This popular devotion has more to it then meets the eye.

To learn more about the history of the Stations go to this website called Devotions & Prayers or go to a great article by Fr. William Saunders called How did the Stations of the Cross Begin?

This devotion is not only accessible for Catholics almost everywhere in the United States, but it is also a great devotion for kids because they are able to visualize the images of the passion of Jesus.  What a great way to help them meditate on some of the most important moments in Salvation History.

Many saints have written about the benefit of praying the Stations of the Cross and taking time to walk and meditate upon “the way of the Cross” or “via crucis”.  Here are a few examples:

The way of the Cross is the road which leads to Paradise; it is the sure way to holiness. The Passion of Christ is the greatest and most stupendous work of Divine Love.  — St. Paul of the Cross

My Lord Jesus Christ, you have made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned you; but now I love you with my whole heart, and because I love you, I repent sincerely for ever having offended you. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany you on this journey. you go to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of you. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to you.

— St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote this preparatory prayer for the Stations of    the Cross which he wrote.

O most merciful Jesus, with a contrite heart and penitent spirit, I bow downin profound humility before Thy divine majesty. I adore Thee as my supreme Lord and Master; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, my Supreme and Only Good. I resolve to amend my life, and although I am unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Thy holy cross, on which Thou didst die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will, therefore, meditate on Thy sufferings, and visit the stations of Thy Passion in company with Thy sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the intention of promoting Thy honor and saving my soul.

I desire to gain all the indulgences granted for this holy exercise for myself and for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. O merciful Redeemer, who has said, “And I, if I be lifted from earth, will draw all things to Myself,” draw my heart and my love to Thee, that I may perform this devotion as perfectly as possible, and that I may live and die in union with Thee. Amen.

— St. Francis of Assisi’s preparation prayer of the Stations of the cross that he wrote.

Here are a few excerpts from the Directory on Popular Piety, approved by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

133. The Via Crucis is a journey made in the Holy Spirit, that divine fire which burned in the heart of Jesus (cf. Lk 12:49-50) and brought Him to Calvary. This is a journey well esteemed by the Church since it has retained a living memory of the words and gestures of the final earthly days of her Spouse and Lord.

In the Via Crucis, various strands of Christian piety coalesce: the idea of life being a journey or pilgrimage; as a passage from earthly exile to our true home in Heaven; the deep desire to be conformed to the Passion of Christ; the demands of following Christ, which imply that His disciples must follow behind the Master, daily carrying their own crosses (cf Lk 9, 23).

The Via Crucis is a particularly apt pious exercise for Lent.

Consider participating in this devotion which draws those who participate into greater union with Christ.

How have you, your family and your parish found fruit and benefit in participating in this devotion?