The Traditional Stations of the Cross have long been celebrated in many forms with the 14 Stations familiar to us a relatively recent form. Several of the stations arise from long-held traditions among the Christians of the Holy Land, but they are not necessarily Scriptural. In 1991, Pope John Paul II instituted a form of the Stations that are based solely on Scripture. This too forms a wonderful means of reflecting upon the events of the Holy Week which put the love of Christ in the forefront of our hearts and minds. Continue reading
The capybara is the largest member of the rodent family. Abundant over much of northern and central South America, this plump, pig-sized cousin of the sewer rat spends much of its time in the water, foraging for food (mostly aquatic grasses) and protecting itself from predators like jaguars in wetland areas and semi-flooded savannahs. Its webbed feet and easy-dry fur make its semi-aquatic life easier to manage, and it is still possible to encounter herds of up to 40 capybaras in many South American countries. They’ve even showed up as an invasive species in Florida’s endless wetlands. Continue reading
When Holy Land pilgrims returned home, they often brought back a bit of Palestine. In addition to relics, the pilgrims also brought back the desire to re-create scenes from the Holy Land in order to share their experiences with those unable to visit the holy places firsthand. When the Holy Land was closed to western visitors, European replicas of the sacred sites became increasingly popular. Outside of Jerusalem, the tradition of walking the via sacra in commemoration of Christ’s passion, death, and burial with “stations” is mentioned as early as the twelfth century and all of the references point to an outdoor celebration. There was no standard celebration of the via sacra. Depending on the location there were as few as seven and as many as 42 stations. Interestingly, in the beginning, the customary route apparently was the reverse of ours, starting with Calvary and ending at Pilate’s house – and included many other stops that are no longer considered part of the Via Dolorosa (“Sorrowful Way”).
This coming Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent and the gospel is the temptation/testing of Jesus in the desert. From the mundane of concerns about daily bread, we are taken to the lofty heights.
5 Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. 6 The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. 7 All this will be yours, if you worship me.” 8 Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.’”