Lent has come again: another invitation to be transformed in Christ. It is a time to cut out some of the noise, or comforts, or distractions so as to better hear the still, small voice – the Word that gives life. To assist you, I recommend participating in the Stations of the Cross and also the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The Stations of the Cross grew out of the practice of pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The pilgrims would – as best they could discern – walk literally in the footsteps of Jesus. During the Middle Ages pilgrimages were more dangerous because of Muslim control of the Holy Land and because of malnutrition and disease. It was also difficult because of economic limitations. Thus arose the practice of marking “stations” of Jesus journey in shrines or churches in Europe, and not only when visiting the Holy Land.
It can be a powerful and transforming devotion. We learn compassion by walking alongside Jesus in his passion. We confront the reality of evil as a possibility of human freedom; Jesus is completely innocent and this is how he was treated. Yet we are strengthened and we are given hope because Jesus transforms his suffering through love and his apparent defeat into victory by the same love and by his resurrection. If you are feeling abandoned, or mistreated, or weighted down, walk this road with Jesus. He will teach you.
Many Saints have written meditations on the Stations, which testifies to the value of this prayer. The See of Peter has granted indulgences for the devout meditation on the Stations. It is a way of transformation. Communal stations are prayed on Wednesday and Friday during Lent (see Lent calendar). You may make them privately when the church is open – St. Julie’s during the day and St. Peter’s in the evening.
A Lenten calendar on purple paper was included in last week’s bulletin and is available at the entrances of the church for reference during this holy season.
Let us persevere with Jesus in the desert.