I still remember from my grammar school days the Lenten Friday afternoon Stations of the Cross. That practice was a simple yet profound expression of one of the core truths of our faith. In becoming human Jesus embraced the drama of every human life- our triumphs and our failures, our joys and sorrows. In the Stations of the Cross we recall how the Lord is with us, especially when we seem to be stuck and don’t know how to move on. He walks with us and stumbles with us when we stumble and helps us get up again.
A ‘station’ simply means a place of stopping. Throughout his Passion Jesus stops. He stops to offer compassion to the weeping women; he stops when he falls to the ground, unable to carry on; at Golgotha he stops because that is the end of the line.
Jesus is close to us when we are stopped in our tracks and possibly wonder if we can carry on or even whether we really want to carry on. We can be stopped by illness or failure, grief, depression, despair. But throughout his passion; throughout his Stations of the Cross, Jesus carries on and makes his slow, painful way to the Cross and to the Resurrection. And in doing so he brings us with him in hope. May this hope imbue our Holy Week journey this year.
Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Way to Calvary, tempera on panel (51 × 53 cm), 1308-11, Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana del Duomo, Siena. Reflection by Abbot Damian.