The Way of the Cross, also called the Stations of the Cross, are a means to pray and meditate on Christ’s most holy sacrifice for us. It is divided into fourteen stations, starting from when He was condemned to his burial. This commitment has actually been long motivated by the church, and is specifically useful during Lent and Good Friday.
This devotion which is highly recommended by the Catholic Church, was established during the Crusades when the knights and pilgrims started to follow the route of Christ’s journey to Calvary. This devotion spread throughout Europe and was promoted by the Franciscan friars in the 14th and 15th centuries. Ultimately, the Stations of the Cross ended up being a vital catechetical device, and the popularity of this devotion motivated some of the best examples of medieval Christian art. Some scholars believe that medieval miracle plays, which were basically tableaux of Christ’s life, established from the sculptured representations of the Stations of the Cross in the grand Churches. These scenes from the Way of the Cross have actually provided motivation for numerous of the world’s biggest works of visual art.
During Lent and Holy Week most parishes have the Stations of the Cross devotion on Fridays – more-so on Good Friday.
- First Station – Jesus is condemned to Death
- Second Station – Jesus is made to bear His Cross
- Third Station – Jesus falls the first time under His Cross
- Fourth Station – Jesus meets His Mother
- Fifth Station – Simon the Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross
- Sixth Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Seventh Station – Jesus falls the second time
- Eighth Station – Jesus speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem
- Ninth Station – Jesus falls the third time
- Tenth Station – Jesus is stripped of His garments
- Eleventh Station – Jesus is nailed to the Cross
- Twelfth Station – Jesus dies on the Cross
- Thirteenth Station – Jesus is taken down from the Cross
- Fourteenth Station – Jesus is buried in the tomb
After each station is announced, the faithful gathered would genuflect and say:
Person Leading: “We adore you O Christ and we praise you,”
All: “Because by you holy Cross you have redeemed the world.”
There will then be a short meditation on the station that was announced, then all would pray:
I love You Jesus, my love above all things. I repent with my whole heart for having offended you. I will never offend you again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
The faithful would then say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father.
At the end of the fourteenth station, there would normally be a prayer, which may take the form of:-
“O God, for the world’s redemption, you were pleased to be born, circumcised, rejected by the Jews, betrayed by the kiss of the traitor Judas, bound with chains, led like an innocent lamb to the slaughter and shamefully presented before Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod; accused by false witnesses, beaten with whips, insulted, spat upon, crowned with thorns, struck with a reed, blindfolded, stripped of your garments, fastened with nails to the cross, and lifted up on high; placed among thieves, made to drink gall and vinegar and wounded by a lance.
By these most sacred sufferings which, unworthy as I am, I commemorate, and by Your Holy Cross and Death, deliver me Lord from the pains of hell, and lead me where you led the repentant thief who was crucified by your side; You who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, live and reign, forever and ever. Amen.”
“O Jesus Christ, my Lord, with what great love you travelled the painful road which led to your death — and how often have I abandoned you. But now I love you with my whole soul, and because I love you, I am sincerely sorry for having offended you. My Jesus, pardon me, and permit me to accompany you on this journey. You died for love of me, and it is my wish, O my dearest Redeemer, to be willing to die for love of you. O my beloved Jesus, in your love I wish to live, and in your love I wish to die. Amen.”