Via Dolorosa means The Way of Grief in Latin. The Via Dolorosa remains a physical road in Jerusalem that historically led from the governor’s praetorian, where Jesus began to carry the cross, all the way to Golgotha, where He was crucified.
The original pathway of Via Dolorosa has been changed in the city by the history of Christians who walk the path, but the tradition of suffering remains the same. Christians still walk this road and have since the beginning of the fourth century.
Over the centuries following, the path has changed a few times. Yet, the tradition remains the same. There are 14 stations, led by Franciscan monks. Some stops remain traditional, and others are Biblical. However, each stop reminds its walkers of the One who paid the price.
“As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of people followed him and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ Luke 23:26-31
Jesus paid for us with His blood.
The Via Dolorosa represents to us the path of preparation Jesus suffered. However, it also reminds us as Believers that we walk our own path of suffering. Sometimes it is a path of upcoming death. There are seasons we walk knowing that life is coming to complete turn around. Institutionalization, a progression in our child’s disease, or family changes that must be made.
Sometimes the road becomes excruciatingly physical, emotional or spiritually challenging. However, when we reach Golgotha, we know change is around the corner. We suffer; we cannot avoid it, but He isn‘t asking us to get up on the cross. He paid that for us. Thank God!
We walk Via Dolorosa sometimes with our kids
We carry the cross for them, trying to get the world to listen. We struggle when the answers just do not come. They teach us daily about redemption. Our children reach a wall in their health, behavior, motility, speech, you name it; then we seek the Lord’s guidance, and He heals. And sometimes he takes them.
In God’s time, a health problem is resolved, we receive a new medication, we find the right equipment we have been searching for, or we simply witness the miracle of a milestone that arrives past its due. One day weaves into the next, and soon we have a whole fabric of grace with which to wrap our family and ourselves in. The Lord numbers our days and our children’s too, but as we walk this journey of life, we find ourselves walking in little miracles.
It is a life filled with sorrows and disappointments sometimes, but it is filled with joy that we do overcome each hurdle with the Lord’s help. Not even a special needs child is necessary for those qualifications.
Walk with thanksgiving
Perhaps for the path (I’m certainly not there!), or maybe because sooner or later, the answer will come. Fear not, if you walk the path of Dolorosa, or you stand on the mountaintop of Calvary. This life is but a blink and our work will not go unrewarded. Miracles will come. Death may come. But, no matter what, we have been blessed with a life hereafter–a life of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Even when all around us seems a mess, He brings beauty out of ashes…