“Stations of the Cross”
By: Tommy Petrola
The Stations of the Cross is one of my favorite prayers. Praise and worship is upbeat and fast. The Rosary is patient and methodical. But stations… the stations are sorrowful, slow and sweet. It is not the same as the pain of removing a bandage quickly. Rather, it is an easy, purging that refocuses my eyes not on the wonder of God, not on His Majesty, but on His love. God has given me many things, but I have been slow to receive His patience. The Stations are a prayer of patience and of love. Often I become too caught up in how to pray- the exact order of it, or the proper words said in proper order on the proper occasion. The Stations are God taking His own time with me, loving me each step on the road to Calvary.
These are the 14 Stations of the Cross, traditionally. While many are based on Scripture, others are taken from Tradition. If you want, here is a link to a Scriptural Stations of the Cross, which were created and led by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday in 1991: http://www.usccb.org/nab/stations.htm .
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus receives the cross
3. The first fall
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes Jesus’ face with her veil
7. The second fall
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. The third fall
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus’ body removed from the cross (Pieta)
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb
The Way of the Cross is also called the Via Dolorosa, or the way of suffering. We mediate on this suffering from several vantage points.
When praying the stations I put myself in the scene with Christ. He is bloody, exhausted and trudging towards execution. I can feel the heaviness in the air and the pain of the man before me? How well do I know this man? Do I suffer like this for Him, as He suffered like this for me? Why does He not give up? Why does He, the Almighty, the one who witnessed creation, the one whom the whole universe- past, present and future- is but a passing thought, allow this? Why? Am I worth it? Do I equal even a drop of this most precious blood that spills freely onto the dirt?
The song Via Dolorosa to helps me in this mediation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBQpzVgeWjc&feature=fvst .
Second, I stand with the angry crowd. I am enraged by Christ. He has said things I did not hear. He has commanded me what I will never do. He dares to claim Himself the Son of God. He was supposed to be our hero, throwing off the Roman oppression! But all He did was say “Love!” I do not want to hear love! I want to hear “Fight! Conquer!” I thought He was our Messiah. But see, he goes to be crucified. He disappointed me.
I relate to the song, How Deep the Father’s Love For Us, to help me understand. There is one line in particular: “Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYV7hpD9JTI
Third, I place myself along side the Apostle John and the Blessed Mother. We see our Son, our Savior, our Brother. All He did was say “Love!” I witnessed Him heal the sick, raise the dead, calm the storm and change water to wine. And oh, how they hate him for it. That is my family there! That is my God! Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, her heart pierced by seven swords, weeps openly and without restraint. John wishes to say something of comfort, but his own grief and horror has left him speechless.
The song, Were You There (When the Crucified My Lord), is also another good song to use to meditate with. I like it possibly more than the other songs I have listed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-2BnpR6Wsc
There are many ways to pray the Stations of the Cross. These are not official meditations or anything so pious. These are just some things I like to think about whilst I pray the Stations. I hope you enjoy them.