Every Friday afternoon during Lent, the School Sisters of Notre Dame walked me
Anita Voelker is an assistant professor of education
and my classmates to church for the Stations (Way) of the Cross. I still appreciate how Sister Renée explained the devotions to me in sixth grade: a station is a place where people wait, a place on a journey; during the Stations of the Cross, we stop to be with Jesus.
The Stations of the Cross embodied the Lenten season. During the devotions, the only lights in the church were the candles carried by the altar boys, who stood on either side of the priest. At each station, signified by a stone tableau depicting a scene in the Passion of Christ (one is shown, above), the priest paused and began the devotions with this prayer: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You. Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. We prayed a specific meditation at each station, and as our priest walked to the next station, my classmates and I sang a Gregorian chant, Stabat Mater.
In the quiet darkness and slow cadence of the Stations of the Cross, I was in the moment of each tableau. I still cry during the Stations. But I know that through this Lenten tradition, Easter Sunday is more crisp, the lilies are more fragrant, and my heart is more joyful as I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
To extend the reverence of the Lenten season and the joy of Easter, I include one station of the cross in my daily prayers throughout the year.
| 6 | 7