Here’s an excerpt from my reflection on the Stations of the Cross in this week’s Angelus:

Of course we can pray the Stations throughout the year. But to my mind the best way is with the random group of people who gather in any given sanctuary on a Friday afternoon during Lent.

There’s always an old guy who can barely walk and who reverently, laboriously, genuflects all fourteen times. There’s often a giggly teenage girl or two, and a person who lives on the street. There might be a man with a gigantic crucifix around his neck and an American flag pin, a couple who drove in from the suburbs, a fierce-looking middle-aged woman in running gear.   



  1. Wonderful piece thank you! And one that I think could equally speak to all our devotions and prayers. However much we enter with the best of intentions, those distractions and wandering thoughts chirp away like annoying birds and at times – as often described in Buddhist texts – becomes a whole tree full of loud monkeys demanding our attention.

    And goodness knows I am not the only one who will suddenly jolt back to the rosary or missal in hand and feel terrible pangs of guilt about how easily my mind has become deeply engrossed in matters that really do not matter. Especially at that moment when before my eyes are matters literally of Heaven and salvation. The most glorious and life giving of stories ever told and there I am worrying about whether I’ll have time to empty the dishwasher later. Hello, old fallen friend….

    But then as all the contemplative traditions reassure us, nobody ever said that it would be easy! And quietening the mind is a life long challenge. So it really is such a blessing – especially as we enter the great Feast – to read an article like this and remember that we truly are not alone in this effort. That we are all in the same boat but as we know, so is Christ and even when He appears to be asleep, we never know when He might spring up and hush the storms that beset us!

    And it’s an often quoted almost cliched piece of advice about prayer – not that by the way there is anything wrong with a cliche if it’s true! – but the old line about most of it being about just turning up is indeed true. Something that this article reaffirms wonderfully. And I am sure I am not the only one who after laboriously struggling through my rosary will still find the most contradictory of feelings at the end of it all, summed up by the line “That was pretty awful….let’s do it again tomorrow!” And with that is encapsulated the craziness of my spiritual journey I guess….

    But of course again as you point out Heather, importantly we don’t do it alone. As another much quoted line goes: what is the Church but “here comes everyone”? And it’s in the company of everyone, this rag tag pilgrim band walking a rocky distracted and circuitous route, that often without even noticing, we are walking with Our Lord Himself. And sometimes when we least expect it, our hearts will burn within us again at what we discover together.

    And with that hope, I pray that we can all find many such blessings along the way this Holy Week and into the great season of Eastertide ahead!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Beautiful, yes! Fr. Ron Rolheiser writes a lot about this. He once pointed out that a hurried and “mindless” kiss goodbye or hello between husband and wife is a world apart from no kiss at all, and in fact that kiss was a strong predictor/indicator, pursuant to some study, of a long-lasting, faithful marriage. In a recent column, he quoted the counself of a spiritual advisor who had once told him, “If you can’t pray anything else, pray one truly sincere Our Father a day. After all, that’s the prayer Jesus taught us.” (paraphrase). Deep thanks and wishing you a blessed and holy Good Friday.

  2. Thank you for being the one among us to raise your hand and answer truthfully. Yes, this is our experience. We are wacky, faithful, wildly diverse in the Catholic church. And thanks be to God. You’re the best Heather! I’m sure that many people feel as I do after reading your blog, that it is OK that I am human, and God in His mercy loves us all anyway.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Aw thanks, Sonja…yes, our humanity always comes as a shock, and that we’re loved in our weaknesses is a scandal! And where else would we go?….Easter blessings to you!