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"Come, follow me" – Following in the footsteps of Our Lord

“The Way of the Cross”

The devotion of the Way of the Cross, followed in different ways and called by many names – the Stations of the Cross, Via Dolorosa, or Via Crucis – is not a modern devotion at all. In fact, early Christian tradition as well as visions received by mystics such as Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich bear witness that the earliest Christians and even the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the scenes of Christ's Passion thus making this one of the oldest and most venerable of all Catholic devotions. The Via Dolorosa of Jerusalem became a goal of pious pilgrims from the time of Constantine and a desire to reproduce these holy places for those who were unable to travel to the actual sites became common at an early date. Over the centuries, different ways of practicing the devotion formed and the number of stations varied from 7 to 14, with the number of stations being officially fixed at 14 by Pope Clement XII in 1731.

Today, the two most popular methods of following the Way of the Cross, are those of St. Francis of Assisi and of St. Alphonsus Liguori. After St. Francis' pilgirmages to the Holy Land in the early 1200's, and his observing Christians following the Way of the Cross there, the devotion was spread across Europe by the saint and his friars minor. St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote of the devotion in 1761, “The pious exercise of the Way of the Cross represents the sorrowful journey that Christ made with the cross on His shoulders, to die on Calvary for the love of us. We should, therefore, practice this devotion with the greatest possible fervor, placing ourselves beside our savior as He walked this sorrowful way, uniting our tears with His, and offering to Him both our compassion and our gratitude.”

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Lent is the traditional season when the Church teaches us to turn our thoughts towards Reconciliation and Penance – strengthening our relationship with the Lord.

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Some thoughts on following Our Lord Jesus Christ:

“Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.”

“In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. ‘Full of grace and truth,' he came as the ‘light of the world,' he is the Truth. ‘Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.' The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know ‘the truth that will make you free' and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in ‘the Spirit of truth' whom the Father sends in his name and who leads ‘into all the truth.' To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: ‘Let what you say be simply ‘yes or no.'

– from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1435 and 2466

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“No devotion is more richly endowed … or enables us more literally to obey Our Lord's injunction to take up our cross and follow Him”
– The Catholic Encyclopedia on the Way of the Cross
“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You. Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.”
– from the Way of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Liguori
We hope your Lenten season is an especially blessed and faith-filled one.
– the staff at Aquinas and More Catholic Goods

One comment

  1. Is there are book describing the full life of St.Anthony of the desert.

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