On Good Friday, I participated in the Way of the Cross at my college (Franciscan University of Steubenville). The Way of the Cross began at noon, and continued for two hours; it was a prayerful procession of people traveling on the pathway to Calvary. We walked to different parts of campus (all over campus!) under the warm sun, meditating on the Passion of Christ (as we journeyed, we stopped at five different stations that had scripture readings and meditations that corresponded with the Passion and Death of Our Lord.
This walk was painful, it was difficult. It really caused one to meditate and pray with the our Suffering Lord. Because after one hour, chances were:
1. You were hungry (after all, we were fasting. And we were walking all over campus, so we were burning calories).
2. You were tired (Exhausted from the Triduum so far, as well as worn out from walking campus for two consecutive hours).
3. You were uncomfortable (The beautiful sun was out, and it wasn’t that hot, but still…)
4. You were full of sorrow (at meditating on Christ’s passion and death).
So basically, this procession was a fabulous Good Friday activity, for it helped one to really unite themselves with Christ on His passion.
As hard and sorrowful as this procession was, I found myself smiling with joy on occasion.
Be a little child who sees the joy amidst sorrow!
As we walked along (or trudged), I noticed the little children who were racing around as we walked. There were so many beautiful families, I absolutely loved it! These little children (probably between four and seven years of age) were not simply “on a mission,” though. They were running across the grassy area next to the Way of the Cross, picking dandelion bouquets for their mothers. What? Really? Is it irreverent that those little kids noticed the dandelions on the side of the road during the Way of the Cross? Certainly not! In fact, we all need to take wisdom from these little children.
These children were seeing the joy and beauty on the Way of the Cross. Despite the pain and suffering, they noticed the beautiful dandelions that were growing alongside their sorrow. The children could see these dandelions because their eyes were opened. If their eyes were solely focused on being immersed in the sorrows and trials, they would have missed the beautiful dandelions and joys.
Trials come, sufferings come, and sacrifices must be made. And it is hard; trials and sufferings were difficult for Jesus, and He’s God! But, at the same time, we are called to rejoice in our sufferings:
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” ~Romans 5:3-5
So when those trials and sufferings come, we have two options: we can either focus solely on our sufferings, or we can rejoice and keep our eyes open—so that we can see those dandelions on the side of the road; those joys that God is placing amidst our sufferings!!