|Jesus is Condemned to Death- David O'Connell*|
The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary. As early as the 4th C., Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land would walk the route that Our Lord walked as He made His way to Golgotha. When Muslims captured Jerusalem and it became too dangerous to make this pilgrimage, Christians replicated the sites back home in Europe, and there developed the "Stations of the Cross" devotion (also known as "Way of the Cross," "Via Dolorosa," or "Via Crucis").
The devotion consists of meditating on 14 events, that number being fixed in 1731 by Pope Clement XII, which took place during Christ's Passion, from His being condemned to His burial. Franciscans popularized the devotion, which was originally made outside, often along roads to shrines or churches. Today we make the Stations during the Season of Lent and most especially on Good Friday.
What matters most in the Stations of the Cross is to follow Jesus in his passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him. To face life's dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope, which Jesus offers to us in his Passion. By accompanying Him on the Way of the Cross, we gain His courageous patience and learn to trust in that He will deliver us from evil.
(These Stations were painted by David O'Connell (1898-1976) and hung in the church in Chichester, England in the early 1960s. David was born in 1895, served in the trenches in World War I, and trained as a commercial artist, but his love was religious painting. He died in 1976.)