I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Stations of the cross

On the other side of the mountaintop, there's a giant cross, and the path leading up to it has 14 marble shrines representing the Stations of the Cross.

I don't think I've thought about the Stations—representing the events in the Passion of Christ—for decades, but when I was in grammar school we went to the church every Friday afternoon during Lent to do the stations. It started with the First Station, Jesus is condemned to death, and ended with the Fourteenth, Jesus is laid in the sepulchre, and there was a set of prayers we recited for each station. Our family bible had a set of fairly disturbing and graphic paintings (I used to have nightmares about the Eleventh Station, Jesus is nailed to the cross) but the church just had fourteen metal plaques. I actually liked the Stations of the Cross liturgy, the chanted prayers and the Benediction at the end with incense and music, and especially coming out into the sunshine afterwards and getting to go home early.

I left the church intellectually and emotionally when I was still in high school, but you never forget the rituals. When I took the picture of the Third Station, I knew automatically that it depicted Jesus falling for the first time.

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