WHAT ARE THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS?
(Also called Way of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, or the special form of devotion connected with such representations.
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is very usual, when the devotion is performed publicly, to sing a stanza of the "Stabat Mater" while passing from one Station to the next.
The above description of Stations of the Cross was excerpted from THIS webpage.
Jesus Is Condemned To Death
Jesus Is Handed His Cross
Jesus Falls The First Time
Jesus Meets His Mother
Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
Veronica Wipes The Face of Jesus
Jesus' journey is at times brutal. He has entered into the terrible experiences of rejection and injustice. He has been whipped and beaten. His face shows the signs of his solidarity with all who have ever suffered injustice and vile, abusive treatment. He encounters a compassionate, loving disciple who wipes the vulgar spit and mocking blood from his face. On her veil, she discovers the image of his face - his gift to her. And, for us to contemplate forever. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. What does the face of Jesus hold for me? What do I see, as I look deeply into his face? Can I try to comfort the agony and pain? Can I embrace him, with his face so covered with his passion? The veil I behold is a true icon of his gift of himself. This is for me. In wonder and awe, I behold his face now wiped clean, and see the depth of his suffering in solidarity with all flesh. I say what I can say, to express my gratitude.
Jesus Falls The Second Time
Even with help, Jesus stumbles and falls to the ground. In deep exhaustion he stares at the earth beneath him. "Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return." He has seen death before. Now he can feel the profound weakness of disability and disease and aging itself, there on his knees, under the weight of his cross. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I contemplate Jesus brought very low. As I behold him there on the ground, with all the agony taking its toll on him, I let my heart go out to him. I store up this image in my heart, knowing that I will never feel alone in my suffering or in any diminishment, with this image of Jesus on the ground before me. This is for me, so I express the feelings in my heart.
Jesus Meets The Women of Jerusalem
The women of Jerusalem and their children come out to comfort and thank him. They had seen his compassion and welcomed his words of healing and freedom. He had broken all kinds of social and religious conventions to connect with them. Now they are here to support him. He feels their grief. He suffers, knowing he can't remain to help them more in this life. He knows the mystery of facing the separation of death. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I look at their faces. So full of love and gratitude, loss and fear. I contemplate what words might have passed between them. I remember all his tender, compassionate, merciful love for me. I place myself with these women and children to support him. This is for me. So, I let this scene stir up deep gratitude.
Jesus Falls the Third Time
This last fall is devastating. Jesus can barely proceed to the end. Summoning all this remaining strength, supported by his inner trust in God, Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross. His executioners look at him as a broken man, pathetic yet paying a price he deserves. They help him up so he can make it up the hill of crucifixion. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I pause to contemplate him there on the ground. The brokenness that makes me whole. The surrender that gives me life. I pause to experience and receive how completely he loves me. He is indeed completely poured out for me. As I treasure this gifted experience, I express what is in my heart.
Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments. Part of the indignity is to be crucified naked. Jesus is completely stripped of any pride The wounds on his back are torn open again. He experiences the ultimate vulnerability of the defenseless. No shield or security protects him. As they stare at him, his eyes turn to heaven. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I pause to watch the stripping. I contemplate all that is taken from him. And, how he faces his death with such nakedness. I reflect upon how much of himself he has revealed to me. Holding nothing back. As I look at him in his humility, I know that this is for me, and I share my feelings of gratitude.
Jesus Is Nailed To His Cross
Jesus Is Nailed To His Cross. Huge nails are hammered through his hands and feet to fix him on the cross. He is bleeding much more seriously now. As the cross is lifted up, the weight of his life hangs on those nails. Every time he struggles to pull himself up to breathe, his ability to cling to life slips away. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I make myself watch the nails being driven through his flesh. And I watch his face. I contemplate the completeness of his entry into our lives. Can there be any pain or agony he would not understand? This is for me. Nailed to a cross to forever proclaim liberty to captives. What sorrow and gratitude fill my heart!
Jesus Dies On His Cross
Jesus Dies On His Cross. Between two criminals, a mocking title above his head, with only Mary and John and Mary Magdalene to support him, Jesus surrenders his last breath: "Into your hands I commend my spirit." We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I stand there, at the foot of the cross, side by side with all of humanity, and behold our salvation. I carefully watch and listen to all that is said. And then, I experience the one who gives life pass from life to death, for me. I console Mary and John and Mary. And let them console me. This is the hour to express the deepest feelings within me.
Jesus Is Removed From His Cross
Jesus is Removed From His Cross. What tender mourning! Jesus' lifeless body lies in his mother's arms. He has truly died. A profound sacrifice, complete. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I behold this scene at the foot of the cross. I contemplate touching, caressing his body. I remember all his hands have touched, all who have been blessed by his warm embrace. I pause to let it soak in. He knows the mystery of death. He has fallen into God's hands. For me. That I might love as I have been loved. I pour out my heart to the God of all mercies.
Jesus Is Laid In His Tomb
Jesus Is Buried In His Tomb. They take the body of Jesus to its resting place. The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death. In this final act of surrender, who would have imagined this tomb would soon be empty or that Jesus would show himself alive to his disciples, or that they would recognize him in the breaking of bread? Oh, that our hearts might burn within us, as we realize how he had to suffer and die so as to enter into his glory, for us. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I pause to contemplate this act of closure on his life. In solidarity with all humanity, his body is taken to its grave. I stand for a moment outside this tomb. This final journey of his life has shown me the meaning of his gift of himself for me. This tomb represents every tomb I stand before with fear, in defeat, struggling to believe it could ever be empty. In the fullness of faith in the Risen One, given by his own Holy Spirit, I express my gratitude for this way of the cross. I ask Jesus, whose hands, feet and side still bear the signs of this journey, to grant me the graces I need to take up my cross to be a servant of his own mission.