The Way of the Cross is the way of each of us, for it is indeed the journey of the soul. While the life of Jesus is extraordinary, and he was hardly “any man”, the remarkable thing is that he lived life as one of us. He shows the way for each of us because in him and his story, we see ourselves, and the challenges and suffering that are the stuff of life. And in that inevitable stuff, we discover the possibilities of redemption and the transforming power of love.
One of the most challenging aspects of walking the Way of the Cross is that we know from the outset that it is not going to be easy. However, we are also fortunate to know the end of the story, that love triumphs and the world is changed forever. As we practice and enter this Way, we grow in the certainty that we are never forsaken and never alone, regardless of how dark the night.
There is no right or wrong way to practice this devotion. The only advice or guidance I would offer is to follow your heart. I find that different Stations speak to me at different points in my life and even the same Station may hold a new and unexpected meaning. With time, they continue to add new understanding to my journey – it may be the loneliness of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane that speaks to me, or at other times the pain of betrayal by his closest friends. To my shame, I may also discover myself among his friends who betray or deny him. Then, there is the overwhelming and incomprehensible injustice of it all.
Yet, as I pass through these events, I wonder at the love that shows through all of this – the love that dominates this terrible story and transforms it into triumph. Why did God choose to manifest in this way? How did this man continue to love and forgive? How am I to love when I am hurt and angry? In addition, and possibly most difficult, how can I accept his love when I feel so unworthy? It is heady stuff and the core of my faith. For as we all know, Jesus’ one commandment to us was to love – to love God, and love our neighbors as ourselves. That was also the life he lived and his perfect love changed the world. May his love, which resides in you, change your life and those you touch.
On View: Station III Jesus Denied by Peter, by Kathrin Burleson