During the season of Lent, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, invites us to enter more fully into the spirit of sacrifice, renewal, and repentance. We can embrace this invitation in various ways such as by praying the “Stations of the Cross”.
The publication “Catholic Online” stated that “The Stations of the Cross are a 14-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation. The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station. At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day.” It further states that “The Stations of the Cross are commonly found in churches as a series of 14 small icons or images.” They are prayed “…especially on Good Friday, the day of the year upon which the events actually occurred”.
As reported in the publication, “The Catholic World Report”, Pope Francis reflected on the “Stations of the Cross” and stated, “With the Cross, Jesus unites himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenseless…on the Cross, Jesus is united with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs, or simply for the color of their skin.” He further indicated that “The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: ‘Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you! I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life.’”
As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, we are encouraged to pray the “Stations” on Good Friday. We can use “Stations” booklets provided by various Catholic publications. As we deal with the fluid nature of the Coronavirus, and as we have been advised to remain at home if possible, please remember that our parishioners can pray the “Stations” in the privacy of their own residence. This is an especially important consideration for those above the age of 60 who have pre-existing medical conditions or ongoing illnesses or for those with underlying health concerns.
I hope that we will prayerfully consider praying the “Stations” and avail ourselves of abundant spiritual graces.