A Marian alternative to the Stations of the Cross

A Marian alternative to the Stations of the Cross

According to an ancient tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the sites of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection on a daily basis after his ascension into Heaven.

According to an ancient tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the sites of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection on a daily basis after his ascension into Heaven. Many other traditions also claim that Mary followed Jesus as he took his cross to Calvary.

In this way the Virgin Mary was the first to accompany Jesus along his Via Crucis (“Way of the Cross”)providing an example that many Christians have followed ever since.

Franciscans popularized the practice with their Stations of the Cross, but that is not the only way of walking in the sorrowful footsteps of Mary. There also developed a devotion called the Via Matris (“Way of the Mother”), which focuses on the seven sorrows of Mary — not only at the crucifixion, but also throughout her life.

According to the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, “Modeled on the Via Crucis, the pious exercise of the Via Matris Dolorosae, or simply the Via Matris, developed and was subsequently approved by the Apostolic See. This pious exercise already existed in embryonic form since the sixteenth century, while its present form dates from the nineteenth century.”

Below is a brief presentation of the Via Matris, along with the corresponding scripture passage.

 

prophecy of Simeon
The Prophecy of Simeon “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.'” (Luke 2:34-35) + © Giovanni Bellini (circa 1430–1516)

 

Flight into Egypt “Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13-14) + © Public Domain

 

Loss of Jesus in the Temple “When the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.” (Luke 2:43-45) + © William Holman Hunt -PD

 

Jesus meets His Mother
Mary Meets Jesus on the Way “And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.” (Luke 23:27) + © Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

 

Station 11: Jesus Nailed to the Cross. “Thou didst forgive Thy enemies; my God, teach me to forgive injuries and forget them.” + © Public Domain

 

Mary Receives the Dead Body of Jesus “Joseph of Arimathe′a, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.” (Mark 15:43) + © Antonio da Correggio (1489–1534) | WIKIMEDIA

 

Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.” (John 19:41-42) + © Québec, Centre de conservation du Québec / Jacques Beardsell

 

CRUCIFIX
© Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston | CC BY ND 2.0

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *