Friday's during Lent is a time for the traditional praying of the Stations of the Cross. In our parish as of last year, we pray them at Noon at the church, rather than in the evening. As I have been leading this devotion these last few weeks, I have had time to prayerfully reflect upon this Way of the passion of Christ. With my mobility issues, this year I am leading the prayers from a sitting position, and have been sitting with the people in the pews. What this has afforded me is the opportunity to gaze upon our beautiful image of the crucified Christ that hangs above the altar. Looking upon that image while recounting the scripture passages referring to his passion has been powerfully moving. I have found it a grace in my life.
It also got me remembering the Stations of my youth. I remember every Friday afternoon as a kid at Saint Joseph grade school gathering to pray the Stations in the church. I cannot remember who published our Station books of that era, but I do remember the black and white art work depicting the Station. They were gruesome and a bit frightening for youngsters our age. And yet I still remember them well, not with fear or trembling, but with appreciation for all that Christ suffered for me. Over the years the children's Station books have become so mild and simplistic that I wonder if they lift and motivate the hearts of the kids today.
There was another memory that came back. I recall that during my years in Masontown I was asked to give the reflections at the weekly Lenten Men's prayer breakfast at Central Christian Church in Uniontown. I was asked specifically to reflect upon the Way of the Cross, which I did. Each week I took two or three stations and gave a short reflection. The entire Lenten experience was well received, and even those stations that are not found specifically in the Scriptures were accepted as worthy meditations on the experiences of life. I count it as an invitation to share our faith and tradition with other brothers that hopefully brought about as many blessings for them as it did for me.
Lenten Friday's are so special!