The Via Crucis, or Path of the Cross, is one of the more expressive forms, more solid and established devotions of Christianity on the Passion of Christ.
Since the first centuries the pilgrims from Jerusalem venerated the holy places, especially the Gólgota and the Tomb. According to the revelations from God to Saint Brígida, after the death of Christ, the great consolation of his Mother was to travel the path of the cross sprinkled with the blood of her Son. The inability to go to Jerusalem or the desire to frequently recollect at the same place the moments of the Passion, compelled Christianity to represent, in diverse forms, the most salient places, to be traveled in a spiritual pilgrimage.
When the Via Crucis is done before legitimately erected stations, it carries a plenary indulgence. While customarily it is done by reading a text and saying certain prayers, it can be made meditating mentally what each station proposes.
St. Bernard says: "There is no more effective way to cure the sores of our conscience and to cleanse and perfect our soul as the frequent and continuous meditation of the holy sores of Christ and His Passion and Death".
Merciful Jesus said to him to Saint Faustina Kowalska: "Few souls contemplate My Passion with true feeling; to the souls that meditate My Passion very devotedly, I grant them greater number of graces"
Stations of the Path of the Cross:
1ª: Jesus is condemned to death.
2ª: Jesus carries the cross.
3ª: Jesus falls for the first time.
4ª: Jesus encounters his Mother.
5ª: The Cyrenian helps Jesus to carry the cross.
6ª: The Verónica wipes the face of the Lord.
7ª: Jesus falls for the second time.
8ª: Jesus consoles the holy women.
9ª: Jesus falls for the third time.
10ª: Jesus is stripped of his garments.
11ª: Jesus is crucified.
12ª: Jesus dies on the cross.
13ª: Jesus in the arms of His Mother.
14ª: Jesus is buried.
Method to recite the Via Crucis:
To go over physically or mentally on the Stations of the Cross, meditating a little while in each one of them. If we wish, while we meditate at each station, we can say some prayer, for example an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory.
BROTHER ESTANISLAO (1903 - 1927)
At the age of 18 years, a young Spanish entered as a novice, "THE SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN BROTHERS", in Bugedo. In the religious life, this young man took the religious votes in fulfillment of the regulations; to advance in the Christian perfection; and to reach pure love. In October 1926, this brother offered himself to Jesus through Most Holy Mary. Shortly after this heroic offering, the young monk became ill and was forced to rest. He died in sanctity in March, 1927. According to the Master of novices, this religious was a chosen soul of God; who received messages from Heaven. The confessors of this young man, as well as the theologians, recognized these supernatural facts like meaningful acts. The young man was called Brother Estanislao. The spiritual director of Brother Estanislao had instructed him to write all the promises transmitted by OUR LORD. This would be for the spiritual benefits of those devoted to the PATH OF THE CROSS. The promises are the following ones:
PROMISES for devotees of the Path of the Cross
1, I will grant all that is requested from Me with faith, during the Path of the Cross.
2. I promise eternal life to those that once in a while, recite the Path of the Cross.
3. All through their lives, I will accompany them everywhere, and will have My special assistance at the hour of death.
4. Even if they had more sins than the blades of grass that grow in the fields, and more than grains of sand in the ocean, all will be erased through this devotion to the Path of the Cross. (Note: This devotion does not eliminate the obligation to confess mortal sins. One is due to confess before receiving Holy Communion.)
5. Those that recite the Path of the Cross frequently, will enjoy an extraordinary glory in Heaven.
6. After death, if these devotees arrived at Purgatory, I will liberate them from that place of atonement, the first Tuesday or Friday after dying.
7. I will bless these souls whenever they recite the Path of the Cross; and my blessing will accompany them everywhere on Earth. After death, they will enjoy this blessing in Heaven, for all eternity.
8. At the time of death, I will not allow that they are subject to the temptation of the demon. To the malignant spirit I will strip to him of all power on these souls. Thus they will be able to rest peacefully in My Arms.
9. If they recite it with true love, it will be highly rewarded. That is to say, I will turn each one of these souls in a living Vessel, where I will be pleased to spill My Grace.
10. I will fix the glance of My Eyes on those souls that recite the Path of the Cross frequently and My Hands will be always open to protect them.
11. Just as I was nailed in the Cross, I will always be very united to those that honor Me, with the frequent recitation of the Path of the Cross.
12. The devotee of the Path of the Cross will never separate from Me because I will give them the grace of never incurring in mortal sin.
13. At the hour of death, I will console them with My presence, and we will go together to Heaven. Death will be sweet for all those that have honored Me during life with the recitation of the Path of the Cross.
14. For these devotees of the Path of the Cross, My Soul will be a protecting shield that always will render assistance to them when they resort to Me.
We conclude that it is very beneficial for us and our brothers, to recite the Path of the Cross not only during Easter but at all times.