Meditate on the Way of the Cross

Why We Should Meditate on Christ’s Passion
 
We should do more than just think about Christ’s Passion, we should actively meditate on it, envisioning it in our imagination, helped by the images and words of the event. We should meditate on the Passion as shown on the Way of the Cross because it is the greatest love story ever told.
 
God is love. (Jn. 4:8). Out of love for us He emptied Himself of glory. (Phil. 2:6-11). The Word was made flesh and He became one of us. (Jn. 1:13).    God’s permissive will allow the death of Jesus and Jesus entrusted Himself to the free will of human beings who killed Him. As Isaiah prophesied, it was our hands that killed Him. (See Is. 53). Jesus died so that we might live in eternal life with Him through the forgiveness of our sins merited by His Passion and death.
 
Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.” (Jn. 15:13). We are His friends and He showed us this greater love by laying down His life through His Passion and death. He loved us and forgave us to the end and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34).
 
The greatest virtues of love are humility and obedience because it was the opposite vices, pride and disobedience, that caused the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. Jesus is the New Adam whose virtues of humility and obedience repaired for the vices of pride and disobedience of Adam and Eve. 
 
“Christ Jesus … humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him.” (Phil. 2:6,8-9). This wonderful hymn of the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians reminds us that because of Christ’s Passion and death God exalted Him through the glory of His Resurrection.
 
When we meditate on Christ’s Passion, we see the best examples of the exercise of every virtue. Christ displays humility, obedience, patience, charity, meekness and unshaken firmness of soul. Christ in His Passion is our model of holiness to be imitated by us.
 
In the First Letter of Peter, he tells us that Christ is our model of holiness and the example that we are to follow, walking in His very footsteps. Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mk. 8:34). 
 
St. Peter says,
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He trusted to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Pt. 21-24).
The Way of the Cross
 
 We can “follow in His steps,” as St. Peter urged us, by praying the Way of the Cross, also known as the Stations of the Cross. There are 14 Stations of the Cross. They are based on Scripture and oral tradition. The scriptural Stations are 1, 2, 5 and 8. (See Jn. Ch.19). These Stations are located in Jerusalem. They are the places at which Jesus suffered on the way to Calvary from the place of His condemnation by Pontius Pilate to His crucifixion on Calvary and His burial in the nearby tomb. These Stations are a very short distance on the ground in the city of Jerusalem, probably no more than a quarter of a mile. The tradition is that the Antonia fortress and the Praetorium located nearby were the sites where Jesus was brought before Pilate.
 
The fortress, which stood near the north-west corner of the Jewish Temple, was the beginning of the way of the walk of Jesus carrying His Cross.
 

He carried it to Mount Calvary that was then located outside the city walls. Today, Stations 1 through 9 are located in the streets of Jerusalem and Stations 10 through 14 are located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
 
The Way of the Cross was first prayed by His Mother but they only came into popular use on the streets of Jerusalem in the 16th century. The Stations are often represented by plaques or paintings along the interior walls of Catholic churches. The Stations are prayed by visiting them in the churches with or without a leader or by praying them outside of churches with images and meditating on Christ’s Passion suffered for us. This devotion is encouraged by the Church, especially on Fridays and during Lent.
 
The Way of the Cross is prayed at the Stations on the walls of churches by proceeding from Station to Station if able or, if not, proceeding on the Way in our imagination. This is a devotion by which we believe, adore, trust and love Jesus for suffering His Passion for us. We make pilgrimages in spirit to the principal scenes of Christ’s suffering and death.
 
We should meditate on each Station just as if we were really there with Jesus in Jerusalem. We should place ourselves in the scene as if we were Jesus and imagine how He felt physically, emotionally and spiritually with His pain and suffering. Then we engage in conversation with Him about the Station.
 
St. John Paul II addressed the congregation on Good Friday 2004 before the Way of the Cross as the Roman Coliseum. He said,
We follow Christ’s Way of the Cross and participate in that “hour” in which the Redemption was fulfilled. The hour “to depart out of this world to the Father.” (John 13:1). The hour of the heart-rending suffering of the Son of God, a suffering that, 20 centuries later, continues to overwhelm and question us profoundly…. May this “hour” of the Son of Man remain in our minds and hearts as the “hour of love and of glory.”
May the mystery of the Way of the Cross of the Son of God be for all an inexhaustible source of hope. May it console and strengthen us also when our hour comes.
 
Regarding His intentions for the praying of His Chaplet of Unity, Jesus King of All Nations said, “On Fridays, my child, offer my Chaplet of Unity for true repentance of sin in all souls. Let souls seek and obtain my Great Mercy through the forgiveness of their sins in the holy Sacrament of Confession. ‘Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.’ (Mark 2:17) This is the day on which I gave my life for the salvation of all. May my Passion and Death be no more in vain for a number of souls. Behold! The King of Glory hanging upon a cross! All of His Divine beauty is marred, hidden. All for love of you, My children.”




Read the complete story of the Passion of  the Lord in my book the Gospel of Love, an historical fictional autobiography of St. John, the Beloved Disciple of Jesus King of All Nations. It’s the Gospel story written from John’s own point of view. While reading your way through it, you will feel like you are right there with John in 1st century Israel and Ephesus.
 
“You will experience John’s life as if you were with him nearly 2000 years ago. You will experience John’s innermost thoughts and doubts as he struggles to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and His teachings that constitute the Gospel of Love. More importantly, you will come away with a deeper understanding of how the Gospel of Love taught by Jesus affected John’s character and growth in sanctity and how its reading can do the same for you.
 
"Our thanks to Dan Lynch for this inspiring work!"
— Fr. Peter M. Damien Fehlner F.F.I., S.T.D., Author and Theologian

To see and pray the Stations of the Cross, please click here.




Print Friendly