How do the Stations of the Cross go from being just 14 images on your parish’s walls to a life-altering encounter with God? Simple – How you pray them. Whether you are praying them by yourself in your room or in a crowded Church during Lent, this prayer is an invitation into the very heart of God. It is our decision to accept or deny the invitation. Below are just a few suggestions on how to truly enter into the Way of the Cross and allow your heart to be transformed in the journey:
Make Space for God
All too often we race through the Stations as though there is a “fastest pray-er” award waiting at the end of the 14th Station (there isn’t, by the way). When entering into this journey, take your time. Start by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal something new. Go through each Station prayerfully and intentionally. Leave space and silence between each Station for God to speak, illuminate, reveal and unveil.
Use Your Eyeballs
There is a reason why almost every Catholic Church in the world has 14 images hanging on their walls. God gave us our vision to help us enter into His vision. Whether you are praying the Stations in the church or at home, use visual images of each Station to help focus and direct your prayer.
Just as God gave you eyesight, He also gave you an imagination. Use it! With each Station, place yourself in the moment. What does the cross look like? What do the crowded streets feel like? What does nails piercing the hands and feet of Jesus sound like? What does the incense used to prepare Jesus for burial smell like? Enter in and allow the Holy Spirit (and your imagination) to lead the prayer.
What’s Your Goal?
Why relive what happened so many years ago? The goal of praying the Stations is not just to get through them. The goal is to contemplate the depth of love God demonstrated on the Cross. The other goal is to learn how to carry our own crosses with Christ. In praying the Stations, we learn compassion (literally “to feel with”). We enter into the suffering of Christ to better understand our suffering and the suffering of others.
For each Station, you will find two different reflections. The first reflection helps you enter into the scene. The second reflection helps you apply the scene to your own life. If you are praying the Stations as a group, the leader (or leaders) will start each Station with a call & response prayer. Then someone will read each reflection with a short period of silence after each. Finally, conclude each Station by praying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be together as a group. If you are praying the Stations by yourself, slowly read and pray the prayers and reflections.
The following was taken from Come Walk: A Teen Guide to Stations of the Cross. You can purchase this handy little pocket guide in the Life Teen Store for only three bucks!