The Stations of the Cosmic Christ are matter for devotional meditation promulgated by Bishop Marc Andrus and Matthew Fox in their book The Stations of the Cosmic Christ.  I highly recommend you read their book.  It is a beautiful revelation of this profound practice.  My goal here isn't to provide a Cliff's Notes version of their book, but to add my voice to theirs and share my thoughts on this practice and these mysteries of the faith.

The purpose of these 16 Stations is to:

  1. Balance the traditional focus on the Stations of the Cross.
  2. Refocus our faith on the person of Jesus Christ as the Source, Savior, Creator, and Redeemer of the Cosmos.

The Stations of the Cross

The Stations of Cross are also known as the Way of the Cross or the Via Crucis.  According to tradition, our Blessed Mother Mary, visited the sites of the Our Lord's passion every day. St Jerome records (312 CE) that pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem and follow the Via Delarosa, the path Jesus took from Pilots' to the Cross to the Grave.  In the fifth century, the church began to erect shrines around Europe that replicated the ones in Jerusalem so people who couldn't visit the Holy Land could take a symbolic pilgrimage closer to home.

Prior to 1462 CE, pilgrim walked the path from Calvary to Pilot's House.  In that year, English pilgrim William Wey described the practice.  He wrote about 14 stations, but only 5 of them correspond to the modern practice.  He was also the first to call them stations.

The practice developed and changed over the centuries. In 1686 CE, the Franciscans were granted permission to build the stations within their churches.  In 1731 CE, the right was extended to all churches and the number was set to the 14 stations we know today.

  1. Pilate condemns Jesus to die
  2. Jesus accepts his cross
  3. Jesus falls for the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother, Mary
  5. Simon helps carry the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls for the second time
  8. Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls for the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

The purpose of the Way of the Cross is to walk with Jesus through his passion.  It is a beautiful and moving practice, but its lack of the counterpoint has created a blindness in the church.

Like St Paul, we profess, "But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal 6:14)."  But many have fallen into staurolatry or worship for the Crucifixion, rather than worship of Christ.  As a result we have forgotten Jesus' teachings and the full meaning and power of his life.

So many Christians today put the teachings of Paul, Peter, John, or Moses over the teachings of Christ.  Jesus Christ is The Word of God.  Everything else is commentary. Where they contradict Christ's Word, The Word of Christ prevails.

We have lost sight of Christ Jesus, His Gospel, and His Ministry, reducing him to the crucified god who Paul, Moses, and the Prophets taught us to appease.  Maranatha!  May the Lord Christ open our eyes to the Way, Truth and Life He taught us, and commanded us to follow.

The Stations of the Cosmic Christ are not meant to replace the Stations of the Cross, but to fill the rest of the year with Word and Life of Christ to help us be one in him as he is with our Father (John 17).

The Stations of the Cosmic Christ

I have meditated on these mysteries and how to create a new practice based on them since they were first mentioned by Matthew Fox in 2013 at a Creation Spirituality meeting.  The purpose of the Stations is for us meditate on the full life of Christ and the powerful "I Am" statements where Christ defines himself to us.

Original 16 Stations

  1. In the beginning was the Word
  2. The Nativity
  3. Black Madonna
  4. Jesus' Baptism
  5. Matthew 25
  6. Transfiguration
  7. Crucifixion
  8. Resurrection
  9. I am the Living Bread
  10. I am the Resurrection and the Life
  11. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  12. I am the Light of the World
  13. I am the Vine
  14. I am the Door
  15. I am the Good Shepherd
  16. Ascension

Final 16 Stations

  1. In the beginning was the Word
  2. I am the Light of the World
  3. Nativity
  4. Baptism
  5. I am the Living Bread
  6. The Transfiguration
  7. I am the Vine
  8. Do it to the least and do it to me
  9. I am the Good Shepherd
  10. I am the Door
  11. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  12. The Crucifixion
  13. The Resurrection
  14. I am the Resurrection and the Life
  15. Ascension
  16. Pentecost

While their order has changed, 14 of the Original Stations remain in the final list.  "Black Madonna"  and "Matthew 25" were merged into "Do it to the least and do it to me." Pentecost was added.  

The "I AM" Statements

On the original list, it is easer to see the power of the "I AM" statements all collected together, but they are an important part of the practice into to neglected.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: “I AM has sent me to you.”
— Ex 3:14

The God of the Cosmos is the One in whom "we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28)."  Blessed be the One who is and is in all.  All existence is in God and God is in all that exists.  It is easy to forget we serve a God whose takes as one of his names, I AM. Many forget this, and talk about God as near, far, present, or absent.  Some even talk about God being expelled.  These are merely expressions of our experience of God as we dance the spiral for the four paths.

  • Via Positiva: God is real, near or present.
  • Via Negativa: God is nonexistent, far, absent, or silent.
  • Via Creativa: God is moving, stirring, or speaking.
  • Via Transformativa: God is with us, healing, or changing.

These are our experience of the Divine who is always there in us and in all things.  Once we learn to identify the path we walk was we are in it, the better we understand our lives.

Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, Christ is God.  This is one of the greatest mysteries of the faith.  

  • What does it mean that Christ ws in the beginning with God?
  • What does it mean that Christ was born fully human and fully Divine?
  • What does it mean that Christ was Baptized like us?
  • What did the disciples see and experience at the Transfiguration?
  • What does it mean that God was crucified?
  • What does it mean that Christ was resurrected?
  • What does it mean that Christ ascended?
  • What does it mean that Christ sent us the Holy Spirit as a helper at Pentecost?

Jesus admitted his Divinity: "Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM (John 8:58)."  They crowd understood what he said. "They took up stones therefore to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by (John 8:59)."  He understood the power of I AM, but do we?

As St Paul taught us, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me (Gal 2:20)."

So when we meditated on the I am statements of Christ, we have to ask ourselves not what only did it mean when Jesus said them about himself, but what does it mean when he says them in us as the life we now live?  So we can say all of these I ams with Christ.

  • I am the Light of the World
  • I am the Living Bread
  • I am the Vine
  • I am the Good Shepherd
  • I am the Door
  • I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life

How are we the Light of the World, the Door, or the Resurrection and the Life?  As we approach these mysteries with humility and patience, we understand and begin to live the Gospel of the Kingdom Christ Jesus proclaimed.  We open ourselves to the true power of God and the new life we have.

This is why the Stations of the Cosmic Christ are so important.  Next we will discuss ways we can meditate on them, starting with the Deck of the Cosmic Christ we use to make a Mandala for us to meditate upon.

Deck of the Cosmic Christ >


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