During Holy Week, meditate daily on Our Lord's Passion by praying the Stations of the Cross using the inspiring meditations of St John Henry Newman.
Praying the Stations of the Cross During Holy Week
Let us follow Jesus' journey praying with him from the moment he is condemned to death until he is laid in the tomb. What were the agonies he suffered? How should the last hours of his earthly life affect our lives today? How are we responsible for His Passion? To help you reflect on this, we'll be praying the Fourteen Stations of the Cross, using the inspiring meditations written by St John Henry Newman.
Two Meditations a Day
From Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, pray these meditations twice a day at a time that suits you.
We'll post the two meditations for each day at 7am GMT, and you can choose to pray them both at the same time or at separate times, perhaps bookending your day with meditations on Jesus' Passion.
On Good Friday, you may wish to pray the Twelfth Station - "Jesus Dies on the Cross" at 3pm.
The History of the Stations of the Cross
The Stations, or Way, of the Cross, traditionally began two thousand years ago when the Blessed Virgin followed in the bloodstained footsteps of her Divine Son after the Crucifixion on Good Friday. She followed the “Via Dolorosa” taken by Christ through Jerusalem and up Mount Calvary, stopping at particular points, which are now associated with the fourteen Stations of the Cross found in Catholic churches. This devotion gradually developed during Church history, but particularly from the end of the seventeenth century onwards.
The Value of the Devotion
The great value of the Stations lies in the fact that they allow believers to make a pilgrimage in spirit, and thus re-live the events of Christ's Passion and Death, starting with his condemnation before Pilate, and ending with his burial in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb. By passing from station to station, and reciting prayers and meditating on Christ's sufferings, the believer becomes one with Him in his sufferings and death.
Endorsements from the Saints
According to St Augustine, one tear shed while meditating upon the Passion is of more value than a year spent in fasting on bread and water, or in going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
St Bonaventure said that those who meditate on the Passion are “divinised,” that is, made God-like, and that the wounds of Christ are capable of melting the hardest of hearts.
St Alphonsus Ligouri said that the Saints attained their courage to bear their sufferings in the sufferings of Jesus crucified, and that when we meditate on the Passion of Christ we are inflamed with love of God and come to realise how much the Saviour loved us.
About St John Henry Newman
Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was born in London, educated at Trinity College, Oxford and embarked on a highly successful career as a Fellow of Oriel College and Vicar of the University Church of St Mary's. A prominent member of the Oxford Movement, he became a Catholic in 1845; soon afterwards, he was ordained priest and introduced the Congregation of the Oratory into England. He lived at the Birmingham Oratory, continuing his ministry as a pastor, writer and educationalist, and in 1879 was created Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro by Leo XIII. He died in August 1890, of pneumonia, at the Birmingham Oratory: the pall over the coffin bore his motto as a Cardinal, Cor ad cor loquitur (“Heart speaks to heart”). He was canonised by Pope Francis in 2019.
Prayer from the retreat
Prayer of St John Henry Newman
O God, give me grace at this time duly to confess my sins before you, and truly to repent of them. Blot out of your book, gracious Lord, all my manifold acts of sin committed against you. Forgive me all my wanderings in prayer, my sins of omission, my deliberate sins against conscience. Give me eyes to see what is right, and a heart to follow it, and strength to perform it; and grant that I may in all things press forward in the work of sanctification and ever do your will, and at length through your mercy attain to the glories of your everlasting kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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