Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross is the most inspiring book to read before the beginning of Lent or even during Lent. Whether you decide to go to the Stations of the Cross four times, two times, or just once, this book will help you get the most out of your experience with Christ’s Passion.
In Part One of this book, you are told to imagine your beloved being indicted, tortured, sentenced, and put to death. When first reading “your beloved” you feel as though you are meant to think of your spouse, but your mind soon transitions to Jesus’s suffering. He is our beloved. Jesus was without a friend for many of his final hours. Jansen explains how we can be a friend to Jesus by attending the Stations of the Cross. “By entering the stations, we get the opportunity to journey back there, and be present with Jesus when no one else is to stand as a witness by his side.” By learning about the suffering of Jesus, we learn to be more vigilant to those who suffer around us. Just as Jesus stumbled and fell (Jesus fell three times carrying the cross), so do we stumble and fall.
Jesus’s demeanor during the time of His Passion is well explained through this book. Jesus prays, He is calm, He is steadfast, He is broken, He allows others to help, He forgives, and He loves. These are just a few of the ways we can learn to be more like Jesus. In his book, Jansen explains how Jesus expresses these feelings in His journey through the stations. Even when Jesus is broken down, He is still thinking of others and forgiving them. His Passion is the ultimate example for us to live by. Only by truly understanding the Stations can we seek Jesus in our own trials in life. Jansen does not just speak about our own personal crosses but also the crosses we must bear as a nation in modern times, such as terrorism, racial strife, and police shootings.
Jansen speaks about St. Ignatius. He tells us about his prayer method using his senses. You can use all your senses to imagine each scene in the Stations as well. The book gives a wonderful example to teach you how to do this and why Ignatius believes God gave us the tool of imagination.
The Second Part of this book is a guide to help you get the most out of your time with the Stations. It'’s not meant to be read once. It should be read and reread throughout Lent. In this guide, each chapter is a Station that opens with the appropriate scripture for the Station. Jansen then gives you a visual of how Jesus responded to each one. He has you imagine an encounter with Jesus at the Station,and scripture to pray over. He asks you to review the experience throughout your day, and then he paints a mental image of the station to reflect on.
Most Catholic’s know what the Stations are about. They visually walk you through the Passion of Christ. But you should not only see the suffering, you should also use all five senses to understand the acceptance, forgiveness, and love of Christ through his suffering. We should see ourselves there as one of the characters in each scene, to truly understand how we should react to our own struggles and be more vigilant of others. Jansen’s book is unique and unlike any other book on the Stations. This is a book I plan to bring with me before the Stations start each Friday at my church. Arriving early and reading some of the imaginative ways to put myself in the story will help me to learn how to be truly aware in Christ, and how to use the Stations in my everyday life.