Walking Through The Stations of the Cross – Lent 2024


The Church encourages praying with Stations of the Cross during Lent to meditate on Christ’s Passion and Death. In this talk, author Karen May takes us through each Station with reflections from her book Walking Through Holy Week along with questions to make this important story more personal and real for each of us during this season of Lent.

Thank you for watching and participating in this retreat!

Not Registered, yet? Don’t miss the rest of the talks! Register for the Pray More Retreat!


Audio MP3

Click here to download the audio file.

Printable Study Guide PDF

Click here to download the printable study guide.

Printable Transcript PDF

Click here to download the transcript of the video presentation.

Reflective Study Guide Questions

“He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus”

– St. Bonaventure

1. We think we have power and control over our lives. Have you had a moment when you realized that wasn’t true? How have you seen God’s control in your life recently? How can you allow God to take control in your life?

2. Abraham had faith that God would provide what was needed at the time that it was needed. When has God provided for you at just the right time?

3. Have you had a time when you struggled to help someone? What gave you the strength to carry on? How does this help you to appreciate Jesus’ struggle while carrying the cross?

4.  Describe a time you’ve been present for someone in his/her suffering. What comfort did you give?

5. Name someone who has helped you carry a cross. Give thanks for them right now.

6. St. Teresa of Calcutta talked about serving Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor. What disguise is Jesus wearing near you right now? How are you serving him?

7. Has Jesus’ sacrifice ever felt personal for you? Why or why not?

8. What truth is Jesus trying to show you lately? Are you listening or are you resisting?

9. Can you back on times you have fallen and seen where Jesus has helped you to stand on your feet? How can that help you when you struggle in the future?

10. Jesus fulfills many roles–Priest, Victim, Temple, Food, Son, Prophet, Law, Savior. What roles does Jesus play in your life right now?

11. Is there someone you need to forgive? Does it help if you can see the other side of their story?

12. Sit with this gift for a moment.

13. Waiting can be so hard especially if things look hopeless. What helps you to continue when something you want or need isn’t coming right away? How do you sit with Mary, the Apostles, and Jesus?

14. As we conclude these stations of the cross, what are your thoughts of Jesus’ Passion? Has the meaning or the story changed for you as we sit and wait for the Resurrection?

15. What station(s) might God be calling you to meditate on for deeper reflection during the remainder of Lent? Sit with it for a bit longer.

Text: Walking Through The Stations of the Cross

Hello everyone I’m Karen May I’m a Catholic author, speaker, and spiritual director, and I’m so excited to be here with you for the Pray More Novenas Lenten retreat. I’m going to talk about the stations of the cross, In fact, we’re going to go through the stations of the cross, which is a traditional practice during Lent, especially on the Fridays during Lent to walk with Jesus on his way to the cross.

And it was a practice that was adopted very early for pilgrims to walk along the same path that he took on the way to the cross. But some of us, most of us can’t get to the Holy Land, especially now And so this practice allows us to do that wherever we are, whether it’s in our homes, in our churches, whatever country we are in, whatever city we are in. And today I would like to offer you some of the reflections that I have for these stations that I have written in my book “Walking through Holy Week.”

I will give you the station of the cross and a scripture passage that’s related to it, a short reflection, and then I have some food for thought for you, some ways for you to make this station personal, to make it real, because this is real This story is real, and Jesus walked this path for you. And it reminds us of the purpose of Lent. The purpose is to get to Holy Week. The purpose is to get to the crucifixion, and the final purpose is to get to the resurrection and we can walk with Jesus on the way.

Opening Prayer

Let us start with some prayer. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for the gift of your son, for the sacrifice that he has given for us. He gave everything, help us Lord, to receive this gift, to receive the love that you have for us, the mercy that you offer to us so that we can have our sins forgiven and enter into heaven with you. I ask for your blessing on everyone who is meditating upon these stations of the cross Help them to become closer to you and to receive this gift, we ask all this in Jesus’ name, Amen. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death

So we’ll start with the first station When Jesus is condemned to death, our passages are Matthew Chapter 27 , verses 22 through 26.

“Pilates said to them, then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah? They all said, let him be crucified. But he said, why? What evil has he done? They only shouted the louder Let him be crucified. When Pilates saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out, instead he took water and washed his hands in the side of the crowd saying, I am innocent of this man’s blood, look to it yourselves And the whole people said in reply, his blood be upon us and upon our children. Then he released Barabbass to them. But after he had Jesus scoured, he handed him over to be crucified “

This story has always struck me as a little odd, a little funny. Because Pilate seems to be in control, in fact, Pilate believes he is in control He tells Jesus, “don’t you know that I have the power to release you?” But he doesn’t. We can see again and again and again in this story Pilate tries to release Jesus so hard Even in this passage, they call for Christ to be crucified. And Pilate says, why? He hasn’t done anything He keeps proclaiming Jesus’s innocence and he has no power to release him. In the end, his power is an illusion. God is the one who has the power God is the one who gives us power And all power comes from God in our lives too. Whether we see it or not, it is our choice to receive that, to cooperate with that, to allow God’s power to be used in our lives.

And so our food for thought for this station says, we think that we have power and control over our lives. I like having power and control over my life But have you had a moment when you’ve realized that wasn’t true? How have you seen God’s control in your life recently? And I would even add, how can you allow God to take control of your life?

And right now, I’m going to give you some control because I’m going to invite you to push pause on this and take some time to sit with each one of these food for thoughts You have the power to stop and take as much time as you need to reflect on each one of these. So I invite you, push, pause, take a minute and reflect on these questions

The Second Station: Jesus Carries His Cross

The second station, Jesus carries his cross, John 19:16b through 17. “So they took Jesus and carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the place of the skull in Hebrew “Golgotha “”

This story has a very interesting parallel This story of Abraham and Isaac is really special to me because it was the story that really opened scriptures for me. It helped me to see as St Augustine says, the New Testament is hidden in the old and the Old Testament is revealed in the new. And I remember reading the story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac or about to sacrifice his son Isaac when God invited or asked Abraham to take his son.

And when I read through that story, I realized all of a sudden there are so many parallels to what Jesus is doing Isaac carries the wood for the sacrifice on his shoulders He asks Abraham, where is the sheep? I’d be a little concerned if I’m carrying this wood and there’s no sheep. And he asks like, how are we going to do this? And Abraham’s response is incredible when you take it in context of what this action is pointing to He says, “God will provide the sheep, the lamb” And the true lamb of God is being provided here in Jesus.

Abraham is not required to sacrifice his son This is not a story about how child sacrifice is not required like I thought. This story helps us to see that God didn’t ask for Abraham’s son but He offered his own, and he would complete the sacrifice. He would give his son completely. The lamb of God was found with crowns of thorns around his head. The sheep for the sacrifice of Abraham was caught in the thicket, his head surrounded by thorns.

So our food for thought for the second station Abraham had faith that God would provide what was needed at the time that it was needed He went up with his son and said, I know God will provide the sheep When has God provided for you at just the right time?

The Third Station: Jesus Falls for the First Time

The third station, Jesus falls for the first time, Isaiah 53 verses 4 through 6 “Yet it was our pain that he bore our sufferings He endured We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, but he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquities He bore the punishment that made us whole by his wounds We were healed We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way But the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all “

I love these passages in Isaiah. They’re really amazing Isaiah 52,53,54, they tell the story of Jesus, hundreds of years before Jesus was even born, “he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity He bore the punishment that made him whole. “ And this in this third station, as Jesus falls for the first time, it’s not surprising that he falls, he’s been scoured, which is not just a minor beating, it’s a beating with whips, with stones and glass and metal and it tears you apart and the blood loss has to have been immense. And then he carries this wood on his shoulders up the hill to the to where he’s going to be crucified.

The falling is not surprising, what’s amazing is that he gets back up. And I understand this on a very small level, because when one of my daughters years ago was young, she developed an autoimmune disorder and part of the symptoms of that was that her small blood vessels would rupture in her stomach. So she had multiple open wounds in her stomach and the pain was excruciating. The problem was this disorder was really rare. And so we went to doctor after doctor, hospital after hospital.

And at the same time, I’m very early pregnant with my fourth child I’m in the stage of pregnancy that is exhausting, that you can hardly keep your eyes open. And every time I would close my eyes, her pain would increase And every time I would wake up and be there for her and put off sleep for another time, it was hard. But I was never going to let her do this alone I would push that off I would get back up I would fall down and I would get back up because I would never leave her.

Jesus fell down and kept getting back up because he knew that when he got up it would change things. I couldn’t change things for my daughter I could be there And I tell you that if I could take that for her, I would have. If I knew that my suffering would end hers, I would do it Jesus knew that his suffering would change things and he got back up.

Our food for thought, Have you had a time when you’ve struggled to help someone? What gave you the strength to carry on? And how does this help you to appreciate Jesus’s struggle while carrying the cross?

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother

The fourth station, Jesus meets his mother, John chapter 19 verses 25 through 27, “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdala When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, woman, behold your son Then he said to the disciple, behold your mother And from that hour, the disciple took her into her, into his home “

We don’t hear a lot about Mary in this part of the gospels, we hear about her here, so we know that she was there. And I remember watching in the passion as she stood and walked through the crowds, watching her son being there, seeing him, and finally she gets to be with him to connect with him. There is nothing she can do to change what’s going on. There is nothing she can do to make it better. But she can be there. She can be there. And this station reminds us that that presence is so powerful We can do that for each other.

I remember a cousin of mine had a son who had a fatal disease, a fatal um disorder And there was nothing we could do. This was not going to end in the way that we wanted and we could help but we couldn’t make it better. We could help by being there. We could help by raising money for medical expenses. But this station reminds us that there are times that we can do no more than Mary did. We can’t take away the consequences, but we can be there with a ferocity that not even death can stop. Don’t ever underestimate the power of that kind of love.

Our food for thought today for this fourth station, is to ask you to describe a time that you have been present for someone in his or her suffering And what comfort did you give?

The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Carry the Cross

The fifth station Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross. Mark 15 verse 21, “They pressed into service a passerby Simon, a ceryneian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus to carry his cross “

When we’re given a cross, it can be really hard to bear It can be heavy and hard to carry. And this station reminds us of the power of community and not just random community. What I love about this gospel verse is that it shows us that little glimpse. We feel like it’s the story sometimes it’s so distant and far away. But the specifics here of this Simon, the ceryneian, tells us that these people knew him. It wasn’t just some guy that they pulled off of the street. This was Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufuss Remember that guy? He’s the one that helped Jesus carry the cross They knew him. This was people telling others who knew each other This community has given to us. We can help each other carry our crosses when they are heavy. We are never meant to do this alone. And in that we know that Jesus is also helping us to carry our crosses. He is with us walking whatever path we have, he will never leave us. And he gives us to each other.

And our food for thought is to name someone who has helped you to carry a cross and give thanks for them Right now.

The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

The sixth station, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. Matthew 25, 34through 36 and 40.  “Then the king will say to those on his right, come you who are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food I was thirsty and you gave me drink a stranger. And you welcomed me naked and you clothed me ill and you cared for me in prison. And you visited me and the king will say to them and reply, Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. “

This station is a traditional one that’s not mentioned in the gospels. Veronica comes again through the crowd and she just wipes the face of Jesus and she is left with the imprint of his face on her cloth. Again She didn’t change what was happening to him. She wasn’t able to stop the crucifixion, but she was offered to, she was able to offer just some small act of kindness. And we can do the same. We can do the same for each other. We can offer small acts of kindness and they mean great things when we have, when we do them with great love as Mother Theresa has meant, has said. And when we do that, we are left with the imprint of Jesus’ face.

And our food for thought, St Theresa of Calcutta or Mother Theresa talked about serving Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor What disguises Jesus wearing near you right now and how are you serving him?

The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls for the Second Time

The seventh station, Jesus falls for the second time Isaiah 53 verses 7 through 8. “Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth like a lamb’s led to slaughter or a sheep silent before the shearers. He did not open his mouth, seized and condemned He was taken away. Who would’ve thought any more of his destiny for He was cut off from the land of the living, struck for the sins of his people, Jesus falls again. “

 Even with help, he has Simon of Cyrene helping him and he falls again. Now we are years from this story and it can seem just like that a story, especially when we look at maybe some of the images of the stations of the cross or even the crucifixes that are in our churches. I know that most of the churches I’ve been to, Jesus is looking pretty muscular and not nearly as bloody as my year old when she fell off a bike. So it’s easy to take that story and keep it so very distant. But it’s not a story It is real. Jesus falls again. And when we enter into this moment, we see that this was brutal. This was not neat and clean at all. This is as ugly as it gets, but it’s all for you. And again, he gets back up and continues on.

So our food for thought, has Jesus’s sacrifice ever felt personal for you? Why or why not? I invite you to change the story.

The Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

The eighth station, Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. Luke 23 verses 27 through 28. “A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me Weep instead for yourselves and for your children. “

Can you imagine the pain? I mean this is brutal. The pain that he is in. And he speaks to them and comforts them and challenges them says, I’m what I’ve got going on. Don’t worry about me, worry about yourselves. And these verses continue and he talks about things that are coming and it’s not going to be good. And he finishes by saying “For if these things are done, when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?.”

The problem here isn’t that Jesus is being crucified and the world has turned its back on him. It’s that the world has destroyed the gift that God has given to them so that they can live as they would like. Like the truth is not being acknowledged or accepted. And when we do that, we get to choose whether to live in God’s truth every day, whether to turn away from it.  And in Lent we have a particular way that we can start doing those things in little ways, right? When, the wood is green, when things are easy, these practices that we do of small sacrifices, of little devotions of things that help build our faith and help our practices and our traditions and the ways that we interact with the world and connect with God. All of these little things turn into big things when it is hard

So what are the little things that we are growing? What are the things that we are doing when the wood is green? because they will be magnified when the wood is dry. Food for thought What truth is Jesus trying to show you lately? And are you listening or are you resisting?

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time.

The ninth station, Jesus falls a third time. Psalm 37, verse 23 through 24, “The valiant one whose steps are guided by the Lord who will delight in his way, may stumble, but he will never fall. For the Lord holds his hand “

Jesus falls a third time, and this time he is probably within sight of the hill where he will die. He can’t go on anymore. The third time he’s fallen, he’s fallen But again, he will get up He will finish the journey for us.

And I take comfort actually in this station because I fall so often under my own crosses again and again and again And if Jesus falls three times, it’s okay that I fall 2 ,3 ,4 ,10 times because it is heav. But I can continue to get up, I can continue on, I can find the strength because I know Jesus is there I know Jesus has the strength to continue and helps me to continue on.

And our food for thought, I have a little story that I heard about from a book called A View from the Zoo by Gary Richmond about a baby giraffe. And when I heard about this story, I of course had to go onto YouTube and watch how a giraffe is born And it’s pretty traumatic this, these giraffes really tall and they don’t sit down to give birth. So this baby falls really far when the baby is born and quickly this giraffe with the big long legs is standing there so wobbly and just barely holding himself up and the mother kicks him over, which is pretty surprising. Like why would she do that? And this baby struggles to his feet and stands there just legs all out, just looking like a big tripod, trying to stand there. Everything’s all wobbly and she kicks him over again. And what she’s doing is helping that baby to learn how to stand back up, learn how to get up again. And when we fall, we learn to get back up Every time we fall, we when we get back up, we are gaining strength We are learning what it takes to get back up.

And so our food for thought for this station Can you look back at times when you have fallen and see where Jesus has helped you to stand on your feet? How can that help you When you struggle in the future, How can you rely on him? Rest in him, trust in him?

The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Clothes

The 10th station, Jesus is stripped of his clothes. John chapter 13 , verses 23 through 24 , “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless woven in one piece from the top down, So they said to one another, let us not tear it but cast lots for it to see whose it will be in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled That says they divided my garments among them And for my vest they cast lots “

So I don’t know about you, but I know for a long time, probably too long of a time, whenever the Bible says “in scripture it says” and makes reference to some scripture passage, I always wondered like how do they know and where is that scripture passage from? And then I finally noticed that the little number right next to that scripture passage was connected to a little footnote on the bottom that had the scripture passage And then I could go look it up. So if you haven’t figured that out, that’s my gift to you today.

But this passage, “they divided my garments among them And for my vest they cast lots” is from a Psalm, from the Psalm 22 And you may recognize that because the beginning of it starts, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” It’s what Jesus says from the cross. But that passage, that whole psalm is incredible It starts with this lament, why have you abandoned me? And just like the Isaiah passages, it describes Jesus to a T It’s unbelievable. My hands are pierced, my mouth is dry, they cast lots for my vesture But the end of it is all praise. Read through it, I invite you to just spend some time in Psalm 22. It’s really pretty amazing.

But in this gospel of John, when he, when he talks about that, when he makes that reference, he talks about the seamless garment and that’s related to the priests who are currently as Jesus is being crucified, sacrificing the lambs for the Passover. Jesus, the true high priest is being sacrificed. He is the priest, he is the victim. And as the priests of the temple are being covered in the blood of these lambs, the high priest, the true high priest is being covered in the blood of the lamb of God, And he is both.

Our food for thought, Jesus fulfills many roles, priest, victim, temple, food, son, prophet, law, savior, and many others What role or position does Jesus play in your life right now?

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

The 11th station, Jesus is nailed to the cross Luke 23 verses 33 through 34. “When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, father, forgive them for they know not what they do “

Can you imagine? He’s on the cross looking at the people who are, who put him there, who have scoured him, who have called for his crucifixion, who are deriding him, who are spitting at him. And he does not react in anger but in love, and asks for their forgiveness because they don’t know what they’re doing If they had any idea they wouldn’t be doing this “Father forgive them.”

And he asks this because he can see the other side of the story. He knows their hearts and he knows how they’re broken. He knows the things that are getting in their way and it causes him sorrow, not anger. And he does the same for us. When we turn from him, when we walk away, he doesn’t respond in anger but in love. Father forgive us when we know not what we do.

Food for thought, Is there someone you need to forgive? Does it help if you can see the other side of their story? And I want to be clear in this reflection time that forgiveness and reconciliation are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes it is important to maintain boundaries. It is always important to maintain boundaries. Sometimes it is important to allow people to come in through the proper ways and it is not safe for them to come in other ways. The goal is reconciliation Jesus’s goal is always reconciliation for us Forgiveness is the first step.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

The 12th station, Jesus dies on the cross. Luke 23 verses 44 through 46. “It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle Jesus cried out in a loud voice Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit. And when he had said this, he breathed his last. “

As we walk this road with Jesus, it’s not a very long time It’s actually less than hours from the time of the last supper until he dies on the cross. And I know for me, hours can pass in just a blink of an eye A week can pass in a blink of an eye. But these hours have to have been the longest. I remember watching the passion of the Christ And it wasn’t even, It was maybe three hours and by the end I just wanted it to be done Jesus’ death was a blessing. The suffering was over, the agony was over. Just let him go. It was so hard. It was so hard. And so we sit at this station, we sit at this moment and we gaze at Jesus knowing the gift that he has given. Receive this gift, hold it tenderly in your heart knowing that you have someone who loves you this much.

Our food for thought is, to sit with this gift for a moment. Just sit.

The Thirteenth Station: The Body of Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

The 13th station The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross. John chapter 19 , verses 32 through 34 and 38. “So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who is crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one soldier thrust his lands into his side and immediately blood and water flowed out. After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. “

The end seems so quiet. There’s no more struggle, there’s nothing left. But just to kind of clean up the pieces. And the thing is, if we’re walking through these stations with Jesus, with the apostles, with Mary, this is the time that can seem so empty. It’s over. It’s done. And we’re in that in between. And the apostles and the disciples didn’t really know that he was coming for sure. They didn’t trust that that was happening. They were afraid .They had no idea what was coming. And we sit in that waiting and it is hard to be in that waiting, that place of darkness.

We know that Jesus has been lifted up, that he will be resurrected. But for now, we wait on Good Friday, as we come to this point, we wait. Our food for thought waiting can be so hard, especially if things look hopeless. What helps you to continue when something you want or need isn’t coming right away? How do you sit with Mary and the apostles and Jesus?

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

The 14th station, Jesus is laid in the tomb. John chapter 19, verses 39 through 42. “Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and allo weighing about pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified, there was a garden and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day for the tomb was close by. “

In the beginning there was a garden, in the beginning was the tree. In the beginning there was disobedience that separated us from God. Today in this station there is a garden, there is a tree. And the separation caused by sin was healed by complete obedience to God’s will. As Jesus is laid in the tomb, all may seem to be lost It’s so dark.

But as people of hope, as an Easter people, we know that some of God’s greatest work happens in places that seem the darkest. We know that he is so near. Our food for thought, As we conclude these stations of the cross, because this is the last one that we do on Good Friday, because we don’t do the resurrection because that’s not happened yet. What are your thoughts about the events of Jesus’ passion? Has the meaning or the story changed for you? As we sit and we wait for the resurrection.

On Fridays during Lent that are not on Good Friday, the 15th station will be reflected on and that is the resurrection But for this period, we will not do that because in walking through Holy week, this is going through the story as it’s happening. And so that station is not reflected.

Closing Prayer

So we will close these stations with a prayer that is traditionally set at the end of each station During that tradition. “We adore you, oh Christ, and we praise you for by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.” In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

About Karen May

Karen May is a dynamic and inspirational author, speaker, and spiritual director who believes that powerful, transformational faith doesn’t have to be complicated. Helping people to discover the profound truths of God in a way that is simple, inviting, and filled with joy is a gift that she shares in her writing and speaking.

Karen has been featured in two Pray More Healing retreats, the Jen Fulwiler Show, Formed, EWTN, Relevant Radio, and more. She is the author of Be Not Afraid: Living with Faith in the Midst of a Fearful WorldWalking Through Holy Week, and Draw Near. Karen and her husband Mike enjoy cooking, traveling, hiking, and spending time with their daughters and son-in-law. You can find her at www.AmayzingGraces.com.