The Stations of the Cross
As stated earlier, the Stations of the Cross call to mind specific scenes from Jesus’ Passion and Death. They are the following:
- Jesus Is Condemned to Death.
- 2. Jesus Takes Up His Cross
- Jesus Falls the First Time
- Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother
- 5. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
- Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
- Jesus Falls a Second Time
- Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
- Jesus Falls the Third Time
- Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
- Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
- Jesus Dies on the Cross
- Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross
- Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb.
The most popular version is the one developed by St Alphonsus Liguori, who includes a preparatory prayer, as well as prayers and meditations for each station. Also incorporated in each station is a verse of the “Stabat Mater” (a Catholic hymn associated with the Way of the Cross, which originated in the 13th century).
Various versions have also evolved in modern times, among them a Gospel-based version approved by Pope Paul VI in 1975, and another version written by Pope John Paul II.
“The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15569a.htm).
Archbishop Piero Marini writes, “Each step of Jesus is one step closer to the accomplishment of the plan of salvation…. Every new suffering of Jesus is a seed of future joy for humanity, every jeer, a premise of glory. Along that way of suffering Jesus’ every meeting — with friends, with enemies, with the indifferent — is a chance for one final lesson, one last look, one supreme offer of reconciliation and peace…in every episode which happened on that Way lies hidden a mystery of grace, a gesture of His love for [the Church].” (http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/documents/ns_lit_doc_via-crucis_en.html)
Part of Your Journey
The 14 Stations of the Cross are one of the well-loved devotions of the Church, most especially during the Lenten season. They provide enriching insights and a depth of wisdom to help devotees understand even more how the Savior sacrificed Himself for their sake, and how they, too, can offer more of themselves to Him.
Make the Stations of the Cross part of your Lenten journey this year, that you may draw closer to the heart of the Suffering Servant.
On its history —
On the Way of the Cross by St Alphonsus Liguori —