Connecting with the Stations of the Cross

Jesus on the cross

We are all standing in front of a life-size image of Christ on the cross. For most of my life, the stations in churches I’ve visited have been small paintings or wall carvings placed at intervals, but at Xavier they’re much larger panels, and I find myself connecting with the scenes in a new way. In the spirit of St. Ignatius, I imagine all of us as extensions of the image before us, truly present at the foot of the cross, standing beside those depicted in the scene, wondering what it means and what is in store. We are all at different places in our journeys, but united somehow, true companions. The stations of the cross no longer seem like boring repetition but like something closer to a journey. Perhaps what’s always frustrated me about the stations is that they cut too close to some of the struggles in my own spiritual life: the desire to keep moving forward rather than be still; the desire to skip the process and try to jump straight to the end, to that resurrection moment, where we get to celebrate; the desire to ignore or avoid the suffering along the way.

At the fourteenth station, the image of Jesus being placed in the tomb, my eyes are drawn up, to a separate image high above the stations. It is one of dozens of people being crucified, stretched out along a road toward the horizon. It is the first time I’ve noticed it, as I rarely stand in this part of the church. The juxtaposition of these images is striking. As Christ is being taken down from the cross, below, in the image above, those who have chosen to follow him continue to suffer. They are taking up his work, taking on the cross. And as we stand there, our own group is included in that tradition, all of us part of a long line of people in love with, pained by, suffering for, and taking part in the church. There can be a strange beauty in suffering, but, more important, there is beauty in having a community that helps us overcome it, to move forward toward that resurrection.

—Excerpted from Mercy in the City by Kerry Weber

5 Comments on Connecting with the Stations of the Cross

  1. Thank you for sharing your great experience on the Stations to the Cross. I will be taking your experience to do mine! God bless us!

  2. Thank you for sharing this insight on the Stations of the the Cross. This is one devotion that I really get to see the outpouring of Jesus love for Mankind, it make me look at my own selfish attitude, it allows me to take a good look at myself and to ask God for His special Graces to help me to become a more loving and caring person.
    It also allows me to see the strength and love of our Blessed Mother Mary, I draw strength and courage from her and Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to share.

  3. I am a retired citizen, feel tired walking and at times weak to do the things I wish to do for my love Jesus Christ. I admire young Catholics pushing themselves forward after Christ’s banner, the Ignatius way. I try to follow at the end with my daily prayers Thank you Loyola for all your assistance in this process. Joseph Francis

  4. Thank you for sharing wit us your feeling about the stations of the Cross. It has been a long time since I have made the journey around the church doing the Stations of the Cross. With your insight the journey I am about to start does not seem so monotonous. It adds colour and life to the plaques hanging on the wall.

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