The Way of the Cross is a walk with Jesus.
The life of Jesus is a journey traced by the Spirit. The Spirit led him into the desert, and then with passion, on to walk the way to Calvary. As a spiritual exercise, the stations of the cross developed organically from the scripturally focused lives of medieval followers. They understood our bodies to be temples of the Holy Spirit and that we worship the living Lord best with our hearts, souls, and bodily strength.
Not all of the stations are recorded in the scriptures, and there are numerous variations available. We owe much to the creative Christians who, for centuries, have searched for ways to engage the imagination through passages, meditations, and images. Through these we can be attentive to Jesus in his passion and link his experience with whatever is going on in our own lives at present so we can be transformed.
Learning to listen to divine silence is the crux of walking the stations
Also known as Stations of the Cross, this is ambulatio divina (“divine walking”). By engaging us, body, heart, and soul, walking the Stations of the Cross creates an opportunity for communion with Christ and with each other. Learning to listen to divine silence is the crux of walking the stations. As sixteenth-century Spanish mystic John of the Cross said, “Silence is God’s first language.”
Through the centuries, followers have encouraged and adapted this practice for the simple reason that it attunes a sojourner’s soul to the Word’s loving wordlessness. God’s love for us, and ours for God, grows like any relationship. Over time trust is built and an acquaintance becomes a friend, a teacher, a counselor, a confidant.
Throughout the remainder of Lent, perhaps you might like to experience walking the way with Jesus in a new and different light – through art, for Our Times, or Global Justice and Reconciliation, or within your local church walls. A printable Way of the Cross was also made available in the March Everything Holy packet.
Regardless of how we walk the Way of the Cross, we can re-live Jesus’ experience and apply it to our lives. There is always something to learn, such as –
- how to be honest about how we feel, new life comes from suffering and though it never feels good, it can be redemptive.
- how to choose passion with love and change how we respond.
- how to reach out or accept help as vulnerability can be an act of charity. Human weakness can be offered to God. Whatever we experience, He experienced first and so we are understood.
Stop and wait along the Way of the Cross, allowing time to pause, reflect and imagine ourselves in Jerusalem with Jesus. Take time to ask two important questions – What can I learn from watching Jesus? And, how can I relate to what Jesus experienced?