The Stations of the Cross combine art and meditation to recreate Christ's walk to Calvary, allowing the faithful to make a "pilgrimage to Jerusalem" and be drawn closer to the Christ who walked there. The stations tradition developed during the time of the Crusades (12-13th centuries). Their number and subject matter have varied widely, from as many as 30 to as few as five. The 14 of current practice first appeared in the 16th century and were fixed in 1731 by Pope Clement XII, consisting of nine gospel scenes and five scenes from popular tradition.
While many have found the stations from tradition questionable, they are included here. These stations are like parables with a message, much as Jesus taught in parables. The falls of Christ (stations 3, 7, 9) while not scriptural, could well have occurred, given his all-night interrogation, scourging and loss of blood. Theologically, the falls witness to the weight of our sin which crushed Christ. Jesus' encounter with Mary on the road to Calvary (station 4) simply expands on the same encounter at the crucifixion as recorded in John's gospel. The woman wiping Jesus' face (station 6) likely derives from the veil with Christ's image (i.e., vera icon, true image, hence the name Veronica) which has been kept in the Vatican since the 8th century. Without debating the veil's authenticity, the station teaches that the true image of Christ occurs in our loving one another. The following videos are from the Busted Halo, a ministry of The Paulist Fathers. Take time to reflect on each one, taking time to listen, consider and pray before moving onto the next.
Station One: Jesus Is Condemned to Death
Station Two: Jesus Carries His Cross
Station Three: Jesus Falls for the First Time
Station Four: Jesus Meets His Mother
Station Five: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
Station Six: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Station Seven: Jesus Falls for the Second Time
Station Eight: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Station Nine: Jesus Falls for the Third Time
Station Ten: Jesus Is Stripped of His Clothes
Station Eleven: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
Station Twelve: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Station Thirteen: Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross