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Reflecting Upon the Way of the Cross

We adore you, Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.

The Crypt Church is brimming with the art of Mary Chase Perry Stratton, whose unique Pewabic tile designs bring to life important biblical figures throughout its chapels and ceilings. Stratton’s art in the Crypt Church includes a series of the fourteen Stations of the Cross, which portray the events of Christ’s Passion. During Lent, reflection upon the Stations of the Cross is a beneficial practice as we consider Christ’s sacrifice for us. In this post, we explore the Scriptures behind the Way of the Cross and the beautiful tile depictions found in the Basilica.

1st station of the cross- condemnation of Christ1. The Condemnation of Christ

“When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.” — Matthew 27:1-2 

2nd station of the cross- jesus bears his cross2. Jesus Bears His Cross and 3. Falls for the First Time 

“So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.” — John 19:16-17

4. Jesus Sees His Mother

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” — John 19:26-27

5th station of the cross- simon bears His cross5. Simon of Cyrene Made to Bear His Cross and 6. Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face

“They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.” — Mark 15:21

7. Jesus Falls a Second Time and 8. The Women of Jerusalem Weep

“A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, “Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.” At that time people will say to the mountains, “Fall upon us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?’” — Luke 23:27-31

9th station of the cross9. He Falls a Third Time and 10. His Garments Are Stripped

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” — Matthew 27:27-29

11th station11. He Is Nailed to the Cross

“There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.’” — John 19:18-19

12th station crucifixion12. His Death

“It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’; and when he had said this he breathed his last. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, ‘This man was innocent beyond doubt.’ When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.” —Luke 23:44-49

13th station13. He Is Brought Down From the Cross and 14. He Is Placed in the Tomb

“When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.” — Mark 15:42-46

Pray the Stations of the Cross with the Basilica

Looking for a more in-depth meditation on the Stations of the Cross? Pray the Stations of the Cross with the clergy of the Basilica.

3 Inspirational Women Saints Depicted in the Basilica
God’s Timing in Relationships: Couples of the Bible: Part III