A Mother's Way of the Cross
Meditating on the Stations of the Cross used to mean making a colossal act of the will. I rarely wanted to say them, and I invariably had to overcome “obstacles” that would permit me to postpone this devotion to another time. The occasions, however, when I won the battle of the will and allowed myself to enter into the contemplation of Jesus’ last hours on earth, have proven to be very fruitful.
I have come to realize that the Stations are truly a powerful prayer that the enemy desperately does not want us to make. They can become an intimate conversation with Christ that is at the same time comforting and challenging, empathetic and empowering. As we walk the path He did, we see in Christ’s own life and actions how He meets us where we are in our weaknesses and then transforms those vulnerabilities into the path to our own sanctity.
Praying the Way of the Cross compels each of us to examine our individual vocations—which is why I felt the need to pray the Stations through the specific lens of a mother. Just as He died only for me, His path to Calvary is also relevant to the particular details of my life and circumstances. It is a deeply personal meditation on my own journey in this life.
Each of us can find ourselves at some place along Christ’s path to Calvary. Sometimes we are in the role of Jesus himself; sometimes we are onlookers; sometimes we are active players. By reflecting on His journey and on our own, each of us will be profoundly affected by this devotion. As we enter fully into this prayer, each of us will discern where Jesus is asking us to find Him in the details of our daily lives and in the people we encounter.
Motherhood is a unique vocation, one that gives great blessings and demands great sacrifices. As mothers, we make ourselves vulnerable every time we open ourselves up to welcome another soul into our lives and enter into a new relationship of love. We become vulnerable because we will be hurt ourselves and because we will see the ones we love suffer.
The daily moments of motherhood are inseparable from our daily call to carry our own crosses. Some crosses are relatively small, such as the daily contradictions and trials of patience. Others are larger; these larger ones can become crossroads in our lives. They require a decision, we choose either to seek an even closer friendship with Jesus, or to reject the suffering that is inherent to Christianity. As Christian mothers we are called to see both the big crosses and the small ones as Christ’s cross and to embrace them. They are our path to Calvary that we must walk if we desire to follow Jesus and be with Him forever.
As mothers, we are called to imitate Christ as He carried His cross. We are also called to imitate Our Lady as she accompanied her Son on that road to Calvary. Many times, the cross we carry is to suffer the way Our Lady did as we walk with our children along their own ways.
The actual distance that Jesus traveled as He carried His cross was short. It probably took less than an hour. But this was the most important thing He did with His time on earth. During this time, His sacrificial offering of His suffering and death made it possible for each of us to enter heaven. He also gave meaning to human suffering in a way that only God could. As we struggle to grow in virtue and suffer physical, spiritual, and emotional hardships, our maternal hardships are no longer simply suffering for suffering’s sake. When we unite our trials to Christ’s on the cross, Jesus transforms our pain into grace that brings us closer to Him and gives us the strength to persevere.
In the grand scheme of eternal life, our mission as mothers here on earth is also short. We do well to persevere alongside Christ on His path to Calvary. If we do, we will be comforted to know that even our most mundane tribulations have the supernatural value that Christ gave them when He suffered with His cross. We will remember that Jesus is not only with us; He will carry much of our burden for us if we ask Him.
The First Station will be posted Friday, March 4th. I look forward to journeying through Lent with you!