I went to the Way of the Cross last night, but I had to apologize to the Lord for my attitude.
Until about two years ago, the nearby parish used a beautiful, scripturally based version of the Stations of the Cross. The priest led the opening prayer for each station, and that was followed by a beautiful meditation from the Old Testament, and then a prayer addressed to Jesus, in which His Suffering along the Via Dolorosa was remembered. Each station ended with the traditional Stabat Mater.
Then we got a new pastor. He introduced a contemporary format of the Way of the Cross. To put it quite simply: It is dreadful. Instead of meditations on the Sufferings of Jesus, we are led to focus on a lesson from the Life of Jesus as applied to our own lives.
For example, it is briefly mentioned that Jesus was cruelly treated, but the meditation is on how we treat others, and is followed by a prayer that we might be more charitable, etc.
This in itself is not a bad thing. But somehow it does not draw me into thinking about all Our Lord suffered for me and my sins. And, I really want to think about that.
I remember often being moved to tears when using our former Way of the Cross booklet. Last night, instead, I was actually annoyed the entire time, and found myself not even wanting to pray along with the congregation, for the prayers were all about us, and I so wanted to think about Jesus.
Even the words of the beloved Stabat Mater were changed to be in keeping with the “me” theme.
My husband did not accompany me last night. He stopped going two years ago, after about two weeks of the new Way of the Cross booklet.
I realize that a better person than I would have done their best to keep their eyes on Jesus no matter what. I know that I could have offered up my dislike of these particular stations. But, I am so very tired of everything having to be about us, and so little about God. Couldn’t we at least focus on Jesus, and Jesus alone when commemorating His Passion?
And, I have noticed the dwindling numbers who now attend. The rich passages from the Old Testament which were used in our former booklet were such food for meditation, and anyone, at any stage of prayer or the spiritual life could have found meaning and beauty in them.
After last night, I realize that I must drive an hour to our parish in the city, and attend the Stations there next Friday. I know they will be about Jesus, and not you and me… and my husband will once again attend as well.
Does anyone else have this problem? What form of the Way of the Cross does your parish use?
My favorite will forever be my Catholic School booklet by St. Alphonsus Liguori, with the beautiful color pictures of Jesus.
I can still hear our hundreds of children’s voices echoing: / I love You, Jesus, my love; / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never let me separate myself from You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.