The Stations of the Cross: Falling Forward

It’s Holy Week and tomorrow is Good Friday. This marks Christ’s death and thankfully, the end of Lenting Season!

In the past 40 days, the Stations of the Cross, which focuses on remembering and meditating on events of Christ’s last day, has been most challenging. However, it has also become surprisingly refreshing, inspiring even.

There are numerous versions of the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) with slight variations, but I particularly love Everyman’s Way, probably because it’s the version I learnt as a child and I know most of the lines by heart. I didn’t undersatand what most of the Stations signified, but in recent years, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for this 14-step devotion.

These fourteen steps that you are now about to walk you do not take alone, I walk with you. Though you are you, and I am I, yet we are truly one…

To begin with, I really like that Everyman’s Way often uses the phrase “My other self” when Christ refers to us. For me, it creates a sense of intimacy, this feeling of oneness between us and God, that we are indeed “one body, one spirit” in Christ.

Next, notice that in this devotion Jesus falls a lot on His way up to Calvary, yet there’s no record of him making excuses for his weakness, or self-deprecating like we often do. Falling and failing in our daily lives is something most of us can relate to if we are being honest. We fail in our relationships with friends, members of our family and most importantly in our relationship with God, and when our conscience kicks in, we spend more time in self-pity.

But, the Stations of the Cross teaches us that falling is anticipated and forgivable, as long as we are trying to be better, falling on the right part – failing forward. Falling isn’t to break us but to test our will, and to make us stronger Christians as we pick ourselves up and resolve to do better in our pursuit of Eternal life.

On this account, below are my three favorite quotes from this beautiful devotion:

“Take heart, my other self, I will not let your burdens grow one ounce too heavy for your strength.”- Second Station

This Second Station is my pillar on difficult days. It affirms that our trials are chosen for us by God and He will give us Grace sufficient to cope with it.

“This seventh step, my other self, is one that tests your will. From this fall learn to persevere in doing well. The time will come when all your efforts seem to fail and you will think, “I can’t go on.” Trust me and carry on.” – Seventh Station

This too focuses on perseverance. I see it is a reminder to trust God and have faith, especially when our efforts seem pointless.

“Completely drained of strength I lay, collapsed, upon the cobblestones. My body cannot move. No blows, no kicks, can rouse it up. And yet my will is mine. And so is yours. Know this, my other self, your body may be broken, but no force on earth and none in hell can take away your will. Your will is yours.” – Ninth Station

Finally, we Nigerians give the devil too much credit. Our Number One excuse  is “it’s the work of the devil”. I like this Station because it reminds us that we always have a choice in tempting situations and we should take responsibility. The devil will tempt you, but the choice to sin rests with you.

A good prayer

“Lord, never let me feel that any sin of mine is greater than your love, no matter what my past has been, I can begin anew.”

That’s my favourite prayer for the season of Lent, short, simple and reassuring. I especially love this because sometimes we realise that we have sinned unforgivably and shame makes it hard to pray. This devotion reminds us that despite our failures, God is always ready to forgive us when we turn to him. We get another chance; an opportunity to be better.

I’m not much for preaching but I hope that even if you aren’t Catholic, these quotes support your Christian faith or your spiritual and daily struggle as it does mine.

Thank you for reading!

P:S Catholics remember, no meat tomorrow.Hugs!

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