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.

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