Friday, March 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: Stations of the Cross

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee,
because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Fridays during Lent we get together with friends to pray the Stations of the Cross, to meditate and pray on Christ's Passion. The first year, our parish hall was under construction so we decided to visit different parishes for their Stations and dinners. We have kept the tradition through the years and look forward to Friday nights during Lent. We're like a flash mob for prayers. Some gatherings are very small and we are a noticeable addition to the crowd.

1 Jesus is Condemned to Die 
2 Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross 
3 Jesus Falls the First Time 
4 Jesus Meets His Mother
5 Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross 
6 Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face 
7 Jesus Falls the Second Time 
8 Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem 
9 Jesus Falls the Third Time 
10 Jesus is Stripped 
11 Jesus is Nailed to the Cross 
12 Jesus Dies on the Cross 
13 Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross 
14 Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

I've worried my kids would enjoy their visits afterwards with their friends too much, and didn't want to turn a penitential occasion into a a festive event. Instead I've overheard discussions on the different versions of stations, reasons for their preferences, different styles of praying the stations and heard humming of the Stabat Mater, with others spontaneously joining in. I do believe the understand Christ's Passion the more we study, pray and meditate on it.

I am not a fan of fried fish: fried shrimp, yes; catfish, no. I know it is a very, very small "sacrifice" to offer. Some parishes we visit don't have a dinner connected to Stations. The church closest to me has a KoC fundraiser drive through for fish fry, which hijacks the parking lot, and does not encourage families to stay and pray the Stations, just to pick up food and go. In our short time living in the northern US, we found Catholic churches would offer a family deal for fish fry, like $8 a person and $40 max for a family. Around here, no deals to be found, and a child's plate price is a rare find. It is a fundraiser after all, but it would probably encourage more people to stay and pray the stations if dinner wasn't and extravagance.

In past years, we hosted one Friday here with our homeschooling teen group. We set up Stations to be prayed by candlelight in the back yard, and had designated leaders lead the procession.  I soaked in the beauty and graces of having so many pray together, walking the way of the cross, meditating on Christ's Passions and having the Stabat Mater sung, floating notes up beyond our yard. 

There is a Plenary Indulgence associated with praying the Stations. Don't forget to add prayers for the Holy Father, with Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be with intention of earning indulgence. Read this from Father Z about guidelines for indulgence. 

I've always included my little ones too,  as we have always been an All or Nothing family, meaning we are all involved or none of can be. Kids learn to quiet themselves and follow along.

I hope to some day walk the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Watch this interesting guided tour to see the places Jesus suffered His Passion for us and how it looks today.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
be Thy Mother my defense,
be Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee
from the Stabat Mater

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