Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross — also known as the Way of the Cross, Way of Sorrows and Via Dolorosa — is one of the most popular Roman Catholic devotions. It consists of fourteen events that took place during Jesus’ Passion.

History

Do you know where this tradition comes from? (I didn’t but discovered it while researching this post!)

After Jesus’ death, the Blessed Mother walked the path of His Passion daily. When she moved from the Holy Land, she created a similar outdoor route near her home. She used stones to mark each event and prayed while she walked.

Once Christianity became legal in the year 312, the “stations” were marked along the original route in Jerusalem. For centuries, people traveled to the Holy Land to honor these sacred locations.

The Franciscans — the religious order responsible for protecting the sacred places in the Holy Land — began to spread the devotion in Europe so others could participate in the spiritual pilgrimage.

Many began to follow the example of Mary by walking, praying and meditating upon the Lord’s sufferings where the paths were recreated.

In the 18th century, the Pope permitted all Catholic churches to display the fourteen Stations of the Cross so all could participate and receive special graces.

Later, specific formats for praying the stations were created. Many exist today, including one written by St. Francis, one by St. Alphonsus Liguori and one by St. John Paul II.

Lent

While we must contemplate the Lord’s Passion all year, Lent is the time we’re called to reflect more deeply on these events.

Since we’re about halfway through the season, you may already be doing this on your own or in your parish. (Most parishes offer opportunities to pray the Way of the Cross during Lent.)

God has been asking me to pay close attention to this devotion and participate in it. That’s why my recent posts have been about the cross!

Praying and reflecting on the Way of the Cross is crucial for Christians, especially during this holy season.

When we focus on Jesus’ Passion, we’re able to:

  • Put our cross in perspective and realize His Cross is unfathomably larger than our own
  • Realize our sufferings have meaning and value
  • Console Him in His affliction
  • Receive comfort and strength in carrying our cross
  • Unite our sufferings with His, which draws us closer to Him
  • Grow and mature spiritually

Don’t be afraid to enter into the mystery of suffering and the cross!

One Way to Pray

I’d like to share a simple, brief way to pray the Stations of the Cross.

This can be done privately or with others. It takes approximately thirty minutes, depending on how long you meditate on each station.

We’re encouraged to pray along with the images. Traditionally, one goes to the church to pray at each station. If you’re unable to do so, images can be found online.

I compiled the prayers below from:

  • A Short Way of the Cross – The Franciscan Fathers
  • A Way of the Cross – Plinio Corrêa de Olivera

The Point

There are many ways to pray the stations. I hope those who read this will be encouraged to either begin or continue to meditate on the Way of the Cross.

Whichever format you choose, I pray it’s a grace-filled experience that allows you to walk closely with the Lord this Lent.

And who knows, maybe the experience will be so meaningful that you’ll continue the devotion throughout the year…

Ready to walk with Jesus and Mary?

Station IV: Jesus Meets His Mother

Opening Prayer:

My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee; but now I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee, I repent sincerely for ever having offended Thee. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to Thee. Amen. (St. Alphonsus Liguori)

Station I: Jesus is Condemned to Death

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

O Jesus! So meek and uncomplaining, teach me resignation in trials.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station II: Jesus Carries His Cross

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

My Jesus, this Cross should be mine, not Thine. My sins crucified Thee.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station III: Jesus Falls the First Time

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

O Jesus! By this first fall, never let me fall into mortal sin.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station IV: Jesus Meets His Mother

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

O Jesus! May no human tie, however deep, keep me from following the road of the Cross.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station V: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

Simon unwillingly assisted Thee. May I with patience suffer all for Thee.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station VI: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

O Jesus! Thou didst imprint Thy sacred features upon Veronica’s veil. Stamp them also permanently upon my heart.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station VII: Jesus Falls the Second Time

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

By Thy second fall, persevere me, dear Lord, from relapse into sin.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station VIII: Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

My greatest consolation would be to hear Thee say, “Many sins are forgiven thee, because thou hast loved much.”

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station IX: Jesus Falls the Third Time

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

O Jesus! When weary upon life’s long journey, be Thou my strength and my perseverance.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station X: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

My soul has been robbed of its robe of innocence. Clothe me, dear Jesus, with the garb of penance and contrition.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station XI: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

Thou didst forgive Thy enemies. My God, teach me to forgive injuries and forget them.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station XII: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Pause for moment of silence.

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

Thou are dying, my Jesus, but Thy Sacred Heart still throbs with love for Thy sinful children.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station XIII: Jesus is Laid in His Mother’s Arms

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

Receive me into Thy arms, O Sorrowful Mother, and obtain for me perfect contrition for my sins.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Station XIV: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. (Genuflect or bow)
Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. (Rise)

When I receive Thee into my heart in Holy Communion, O Jesus, make it a fit dwelling place for Thy adorable Body.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, fill our hearts with the light of Your Spirit, so that by following You on Your final journey we may come to know the price of our Redemption and become worthy of a share in the fruits of Your Passion, Death and Resurrection. You who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen. (St. John Paul II)


If you pray the Stations of the Cross using this or any other format, feel free to share your experience. I’d like to hear about it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.