Lighting the Way of the Cross
I’ll never forget the time back in high school when my dad put the kibosh on my much-anticipated Friday night plans. There was nothing particularly unacceptable about the planned activities … except that they were frivolous – and it was Lent.
I wasn’t too happy about his decision then, but, looking back, I get it. He wasn’t being “old fashioned.” He was just doing what every Christian parent is called to do, and, as it turned out, he was participating in my faith formation. Lent is a time reserved for somber meditation, fasting and praying. It is not meant to be “unhappy.” But if we are not careful, the distractions – and attractions – of our comfortable modern lives can conflict with how we are called to spiritually prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection.
Although I didn’t think so at the time, I still needed my dad to lead and guide me through the proper steps that come with being a Catholic during Lent.
Even as an adult living outside of my dad’s house, I still depend on certain aids to guide me through the spiritual path Lent offers. And, thankfully, the Church offers a multitude of traditions that fit that purpose. Along with the acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the Stations of the Cross serve as a step-by-step roadmap through a pilgrimage of prayer. They provide a measured cadence as we make our journey with Christ to the cross, reminding us of the nature of the Lenten season, just as my dad did so many years ago.
While a parish community is typically encouraged to come to the church every Friday during Lent to pray the Stations of the Cross, the stations can be prayed anywhere. For those who find it difficult to be away from home on Friday, or for those who may want to meditate on the stations on other days of the week, there is a creative way to meditate upon them at home, lighting a candle at each station to mark your progress. I hope this helps you in your Lenten journey this year!
Stations of the Cross Tea Light Stand
For this project you will need:
- Piece of wood measuring at least 6” x 12” (can be found pre-cut at an arts and crafts store)
- Acrylic craft paint
- Patterned scrapbook paper
- Scissors or craft knife
- Sand paper
- Craft or decoupage glue
- Spray varnish (optional)
- 14 printed Stations of the Cross
- 14 tea lights
Trim each printed station to size (small enough so seven will fit on each end of wood). Set aside.
Paint and decorate surface and sides of the wood with patterned paper. Adhere Stations of the Cross to the outermost edge of the wood, so that they are in order counterclockwise. Allow it to dry, and then lightly sand edges to give the piece a slightly distressed look. Apply a coat of decoupage glue or spray varnish, and allow piece to dry completely.
Place each tea light behind each station (in center of wood board).
Light each candle as you pray the corresponding station. Blow out the candle before you move on to the next station if you wish. This Stations of the Cross tea light stand makes a great table centerpiece!
Another idea: You can use other items such as wooden cigar boxes or trays for this project! Just make sure they are large enough to fit all the tea lights.
Michelle DiFranco is a designer and the busy mom of two children.
This article was originally published March 2014.