Last night for the first time in quite awhile, I attended the Catholic devotion – Stations of the Cross. I have been racking my brain the last time I prayed this important devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the life of me, can’t come up with a time frame. Nevertheless, it was a good way to end a joyful week where we have welcomed a new Pope to the Papacy – Francis. In a few days, I will add my blog post to the plethora of posts already written on our new Papa. For this post, I just want to focus on Lent and Stations of the Cross.
With all the great news this week, a friend of mine said, we need to remember that it’s still Lent. She was making the point that this week was joyful, but the Lenten Season needs to remain a focus of ours as we prepare for the Triduum. My Lenten sacrifice this year has not been exercised as well as I hoped it would; however, my prayer life has increased. I find myself praying nearly everywhere. Trying to be like St. Paul who suggested praying “constantly” (1 Thess 5:17).
Although the Catholic Church in her wisdom sets aside these 40 days for us to prepare for Christ’s Passion, it is our own humanity and weakness that does not allow us to keep the commitments we set out to do on Ash Wednesday. I am not using my humanity as an excuse for my lack of going to bed earlier at night (yes, I go to bed way to late), but I do realize that my sinfulness and weakness play a role in my actions. Even before the Conclave I was failing at this Lenten sacrifice, but once the Conclave began, I really wasn’t going to bed early. It was too much excitement for this Catholic.
Attending the Stations of the Cross last night set me straight though. I realized the great suffering our Lord Jesus Christ went through for us, at least as much as my finite brain could comprehend. I also realized that even though Lent is coming to a rapid conclusion, my sacrifice still has merit and getting “back on the horse” can be accomplished. As I think about that phrase, it’s not getting on the horse I should do, but I should climb back onto the Cross. That’s what it’s all about for us as Christians really – the Cross. Bishop James S. Wall of the Diocese of Gallup once said on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, “it all leads back to the Cross.”
In his first homily as Holy Father, Pope Francis said this about the Cross, “When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.” Our Holy Father is saying to be a disciple of Christ, the Cross-must be ever present before us. He knows full well that the Cross-is the sign of a Christian.
So as we celebrate our new Papa’s election to the Papacy, we must remember it’s Lent and we need to focus on our prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving. We must climb back on the Cross-, if we have fallen from it. Praying the Stations of the Cross is a good devotion that can help us remember that the Cross-should be ever present before us, if we are to be disciple of Christ.