The Way of the Cross
The Fifth Sunday of Lent is the beginning of what is traditionally called Passiontide when we begin to meditate on Our Lord’s Passion more deeply, and we veil in purple the crosses and statues in the church as a reminder to get ready in earnest for the Triduum, (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday). Lent is not over and there are many graces still available to us. Have you been to Confession yet?
One of the most powerful devotions we should make during Lent is the ‘Via Crucis’ or the ‘Stations of the Cross’ which helps us to make our own spiritual pilgrimage to the places where Our Lord suffered and died. Most of us will not have the opportunity to visit the Holy Land itself, but virtually all Catholic churches have the fourteen Stations of the Cross erected in them, and so we have the opportunity to make our own personal pilgrimage to Jerusalem by making the Stations in the church, either privately or in public. There is a Plenary Indulgence attached to this devotion (which you may apply to the Holy Souls in Purgatory) which means the complete remission of all temporal punishment (ie Purgatory) due to sins already forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. Apart from the usual conditions of Confession within eight days, receiving Holy Communion worthily and praying for the Pope’s Intention, the pictures or carvings of the Stations must be canonically erected and blessed, and we must make a brief meditation on Our Lord’s Passion at each Station. The sick and housebound may also gain the Indulgence by making a meditation on Our Lord’s Passion and Death at home.
When we look at the Way of the Cross we should see our own lives in them – all our sins, our faults and failings, and then we apply it to the sufferings Our Lord is going through. We should connect our own personal sins with the wounds on Our Lord’s body – from the scourging to the crowning with thorns, the wound on His shoulder as He bore the heavy Cross and fell three times under its weight and the wounds of the nails in His hands and feet. This should give us true sorrow and contrition for our sins.
Our Lord told us we must take up our cross daily and follow Him. What better way to do this than by making the Stations and joining Him on the Royal road to Calvary? There will be a special Service of Stations of the Cross this Sunday evening at 6pm concluding with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The meditations have been sent by Bishop Patrick on the theme of Discipleship. Please make a special effort or even sacrifice to attend, and we can show Our Lord how much we love Him, and thank Him for all He has done for us. And remember, that as we walk the Way of the Cross, we can place our crosses on His shoulders too, because He has already borne them for us two thousand years ago.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC