Stations of the Cross
What are the Stations of the Cross?
When is the last time you truly reflected on the walk Jesus made to his crucifixion? The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, provide us with an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ death and the sacrifice He made for us.
Practiced for over 1000 years, praying the Stations of the Cross is a popular devotion practiced by Catholics during Lent. Each station shows a pivotal moment during Jesus’ Passion. Most Catholic Churches have a depiction of each Station either inside or outside of the Church. During Lent a priest or deacon will lead a procession to each Station and lead a congregation in specific prayers. These prayers allow us to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
If you can’t attend a Stations of the Cross service at your church, you can always pray them on your own. It’s common to pray the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday or another day during Holy Week.
How Many Stations of the Cross Are There?
There are fourteen Stations of the Cross.
Stations of the Cross Prayers
Begin by asking, “God, what is one way that I can become a-better-version-of-myself this week?” Use the Stations of the Cross as a way to deepen that reflection.
As you approach each Station, first genuflect and pray “We adore you o Christ and praise you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” If in a group, the leader says the first sentence and the group continues with the second.
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The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
Scripture Reflection: Mark 15:1-5, 15
Jesus was innocent but he chose to accept His death to save us. Have you ever been falsely accused? How did you respond?
The Second Station: Jesus Carries the Cross
Scripture Reflection: John 19:6, 15-17
Jesus’ cross was literal, but we all have crosses we bear in this life. It’s easy to get caught up in our own world and focus on our own cross. Do you grant others grace the way you want others to do for you?
The Third Station: Jesus Falls for the First Time
With a crown of thorns shoved on His head and beaten by the soldiers, Jesus was exhausted by the weight of His cross. Not only was He physically exhausted - He was emotionally exhausted. His followers had betrayed him. Reflect on a time when you have felt burdened with the weight of the world. Even in hard moments, Jesus gives us an opportunity to pick up and keep going.
The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother
Scripture Reflection: John 19: 25-27
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, watched her son endure ultimate pain and suffering for us. A mother has a unique outlook on her child’s life. Reflect on how distraught Mary must have felt as she watched her son endure complete agony.
The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
Scripture Reflection: Mark 15:21
Do you think Simon wanted to help Jesus carry His cross, or was he picked out of the crowd and afraid of the Roman soldiers? When have you helped someone carry their cross? Were you willing to help or were you resentful?
The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
St. Veronica boldly stepped out of the crowd to wipe Jesus’ face of blood and sweat. It wasn’t safe to be a known follower of Jesus, yet she took the time to help Him when He needed it. When have you stepped outside of your comfort zone to offer support or kindness, even if it was unpopular?
The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls a Second Time
We all make mistakes, we all fall down. How can you try to find the strength to rise again?
The Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Scripture Reflection: Luke 23:27-31
Even in the midst of his agony, Jesus recognized the pain of others. Are you so caught up in yourself, in your own pain, that you fail to comfort others? How can you support your friends and family in their own time of need?
The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time
Sheer exhaustion made Jesus fall not once, not twice, but three times. Is there an area in your life that you keep messing up or falling short? Where can you turn to find the strength to stand up yet again?
The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
Scripture Reflection: John 19:23-24
After the pain, and the blood, and the sweat, Jesus now faces humiliation. His clothes, His dignity, have been stripped away even further. When have you been utterly humiliated? When have you caused someone else humiliation?
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Scripture Reflection: Luke 23:33-34
Touch your hands. Imagine stakes being driven into them. Imagine that you could make it all go away in an instant - and you don’t. Jesus chose this pain and sacrifice for us. Where in your life can you sacrifice for someone else?
The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Scripture Reflection: Luke 23:44-46
After three hours of complete agony, Jesus dies. And in doing so, He saves us from our sins and allows us a chance at eternal life. Can you spend time this week reflecting on the ultimate sacrifice?
The Thirteenth Station: Jesus’ Body is Removed from the Cross
The world was still. Jesus’ mother, Mary, and other disciples had broken hearts. And yet they lovingly and tenderly removed His body from the cross. Where can you offer comfort and support today?
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Scripture Reflection: Matthew 27:57-60
For the moment, all hope appears to be lost. But God’s greatest moment, the Resurrection, is about to begin. Reflect on your life. When has something incredible happened after a time of difficulty? How did that change you?
As you end the Stations of the Cross, spend a few final minutes in quiet reflection. Finish with the Dynamic Catholic Prayer of Transformation.
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