Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Stations of the Cross

Friday evening I was surfing various websites, when I came across a blog posting by Kate Moos, who is the executive producer of the public radio program “Krista Tippett on Being.” She was sharing what she experienced when, on assignment in Jerusalem, she saw one of the stations of the Via Dolorosa, also known as the Way of Sorrows. The sight of the second station, Jesus Falls for the First Time, made her very sad as she dwelt on the suffering of Jesus Christ.

When the Franciscans received custody of various sacred sites in the Holy Land, they promoted the ancient practice of following of the Via Dolorosa, leading groups of pilgrims down the streets of Jerusalem, meditating of the journey of Jesus to Calvary. The friars wanted other Catholics to experience the Via Dolorosa, even if they could not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. So they created the Stations of the Cross, either around or within a parish church.

I remember the Stations of the Cross as a child, back then it was practiced very solemnly, with priest and altar boys in cassock and surplice, carrying a cross and two candles. They move very slowly to each station, prayers would be said, and a Latin hymn would be sung.

Now days, the Stations are still being practiced during the season of Lent, only now it may be laypersons leading the congregation in prayer. But it still stirs the heart, still makes one sad, as one contemplates what Jesus suffered as walked through the streets of Jerusalem for the last time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Of Memorials And Skateboarders

“Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which ‘bear the imprint of the Most High,’ and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.” (Article 18, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)

One has ambivalent feelings about skateboarders. One admires they courage and skill as they do fantastic maneuvers with their skateboards. On the other hand, they do their tricks anywhere there are stone benches, brick stairs, etc., becoming a bit of a nuisance. Stone gets marked up, bricks crack and crumble, but the skaters do not seem to care.

Now in Tuesday, March, 1 issue of the Boston Metro newspaper, there was a story of skateboarders using the 9/11 Memorial for New England victims, located in the Boston Public Gardens, for their maneuvers and tricks, defacing the Memorial. The sad part is that these teenagers show no remorse, even when the meaning of the Memorial was explained to them. It was just place for them to skate, and it was their right to skate there.

Property needs to be respected; it must neither be exploited nor abused. And this is especially true when it comes to memorials, as they help survivors remember those whom they have lost. This is especially true of this Memorial.