Sunday 3 April 2022

Stations of the Cross Community Prayer Edition - Timothy Radcliffe and Martin Erspamer

Stations of the Cross: 
Community Prayer Edition
Martin Erspamer (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780814647066
eISBN 9780814647318

This year during Lent I went searching for some new editions of Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross booklets in eBook format. This was one of three I picked up during the first week of Lent, and was the second I read and prayed on the Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent. I try and pray a Stations each day during Lent, and at least Fridays throughout the year. I have a few favourite versions that I return to often, and others I have only used once or twice. This one is in the middle, I am really glad I picked it up and will include it in my rotation occasionally. Many years ago I read and reviewed Seven Last Words, in fact I published my review in the spring of 2007 when I had been reviewing book under a year. Based on my recollections I looked forward to this way, and I was not disappointed.

I need to note that this review is of one of two books with similar titles and artwork:

I have picked up both the one without Community edition is much longer meditations or reflections on each station. As far as I could tell, other than the images, at least for the first few stations do not have any repeat material. The description of this version is:

“Stations of the Cross: Community Prayer Edition offers parishes and other communities a unique and contemporary way to pray the Stations. It includes new prayers composed by Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, along with excerpts from his full-length meditations and the remarkable images that accompanied them in the original edition of Stations of the Cross.

This profound and beautiful resource will guide the faithful to enter more deeply into communion with the crucified Jesus. It is ideal for parishes, parish-based organizations, prayer groups, youth groups, school and campus ministry programs, families, and individual faithful to experience.”

This is a wonderful version for personal, group, or corporate prayer. I greatly enjoyed praying it by myself. I have plans to pray it with my children. And I could see it done with our whole congregation. A sample station is:

Seventh Station
Jesus Falls for the Second Time

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.

Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.

Scripture: “Therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Heb 2:17-18)

Reflection: Our macho society is tempted to look patronizingly on people who are physically weak. Our Lord shared that physical weakness and blesses it. He also embraces us in our moral weakness. When I am weak, I may discover that I am not alone battling against the wind and the storms. Jesus shared our weakness so that we may share his strength. At the core of each of us is the strong Son of God. In my deepest interiority, God abides, and his grace will lift me up again and again, and put courage back in my heart. Pope Francis said that morality is not “never falling down” but always getting up again. We keep on walking.

Prayer: Jesus, lift me to my feet when I feel that I go can no further. When I feel battered by the storms of life, with neither the energy or strength to carry on, then may I know that you, the strong Son of God, will bear me onward until I arrive at home in God. Amen.”

This is a great concise version of the stations. Short enough to easily be done in personal or group prayer. And yet with great reflections and prayers at the end of each station. The artwork is wonderful. The eBook is very reasonably prices, and if you were buying for a group I hope the publisher would give a discount for a bulk purchase. 

As mentioned this is a good version of the stations, and one I will return to again. I can easily recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

For all other reviews of Stations of the Cross click here.

Books by Timothy Radcliffe:
Alive in God: A Christian Imagination
Christians and Sexuality in the Time of AIDS
I Call You Friends
Just One Year: A Global Treasury of Prayer and Worship
Sing a New Song: The Christian Vocation
Take the Plunge: Living Baptism and Confirmation
That Your Joy May Be Full
The Catholic Prayerbook from Downside Abbey
What is the Point of Being a Christian?
Why Go to Church?

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