawing closer to Him through small acts of self denial.
Do we pray the stations of the Cross to gain access to heaven or perform a work to make ourselves worthy of His passion and death? God forbid, we could never gain heaven without the redeeming passion of Christ! But why not remember this amazing event of salvation history more than once a year on Good Friday? Why not let the events of the passion seep into our soul and transform us on a regular basis. As a protestant, I gave thought to the passion particularly around Easter, but now as a Catholic I am daily brought to the passion of Christ in Mass and each Friday remember His death and each Sunday, His resurrection! (One more time, if you are new to this blog, Catholics don't believe Christ is recrucified in each Mass, but his sacrifice is re-presented as the early church practiced )
So why the stations?
"The purpose of the stations of the cross is to remind us of the effects of sin and the salvation won for us through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. As we meditate on the Stations, we are moved to renounce sin and to accept Jesus as our Savior. "
Jesus Carries His Heavy Cross
| V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.|
R. Because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on His shoulders thought of us, and for us offered to His Father the death that He was about to undergo.
LET US PRAY
My most beloved Jesus, I embrace all the tribulations You have destined for me until death. I beseech You, by the merits of the pain You did suffer in carrying Your Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation. I love You, Jesus my love; I repent of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant the I may love You always; and then do with me what You will.
Thank you Jesus for giving us the stations as a way to grow closer to you by walking with you through your passion and death.
Check out the stations here.
Check out Mystery of Suffering Blog for her Stations