Friday, 6 December 2013

Devotions to Our Lord - Stations of the Cross

A very meritorious way to grow in holiness is meditating on the Passion of Christ. "He who desires", says St. Bonaventure, "to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus." And he adds that "there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ." St. Augustine says also. that one tear shed over the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water. And to help us meditate upon the Passion of Our Lord, He gave us the Stations of the Cross.

The Vatican website speaks of it's history, "The Way of the Cross, as we understand the term today, dates to the late Middle Ages. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (+ 1153), Saint Francis of Assisi (+ 1226) and Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (+ 1274), with their loving, contemplative devotion, prepared the ground on which the devout practice was to develop."

"To a spirit of compassionate devotion for the mystery of the Passion we must add the enthusiasm aroused by the Crusades launched to regain possession of the Holy Sepulchre, a new flourishing of pilgrimages from the twelfth century onwards, and, from 1233, the stable presence of the Franciscan Friars minor in the Holy Places."

"Towards the end of the thirteenth century we find mention of the Stations of the Cross, not yet as a pious practice, but as the path which Jesus walked on his way up to Mount Calvary marked by a series of « stations »."

"Around 1294 the Dominican friar Rinaldo de Monte Crucis, in his Liber peregrinationis, tells how he went up to the Holy Sepulchre «per viam, per quam ascendit Christus, baiulans sibi crucem », describing the different stations: Herod's Palace, the Lithostratos, where Jesus was condemned to death, the place where Jesus met the women of Jerusalem, the place where Simon of Cyrene shouldered the Lord's cross, and so forth."

 The Way of the Cross places us right into the Passion, gives us consolations when we compare it to our own sufferings, and best of all, consoles Our Lord! He has told us many times that  even just thinking of Him during His Passion gives Him consolation! How many times have we desired to be comforted when it seems like the world has abandoned us, how many time do we wish someone was there when all visible light has been extinguished, and how much Our Lord must want us to show Him that we love Him during His Passion! His friends were asleep, guards severely beat and mocked Him with no one around to defend Him, He was the "Man of Sorrows!" And by this prayer you can go back in time and comfort Jesus. You can console Him and mend His wounds. Let us then say it:

 Not only is it very meritorious to us and comforting to Our Lord, by there are fourteen great promises attached:

1. I will grant everything that is asked of Me with faith when making the Way of the Cross.

2. I promise eternal life to those who from time to time pray the Way of the Cross.

3. I will follow them everywhere in life, and I will help them especially at the hour of death.

4. Even if they have more sins than blades of grass in the fields and grains of sand in the sea, all of these sins 

will be erased by the Way of the Cross. (This promise does not eliminate the obligation to confess all mortal sins, and this before receiving Holy Communion.)

5. Those who pray the Way of the Cross often will have a special glory in Heaven.

6. I will deliver them from Purgatory – indeed, if they go there at all – the first Tuesday or Friday after their death.

7. I will bless them at each Way of the Cross, and My blessing will follow them everywhere on earth and, after death, in Heaven for all eternity.

8. At the hour of death. I will not permit the devil to tempt them; I will lift all power from him in order that they will repose tranquilly in My arms.

9. If they pray with true love, I will make each one of them a living ciborium in which it will please Me to pour My grace.

10. I will fix My eyes on those who pray the Way of the Cross often; My hands will always be open to protect them.

11. As I am nailed to the Cross, so also will I always be with those who honour Me in making the Way of the Cross frequently.

12. They will never be able to separate themselves from Me, for I will give them the grace never again to commit a mortal sin.

13. At the hour of death I will console them with My presence, and we will go together to Heaven. Death will be sweet to all those who have honoured Me during their lives by praying the Way of the Cross.

14. My soul will be a protective shield for them, and will always help them whenever they have recourse to it.

How kind and generous Jesus Christ truly is! May God pour forth His blessings upon you through this holy prayer, and may His blessed Mother watch over you!

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