Lent 2021: Praying the Way of the Cross Reflecting on the last journey of Jesus before his death
Lent 2021 – Praying the Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross is one of the most sacred and well-loved Christian prayers. Praying the Way of the Cross has been part of Christian tradition for centuries for us to meditate on, so it can become part of our lives. Doesn’t each of our lives have suffering, falls, hurts, condemnations, death, and moments of resurrection?
Individuals and groups can pray them all year round but they are especially prayed during Lent. As they help us reflect on the last journey made by Jesus, they also encourage us to think about our relationships with others; our friends, families and those around us who are suffering.
As Jesus carried his cross he met different people. He met and spoke to his mother, Simon helped him to carry his cross, Veronica wiped his face and he spoke to the Women of Jerusalem. Jesus was not on his own as he carried his cross and neither are we as make our way through Lent. As we pray the Way of the Cross we are encouraged to think of others and to reflect on ways that we can help and encourage them as the people Jesus met encouraged him.
The recent months have been very difficult for many people and so many are still living with the consequences of illness, loss and bereavement. This Way of the Cross is offered as a way to help us to think about ways that we can join our Lenten journey with that of others and with the journey Jesus made with his own cross.
Along with the text of these Stations of the Cross, we have included images to go with each station. On first seeing them, they may look unusual and very different. There are no obvious colours, faces or clothes on the figures with which we are familiar. They are not a very ‘traditional’ set of images. These pencil drawings, which are not always easy to look at, invite us to spend some time really thinking about the reality of crucifixion. Being nailed to a cross was a very painful, degrading and humiliating experience; there was nothing romantic about it. These images hopefully capture some of what Jesus and many others experienced. They may seem to be have been just scribbled or quickly drawn, but if we take our time to look at them deeply and prayerfully, they will reveal to us the reality and pain of the Crucifixion. We are invited to spend some time slowly looking at these images so that we can in some way grasp the horror of Jesus suffered.
A suggested way of praying these Stations of the Cross
- Decide on a time and a place where you can give yourself the opportunity to slowly and prayerfully read each of the Stations and look at the images.
- Begin by making the Sign of the Cross asking God to be with you as you make this journey with Jesus.
- Take a moment and think of an intention; for whom or for what would you like to offer this time of prayer and reflection?
- Spend as little or as much time at each Station as you wish. If there is a Station that encourages or challenges you, stay with it as long as you wish – there is no rush.
After each stop or station on the journey choose a prayer to say or use the refrain: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world, or simply take a few minutes silence before praying the next station.
Jesus says to each of us;
‘If you want to come with me take up your cross and follow me.’ (Mtt. 16.24)
Our Lenten Journey 2021 – The Stations of the Cross
1. Jesus is condemned to death:
Do I hurt or condemn people by the way I treat them?
2. Jesus is given his cross:
3. Jesus falls the first time:
We ask God to strengthen us when we fall and find it difficult to carry on.
4. Jesus meets his mother:
We remember and pray for all parents and families who are homeschooling their children at this time.
5. Simon helps Jesus to carry his cross:
We pray for all medical staff in hospitals and nursing homes who are caring for those who are sick at this time.
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus:
We pray in thankfulness for those who support us when we need help
7. Jesus falls for the second time:
When I fall do I have a sense that Jesus is by my side?
8. Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem: (Luke 23.27-28)
Do my words build up those I speak to or do they drag them down?
9. Jesus falls for the third time:
Am I aware that there people around me who are suffering and that I can help some them?
10. Jesus is stripped of clothes:
During Lent especially, can I treat others with my more respect, dignity and compassion?
11. Jesus is nailed the cross:
We think of all those who are suffering unjustly and unnecessarily in our world today.
12. Jesus dies on the cross:
In silence, we bring to mind all those we have known who have died.
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross:
We pray for all those who are caring for those who are for the terminally ill.
14. Jesus is placed in the tomb:
We keep in our prayers those who are grieving because of a death in their family member or friend. May our prayers comfort and support them.
Take up your cross and follow me…
This article was prepared by Br Michael Moore and Mary Tyrell, both members of the Oblate Partners in Mission Team.
Artwork is by Luc Labante and used with permission.
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