Friday, March 24, 2006
Taking a Walk through Jerusalem  

It is a traditional devotional practice to pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. For instance, in my parish every Friday during Lent people gather to pray the Stations of the Cross, and then they stay to eat a meatless soup dinner. However, the Stations of the Cross can be prayed anywhere and at any time. In Archbishop Raymond L. Burke's weekly column, he comments on this beautiful devotion. He notes that this prayer began as a way of pilgrimage for those who could not travel to Jerusalem. Instead of actually traveling to Jerusalem to go to the sites of Christ's Passion, we accompany Christ in His Passion with our prayers and meditation on the events surrounding His steps to Calvary and His crucifixion.
The Stations or Way of the Cross is a fundamental Lenten prayer. Through the praying of the Stations, we accompany our Lord along the way of His cruel Passion and Death. As we meditate briefly at each of the stops or stations along the way to Calvary, we ponder what it meant for our Lord Jesus to take our human flesh, to suffer and to die for love of us. The Stations of the Cross open up for us, in a most concrete manner, the immensity of God's love for us. It is helpful to recall that this venerable Lenten prayer has its origin in the pilgrimage of Christians to Jerusalem, in order to walk, in prayer, the very way by which our Lord won our salvation. Since many Christians are unable to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Church developed the Way of the Cross over the centuries so that all Christians can mystically make pilgrimage to the places of our Lord's suffering and dying.

Praying the Stations means identifying ourselves with Christ in His suffering and dying. As we stop to pray at each station, we see the reflection of our own life in Christ. The Way of the Cross is our way of life, our way to eternal life. In a particular way, this most venerated prayer of the Church helps us to understand and embrace the mystery of suffering in our lives, as our Lord Jesus embraced the mystery of His Passion and Death. Meditating on the individual station, we pray that we may follow Christ by pouring out our lives in selfless love of God and of our neighbor.
I would heartily agree with Archbishop Burke's point regarding suffering and the Stations of the Cross. In my own experience, I am best able to accept suffering when I link it to Christ's willingness to suffer for sinners. The mystery of suffering becomes more bearable when I consider how He, Who truly was innocent, was treated so contemptuously. Yet He bore it all for the sake of others. It was not that He needed to suffer. Not even for Himself. He chose to accept suffering for the sake of others, even others who He knew would reject Him and His love. After a consideration of such love, I am better able to accept the small acts of suffering that I encounter. And even in the case where the suffering is much greater, I am comforted by knowing that He shares this burden with me.

Posted by David at 7:13 AM  |  Comments (0)  | Link


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