Fifth Week of Lent

Devotions to the Cross

There are many different prayers that can be used for the Stations of the Cross (also known as the Way of the Cross), but all of them follow Jesus in the final hours of his life. Praying the Stations is like a mini-pilgrimage that helps us draw close to our Crucified Savior, especially during Lent and Holy Week, and most especially on Friday, the day of the Crucifixion. The Stations can be prayed privately (either at home or at church) or publicly. Here are a number of options for the Stations of the Cross:

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a series of prayers said on ordinary Rosary beads. Jesus gave this devotion to St. Faustina Kowalska in the twentieth century as a way of drawing mankind back to his mercy, which is most powerfully shown in his death on the Cross. This is the prayer that is recited on the Hail Mary beads:

For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

There is also a Divine Mercy Novena, which begins on Good Friday; Divine Mercy Sunday, which is the octave day of Easter; a Divine Mercy Indulgence you can gain on the feast; and other special graces related to the Divine Mercy.

More Devotions to the Cross

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.