In the period of Lent, the weeks of fasting prior to Easter, there is a tradition to meditate upon the journey Christ took to Calvary. Often you will find them in Catholic churches since it’s also based on old traditions and legends of the Catholic Christianity. Meditating on the Stations of the Cross is helping the believers to come closer to the suffering and sacrifice endured by Jesus Christ.
Stations of the cross FIRST STATION: Jesus is condemned to death
How many times do we condemn others because we refuse to see the mark of God found within each human being that walks this earth? How many times do we forget that we are truly one family on this earth? Our faith and belief must never become an instrument of bigotry allowing us to judge others, forgetting all of Creation is good. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7 (NIV) God, help me to see you in all people, those I love and those I must learn to love. Amen. SECOND STATION: Jesus takes up his Cross
Are we willing to carry a burden, no matter the discomfort, for a neighbor during their time of need? We are called to be Jesus to all, doing as He did in all things. While some burdens are great, often our neighbors simply need someone who will give of themselves in the smallest of ways. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (ESV) God, help me to be like Jesus, never afraid to help another. Amen. THIRD STATION: Jesus falls for the first time
We all fall during times in our lives. The fall could be due to sin, mistakes made, or the unbearable pain we must often confront from outside forces. Regardless of cause, all God desires is that we stand again and continue on our journey. He does not rejoice over our fall but rather reaches out to grab us, as all good shepherds do. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) God, I often make mistakes and stumble from fear or lack of trust. Help me to always get up again and continue in a life journey of love. Amen. FOURTH STATION: Jesus meets his Mother
Many of us suffer pain from childhood events, family traumas, or feeling forsaken by those who were suppose to love us the most. God offers to us his love through all the saints, living and reposed, if we will take the time to know them. Jesus’ mother, Our Lady, is there for all who need to take refuge under divine motherly protection. “As a mother comforts her child, so will I, God, comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13 (NIV) God, help me to forgive those who have hurt me and may I never forget your love is endless. Amen. FIFTH STATION: Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrene to carry his Cross
Are we willing to stand next to another when all others have abandoned them? Will we remain present when our aid will not be appreciated by most of those who gaze on and we might even risk harming our own social standing? Christ was despised because he dared to take company with those who were on the fringes of society. “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” I John 3:17 (ESV) God, may I never allow my pride to stop me from helping another. Amen. SIXTH STATION: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
We are called to be God’s workers striving to wipe away the pained tears of all those who are placed before us in life. We do this blessed task with our love, time, touch and freely-given words of comfort. Do we heed this calling or do we hide when another shows forth pain? “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (ESV) God, help me to be a vessel of your joy, healing broken hearts with your love. Amen. SEVENTH STATION: Jesus falls for the second time
Were you there when a friend, neighbor or enemy stumbled in life? Did you gaze on with ridicule or lend a hand of love? We are called to be Christ’s Body in this world and become the servants of all as he first demonstrated to us in his sacrificial love. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” I Peter 2:21 (ESV) God, forgive for the time I have ignored another’s pain or even added to it by speaking against them instead of loving them. Amen. EIGHTH STATION: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
When we suffer pain in our own lives do we become isolated, forgetting those also hurting around us, or do we still reach out with God’s love in word and deed? Although it is not easy, we are too be as Christ and help others even when our own burden seems unbearable. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 (ESV) God, help me to always be a carrier of your divine love even in times when I would rather lash out or ignore those around me. Amen. NINTH STATION: Jesus falls for the third time
Often times we become so busy in our lives we become desensitized to those who continually endure pain around us and seem to fall so very often. We allow ourselves to believe that no one can make a difference for the “least of these” and therefore miss God who is in them. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will say, ‘Lord, when did we do these things? And the King will say, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ” Matthew 25:25-30, abbrev. God, help me to see those in need and meet that need as I am able. Amen. TENTH STATION: Jesus is stripped of his garments
As God’s people are we willing to be stripped of all hateful doctrines, segregated churches and false protections which do nothing to further the love of God and only exclude others? We are often guilty of hiding behind soiled garments because the act of becoming vulnerable is unsettling; however, it is necessary to minister God’s light and love. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) God, help me to never hide behind my religion as an excuse to hate another or withhold your love because I do not agree with someone else. Amen. ELEVENTH STATION: Jesus is nailed to the Cross
The cross was necessary for death to occur in order that new life might be revealed. How many times do we run from our personal moments of crucifixion because we fear the change they will bring us? If we run we miss our opportunity to become more like Christ, giving up our old ways and growing in Divine love and understanding. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (ESV) God, grant me the strength to accept when change is necessary and healthy. Amen. TWELFTH STATION: Jesus dies on the Cross
Death is never easy in our lives as human beings, we rightfully find it abrasive and scary. Whether it is the death of a loved one, a pet, or even a concept we strongly held we typically mourn during the loss. How do we handle these moments of death? Do we rest in God’s peace or allow our lives to be destroyed before healing arrives? Remember the cross is never the end. “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6b (NIV) God, help me to find peace in your love when it seems all is lost. Amen. THIRTEENTH STATION: Jesus is taken down from the Cross and given to his Mother
We all require times of being held after trauma. Do we allow such love or do we convince ourselves that we are fine? Each person has the opportunity to be healed of so much simply by the touch of another loving person. Do you find yourself worthy of being held in arms of love? “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV) God, help me to never forget that I am a beautiful person. Amen. FOURTEENTH STATION: Jesus is laid in the tomb
Oftentimes the darkest moments in life lead to the brightest moments of resurrected life! When darkness surrounds you keep your focus on the Holy One knowing that God will never forsake you even if all seems lost. The tombs we each experience in our lives need not be places of death but rather they can set the stage for resurrectional power to appear. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NLT) God, I do not always understand why things happen, some are your will and some are not, but may I always expect and seek after your resurrectional power. Amen. Meditating on the suffering Christ
When you look at the painting, be silent, keep watching for a while and meditate on each of the stations. You may think about the last commandment of Jesus Christ: “
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15 verse 12) When you see the love of Jesus, you will be able to start to love the other in the same way. How unbelievably tough it looks like. Prayer for Lent
In the time of Lent, it’s a good habit to realize we have to follow Christ. In his love, his self-sacrifice, his endurance, his patience, and his forgiveness. It can help you pray a prayer, like the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian who lived in the fourth century.
O Lord and Master of my life, do not permit the spirit of laziness and meddling, the lust for power and idle talk to come into me. Instead, grant me, your servant, the spirit of prudence, humility, patience and love. Yes, Lord and King, give me the power to see my own faults and not to judge my brother. For you are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
© Wiki Commons. Images are taken in the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Avranches, Manche, Normandie, France. By Tango7174