One of today’s most popular and respected Catholic writers presents the first guide to the new Stations of the Cross, reflecting the revisions made by Pope John Paul II.
A traditional devotion for Catholics for more than four hundred years, the Stations of the Cross commemorates the route Jesus traveled from being sentenced to death, crucified, and then buried in a borrowed tomb on the outskirts of Jerusalem. In the past, the devotion included a number of stations based on popular stories of piety and devotion, but not mentioned in the Gospels. Over the past eight years, however, Pope John Paul II has made substantial changes to the devotion in his Good Friday celebrations of the stations, removing those not found in the Bible and replacing them with stations that more accurately follow scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion.
The revised Stations of the Cross focuses on the condemned Jesus and on the community walking the way with him to the cross. Unrelieved by stories like Veronica’s wiping blood off the face of Jesus and his meeting with his mother; this is a story of an execution. The new stations deal directly with the pain, suffering, betrayal, and injustice to which Jesus was subjected. In explaining his reasons for revising the stations, the Pope has said that the alterations are intended to serve as a model for other devotions and to encourage the return to the Scriptures as the source of and inspiration for contemporary worship.
In this helpful, authoritative guide, Megan McKenna presents the fourteen new stations with the scriptural passages that Pope John Paul II uses on Good Friday. She also provides a basic introduction to the practices and reflections on the importance of the devotion for present-day Catholics and Episcopalians.
In the Catholic tradition, the Stations of the Cross commemorate the various stages of Jesus' final journey from the time of his condemnation all the way through his crucifixion and burial. As a metaphor for the struggles, injustices, and doubts we face along the spiritual path, the Stations are indeed powerful touchstones. "The Stations of the Cross are a compass, a guide for the heart, a blueprint, and a source for sounding out our responses to what prevails and happens in our world today," writes McKenna, an internationally known retreat leader and spiritual director, based in Albuquerque, N. M. "They offer wise counsel on how to walk with dignity, with grace, with compassion." Over the last 400 years, these sacred stations were somewhat compromised as devotees began to add and adapt stations to meet their devotional needs. McKenna's eloquent book eliminates the controversial stations (such as Veronica wiping the blood from Jesus' face) and instead offers thoughtful meditations on the 15 stations recently sanctioned by Pope John Paul II. Each chapter delves into one station, citing its reference in scripture and then suggesting a modern-day context for contemplation. For instance, in the second station, when Judas betrays Jesus, McKenna ponders the capacity for God's forgiveness that lies with us all. Each chapter closes with a soothing prayer. Timed for a Lenten release date, this makes a fitting companion for the season's daily devotionals.