The Stations of the Cross, one of the most popular devotions to the Passion of Christ, follows the final earthly journey of Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to Calvary where he was crucified and then to the garden where he was placed in a new tomb. Images of the Stations are found everywhere in the Catholic world in churches, shrines and country pathways.
The devotion grew in the high middle ages, but became especially popular in the 18th century inspired by the preaching of St. Leonard of Port Maurice (+1771).
A number of Christian themes appear in the devotion: the theme of life as a journey or pilgrimage, the passage from this life to a risen life, and the desire to see the Passion of Christ as a book of life revealing the wisdom and power of the Cross.
Like other devotions, the Stations of the Cross is not meant to be a prayer of set words or actions, but a meditational prayer that leads to a variety of insights. Like the four gospels it opens our minds to see the Passion of Jesus in different ways.
The Stations of the Cross should always offer a message of hope in Jesus who died and rose again. Like the Stations of the Cross pilgrims follow in Jerusalem, we should find ourselves as we pray this devotion led to the empty tomb of the Risen Jesus