Friday, March 16, 2018

The Fifteenth Station

As we walk the Way of the Cross with Jesus, we meditate through fourteen stations, focusing on His condemnation, His falls, His meetings, and His death. Some versions of the prayer add a fifteenth station that directs our attention to the Resurrection, and indeed, Jesus' story does not end when He is placed in the tomb. He does rise again on Easter, alive and glorious. 

After several years of praying the Way of the Cross, though, I've discovered a fifteenth station that's a bit different. This fifteenth station isn't hung on a wall or written in a prayer book; it's the station that is in our hearts, the station that reminds us that Jesus' Passion and Death is not some story from the past but rather an integral part of our own lives. The fifteenth station should remind us that we are part of salvation history, that this story is our story, too. 

Perhaps, then, the fifteenth station of our Way of the Cross should first be a station of humility. Jesus died for us. Our sins nailed Him to that cross. We are all guilty. But He died for us anyway. And if only one person in the whole world of space and time had needed to be redeemed, Jesus would have died for that one person even though that one person would have been the one nailing Him to the cross. 

The fifteenth station, the station in our hearts, should also be a station of gratitude. How often do we sincerely thank Jesus for what He has done for us? 

The fifteenth station should be a station that helps us embrace our own crosses. We all have our crosses, and Jesus has told us to take them up and follow Him. We should say a little prayer asking Jesus to give us the grace to do that, the grace to unite our sufferings with His and to walk the Way of the Cross with Him. 

The fifteenth station should also be a station of resolution. We can all do better. We can always improve. Jesus has done so much for us; can we think of something we can do for Him that will both please Him and help us grow in virtue? 

Finally, the fifteenth station should be a station of love. Jesus died for love of us. We need to tell Him that we love Him, and we need to ask Him to fill us with His love that we may love Him and others more and more. 

So every time we pray the Way of the Cross, we should take a few moments and enter into the fifteenth station in our hearts, to embrace Jesus' Passion and Death, for we, too, are part of that truly awesome story of God's great love.

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