Lent can certainly be described as a penitential season that is meant to prepare us for Easter. Part of that preparation includes a beautiful devotion called the Stations of the Cross, which follow the path of Christ from Pontius Pilate's praetorium to Christ's tomb. In the 16th century, this path was officially entitled the "Via Dolorosa" (Sorrowful Way) or simply Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross.
As I have stated often about our sacred additions, art is meant to raise our minds to God and strengthen our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When people see our beautiful Church, they see things that often inspire them.
Just one example can be found in the 11th Station of the Cross. That single station can evoke prayer and awareness. This powerful scene depicts the moment when Jesus is nailed to the cross.
There are three soldiers who stand above Our Lord as they nail Him to the cross. These soldiers are haunting figures. I wonder if they are filled with dread at what is happening at their feet… or are they following orders? To me, this station is a testament to what sin does to us. It robs us of life. It can evoke violence and hatred. It can cause us to stand paralyzed, ravaged by the sins of our past.
Of course, the antidote that heals us is stripped naked at their feet and is being nailed to the cross. Jesus is a willing sacrifice for their sins and the sins of the whole world. In just a short time later, the soldier’s lance will stab Jesus’ side and blood and water will gush from his lifeless body. This moment, of course, is the birth of the Church and we are reminded that in baptism our sins are forgiven and that we die with Christ so that we may also rise with Him.
Recalling your own baptisms could most definitely be a part of your Lenten meditation. It is the Lenten focus for our Catechumens who have been preparing for and deeply desirous of the Easter Sacraments.
See how much God loves us. When we fail in discipleship after the baptismal waters have cleansed us, Jesus offers yet another sacrament to heal us. In John 20:23 Jesus calls his disciples to forgive sins. After breathing the power of the Holy Spirit into them Our Lord states, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
As Catholics, we know this as the scriptural foundation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest, as Jesus explains, must hear the sins and listen for contrition and a firm purpose on the part of the penitent to amend his or her life before absolution is given.
All this sounds lofty. But in reality, this involves a simple sacramental encounter between a priest and penitent. There is a liturgical formula that you may have forgotten and can be easily found HERE. Any of our priests will happily guide you through your confession.
We have confessions every day from 8:00-8:25am except Sunday. We also have confessions from 3:00-4:00pm on Saturday afternoon or by appointment. May your Lent be a time of grace and healingBACK TO LIST