From the earliest of days, followers of Jesus told the story of his passion, death and resurrection. When pilgrims came to see Jerusalem, they were anxious to see the sites where Jesus was. These sites become important holy connections with Jesus. Eventually, following in the footsteps of the Lord, along the way of the cross, became a part of the pilgrimage visit. The stations, as we know them today, came about when it was no longer easy or even possible to visit the holy sites. In the 1500's, villages all over Europe started creating "replicas" of the way of the cross, with small shrines commemorating the places along the route in Jerusalem. Eventually, these shrines became the set of 14 stations we now know and were placed in almost every Catholic Church in the world.
Why Put Them On the Web?
We do this for the same reason we have done the Daily Reflections and the Online Retreat on the web - accessibility. It would be wonderful if each of us would find the time to explore our church, or a classic church in town, and make the stations there, going from station to station. However, it is much easier to imagine almost anyone with a computer going through these stations, any time, day or night.What if I have never made the Stations before?
Go to the page on "How to do the Stations" and see how simple it is. On the web, it's easy. I can do one a day, for two weeks. I can do several at a time, and just do them, when I get a chance. I can do all 14 at a time, and return to them in my prayer and imagination as I do them.
The most important thing to remember is that this can be as personal as I'd like it to be. One of our common religious struggles is to realize that we are not alone. The Good News is that Jesus entered into our life's experience completely - even suffering and death - and that he fell into the hands of a Loving God, who raised him from death to life. We can have complete hope that suffering and death have no complete hold on us. We will all share eternal life with him, if we can fall into the hands of the same Loving God. And, along the way, we are not alone. Jesus is with as one who knows our suffering, and the death we face. That can be deeply consoling.
So try the stations, and experience the consolation they offer. And return often, to be renewed in this intimate experience of Jesus' solidarity with all humanity in our way of the cross each day.