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The Way of Light in a World of Darkness

Each year, as a high school youth minister, I gather students to perform a living Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis, or the Way of the Cross), a first-person perspective of the Passion and Death of Christ. It’s a moving offering that helps our church members enter more reverently into Holy Week. Living Stations is always one of my most favorite things I get to coordinate as a youth minister, and it becomes my favorite interactive way to pray during the year.

This Easter, I stumbled upon what I think may be my new favorite devotion: the Stations of the Resurrection, also known as Via Lucis or the Way of Light. Designed to be prayed in stations (which is helpful for those of us who need freedom within structure), the Way of Light helps us meditate on Jesus’ interactions with people from His Resurrection to His Ascension.

As I learned more about it, including that it was written by a Catholic priest in 1988 and that the late Pope John Paul II prayed this daily, what has stood out to me most is how uplifting and encouraging it is, even if you are going through periods of spiritual desolation.

In 2001, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments released a document called the “Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy.” They wrote the following about this devotion:

“The Via Lucis is potentially an excellent pedagogy of the faith{…] Using the metaphor of a journey, the Via Lucis moves from the experience of suffering, which in God’s plan is part of life, to the hope of arriving at man’s true end: liberation, joy, and peace, which are essentially paschal values.”

The Stations of the Cross, a traditional Lenten devotion, emphasize the closeness of the Lord in our suffering, but the Stations of the Resurrection emphasize the positive, hopeful aspect of the Christian story. What a helpful and hopeful offering, to note that the Christian life, while it comes with its fair share of sorrow and hardship, is meant to center on joy and life and love!

In a way, I think all of our lives as Christians ought to be a via lucis. Jesus told us to spread the message of the Gospel: that although we are sinners, Christ died for us so that we may have life and live it to the full. Isn’t that a message of Light in a dark world?

If we are truly living out this Great Commission, we would be proclaiming that the risen Christ desires an eternal relationship with each of us through the way we interact with the folks around us, not just by evangelizing in the definitive sense, but by the way we are Christ’s hands and feet in the active sense.

Why might this practice be relevant to our pro-life mission? The same Vatican writing continues to say:

“The Via Lucis is a potential stimulus for the restoration of a “culture of life” which is open to the hope and certitude offered by faith, in a society often characterized by a “culture of death”, despair, and nihilism.”

It is unquestionable that our society is stricken by this culture of death. As mentioned in our previous blog posts and social media posts, we don’t have to look very far to see how this despairing culture has made its way into the very fabric of regular human interactions.

As an organization dedicated to renewing the Culture of Life, what if praying this meditation inspires us to live our values more fully on our sleeves? This reflection invites us to “discover the pathway of light that Christ blazes through our lives” in more tangible ways. From this, what if we are inspired to invite people into this same pathway of light? How might our personal contemplation change the culture and, therefore, change the world?

Let us conclude with the closing prayer from the Stations: “Lord, may everything we do, begin with Your inspiration, continue with Your help, and reach perfection under Your guidance. We ask this through Christ, our Risen Lord. Amen.”

Here’s an audio/video version of the Via Lucis from Pauline Books and Media Digital’s YouTube channel (20 minutes).