Stations of the Cross
During Lent, from early childhood until just a few years ago, I practiced a religious observance of the Stations of the Cross. Our family attended Stations of the Cross when I was a youngster still at home and as our kids were growing up. It seems fitting to lament the reasons that that observance has fallen by the wayside in these last few years. I could accuse myself but I don’t think that would be fair since I still very much desire to accompany the Lord in the journey leading to His Passion and Death.
The Way of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Liguori was always (at least if my memory serves me correctly) the method followed in our local parish on Friday evenings during Lent. There is no better method for meditating on the agonies and sufferings that Christ and His Mother endured in His Passion and Death. However, since Vatican II (and arguably as a result of Vatican II) that method of following the Way of the Cross has fallen into infrequent if not total disuse. It has been replaced with socially acceptable versions of the Stations that celebrate our own journeys through life with little mention of the actual Passion of the Lord. We are admonished to “walk with our fellow man” or “see the suffering of Christ in the poor”. These may be worthy admonitions but let’s save them for the intercessory prayers at Novus Ordo Masses and concentrate on the Sacrifice our Lord made at Calvary. And the addition of a 15th station in order to mention the Resurrection distracts from the Lenten spirit and puts the horse before the cart. We can celebrate Christ’s rising from the dead on Easter Day and during the following season.
I doubt whether anything will change. The dumbing down of the liturgy has lead to an across the board desacralization of all things liturgical. From the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to our private devotions, its all about us these days.