March 28, 2012 // Local

Stations of the Cross across the globe

Praying the Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, is a traditional devotional practice that dates back to the 4th century in the Holy Land and is considered a spiritual pilgrimage centered on a series of pictures, prayers and meditations of the 14 events that occurred during Christ’s Passion and Death on Calvary.

Youth, young adult and adult religious and lay pilgrims who traveled with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades were deeply moved by the magnificence of the Stations of the Cross at Lourdes, France, during their pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011. The 15 stations, identified in several languages, weaved their way up a steep mountainous path of over 1,500 meters of wooded and rocky terrain, each with larger-than-life sized, brightly painted, cast iron figures. The hillside stations, with 115 figures in all, were constructed by Raffl of Paris between 1898 and 1911. These photos, taken on the pilgrimage, illustrate the reverent prayerfulness of the solemn figures of Christ’s Passion and Death and are accompanied here by personal reflections.

click on image for a larger version.

First Station:

Jesus is condemned to death.

You bore injustice with no complaint, Lord Jesus. Teach me meekness in all of life’s adversity.

Second Station:

Jesus accepts the cross.

Jesus, You took the cross upon Yourself for my sake. Strengthen me to carry my own cross faithfully for You.

Third Station:

Jesus falls the first time.

Teach me, Lord, to pick myself up when I sin and find my way back to You.

Fourth Station:

Jesus meets His mother.

Jesus, You honored Your mother with Your life. Be my inspiration to honor my family members, even the most difficult ones.

Fifth Station:

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross.

Teach me, Lord, to graciously accept blessings from others, even as I strive to help those in need.

Sixth Station:

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Jesus, You left Your features on Veronica’s cloth as a legacy of love. Help me to imprint those same features on my good works.

Seventh Station:

Jesus falls the second time.

As I grow weary of life’s burdens, Lord, please be my strength and hope.

Eighth Station:

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.

As You consoled those women, Lord, teach me to offer consolation to those in need.

Ninth Station:

Jesus falls the third time.

The burden of my sin causes You such pain Lord. Help me turn away from sin and repent.

10th Station:

Jesus is stripped of His garments.

As You were stripped naked, please clothe me with mercy that will restore my soul.

11th Station:

Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Jesus, teach me to forgive my enemies as You forgave those who crucified You on Calvary.

12th Station:

Jesus dies on the cross.

Jesus, teach me to die to self and live for You.

13th Station:

Jesus’ body is removed from the cross.

Make me worthy, Lord, to receive You into my heart as Your sorrowful mother received You into her arms.

14th Station:

Jesus is laid in the tomb and
covered in incense.

Jesus, as I repent of my sins wash my heart clean so that You may live in me more fully.

15th Station:

The Resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus, open my eyes that I may recognize Your everlasting glory, today and everyday, as I strive to serve You more faithfully.

Although not traditionally part of the Stations, the Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a 15th station, as on the hillside of Lourdes, France.

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