The Lenten discipline, you will recall, is threefold:
Praying the Stations of the Cross, or the Via Crucis, is a very good way to observe the third of these precepts. Many parishes schedule Stations every Friday evening in Lent. When the Stations are prayed at a church or shrine, a plenary indulgence is granted to participants. (See note below.)
There’s no indulgence to praying the Stations at home — except on Good Friday — but it’s still a worthwhile exercise which will bring you many blessings. And remember the old aphorism:
Pray as you can, not as you ought!
If you’re unlikely to get to a church to pray the Stations of the Cross, but it is feasible you will pray them at home, then pray them at home!
Yesterday’s post on Lenten resources attracted great advice from many readers on other online resources, so I’ve decided to highlight, each Thursday, a different set of Stations available online. Some readers may like to use them on the Friday.
1. St Josemaría’s Way of the Cross
So here we are with the first instalment, and I’m starting with my favourite: The Way of the Cross by St Josemaría Escrivá. These are my “default” Stations. Affective, but not too long. The text is available at escrivaworks.org. I know it by heart!
But there is also a video version, which incorporates scenes from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. It is very well done. I strongly recommend investing 42 minutes in it some time tomorrow:
(NB: There may be advertisements which interrupt viewing, but they are easily closed by clicking on the X in the right-hand corner.)
What is a plenary indulgence?
A plenary indulgence is the removal of all punishment due to sin. The Sacrament of Penance absolves us of our sins, but a punishment remains unless an indulgence is granted. A plenary indulgence is granted to anyone who piously prays aloud the Stations of the Cross at a designated church or oratory.
Of course, plenary indulgences are only granted under these conditions:
1. You are free from all attachment to sin;
2. You go to confession (7 days before or after);
3. You receive holy communion (7 days before or after);
4. You pray for Pope Francis and his intentions.