Jesus Carries His Cross.
The enemies of Jesus placed the cross on his wounded and bleeding shoulders. Jesus carried it towards Golgotha, but overcome by the heavy burden, he fell fainting beneath it. They inflicted heavy blows on him with their hands. They struck him with a knotted stick and kicked him with violence to make him rise. But his strength was gone and he could no longer obey them. They then laid hands on a stranger from the country, one Simon of Cyrene, lifted the cross to his shoulders, and compelled him to follow Jesus with it.
Why did Jesus permit them to relieve him by taking from him the cross he loved so much? Could he not have repaired his strength by a miracle and continued to carry it? It was done to teach us that we deserve the cross; that he bore it through love of us; that we aid him in carrying the cross when we bear ours with patience; that to be his disciple it is necessary for us to carry the cross and follow him where he goes; that he assists us in carrying our cross; and that we ought to rejoice when we have an opportunity to carry his.
Happy Simon (happy through obedience), who had the honor to bear the cross of Jesus! Christian, the same privilege is yours. All your crosses are fragments of his. They have either touched his soul or body. He drank of our chalice and, draining it of all its bitterness, left us the sweetness thereof. He suffered all that we suffer and felt all that we feel. He espoused our griefs. There is not one that has not pierced and afflicted his Sacred Heart.
Resolution: I will make the Stations of the Cross in reparation for the times I have rejected the Cross. If I cannot do this in church or some other place I will pray the prayers at home.
Prayer: Oh, Jesus my Lord! I will follow thee wheresoever thou goest, and, as thou hast carried thy cross, I will take up mine and follow thy steps even unto death. It is the trophy of my salvation, the standard of my faith, and the seal of my predestination. Oh, how miserable are those who trample it under foot, betray or abandon it! Save me from this, dear Jesus, and give me grace to carry it even to Calvary. Oh holy cross, consecrated by the blood of Jesus! Receive me in thy arms and let me repose on thy bosom. Give thyself all to me, and I will abandon myself entirely to thee! I espoused thee in baptism: the vow is made, the union is indissoluble, and death alone can separate us.
O Mother of Sorrows, thou who suffered along with thy Son, pray for me that I may have the strength to follow after Jesus in thy company.
By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.