The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa (Sorrowful Way), is a popular Lenten devotion. This time we are asked to call to mind the Passion of Christ, that is, the journey Jesus took from his condemnation to his death.
THE HISTORY OF THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
The Way of the Cross has its origins with the Blessed Mother. It is said that she, who pondered all the mysteries of Christ in her heart, retraced the steps of her Son’s Passion and the significant events that happened along the way, keeping in her memory, and for the memory of the Church, the sacred path on which the Son of God trod to accomplish our redemption.
Later in her life, when she was no longer living near Jerusalem, it is said that Mary continued this devotional practice by creating a similar outdoor path near her home with stone markers, along which she would walk, pray, and meditate on those things that happened to her Son on his Sorrowful Way.
THE FOURTEEN STATIONS OF THE CROSS
- Jesus is condemned to death
- Jesus takes up his Cross
- Jesus falls for the first time
- The Virgin Mary meets Jesus
- Simon of Cyrene is made to help Jesus bear the Cross
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Jesus falls for the second time
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus falls for the third time
- Jesus is stripped of his garments
- Jesus is crucified
- Jesus dies on the Cross
- Jesus is taken down from the Cross and laid in the arms of Mary
- Jesus is laid in the tomb
“But especially I commend earnest mental prayer to you, more particularly such as bears upon the Life and Passion of our Lord. If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be moulded on His. He is the Light of the world; therefore in Him, by Him, and for Him we shall be enlightened and illuminated.” -St. Francis de Sales