February 5, 2013
Yesterday I wrote about finding My Way of Life at the chapel bookstore where we attend Mass often and recommended it for spiritual reading during Lent. As so often happens, I went to the bookstore for something else and ended up with a spiritual bonus. That something else was The Way of the Cross: A Treasury of Stations which I wanted for year round use, but especially for Lent. It’s listed as a paperback, but the cover and binding is of such quality that it should stand up to quite a bit of wear.
What attracted me to this treasury of stations was, first of all, some gorgeous photographs of stations from a German church. One in particular I keep looking at is Jesus carrying His cross, dressed in royal robes with a crown of thorns set at the back with a royal ornament. It is awesomely beautiful and Jesus looks real. A person could meditate on the symbolism in that image for a long time. There are also some pictures of stained glass windows, sculpture, and fine art illustrating the stations.
Once I got past the eye candy, I found a collection of stations that addresses so many devotions it’s hard to imagine that everyone wouldn’t find something spiritually inspiring in this book. In addition to the familiar methods according to St. Alphonsus and St. Francis, the treasury contains the following methods:
- According to St. Leonard of Port Maurice (who wrote eloquently on the Mass)
- According to Scripture and the Liturgy (my favorite)
- According to the Eucharistic Way
- For the intention of Fraternal Charity
- In Preparation for the Last Judgment
- According to Holy Week
- According to the Marian Way
- On the Royal Road with Mary, the Mother of Jesus
- For the Intention of Patience and Resignation
- For the Intention of Reparation for Sin
- For the Intention of Repentance and Confession
The appendix contains prayers, litanies, and hymns associated with the Passion, and information on indulgences associated with the Way of the Cross.
Here’s the third station in the Fraternal Charity series:
Meditation: Our Lord falls to lift up souls. Woe to those that fall and drag others along in their ruin! Scandal is a great sin against charity. To cause a soul to fall into mortal sin is like killing it. It is not astonishing that Our Lord has threatened against the scandalous terrible curses. He pronounced this fearful sentence: “He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a mill-stone be hanged about his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea!” Let us take note that it is enough to give offense to a group, a family, a person, a child, a simple child, the smallest of the faithful, the least inhabitant of a town or village, the poorest and least significant. Respect, therefore, all the souls that have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ!
Prayer: O Lord,* grant that I may never incur the frightful responsibility for scandal.* Let me rather attract my neighbor to Thee by good example.
This collection of stations would be great for families to use at home, for private devotion, and, ideally for parishes to use in the publicly scheduled Stations of the Cross during Lent. The greatest of saints advocated frequent meditation on the Passion as a salutary spiritual practice in overcoming sins and faults. As we prepare for the upcoming penitential season, a book like this surely belongs in our arsenal of weapons against our tendencies to shy away from looking at the price Jesus paid for our salvation.
The one thing I wish is that every image in the book would have a notation as to origin, but that’s the art appreciator in me. It’s the only improvement I can suggest because everything else, including the type size is perfect for all ages and temperaments.
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