06 April 2007
Holy Week is the time of the year when I most miss being Roman Catholic*. And if I were still Roman Catholic, I’d probably be a “Neo Cath.” (I miss it so much that I still celebrate Lent by giving up some thing that I enjoy. This year it was alcohol. Perhaps I should have taken a lesson from The Anchoress. But I digress.) Such an admission usually earns me the disapproval of my Reformed brethren. They usually poo-poo what they call the “bells, smells and rigamarole.” I miss the solemnities involved in the observances of Holy Week.

My Reformed brethren talk of not observing anything not commanded in Scripture. (The wisest of them more correctly talk about not requiring the observance of anything not commanded in Scripture.) But there is something about The Stations of the Cross. It doesn’t make me feel closer to Christ, but it does make me slow down. The act of following the Stations forces me not to simply read the narrative, but to meditate upon it, in just the same way really as observance of the Lord’s Supper forces me to reflect upon what it means to identify myself with him, and upon His condescension in identifying Himself with, and dying instead of, the likes of me.

How could one follow these stations and not be moved to serious, religious reflection?

1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus receives the cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil (okay, this is of dubious historicity)
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the Third time
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

That’s how it stands as you leave the Stations. Jesus has suffered. He is crucified, dead and buried.

And it’s a good thing, too: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5.6).

But don’t despair. Sunday – the third day – is coming.

Peace be with you.

[NOTE: I’m still very much Reformed. But remember, what the “reformers” originally sought to reform, like all the reformers who tried before them, was that institution we call the Roman Catholic Church.]
*A personal, unrelated observation: I once heard Dennis Prager say, on the radio, “Christians will one day save this nation, if it is to be saved.” I sometimes think that the Christians who save this nation, if is to be saved, may just be the Roman Catholics.


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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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