Thursday, April 14, 2011

*BEST OF DTB #78* The Catholic Defender: The Stations Of The Cross

One of my all time favorite devotions is the Stations of the Cross.

This devotion has played an important part in my spiritual formation.

I love many of the traditions built around this great devotion.

I remember reading how the Blackfoot Indians would make a 7 mile trek on their Reservation in full colorful ancestral clothing bringing the culture into it.

The oldest to the youngest would carry crosses to each of the 14 Stations.

I know that Poland has had similar cultural enrichment to the Stations.

Every time I go into a Catholic Church, the Stations of the Cross are always something I always look for.

Eureka Springs Arkansas has a very beautiful example that is built outdoors.

Recently, Fort Hood Catholic Community conducted the Stations of the Cross in Belton Texas at the Cedarbrake Renewal Center where we went on a 1 mile trek.

It was a great experience that was profound for me.

There were retired Soldiers who walked the Stations some of which where wounded in action having to walk with supports.

Seeing that showed me something of the human spirit to do something for God.

Their example and testimony through this effort to me was very powerful.

The History of the Stations of the Cross goes all the way back to Christ as his followers would retrace the Lord's steps to Calvary.

During the Middle Ages, because of the Islamic take over of the holy Land, pilgrimages became very dangerous to the Christians.

As a result, St. Francis of Assisi developed a means by setting up a model for the Stations of the Cross at the local Church. By 1731, Pope Clement XII fixed the number to 14 Stations and promoted the devotion to all Churches in Christendom.

The Stations of the Cross can be prayed anytime, but it is mostly seen during the Season of Lent as people are following more closely the Passion of the Lord.

I have kind of started my own devotion using the Stations of the Cross. The past 4 weeks I have been praying the Stations of the Cross at the Killeen Texas Abortion clinic.

It began simple by joining some others friends out on the sidewalk standing up for the life of the unborn child.

Then this "Walk of Jericho" idea that has been spreading, where people will walk 7 times around the Abortion Clinics spiritually bringing down the walls of "Jericho".

Our Abortion Clinic is only available on two fronts surrounding a large complex of several other businesses.

We do have a Pro-life center right next door to the Abortion Mill. Since I can't go around the abortion mill, I can still cover two flanks so I travel this 14 times as if to spiritually go all away around the area.

This is how the Stations became an opportunity for me. I can stop and pray at every entrance of the location. I carry a cross that is 8 feet tall with a 6 foot bar forming a fairly formidable cross that you can see a long ways.

I wrote "Stop Abortion" on the cross beam making it clear why I am carrying it. It has taken me so far about 4 1/2 hours to complete this making it very interesting.

I will have thousands see me carrying the cross and I will pause at the strategic places where the most people will see me. I get a lot of thumbs up, horns honking in support, people will get out of their vehicles to pray for me and show support.

Yesterday, a lady stopped and approached me as I stood there with the cross and she thanked me for what I was doing. She told me her Daughter had two Abortions and she was torn up about it. Her Daughter had recently tried to have a baby but lost it through a miscarriage. She felt that God was punishing her for the abortions. I encouraged her to let her Daughter know that God does love her, and He will forgive her if she asks for it.

I also am there as a sign to those going there for abortions. Sometimes we get someone who sees us and changes their mind, other times, they will go into the pr0-life clinic thinking it is the Abortion mill.

During the course of this year, we saved 101 babies from would be Mothers who were Abortion minded.

The Stations of the Cross for me has become an important weapon as is the rosary in this battle against abortion. At each entrance I pray, "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. Because by your holy Cross You have redeemed the world".

At the major entrances, I would stand with the cross and pray and sing each of the prayers, those prescribed for the leader, for all, the concluding prayer, then a song for each Station.
The Stations of the Cross are as follows:

1. Jesus is condemned to death

2. Jesus carries his Cross

3. Jesus falls the first time

4. Jesus meets his afflicted mother

5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his Cross

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

7. Jesus falls the second time

8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

9. Jesus falls a third time

10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes

11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross

12. Jesus dies on the Cross

13. The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross

14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

Regardless of the circumstance where, why, when we pray the Stations of the Cross, anytime we follow the footsteps of our Lord's Passion, we become identified with our Lord and we grow closer to Jesus. May the Lord bless us and keep us close to himself as we grow closer to him at the foot of the Cross.

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