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 engage in prayer, almsgiving, and fasting if we are physically able, and also avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In addition, we may embrace this invitation in various other ways such as by praying the “Stations of the Cross”. As reported in the publication, “The Catholic World Report”, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to pray the “Stations” and stated, “The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own.”
The publication “Catholic Online” noted 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”. Recently at the end of the Stations of the Cross, Pope Francis said the following prayer emphasizing repentance and reconciliation:
Take us by the hand, like a Father,
that we may not turn away from You.
Turn our rebellious hearts to Your heart, that we may learn to follow plans of peace.
Make enemies shake hands,
that they may taste mutual forgiveness.
Disarm the hand raised by one brother against the other,
that where there is hatred, peace may flourish.
As we reflect on this prayer, we may note that each Friday during Lent we are invited to come together as a faith community to pray the “Stations of the Cross.” We begin at 7 pm with a brief reflection by one of our deacons. The reflection focuses on a theme that addresses our Lenten challenges and concerns. “Stations” then follow at 7:15 pm.
Praying the “Stations” can provide us with an opportunity to avail ourselves of abundant spiritual graces. Commemorating the Passion of Jesus through the “Stations” can help us to more clearly witness our faith and assist us on our spiritual journey.
We are strongly encouraged to prayerfully consider making the “Stations” an integral part of our Lenten observance.