Amidst 160 acres of farmland in Nebraska at St. Benedict Center, there is a contemplative prayer journey that focuses on the events of Jesus’ last day. The Stations of the Cross is a mini-pilgrimage to contemplate the Passion of Christ. At each pause or station on the journey, a prayer is offered to remember the sufferings and struggles of all.
Traditionally there are 14 images and events that are commemorated, but at St. Benedict Center there is one additional station. Ascending a small hill, a fifteenth station appears marking the resurrection of Christ and the joy of Easter. The artist of each of the station markers is Lore Friedrich of Münsterschwarzach, Germany.
May you be blessed by praying with the arts and taking the Way of the Cross.
“The Stations of the Cross are not given to us only to remind us of the historical Passion of Christ, but to show us what is happening now, and happening to each one of us. Christ did not become man only to lead his own short life on Earth – unimaginable mercy though that would have been – but to live each of our lives. He did not choose his Passion only to suffer it in his own human nature – tremendous though that would have been – but in order to suffer it in the suffering of each one of his members through all ages, until the end of time.” –Caryll Houselander
Station 1: Jesus is Condemned to Death
Pilate: “I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern.” -Mt 27:24
…those condemned unjustly
…those sentenced by members of governments and society because of their faith.
Station 2: Jesus Bears His Cross
Jesus: “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me…and you will find rest for your souls.” Mt 11:28
Remember those carrying a heavy cross in life without murmuring, inspired by Christ.
Station 3: Jesus Falls the First Time
Psalmist: “I was pressed, pressed, about to fall, but Yahweh came to my help.” -Ps 118:13
Remember those breaking down under the weight of their failures, and fall.
Station 4: Jesus Meets His Mother
Jesus: “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, is my brother and sister and mother.” -Mt 12:50
…your own mother
…all called to be mother to others
…all expectant mothers
“One of the oldest devotions in Christianity, the Stations of the Cross, attests to the ongoing human effort to understand the place of suffering in the human’s search for resurrection from death to life that is part and parcel of what it means to be alive and grow and become our best selves as we go.”—The Way of the Cross, Joan Chittister
Station 5: Jesus Is Helped by Simon
Matthew: “A man from Cyrene, Simon by name, was forced to carry his cross.” -Mt 27:32
…those who assist others in life without being recognized
…those who give of themselves that other’s burdens are lightened.
Station 6: Jesus and Veronica
Jesus: “What you did for the least of my brothers, you did it for me.” -Mt 25:40
…those reaching out to the marginalized of society.
…those helping AIDS victims, prisoners, minorities.
Station 7: Jesus Falls a Second Time
Jesus: “If anyone wants to be my follower…let him take up his cross and follow me.” -Mt 16:24
Remember those who lack the courage and strength to overcome addictions, personal shortcomings, sinfulness, and find themselves back in their old habits and behavior.
Station 8: Jesus Speaks to the Women
Jesus: “Daughter of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.” -Lk 23:28
…families who are struggling with any kind of difficulties and problems
…women oppressed by society, Church, work force, spouses…
Station 9: Jesus Falls the Third Time
Paul: “The Lord says: My grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness.” -2 Cor 12:9
Remember those who have given up and see no purpose and meaning in life.
Station 10: He is Stripped of His Garments
Psalmist: “They shared out my clothing among them, they cast lots for my clothes.” -Ps 22: 18
Remember those sisters and brothers stripped of their dignity.
Station 11: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Jesus: “Father, forgive them: they do not know what they are doing.” -Lk 23:34
Remember those who find themselves trapped in difficult situations and see no way out.
Station 12: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Jesus: “It is accomplished” and bowing his head he gave up his spirit. -Jn 19:30
…those who have no one to be within their final hours of life’s journey.
Station 13: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
Jesus: “The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” -Mt 10:22
…those who mourn the loss of loved ones
…those longing for consolation
Station 14: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Jesus: “I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.” Jn 12:24
…those facing death without hope of eternal life
…those who will die unexpectedly
Station 15: Jesus is Raised from the Dead
Angel: “He is not here: he is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee.” Lk 24:6
Remember those who believe in the Resurrection and give witness to it daily.