The 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 all great 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 are seven reasons (in no particular order) why we should consider praying the Stations of the Cross on a daily basis:
It has been a little over two weeks since my book, In the Footsteps of a Saint: John Paul II’s Visit to Wisconsin, first went “live” on the internet and the response has been very encouraging! To continue celebrating the launch of my debut book, I am giving away two FREE copies via Amazon Giveaway.
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Continuing this series on the GUIDEBOOK FOR THE PILGRIM SOUL, let us examine more closely the analogy of the Christian soul on a ship set forth to reach the shores of Heaven.
First off, one of the primary sources of this analogy comes from the symbolism of water. In fact, water has always been associated with death and new life. In particular, Baptism makes visible this invisible reality. On the Sacrament of Baptism the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
When a man or woman looks at a magazine cover, music video or even a feature film, they are looking at pictures of women who simply do not exist in the real world. The images they see are entirely fake and outrageously unnatural. Yet, the pictures men(in particular) see influence their very thought process and they begin to compare every woman to the images on the magazine cover. As a result, a man constantly chases the woman of his dreams….unfortunately, she does not exist.
The devil is the main culprit behind this trend and he isn’t going to stop his campaign (as he started it long ago).
“[T]he symbol of a ship always delights me and helps me to bear the exile of this life. Does not the Wise Man tell us—”Life is like a ship that passeth through the waves: when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot be found”? - Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul.
The world we live in today has lost the sense of journey. Many of us, instead of seeing our lives as a great adventure to reach the final destination of Heaven, are intent on focusing only on the here and now to fulfill all our earthly pleasures. As each generation passes, we resemble more and more the People of Israel who when challenged by God to fast and do penance instead said to themselves, “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die” (Isaiah 22:13).
“There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation [extreme physical mortification]” (Jesus speaking to Saint Faustina, Diary, Notebook I, 369).
Each year during Lent we are reminded of the sacred Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Yet, too often we view Good Friday as a mere historical event that occurred 2,000 years ago. We forget that Jesus specifically died for us in a personal way that is often beyond comprehension.
Crowning with Thorns – Caravaggio
Indeed, we often do not accompany Christ on the via dolorosa or we fall asleep in the garden as the apostles did. We do not allow Christ’s personal love to penetrate our hearts. He remains a historical figure who died many ages ago.
One of the most prevailing forms of gluttony in today’s world is that of “gluttony of Delicacy.” As a culture, we have successfully run a campaign against overeating and have focused all of our energy at combating obesity.
The Traditional Depiction of Gluttony
In the process, however, we have turned all of our energy towards food and now our extremely high standards have made us uncharitable and very hard to please.