It is a common practice in Lent to pray the Stations of the Cross to recall the passion of Jesus. The fourteen Stations, the images you see in every Catholic Church around the world, illustrate the fourteen steps that led Jesus from being condemned to death through to his crucifixion, death and burial.  The Stations are meditations to reflect on the great love and sufferings of Christ for us. Meditating on these times in Jesus’s life can help us understand more deeply His great love and sacrifice for each of us.

When we pray the Stations of the Cross we are called to connect ourselves moment by moment through Christ’s sufferings.  We must try to understand the reasoning behind the Passion of Jesus and how it affects our lives today.  At the eighth station, Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem and says to them “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”  This advice is as prevalent today as it was then.  Jesus was telling them not to cry for Him, but to realise that His suffering on earth was ending, but that terrible sufferings awaited them.  He warned them and showed total compassion for them amongst his own anguish.  It was an appropriate response for them and it still is for us today. It helps us to understand that Jesus died for us and that He suffered for us.  It shows us that there is a personal connection between us and Christ.

At every station we can find our own meaning and our own heartfelt desire to join Jesus on this journey.  Maybe we see ourselves as those weeping mothers or we can put ourselves in the shoes of Simon of Cyrean, reflecting on how we would of acted if the same was asked of us today.

The Stations of the Cross raise important questions.   A cursory glance at the pictures in the church can hold some meaning but nothing like the connection you will get by going through them step by step and prayer by prayer.

We could travel all the way to the Holy Land to pray the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa), however, having the opportunity to say the Stations in our churches offer us the availability to walk in the footsteps of Christ at any time.  Our own experience of the meditations will be different to our friends or families if entered into with a reflective mind.  This can be a wonderful personal connection and a great prayerful experience.

Meditating on the Stations of the Cross reminds us to never take advantage of the sufferings of Christ and His incredible love for us.

St Faustina prayed the Stations of the Cross at 3pm every day.  An entry in her diary explains the great mercy she was given on her death bed because of her total connection to the sufferings of His passion through the Stations of the Cross.

Jesus said “If anyone wants to be my disciple he must take up his cross and follow me”.  That is not always easy to remember during our normal, everyday lives.  However, via the stations, we can be reminded to take up our cross and walk with Jesus daily.  In our spirit we can go with Jesus and enter into His sufferings as we walk with him like Simon.  We can take pity on Him like Veronica and we can stay by His side like His Blessed Mother Mary.

We are with Jesus in His suffering and He is with us in ours so that we can truly be His disciples.