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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Stations of the Cross

- Crucifixion from the Stations of the Cross at The Cloisters in New York City. The inscription reads, "Through the Sign of the Holy Cross, from our enemies, our God frees us." - Wikipedia

We have provided an online prayer experience, The Stations of the Cross, to help with this part of the contemplation on the passion. Perhaps we can do one or two "stations" a day, to enter more deeply into the journey of Jesus into intimacy with our suffering. The grace we desire is to experience a growing compassion with Jesus, and to know most intimately, that this is all an experience of his love, for me. ... Creighton's Online Retreat

Although the devotion of the Stations of the Cross is usually done on Good Friday, the Creighton online retreat has us do it this week. I thought I'd try to learn a little more about the Stations of the Cross before I actually do the contemplation. Here below is some of what I scavenged from Wikipedia ....


The Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis; also called the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or simply, The Way) refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion ..... The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death ..... The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:

1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus receives the cross
3. Jesus falls the first time~
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil
7. Jesus falls the second time~
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the Third time~
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body removed from the cross (Pieta)
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

- Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem. Photograph taken between 1898 and 1946. - Wikipedia

The Stations of the Cross are images of stories about the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. Most of the stories which make up the Stations were drawn from Scripture, and others, such as Saint Veronica wiping the face of Jesus, were taken from tradition. The route traditionally held to have been taken by Jesus to his death at Calvary (Golgotha) in Jerusalem is called the Via Dolorosa or the Sorrowful Way. A very early tradition developed in the Holy Land to follow the Via Dolorosa, stopping and contemplating the events of Christ's Passion at sites or Stations where tradition held that they took place. European Christians on Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands brought back the custom of remembering the Passion through various devotions as early as the 4th century ..... most trace the beginning of the specific devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi or his followers in the thirteenth century during the peak of Franciscan devotion to the crucified Jesus. During times when the Muslim occupation of the Holy Lands made Christian pilgrimage especially difficult or dangerous, the Stations were erected in the local churches as a way of bringing Jerusalem to the people ...


Creighton University has a page for the Stations of the Cross here, and they give a compelling answer to the question of why one should consider doing this emotionally difficult contemplation ...

The most important reason for reviving the practice of making the Stations of the Cross is that it is a powerful way to contemplate, and enter into, the mystery of Jesus' gift of himself to us. It takes the reflection on the passion out of my head, and makes it an imaginative exercise. It involves my senses, my experience and my emotions. To the extent I come to experience the love of Jesus for me, to that extent the gratitude I feel will be deep. Deep gratitude leads to real generosity and a desire to love as I have been loved.

* The alternative Stations of the Cross celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991.

* Images for the Stations of the Cross by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Liberation Theologist Adolfo Perez Esquivel

- The Stone of the Anointing, believed to be the place where Jesus' body was prepared for burial. It is the 13th Station of the Cross. - Wikipedia


Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Excellent info on the Stations Crystal. We do the Stations on all of the Fridays' during Lent. We've been able to get different groups in the parish to lead them each week, one for children, the knights and CWL do one, our Liturgy and Spiritual Education committees ech do one and my RCIA group is leading the one for this Friday. Right from the time of my own conversion the Stations have been a favorite reflection of mine.

Have a good Holy Week Crystal.

2:07 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Cura,

I've never been to the Stations at church ... it must have a different feeling when done with other people. Thanks - I hope you have a good Holy Week too :-)

2:25 PM  

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