Reflect on your life. When have you been hurt or traumatized by another person or by something you witnessed? Perhaps you suffered a terrible loss and still mourn it deeply. Maybe you are an armed-services veteran with memories of war that haunt you in ways nobody can imagine. You may have suffered trauma through an accident or prolonged illness. Perhaps you were wrongfully accused or shunned by those who should love you most. Maybe you feel abandoned, traumatized by violence, or devastated by the loss of a child, born or unborn. You may continue to experience the aftershocks of the event, even decades later, as you sort through memories of violation and violence, humiliation and horror, tragedy and turmoil.
Jesus bears his cross: Think of Jesus as he adjusts his body under the weight of the cross, trying to stand and take a step forward. Imagine him looking into the future and seeing you clearly, with your own cross upon your shoulders. Imagine that he sees you even as he picks up the cross and intercedes in this moment for you. He has come to help you bear the burden that has nearly crushed you under its weight.
Lord, help me to make a deliberate decision to turn to you each time I remember what happened to me. Give me the strength to trust that you walk with me and to believe that you have been walking with me all along. In the moment you said yes to bearing your cross, you said yes to walking with me as I bear my cross. By willingly becoming our suffering Lord, you changed my cross from something I cannot control into an offering that I can lay at your feet. I do that now. I feel the weight of my burden and am surprised that you would want it, that you have always wanted me to give it to you. Amen.
Jesus is helped by Simon: Consider how our Lord felt when Simon of Cyrene approached and bent to carry that cross for him. Did Jesus ask his heavenly Father to send someone who could walk with him to Calvary? Jesus welcomed the help he received from an unexpected source. Think about where you are in the healing process. Have you sought the guidance of a spiritual director? Have you approached your parish priest or confessor for help in picking up your cross? God has placed one such as this in your life. Open yourself to the possibility of asking your “Simon” to journey with you. Who might be able to nurture you and help you heal?
Lord, help me to find the “Simon” who will help with this cross. I will permit this unexpected one to lead the way, to show me where to step and lessen the weight of my burden. Amen.