The Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis) is a well-known devotion that is often undertaken during Lent. Now that we are in the Easter Season, there is a complementary devotion offered for our spiritual practice. The Way of Light (Via Lucis) invites us to joyfully commemorate the life of the Early Church from the days after the Resurrection of Jesus until Pentecost. Via Lucis was originally created by the Salesians, the religious order founded by St. John Bosco, and it was later embraced by the Vatican through St. Pope John Paul II in the early 1990s.
This devotion invites us on the pilgrim journey of the first disciples by giving us an opportunity to meditate on the various appearances of Jesus to His followers. This journey helps us remember that we also are pilgrims on a journey to Someone, not something. We are on our earthly pilgrimage, journeying to Our Heavenly Father. The Stations of Light draw its meditations from the Gospels and allow us to reflect on the glory of Christ who revealed God’s promise of the Resurrection and the gift of the Consoler, His Holy Spirit.
During the 50 days of Easter, the disciples were affected by the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in a number of ways. Their faith was strengthened when they gazed upon the Risen Lord who stood before them in their locked room (cf. Jn. 20:19). The disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced the transforming encounter of meeting Jesus in breaking open the Scripture and through the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk. 24:302-32). Peter not only received Jesus’ forgiveness for denying Him three times during the Passion, but he was also given pastoral authority to “Feed my sheep” (cf. Jn. 21:17). Thomas experienced the healing of his doubt in Jesus’ presence and the invitation to touch His wounds. The apostles received the power to forgive sins from Jesus who breathed upon them (cf. Jn. 20:23). They were also commissioned to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth (cf. Mt. 28:19).
These encounters with the Risen Lord become fruitful moments of graces for us when we meditate on how Jesus is present to the disciples in their fear, brokenness, and confusion. He revealed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). His light gives us clarity, direction, and truth. Praying with Via Lucis instills hope and the confidence of Christ’s victory over sin and death so we may walk in the light of the Resurrection.
Recalling the grace of our baptism, we are invited to deepen our new identity in Christ as redeemed sons and daughters of God. Moreover, we too are commissioned to preach the Good News of the Resurrection and to be “the light of the world” (Mt. 5:14). As you pray Via Lucis this Easter season, ask Jesus to help you be a light in the midst of the culture’s darkness. May the examples of the early disciples and their intercession lead us!
THE STATIONS OF THE LIGHT
■ FIRST STATION: Jesus rises from the dead. (Mt 28:5-6)
■ SECOND STATION: The women find the empty tomb. (Mt 28:1-6)
■ THIRD STATION: The risen Lord appears to Mary Magdalene. (Jn 20:16)
■ FOURTH STATION: Mary Magdalene proclaims the Resurrection to the apostles. (Jn 20:18)
■ FIFTH STATION: The risen Lord appears on the road to Emmaus. (Lk 24:13-27)
■ SIXTH STATION: The risen Lord is recognized in the breaking of the bread. (Lk 24:36-39)
■ SEVENTH STATION: The risen Lord appears to the disciples in Jerusalem. (Lk 24:36-39)
■ EIGHTH STATION: The risen Lord gives the disciples the power to forgive.(Jn 20:22-23a)
■ NINTH STATION: The risen Lord strengthens the faith of Thomas. (Jn 20:24-29)
■ TENTH STATION: The risen Lord says to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” (Jn 21:15-17)
■ ELEVENTH STATION: The risen Lord sends the disciples into the whole world. (Mt 28:16-20)
■ TWELFTH STATION: The risen Lord ascends into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
■ THIRTEENTH: The apostles wait with Mary in the Upper Room. (Acts 1:12-14)
■ FOURTEENTH: The risen Lord sends the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:2-4)