Sunday, February 26, 2012
Stations of the Cross ... Bringing them Home
During Lent our family prays the Stations of the Cross together every Sunday evening. While our parish holds a service Friday evenings, I have found that Fridays don't work well for us mainly because the boys have already done the Stations during school that day, and to turn around and make everyone go back that night makes for a bad case of the grumpies.
So we do them at home, often inviting my parents or some friends to join us, and I like to find ways to make it special, meaningful, and spiritual. As a result, praying the Stations of the Cross has become a Lenten tradition in which our entire family actively participates.
Our favorite way to pray the Stations involves placing fourteen votives across our mantle, with a black and white etching of each station taped below. Then, as we read a station we blow out the corresponding candle until, when the last one is blown out, we sit in darkness in silent contemplation. On Easter morning we gather to read the 15th station, and instead of blowing out a candle we light an Easter candle in celebration. You can read about our tradition here, as well as find a link for the etchings.
Last year I came across a Stations of the Cross that was straight out of the sixties. I mean, if there were such thing as a Stations of the Cross for hippies, that would have been it.
But something about that version spoke to me, so much so that I decided to update it, tweak it, and make it my own. This year we will be using it for our Sunday stations...
FIRST STATION: JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
Jesus, our brother, we stand in silence as you are condemned
by Pilate. Standing in silence is not new to us; we have stood in
silence as you went hungry by our tables, as you were orphaned
in our wars, as you walked powerless in our world. We stand in
silence because, like Pilate, we are bowed, broken, and afraid.
Give us the courage to speak in your behalf. Amen.
SECOND STATION: JESUS ACCEPTS HIS CROSS
Jesus, our brother, we watch you bear you cross and do not
understand. We are afraid of suffering. We flee sickness,
sorrow, and pain. But you carrying your cross says something
different about suffering. Help us to follow you even when we
do not understand. Amen.
THIRD STATION: JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME
Jesus, our brother, you have fallen with your cross. Everywhere
we see signs of weakness: in our Church, our nation, our world.
We see dissention, controversy, turmoil. We do not understand.
Our faith falters. Help us know and understand your strength
beneath the cross. Amen.
FOURTH STATION: JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER
Jesus, our brother, we are moved by Mary’s love for you. She
saw beneath your grime and agony. She saw your hidden beauty.
We know she does the same for us. We need to be understood
these days, and with Mary we are not alone. Amen.
FIFTH STATION: SIMON HELPS JESUS
Jesus, our brother, we have to admire Simon. He took up
your cross and followed you. He had so little doubt, so
little hesitation. We see you suffering all around us: in
the poor, the powerless, the misunderstood. We are often
hesitant to come to your aid. We find so many excuses.
Grant us the wisdom and the courage to help the least of
our brothers, and in doing so we help you. Amen.
SIXTH STATION: VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
Jesus, our brother, you rewarded Veronica for her courage.
You left your face upon her veil. Help us forget our fears
and reach out to serve others so you will leave the imprint
of your face upon our lives. Amen.
SEVENTH STATION: JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME
Jesus, our brother, you must have been discouraged by your
second fall. We, too, know discouragement. Our best efforts
sometimes end in failure, and life does not bring us peace. What
shall we do? We will imitate your example and try again …
even in the face of futility. Amen.
EIGHTH STATION: JESUS SPEAKS TO THE WOMEN
Jesus, our brother, in the midst of your sufferings you had
compassion for others and their pain. Too often we are so
self-centered. We want pity, kindness and understanding,
and yet, we are unwilling to do the same for others. Help us
forget ourselves. Awaken us to the pain of others. Amen.
NINTH STATION: JESUS FALL THE THIRD TIME
Jesus, our brother, your third fall is the beginning of your
death agony. Our world I filled with dying people: in war,
in famine, in hospitals, on highways. Many this day will die
alone. May our prayers be some comfort to the dying. Amen.
TENTH STATION: JESUS IS STRIPPED
Jesus, our brother, there is something fearful in thinking of
you stripped before the crowd. Even the privacy of clothing
is taken. You have given up everything for us. May we have
the grace to give of what we have to help our brothers and
sisters around us. Amen.
ELEVENTH STATION: JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
Jesus, our brother, the pain of those nails was unjust. Your hands
which did such good and your feet which walked on errands of
mercy are now punished. You received little gratitude for the good
you did. Help us to be like you: to give, and ask nothing in return.
TWELFTH STATION: JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
Jesus, our brother, you have the greatest love for us. What
can we say in the face of it? We can only try to imitate
you by responding to the brothers and sisters you have
given to us to love. Amen.
THIRTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN
FROM THE CROSS
Jesus, our brother, you are laid in the arms of your mother.
The agony is over, but resurrection is not yet. Your Father’s
plan requires patience. So it is with us. We reach moments
when only patience can carry us on. We know that something
better will come … but when? Help us find some of your patience
in our lives. Amen.
FOURTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB
Jesus, our brother, the end of life is so definite. We fear it
deep within. We do not want to die, but help us understand
that our lives are but a prelude to a new life … a life with
you and your father. Amen.