Over the centuries, Roman Catholics have continually turned to the Stations of the Cross as a way to live through Jesus’ passion during the Lenten season.
However, modern Catholics don’t always see the benefits of the traditional devotion, a problem Dr. Edward Sri seeks to address in his new Pocket Guide to the Stations of the Cross published by Ascension.
Sri has composed his own short meditations that cover both the traditional 14 stations most Catholics know, as well as the newer scriptural stations that were introduced by St. John Paul II.
He also points out how the Stations of the Cross are a physical, mental and spiritual exercise.
One of the unique aspects of the Stations of the Cross is how physical it can be, especially when it is done outside of a church, walking from station to station.
Sri explains how, “We move, stop, make the Sign of the Cross, kneel, stand again, listen, and reply. All the moving, stopping, falling to our knees, and rising up again as we trace the Sign of the Cross over our bodies recalls Jesus on his way to Calvary.”
The physical aspect of the Stations are an important part of this devotion, reminding us of the many physical pains Jesus endured.
In addition to being a very physical devotion, Dr. Sri points out how it is also a mental exercise.
Our mind reflects on what Jesus reveals in each station. We see an image related to each station in a book or on the church walls. We hear the leader read a reflection on the scene. All this helps fill our minds with the truth of what Jesus did for us on this day
Last, but not least, the Stations are a spiritual exercise, designed to penetrate the depths of our soul.
Sri explains how, “We know we have prayed the Stations well when the devotion facilitates a deeper personal encounter with Christ—when we are drawn to love and sacrifice more, when we are stirred to tell Jesus we are sorry and repent of a certain sin, and when we more deeply realize his amazing love for us.”
The goal of the devotion is to unite us more closely to Jesus Christ and reflects the spiritual nature of the Stations.
Dr. Sri’s Pocket Guide to the Stations of the Cross is a great supplement to your Lenten journey, but can also help you draw closer to Christ anytime of the year.