This week the Christian Church observes the Via Dolorosa, Jesus’ last days and hours that are depicted in the 14 Stations. During this week, we walk the sorrowful way towards Resurrection in Easter.
The origin of the stations are a bit hazy, some claims it originates from Mary, Jesus’ mother, some say that the stations were created by the Catholic Church in the 15th century. It does not really matter. With the right focus any ritual can be used to support one on the Path Home to God. The simpler, the better.
So, I asked one of my teachers how I might be able to use the practices and rituals of the ‘main stream’ churches for my benefits, Via Dolorosa and Easter in particular. He gave me some hints on the meanings of the Stations that made me ponder over the possible meanings of the stations and how I could use them to support myself personally.
The Bible describes The Stations as Jesus’ last moments between his condemnation and placement into the tomb. These moments seem to me as different aspects of human life between birth and death. With this in mind, I chose to contemplate on Life itself, from my birth until my inevitable demise. As I was observing the stations I started to see my humanity with all its challenges and blessings reflected in them.
Station One can be read as the Soul’s birth into the human form. The Soul is condemned (sentenced) to walk the Via Dolorosa with its twists and turns. No human life is without sorrows and blessings. Stations between two and thirteen show us the nature of human existence. As we carry our cross (karma) throughout our life; we fail, we are punished and we are also blessed to meet kind humans who help us and console us in our pain. The last station is the end of human life, the body is released back to its origin: from dust to dust.
According to the scriptures, 3 days after Jesus was placed into the tomb, he was resurrected. In my understanding, death is not the end, it is merely a new beginning. The Soul is released from its earthly shell, from its prison or grave. On Easter Day, however, we are reminded once again of our divine nature. We rejoice in the Resurrection because we realize that the Day of our Freedom, God’s Promise, is true. We are all sons (daughters) of God who will eventually be resurrected and allowed back Home with God.
Easter reminds us that we are promised eternal life. This week, I will walk the Via Dolorosa with understanding and acceptance. I am willing to see my life in the human form on Earth as part of a Greater Journey. I will open myself to accept all its ups and downs. At the same time, I will hold God’s Promise close to my Heart with gratefulness: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.” John 5:25-26, NKJV.