Blessed Columba Marmion gives some insights into the value of this ancient Catholic devotion:
“The Passion constitutes the “Holy of holies” of the mystery of Jesus. It is the crowning point of His public life, the summit of His mission here below, the work to which all the others converge, or from which they draw their value.
Every year in Holy Week, the Church commemorates its different phases, in detail. Every day, in the Sacrifice of the Mass, she renews for us the memory of it and the reality of it, in order to apply its fruits to us.
To this central act of the liturgy there is added a pious practice [the Stations of the Cross] which, though not part of the official publish worship organized by the Spouse of Christ, has become very dear to souls because of the abundant graces of which it is the source. . . .
The Virgin Mary and the first Christians must, more than once, have devoutly retaken that road He took, watering with their tears the places sanctified by the sorrows of the God-man.
This contemplation of the sufferings of Jesus is very fruitful. I am convinced that outside the Sacraments and liturgical acts, there is no practice more useful for our souls than the Way of the Cross made with devotion.”
How beautiful to think that Our Lady was the first one to pray this devotion! Even at the holy house at Ephesus, where Mary lived with St. John before her Assumption, they found a Way of the Cross nearby.
The standard set of Stations consist of 14 images (pictures or sculptures) depicting scenes from Our Lord’s Passion, Crucifixion and Death on His ’Way of the Cross’ to Calvary. These are:
- Pilate condemns Jesus to die
- Jesus accepts his Cross
- Jesus falls for the first time
- Jesus meets his mother, Mary
- Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Jesus falls for the second time
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus falls for the third time
- Jesus is stripped of his clothes
- Jesus is nailed to the Cross
- Jesus dies on the Cross
- Jesus is taken down from the Cross
- Jesus is placed in the tomb
There are profoundly deep mysteries embedded in each of these 14 ‘stations’. Below are readings and prayers read by Father Z of the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, in audio versions composed by:
* St Alphonsus Liguori (with chant) [34:16] HERE
* and St Francis of Assisi [42:43] HERE
or, if preferred, the Stations of theCross can be prayed by following them on video: