Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stations of the Cross

Don't miss what could be your last chance this Lent to take in the Stations of the Cross at your local Catholic Church. Many parishes hold the Stations on Fridays in Lent, but you'll want to check your nearby parishes to confirm the details.

I'll confess, before I was Catholic, I had only heard of the Stations of the cross once. It was at a university christian club meeting when an evangelical friend of mine said she was going to stations of the with one of her Catholic friends. She had a relatively positive impression of them, and we left it at that.

The next time I encountered the stations I was well on the way to becoming Catholic. I went with my future in-laws to the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario. We walked by 14 large (almost life size) statues of Jesus in many of the events of his suffering and death on the cross. We said a short prayer at each station as we reflected on each part of His passion.

Since then it has become one of my favourite Catholic devotions. It's a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge your sins before Christ, and to get a real sense of just what Jesus went through to grant us forgiveness. When we last went to the Stations at our Parish, a sweet lady came up to us and told us how she gets chills every time she comes to stations. I know what she means, many of the reflections are so descriptive, you can almost feel the cross pushing down on your shoulder.

I found out recently, that Christians have been praying these prayers and reflections since the 12th century. Maybe this Lent is a time to find out what you've been missing . . . If you don't have time to get to a church, you can always pray the prayers on your own. You can find a version attributed to St. Francis of Assisi here.

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