"Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world." During each station of the cross we say these last words as we genuflect. We genuflect in reverence to His glory - again, in reverence to His glory! As I have written before - this is a deeply spiritual time for me. We hear the words above echo throughout the churches during the Stations of the Cross - not just on Good Friday, but each Friday throughout Lent. These 14 stations adorn the walls of Catholic churches throughout the world. They are a beautiful mix of sadness and joyfulness (at the same time) as we participate in prayerful memory of the passion of Christ.
Saint Francis of Assisi, who seriously answered the call to walking in the footsteps of his Master, inspired Franciscans to create the devotion called the "stations" sometime in the 15th century (I loved the Stations of the Cross long before I was a Franciscan). The established stations that we understand today was apparently brought about by Pope Clement XII around 1731.
Enough about history (although I really like history) - I wanna share about where I have the amazing opportunity to celebrate the Stations of the Cross... in the Serra Chapel of the historical San Juan Capistrano Mission in California. It is called the "Jewel" of the missions that St. Junipero Serra established. The Serra Chapel (pictured above) is so decorated it would take one many trips to not encounter something new each time you visited. When you walk the stations you are inspired by centuries of Franciscans, lay, and ordained people before you - all following Christ through suffering to peace . You can feel it!
Which brings to my next few blogs where I will talk about each of the 14 stations.