why do we pray the stations of the cross

he Stations of the Cross is one of the most neglected devotions in daily Catholic prayer. Often we are encouraged to pray the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Liturgy of the Hours (which are allPgreat suggestions) but I do not remember anyone suggesting to me to pray the Stations of the Cross on a daily basis. This is unfortunate as many of the saints have derived great benefit from accompanying Jesus on his Way to Calvary and many were inspired to compose their own versions of the ancient devotion. So here arePfourPreasons (in no particular order) why we should consider praying the Stations of the Cross on a daily 1. TheP
Stations An ancient tradition has it thatPMary visited the sites of Jesus suffering, death and resurrection on a daily basis after His ascension into Heaven. Even before that otherPtraditionsPsay that Mary followed Jesus along His bitter Way of the Cross that ledPto Calvary and Scripture at the very leastPtestifiesPthat Mary was therePat the foot of the Cross. So Mary was the first to accompany Jesus in His sufferings and she kept all of these things in her heart, reflecting daily on them after His ascension. 2. TheP Stations Around the 17th century, Franciscans began to develop a Way of the Cross in local churches whereby the faithful could walk through the passion narrative without having to go to Jerusalem.


Here is a brief history: Innocent XI, in 1686, granted to the Franciscans, in answer to their petition, the right to erect the Stations in all their churches, and declared that all the indulgences that had ever been given for devoutly visiting the actual scenes of Christ s Passion, could thenceforth be gained by Franciscans and all others affiliated to their order if they made the Way of the Cross in their own churches in the accustomed manner. Innocent XII confirmed the privilege in 1694 and Benedict XIII in 1726 extended it to all the faithful. In 1731 Clement XII still further extended it by permitting the indulgenced Stations to all churches, provided that they were erected by a Franciscan father with the sanction of the ordinary. At the same time he definitely fixed the number of Stations at fourteen. P (, emphasis added) Additionally, in a certain (real) way we can also accompany the suffering and persecution that our brothers and sisters arePexperiencingPin the Holy Land and Middle East. 3. TheP Stations Pwere made daily by St. John Paul II The Way of the Cross held a special place in the heart of St. John Paul II. He grew up near an ancient shrine in the city ofP. The shrine there was erected on a landscape of hills and was fashionedPto resemble the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem.


There are numerous chapels whereby a pilgrim can trace Jesus passion, death and resurrection. Visiting the site when he became pope, John Paul II said, I really do not know how to thank Divine Providence for granting me to revisit this place: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the Shrine of the Mother of God, the holy places of Jerusalem connected with the life of Jesus and that of his Mother reproduced here, the little ways, as they are called. I visited them often as a boy and as a young man. I visited them as a priest. Especially, I often visited the Shrine of Kalwaria as Archbishop of Krakow and Cardinal. ( Making the Way of the Cross at Kalwaria shaped him and as a result he prayed the Stations of the Cross on a daily basis, no mater what. He even installed a set of Stations in the apostolic apartments. 4. TheP Stations While St. Faustina is primarily known for being given the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Jesus also specifically told her to make the Stations of the Cross on a daily basis during the 3:00 hour: My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy ( Diary, 1572, emphasis added).


TheP Stations are a great devotion to unite us to Christ s suffering and death and allow us the opportunity to accompany Him on theP Via Dolorosa. We watch as He suffers under the weight of the cross and realize it was our sins that crucified Him. TheP Stations are not meant to only be prayed during Lent,Pbut can be devoutly made every day of the year. Why do we pray the Stations of the Cross? The Stations of the Cross is a devotional service commemorating the last journey of Christ from Pilate's house to his entombment. The custom of walking the Stations of the Cross came into usage in the Fifteenth Century as an outgrowth of the Christian Crusades to the Middle East. Pilgrims to the Holy Lands of the Middle East developed a custom of visiting the places sanctified by Christ's earthly life, particularly the path he took on Good Friday from his trial at Pilate's house to Golgotha, where he was crucified, and then on to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Upon their return to their homes in Western Europe, the pilgrims continued their commemoration of Christ's Good Friday journey by processing within the confines of their own parish churches.


Done with great devotion, the service is typified by a procession that stops, or makes its station, at places within the church that are usually marked by a simple wooden cross or a pictorial representation of the event being commemorated at each particular station. The Church has never prescribed official prayers for this service; it is only necessary for there to be movement from one station to another, with brief meditations on each station. Likewise, the number of stations has varied widely over the years, with some churches using only the eight stations that are directly recorded in the Gospels, and some churches using as many as fourteen stations, the additional six being scenes developed from Christian lore or legend. At Good Shepherd, we use the service contained in, which has fourteen stations. Our stations were painted on mahogany by Susan Brush, a former parishioner, and the oil colors are diluted and rubbed into the wood. Please join us at 5:30 each Friday afternoon in Lent to pray the Stations of the Cross, followed by the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Why do we do that?

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