NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 3/31

On the Fridays of Lent, Night Prayer will look at different ways of praying. As Lent comes close to its end, this last post in the series will offer two ways of praying the Stations of the Cross. The "stations" are a Lenten devotion whose roots go back to the fourth century ,when pilgrims to the Holy Land would trace the steps of Jesus from Pilate's house to Calvary.  Later, for those who could not travel to the Holy Land, images were erected both outdoors and in churches so that believers could make a virtual pilgrimage and pray their way with Jesus on his way to Calvary.

The stations many of us grew up with number 14.  Of these, some are based in the scriptural accounts of Jesus' last hours and some are not.  For example, while 3 of stations recount Jesus falling under the weight of the Cross, there is no scriptural basis for his having fallen even once. Likewise, the scene of a woman named Veronica wiping the face of Jesus comes not from the bible but from a pious tradition.  
Now, however, there's an alternative.  On Good Friday 1991, Saint John Paul II introduced a new set of Stations - still 14 - but all of them based on the gospel accounts of Jesus' suffering and death.  

Here, then, are two videos: the first offers the older form of the Stations and the second the scripture-based devotion.  You'll find the first presentation very plain and simple, leaving most of the praying to the viewer while the second format leads you prayerfully through the scenes in the gospel that tell the story of Jesus' suffering and death.  I'm not recommending one over the other: both of them are rich sources for prayerfully reflecting on the Passion.  Perhaps between now and Good Friday (a week from today) you'll make some time to pray with both formats.

Following the videos you'll find today's Night Prayer...
If two videos don't appear below, click here!
Stations of the Cross - by iChurch.org

Stations of the Cross: 

Jesus, my brother,
    in accepting your Cross
    you took on your shoulders
    the weight of my sins and offenses,
    the heft of my faults and my failings... 

Jesus, my friend,
    when you shouldered your Cross
    you bore the brunt of my pride and resentments,
    my lies and deceit, my temper and anger...
Jesus, my Lord,
    the Cross you took up scraped and bruised your flesh
    with the splinters of my indiscretions,
    my hasty, foolish and imprudent choices...

Jesus, my brother, my friend, my Lord,
    you carried me on your shoulders that day,
    you took on the weight of my unfaithful heart
        to save and redeem me, to mend and to heal me,
        to free and forgive me of all my sins,
    that I might have life I don't deserve,
        won by your love, 
        sealed in your blood,
        given for me 
        on the arms of your Cross...
O Jesus, Son of the living God:
    have mercy on me, a sinner...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace.

Tonight's song is below the image...

Tonight's song is a beautiful, haunting setting of an old hymn,
including some instrumental interludes for your personal prayer...
What Wondrous Love Is This by Fernando Orgtega
If a video doesn't appear below, click here! 

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