"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness
over all the land
unto the ninth hour". Matthew 27:45
Today prior to noon, at St. Simeon Skete, we will walk and pray the first 11 Stations of the Cross.
And when the sixth hour was come,
there was darkness over the whole land
until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33-34
The Stations are done this way every Friday at the Skete, not only during the Lenten Season but all year.
We do this devotion a bit different than the standard way said at a church. For us, it is called "The State of The Cross" rather than the Stations of the Cross.
The word "state" is used rather than Station because every step, action and word as well as everything felt and done by those who took part in this tragic reality, continues to be present in its Stations.
The Scriptures: "The son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And He said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Luke 9:22-24
In encountering the Cross, people throughout the ages have always been confronted by the choice either of becoming Christ's followers or his executioners.
"So from that day on they planned to put Him to death." John 11:53
It is a practice of the skete to continually study - a daily ongoing study - the Way of the Cross. As we begin the weekly "State of the Cross" we invoke the help of the Holy Spirit. Certain Greeks said to the Apostle Philip, "we would see Jesus" (John 12:21) and it is this prayer that we address to the Holy Spirit:
"Holy Spirit, I would see Jesus"
Then it is said:
I see you, Jesus...
you go it alone:
you drink the cup:
you are condemned to death:
you take up your cross:
you fall for the first time:
you meet your mother:
Simon carries your cross:
Veronica wipes your face:
you fall, the second time:
the women weep for you:
you fall, for the third time:
you are stripped:
your are nailed to the cross:
you are taken down from the cross:
you are placed in the tomb.
I see you, Jesus
I walk with you Jesus
The Intro to each Station:
In the State of the Cross, I offer myself to the "insert first, second - whichever station you are on" Station of: "describe the action such as Meeting your Mother, etc"
Before each Station:
V. I see the O Lord Jesus, and I am saved
R. Because by the Holy Cross thou has redeemed the world.
At this time a meditation can be read and then
After each Station:
Eleven Jesus Prayers
"And He went a little further" Matthew 26:39
At the Closing: (the following are said)
The Poorer Means
"I go in the Name of the Lord, IAM sends me as a chosen vessel to bear His Name and you shall call His Name, Jesus"
Since we say The Stations every Friday and our practice is the ongoing study of the Way of the Cross, as we stand before each station what we have studied, what we have internalized, the versions we have read over the years come forth as we say the eleven Jesus Prayers.
And it was about the sixth hour,
and there was a darkness
over all the earth
until the ninth hour. Luke:23:44
We use different versions of the stations, most recently a wonderful Way of the Cross written by the author, Susan Prudhomme. We've worked through it this Lent and now it is part of rumination of the collective stations we've taken into our hearts and recollect as we pray the Jesus Prayers at each Station.
For further reading on the Stations of the Cross we recommend the following links:
MY WAY OF THE CROSS (click here)
Sierra Leone Way of the Cross (click here)