Stations of the Cross Show How Much God Loves Us
By Bishop David J. Malloy
One of the great treasures of our Lenten spirituality is the Stations of the Cross. Over time, it recalls 14 different moments that we walk with Jesus on His Via Dolorosa, His suffering, death and burial on Good Friday.
The Stations are a profound challenge to us to reflect, from various different standpoints, on the spiritual lessons of the suffering of Christ, the Son of God. In so doing, they help us to discover again and again the love of God has for the world and for each of us.
Consider, for example, the First Station, classically named “Jesus is condemned to death.” We are drawn to think of several elements. First, there is Pontius Pilate. Historically, he was recorded to have been a cruel and hated governor. However, when Jesus is brought to him, the Gospels record that he was hesitant to order the crucifixion. The words and presence of Jesus before him seem to have touched him. 
In the end, we are given a lesson to ask of ourselves. What would I do if I saw the truth and recognized my duty, but I was placed under great pressure to do otherwise? It is a constant test of faith for all of us. Will I witness to Christ when it is not popular? Or will I give in as Pilate did?
At that same moment, we think of Christ standing before the judge. We are brought to reflect that Jesus is there because He has surrendered Himself to the will of His Father. He Himself is totally innocent. In that way, we are reminded that Jesus was the lamb without blemish who died in our place so that we could regain before God the innocence we have lost.
There is a third group in which we can see ourselves at the First Station. That is the crowd. Whipped into a frenzy for reasons that are not completely clear, they call for the suffering and death of Jesus. 
We often witness the human tendency to follow the crowd. To avoid being the one to speak up and say something is wrong or evil. This Station gives us the Lenten motivation to ask for the grace to be courageous and to be willing to suffer in doing so, even if we have to stand alone.
We might try to walk all the Stations of the Cross imagining that we are alongside Mary. Mary, the perfect disciple, appears in the Third Station where she and Jesus briefly meet. And Mary is at the foot of the Cross in the Twelfth Station where Jesus speaks to her. Our souls and our spiritual imagination can profitably reflect that she likely walked along with Jesus in sadness and in faith throughout His ordeal.
In the end, our thoughts are drawn to the death of Jesus on the cross. It was horrible and painful. It frightened the disciples until they saw the risen Lord. But Jesus’s death is the key to understanding how much God loves us, how willing He is to forgive us if we only ask Him.
Do consider attending the Stations of the Cross in your parish this Lent. Why not make it a family exercise, or one of your acts of penance this year?
And don’t forget to make your confession during Lent. Check your parish schedule for times and availability. And remember that Be Reconciled Day is Wednesday, April 6. On that day our parishes will be open for confessions during the period from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the Diocese. Please come, especially if you haven’t gone to confession in a long time.
The Stations, confession and helping the poor are all ways we enter into Lent to seek once again God’s love and forgiveness.