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Stations of the Cross

Halfway through Lent and both our schools lead us into the second half of Lent with their practice of this devotion. The Franciscans started it in Jerusalem, where its story happened. Now each Friday and more often the friars there lead a group starting from Pilate’s HQ, then out onto the street still bearing the name Via Dolorosa, down into a dip and then up to where the city gate previously stood. I have carried the cross with such a group, and felt embarrassed and guilty. Ordinary life goes on, beggars, souvenir sellers and all as it had been on the original Good Friday. But these Jerusalem Stations are special. You feel the horror of Jesus, savagely whipped, coming out onto the road to shoulder the rough cross. The courage of Mary, Simon of Cyrene at first reluctant, Veronica, then the mothers with their children. They are Jesus’ friends. The next lot are not with their brutal savagery of stripping naked, nailing, hoisting the cross. How can human beings be so vicious? And now? The Stations of Jesus’ suffering is a wonderful exercise and I recommend it to help you deepen your sense of his love and compassion.

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