The Way of the Cross 5: SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS TO CARRY THE CROSS
Jesus is exhausted. His footsteps become more and more unsteady, and the soldiers are in a hurry to be finished. So, when they are going out of the city through the Judgement Gate, they take hold of a man who was coming in from a farm, a man called Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, and they force him to carry the Cross of Jesus (cf. Mark 15:21).
In the whole context of the Passion, this help does not add up to very much. But for Jesus, a smile, a word, a gesture, a little bit of love is enough for him to pour out his grace bountifully on the soul of his friend. Years later, Simon ‘s sons, Christians by then, will be known and held in high esteem among their brothers in the faith. And it all started with this unexpected meeting with the Cross.
I went to those who were not looking for me; I was found by those that sought me not (Isai 65:1).
At times the Cross appears without our looking for it: it is Christ who is seeking us out. And if by chance, before this unexpected Cross which, perhaps, is therefore more difficult to understand, your heart were to show repugnance… don ‘t give it consolations. And, filled with a noble compassion, when it asks for them, say to it slowly, as one speaking in confidence: ‘Heart: heart on the Cross! Heart on the Cross! ‘
Points for meditation
1. Do you to know how to thank Our Lord for all he has done for us?… With love! There is no other way.
Love is with love repaid. But the real proof of affection is given by sacrifice. So, take courage!: deny yourself and take up his Cross. Then you will be sure you are returning him love for Love.
2. It is not too late, nor is everything lost…
Even though to you it may seem so. Even though a thousand foreboding voices keep saying so. Even though you are besieged by mocking and sceptical onlookers… You have come at a good time to take up the Cross: the Redemption is taking place —now! — and Jesus needs many Simons of Cyrene.
3. To bring happiness to its loved one, a noble heart will not hesitate before sacrifice. To bring comfort to a suffering face, a great soul will overcome all repugnance and give itself unstintingly…And God, does he deserve less than a piece of flesh, than a handful of clay?
Learn to mortify your whims. Accept setbacks without exaggerating them, without throwing up your arms, without… hysterics. In that way you will lighten the Cross for Jesus.
4. This day has salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:9-10).
Zacchaeus, Simon of Cyrene, Dismas, the centurion. . .
Now you know why Our Lord has sought you out. Thank him!… But opere et veritate, with deeds and in truth.
5. How can I really love the Holy Cross of Jesus?… Long for it!… Ask Our Lord for the strength to implant it in every heart throughout the length and breadth of this world. And then… make atonement with joy; and try also to love him with the beating of all those hearts that as yet do not love him.
From St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, The Way of the Cross
© 2004 Studium foundation & Information Office of Opus Dei on the Internet
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