The Way of the Cross is a traditional devotion in honour of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Known also as Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross had its origins in the Holy Land, but it did not become popular around the world until the 17th Century. In a sense, the Way of the Cross is a mini-pilgrimage through the events that covered the final hours of Jesus’ life on earth. In most Catholic churches there are painted or carved images depicting the Way of the Cross.
The point of this devotion is not to lead people to dwell on the physical suffering of Jesus, but rather to encourage them to enter into the love and openness of Jesus’ life, to which his suffering and death give witness.
Praying the Way of the Cross in a renewal of baptism, for in baptism Christians go down into the grave with Christ so as to rise with him into a new life of complete openness - openness to all persons, human and divine. Living the way of love and openness will sometimes bring the followers of Jesus to share his Cross, but it will also lead them, even in this life, to the joy of his Resurrection.
Following are two contemporary renderings of the Way of the Cross.