As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
“The Carrying of the Cross”
handpainted ceramic plate by Paulina Constancia
From the collection of KPAF
The Carrying of the Cross
Matthew 27:31, Luke 23:26
When the soldiers had finished mocking Him, … they led him away to crucify Him. On the way they laid hold of a certain Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and upon him they laid the cross to bear it after Jesus.
Source: Regnum Christi
In our churches, we mark fourteen stations in sequence along the way of the cross. Each station has its own particular story, with specific people who were destined from all eternity to encounter Christ along that dusty road, in the midst of the confusion, noise, and heat of a Jerusalem day. Mary, Veronica, Simon, the Roman soldiers, the rubberneckers among the crowds… they were all given a privileged glimpse into the Savior’s great work of redemption. Some saw nothing more than a surface appearance: here was just another unfortunate criminal getting what he deserved. But some, like Simon of Cyrene, grew into a deeper understanding of this man because they were enlisted to walk beside him and help him. This story plays itself out in our times too. Christ lives in other people, and different versions of the fourteen stations unfold in the lives of the people around us—even in our own lives. At times, we have the experience of observing from the outside, making a snap judgment, and moving on – like the indifferent observers in the crowds who had other, more important things to do that day. But sometimes life brings us closer to a suffering person because we are asked to listen and help. And only when we listen do we find a new sympathy and understanding growing in our own hearts. Today’s Simons of Cyrene are the people who stop to listen. In this mystery, we can ask for the grace not to miss the chance to help the Christ “in disguise” who is walking his fourteen stations right by our door or on the other end of the phone.
Henri Nouwen on Compassion
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”