A Parish Priest noticed one parishioner every day praying the ‘Way of the Cross’ lighting a candle at each station. Very devoutly she would say all the prayers and at the close of each Station of the Cross she would say beating her chest: “Holy Mother, pierce me in my heart each wound renew of my Savior Crucified”. One day after the prayer she approached the Priest who asked her about her wellbeing. While telling about her life she said: “Father I have many sufferings. Please pray that God may take away my sufferings”. Then the Priest said: “Every day you pray to Mother Mary: ‘pierce me in my heart each wound renew of my Savior crucified’. And now you ask me to pray that God may take away your sufferings. Will God listen to Mother Mary’s prayer or my prayer?”
Yes, often we do not really mean what we pray. In the very meaningful devotion of the Way of the Cross, as we meditate on the Passion of Christ in each Station, we are led more and more to realize that He bore all that for our sins. So we pray: “We adore you O Christ and bless you, because by your Cross, you have redeemed the world”. Jesus willingly accepted the Cross, followed the Way of the Cross and ultimately laid down His life on the Cross. “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own free will” (Jn. 10.18). In each moment of His Passion He thought of us and was willing to bear all that in order to atone for our sins. His love for us was such! “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8).
In our day to day sufferings, we ‘bear on our body the marks of Jesus’ (Gal.6. 17). In the prayer of the Way of the Cross, we ask Mother Mary to ‘pierce in our hearts, each wound renew of our Savior Crucified’. This means that we should be willing to accept all the wounds and hurts, all sorts of persecutions, unjust accusations, and undeserved sufferings with the attitude of Christ. As Jesus came “not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10.45), we, as His followers should be willing to give our life as a ransom for others. Let us pray not to take away our sufferings; rather let us pray for the grace and power to accept it willingly as a ransom for those who are the cause of our sufferings, unite our sufferings with that of Christ, and have the attitude of Christ in bearing it without any anger, grudge or sorrow; thus we can change our sufferings into redeeming sufferings. May the beautiful prayer of ‘Way of the Cross’ becomes more meaningful and fruitful in our lives.