Stations Of The Cross (Perth Catholic Productions). CDs $21.95 and tapes $19.95 each plus $4.00 postage. Available through local Catholic bookshops or direct from Perth Catholic Productions, P.O. Box 1779, Canning Vale, WA 6970 Australia, fax +61 (08) 9259 4054.
Following on from the global success of the acclaimed recordings of The Rosary for Children and The Rosary for Youth, their producers have introduced this latest venture - The Stations of the Cross.
This new offering, published by Perth Catholic Productions and with a duration of 40 minutes, is certain to be a winner with a wide section of the Catholic community. With its graphic cover, it is both refreshing and reflective, with enough incisive preaching through the meditations given by a Catholic priest, to stimulate one's conscience and awaken it from dormancy.
The priest reflects on the meditations associated with each of the 15 stations in a framework of original upmarket music with thought-provoking lyrics. Each station is preceded by beautiful interlude music after which the clear, young voice of the female narrator walks one through the way of the cross.
During Jesus' agonising walking, staggering, falling and rising up again, the priest points out the exact parallel's of man's life to that of Jesus' walk to his Crucifixion - and ultimately his Resurrection in the 15th station.
These meditations are powerfully effective because they are conscience-pricking, and point to the frailty of the human condition, while showing through the three falls of Christ, his equation with and understanding of mankind's weakness and the inevitable yet necessary struggle to rise up and continue on our own life's path.
The truth in the meditations, while piercingly cognisant of our own faults and failings, impacts in a direct, but gentle, and non-accusative way. This product is impressive because it highlights a range of attitudes and behaviours which are in everyday "acceptable" practice, yet are certainly sinful.
Within The Stations of the Cross, I recognise the highlighting of my own failings. Through the listening, I realise how far we have slipped from our pristine Christian ideals taught from the cradle, and how socially acceptable these undesirable characteristics are today where virtually anything goes whether one is Catholic or otherwise.
This walk with Christ "pulls you up" to take another look at yourself, and how far society has fallen. It allows one to see that in the end we are answerable to the Almighty, because He remains the final judge and not our fellow men.
It would be difficult to praise The Stations of the Cross too highly, because of its superb quality from the point of view of production, originality, impact and the self-awareness it raises, plus spiritual direction given.
It has been given the imprimatur of His Grace, Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth.
Colleen McGuiness-Howard is a Perth Catholic journalist.