The Stations of the Cross: A Devotional Journey with Jesus

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Brought before the council of Caiaphas, the high priest, witnesses testify against Jesus, though their false claims do not hold up.

The Stations of the Cross

The physical assault on Jesus begins, as He is blindfolded, struck repeatedly, and spat upon. During this time, Peter waits in the courtyard to see what will happen to Jesus. Each time, he denies knowing Jesus and grows more agitated. As Jesus journeys from Pilate to Herod and then back, the trip He undertakes is roughly two and a half miles.


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He has not slept and has been subject to further mockery and beatings, all worsening His physical condition. Although Pilate cannot find any just cause for execution, the riotous crowds urge him to have Jesus killed. Pilate bends to their will, ultimately releasing the prisoner Barabbas in exchange for Jesus, who he hands over to be crucified. As required by Roman law, Pilate orders Jesus to be flogged before crucifixion. The flogging whip is likely made up of leather strips with metal balls in the middle that cause deep bruising upon striking the skin.

Sheep bone attached to the ends of the leather strips inflict further injury. Traditionally, an accused person is stripped naked, the flogging covering a large portion of the body from the shoulders to the upper legs.

While the robe helps His bodily wounds to clot and stems some of the blood loss, the thorns stab the skin around His face and head and more blood pours forth. Continuing to belittle and mock Jesus, the soldiers tear the robe from His back, which begins the profuse bleeding again. It was common to force condemned individuals, especially non-Roman citizens, to carry the patibulum or horizontal piece of the cross to their execution site.

The weight of the cross further makes balancing difficult for Jesus in His extremely weakened state. While attempting to walk, His muscles cannot compensate for the disruption in balance and He is unable to remain upright. A crowd follows behind on the path to Golgotha, including women weeping and mourning for Jesus, who speaks directly to them. His attention to their presence perhaps bolsters Him somewhat through the intense suffering, as the social support of others has a protective effect on the brain and body. Jesus may have experienced decreased anxiety and lower stress hormones as a result of their support, 4 a balm of comfort to His pain.

Crucifixion was perhaps the harshest punishment imaginable, reserved for the lowest of society—slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and vicious criminals. The vertical portion, or stipes, remain permanently embedded in the ground, while the horizontal patibulum is carried uphill by the accused.

Jesus is thrown down to be nailed to the patibulum on the ground.

21st Century Stations of the Cross

Instead, placement at the wrist bones in the lower part of the hand can support the body, keeping Him nailed to the cross. The nail inflicts nerve damage and subsequent pain. In the normal act of inhalation, the diaphragm moves down. The shift of this large muscle, which divides the chest and abdominal cavities, enlarges the chest during inhalation and air moves automatically into the lungs.

During exhalation, the diaphragm moves up, compressing the air in the lungs and forcing it out. As Jesus hangs on the cross, His limp body pulls the diaphragm downward, trapping the air in His lungs. To exhale, He must push up each time on His nailed and battered feet. The Gospels note that Jesus spoke seven times from the cross, each vocalization requiring strained effort to generate the air required to pass over the vocal cords during exhalation.

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His disciple, John, is also present. Jesus again manages to speak through immense suffering to bring His mother and John together, preparing them to support each other after His death. Carbon dioxide accumulates in His blood, raising the amount of carbonic acid to dangerous levels. The desire to breathe is overwhelming and His heart beats quickly, instinctive attempts by the body to increase oxygen circulation.

The lack of oxygen persists, damaging tissues as the capillaries leak watery fluid from the blood.

Stations of the Cross - Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

With heart failing, severe dehydration, and significant decrease in oxygen to the tissues, it is around 3 p. Jesus most likely died from a heart attack myocardial infarction , the lack of oxygen causing cardiac arrest. John Covecrest is more than a retreat center and summer camp. Covecrest is a community of Catholics committed to transforming teens, transforming parishes, and transforming culture. Will you join us?

The Significance of the Stations of the Cross

Hidden Lake is home to an incredible Catholic community, gorgeous views, welcoming meeting spaces and so much more. Dedicated to leading teens closer to Christ, we hope you'll be welcomed home to Hidden Lake soon.

There are many women who are a vital part of salvation history and their stories are critical parts of Sacred Scripture. This scriptural devotion will inspire young women to raise their heads along with Mary, Martha, Lydia, and Esther and look into the eyes of Jesus, the God who loves deeply and perfectly. You are going to make thousands of decisions today and one of them might change your life. Are you confident that what you want and what God want are the same thing? This is your one stop shop for great Catholic books, community, gifts, events, music, and resources.

We are here to serve. Life Teen strengthens our teens' Catholic identity, while rooting them firmly in Christ and in His Church. I remember the first time I was not able to attend the Via Crucis viviente , or live Stations of the Cross, at my parish. I was working at a restaurant and my night shift meant that I would miss this Good Friday tradition that I had grown up doing. I was devastated.


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  • Across Latin America during Holy Week, these events shut down city roads for miles and miles in order to help people journey to the cross with Jesus. Think Mel Gibson production level, but the blood looks way more fake. It is a common devotional practice to meditate on the Stations of the Cross on Fridays throughout the Lent season.

    Kick this form of prayer up a notch by taking it outside and walking while you reflect on the stations. I know for me, it is tempting to only think of the Passion of Christ in the abstract, when it was very much a physical experience. But what those long processions of the Via Crucis viviente taught me was that Jesus felt every single step and every one of the moves He made while carrying the Cross.

    1. Walk the walk

    You can follow the outdoor stations on your parish grounds if they have them. You could grab your favorite Stations of the Cross devotional and head out on a hike to pray on the move. By making a journey out of this prayer, we are more able to recognize the great effort that was required for Jesus to make that long and painful walk for our sake and for the sake of the whole world.

    Another good practice as you pray with this devotion is to try to place yourself as one of the characters in the narrative. This is a common form of imaginative prayer, in which you can really place yourself in the biblical story. One of the best parts of the Via Crucis viviente at my parish was that it was led by the young adults of the Hispanic community, and so these were people that I knew pretty well and already related to in some way.

    Ask the Lord to reveal to you what unique perspective that brings to your relationship with Him and with others. Let the life-changing events of that day be present in your own life now, and see how that is an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. I think the benefit of having the Via Crucis viviente every year was that the different characters were played by new people each time, and thus felt unique in their own way.

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