Friday, March 29, 2013
STATIONS OF THE CROSS: WALKING WITH JESUS
Today is Good Friday, the most holy of Christian holidays. A day full of long masses and commemoration.
This is the day we celebrate the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made to ensure that those of us that believe will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
It marks the end of the annual Lenten ritual of performing the Station's of the Cross. Since a child, I have endeavored to find a church and perform the stations. It is my sincerest hope that my children will teach their children the stations.
This morning the boys and I attended a special Children's Stations of the Cross at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Outer Cove. Two youth ministers did a fantastic job of taking the children through the 14 (15 if you count the resurrection) stations. At each station, they took the time to think of what Jesus endured on the path to his execution high atop Golgotha. They show how much Jesus loved us.
My youngest was very much intrigued by the stations this year. While all three read the passion, recited prayers and reflected on each stop, Conor was actually moved. He got the message of Christ's sacrifice - that Jesus is with us and loves us. He realized that Jesus could have gotten off the Cross, escaped, punished the Romans and the Jews at any moment. Instead the passion tells the story of his sacrifice for his followers.
My dad and I would say the stations every single night, without fail, at the church in St. Bernard's. No matter how tired he was from fishing, there was no acceptable reason not to walk with Jesus during lent. The Stations are etched in my brain like cave paintings from the days of the Neanderthals.
They have become much more important to me spiritually since I became a dad. In my 20's and early 30's they provided me with a sense of connection with my own father. I left St. Bernard's when I was 16. Living away meant trips home were scarce, in particular when I lived up on the mainland. Walking the stations in church grounded me. It brought me home. It reminded me of the financial sacrifices that my parents made to give my brothers and I opportunities that Dad never had. He toiled in dangerous ocean to ensure we never had to. He tore himself up hauling lobster pots, traps, nets, baited trawl. Etched in my mind are those spring Lenten nights when he would cry in pain (after we were supposedly asleep) as my mom would poor hot paraffin wax over his arms in an attempt to remedy the pain caused by arthritis that gripped him every spring. Those cold windy days when he was tossed around in his boat like a cork in the ocean, harvesting from the sea to make money to provide for us.
Often I think of the stations of his life, the love and the sacrifices - but never as much as when I walk the stations over lent.