Repairs: Man your stations

A day during the start of the school year, I was praying in the private chapel above the library. A box fan was circulating the hot, humid air. I might have been drowsy during my meditation.

Thump!

10th station
This 10th Station of the Cross would be the first of three to fall off the wall.

The 10th Station of the Cross fell off the wall. The humid air loosened the adhesive on the Velcro strips to hang pictures on the walls without the nails. I tried putting it back up, but it would drop onto the floor.

I reported the fallen station. But other urgent issues would bump the repair to the bottom of the list. Plus, there was talk about converting the space for another use. Why fix this when it’s all bound to come down eventually?

The 10th station was propped up on a chair below its original spot. Two other stations (the sixth and seventh) would have the same treatment when they dropped to the floor.

But over time, a concern for this upstairs chapel cropped up. The chapel would be dusted and vacuumed once and a while.

Every time I prayed in the chapel, I saw those three stations and felt that I needed to fix this. But nothing came of it.

In January, plans were discussed for the spring semester. Five men would visit St. Clement’s at the end of the month to discern God’s will in their lives and a possible vocation to the priesthood.

Realizing that guests would be coming, we postulants cleaned up our residence. I went to dust the upstairs chapel. The three fallen stations were at their usual spot. But the track lights shining on the crucifix were out.

This would not do.

I retrieved the ladder and replaced the light bulbs. Examining the 10th station, I saw that I could glue the original Velcro strips to the wooden station. A few dabs of Gorilla Glue and an hour wait to set the glue, the station was back up.

Sixth and seventh stations were missing their Velcro strips. I would need to completely replace them. My formator, Father Tom, gave me the money to buy the new strips. During my free time over three days, I followed the instructions and remounted the stations.

stations of the cross
All the stations hang proudly in the private chapel at St. Clement’s.

This provided me lessons on taking care of community property.

  1. Everybody is responsible. Living here in community means I shouldn’t be taking care of only my stuff in my room. Shared spaces mean shared responsibility.
  2. Take the initiative. Don’t look for someone else to do something I can do.
  3. Asked for suggestions. If I can’t fix it on my own, invite others to join me. Barry the maintenance man helped me find the right light bulbs for the track lights.

Sounds like family life, doesn’t it?  When the Holy Family lived in Nazareth, Jesus, Mary and Joseph would have helped with the chores and errands around the house.  Shouldn’t I, who joined a religious community to grow closer to Jesus, imitate that hidden aspect of his life?

Every time I go to the chapel, I look at my repairs and feel proud for fixing those three stations.

With Lent starting this Wednesday, a traditional Catholic practice is to the pray the Stations of the Cross at a church on Fridays.  Check out the bulletin at your local Catholic church when this devotion is scheduled. (For example, in Boston, St. Clement’s offers Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. Fridays during Lent.)

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