Deans' Note March 13, 2022

Walking the Stations of the Cross is a time-honored pilgrimage during Lent. The stations still are part of any traditional pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but churches around the world follow Jesus through his last hours to the hill of Calvary and to his burial. We can even meditate on these moments by ourselves, as we begin this week with a digital station of the cross offered at noon on Fridays as a short reflection in the middle of the day, the time when Jesus suffered on the cross.

We most often think of this journey as walking with Jesus, reflecting on his suffering and death, and on what he must have experienced as he bore the cross for us. Yet, the stations provide opportunities for our own identification with Jesus and his identification with the pain and challenge of our lives and that of the world around us.

We can bring our own life experiences to Jesus at the cross. Where are we in our lives? What do Jesus' experiences and emotions raise for us? Are we experiencing grief? Can we identify with Jesus' mother and the women of Jerusalem, or with Jesus himself as he grieved over his rejection by the world he came to save? Does Jesus' shame at being stripped of his clothing recall the pain of our own experiences of shame or embarrassment? In Jesus' pain and suffering can we bring our own illnesses and pain? Can we see in Simon of Cyrene, an example of following Jesus through bearing the burden someone else bears? We do this not only to acknowledge that Jesus can identify with our human condition, but that he can be there with us in each and all those moments to bring healing and consolation.

We live in a world ravaged by war. Pain, death and grief, violence, and fear is all around us. Injustice and racism and anxiety are all too present in our own hearts and souls. Can we bring our world to the cross and the cross to the world? Can we see in Jesus' violent death, and the culture of brutality under which he suffered an identification with the world in which we live? Can we pray for his nail-scarred hands to bless and heal?

We believe that the same Jesus who underwent such suffering overcame death and is present with us and can be the source of strength for us. That same Jesus can empower us to be agents of healing, of binding up wounds, of standing up as he did in the face of injustice. May he enter the hurting, damaged and dark places of our world as he did as he bore his cross.

We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.