The Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross are traditionally used during Lent (especially on Fridays) as a way to go deeper into the mystery of the passion, death and burial of Jesus Christ. It looks both at Mary’s journey on the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow)— where the Passion actually occurred, and at the major events as recorded by the Apostles in the Gospels.
“Behind the house, at a little distance up the hill, the Blessed Virgin had made a kind of Way of the Cross. When she was living in Jerusalem, she had never failed, ever since Our Lord's death, to follow His path to Calvary with tears of compassion. She had paced out and measured all the distances between the Stations of that Via Crucis, and her love for her Son made her unable to live without this constant contemplation of His sufferings . . . At first she went by herself, measuring the number of steps, so often counted by her, which separated the places of Our Lord's different sufferings. At each of these places she put up a stone, or, if there was already a tree there, she made a mark upon it. . . . Afterwards she arranged the Stations better, and I saw her inscribing on the stones the meaning of each Station, the number of paces and so forth. . . . At that time I saw no picture and no fixed cross to designate the Stations, nothing but plain memorial stones with inscriptions, but afterwards, as the result of constant visits and attention, I saw the place becoming increasingly beautiful and easy of approach. After the Blessed Virgin's death I saw this Way of the Cross being visited by Christians, who threw themselves down and kissed the ground.” (The Life Of The Blessed Virgin Mary From The Visions Of Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich,) more...
Lent: Fasting and Temptation
It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of fasting for the sake of fasting; it’s that thing we do for Lent, after all! However, it must be remembered that fasting is not a virtue. Rather, it is a tool that when exercised properly yields many fruits. During the Lenten period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday, we are asked to fast, particularly on the Fridays. But why?
St. Francis of De Sales in looking at the Life of Christ lays out the purpose of fasting and also several conditions that must be present in order for one to fast well. He says: “[F]asting fortifies the spirit, mortifying the flesh, and its sensuality; it raises the spirit to God; it fights concupiscence and gives power to conquer and deaden its passions; in short, it disposes the heart to seek to please only God with great purity of heart.” (The Sermons of St. Francis De Sales for Lent, 1622) more...