Monday, April 14, 2014

Chemin de Croix - Stations of the Cross (13-April-2014)

Stations of the Cross
On Sunday April 13, 2014 my husband I decided to take off in the car and head toward the Pyrenees.

We had no particular destination in mind but Paul had printed off a page with some things to see in the area of St. Girons. We had driven about 90 minutes and hadn't seen anything interesting when we turned a corner in the road and both said "What is that? We've got to check it out."

We had stumbled up Eglise (Church) de Raynaude. But what really caught our attention was the Chemin de Croix - the Stations of the Cross. What we first thought might be individual burial vaults on the top of the hill behind the church turned out to be a beautiful  and humble way to follow the path of Jesus Christ during his last few days and the walk to the top of the hill for his crucifixion.

Behind the church is a steep winding path leading to a cemetery at the top. As you climb the path you encounter 14 different stations. Each station represents a step or event as Jesus went with the cross. Inside the station is a small plaque telling what happened at that point and references a corresponding bible verse.

Jesus is condemned to die
The first station is "Jesus is condemned to die", followed by others such as "Jesus falls for the first time", Jesus says "I thirst" and so on until he dies and is laid in his tomb. The stations of the cross stop short of the resurrection and instead focus on the sacrifice and turmoil of His last days.
Pilot washing his hands
What a beautiful journey to take and it was so fortunate that we stumbled upon this place on Palm Sunday. We stopped at all of the stations and took photos of a few and then walked through the cemetery where the oldest grave we found was from 1908. I can envision the entire congregation walking the path on Good Friday.

The very last station had a couple of notebooks and a pen where you could write your thoughts or a prayer to God. I did not leave a message of my own but read a few from previous visitors. It was a wonderful experience.

My husband and I tried to capture this beautiful spot in our photos - but being there in person was a real treat.

You can read more about Eglise de Raynaude and the Chemin de Croix at this link

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