They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
(This post is part of a Lenten series on praying the Stations of the Cross - a devotional practice that is said to have started with Mary after the death and resurrection of Jesus. To start at the beginning, see the overview provided on March 5, 2023, and then go from there!)
Even Jesus accepted help at the moment of his greatest need. Who are we to refuse it? Jesus is our model of receiving what we need without resistance.
Does Simon also represent us, called into participation in God’s suffering? He was the father of two boys (was he thinking of them in this moment?), traveling in from the country (for what purpose?). This unexpected calling on him was deeply individual, personal, and unique, and our callings are the same. We never know when God will draw us from our daily life of family/travel/community into very particular service to him and to the rest of the world.
Simon as a “stranger” got to participate directly in God’s redemption of the world in a way that those closest to Jesus missed out on. (Did the disciples later have to mourn their absence in these most vulnerable and intimate moments endured by their dearest friend?) Perhaps Simon’s call was a symbol of God’s sacred story being widened to the Gentiles, who would soon receive the torch of God’s flame and pass it throughout all the world.
A note about mindfulness
Silence helps us to hear the call of God in our lives. It also helps us to “show up” and stay present when those we care about need our help, and it can help us notice when we’re resisting the help that God is sending our way through the people around us. Mindfulness practices are one way to use silence for better listening, noticing, and presence, benefiting both ourselves and those God places in our path.
(For a list of mindfulness practices that help you use the silence well as you pray the Stations of the Cross, check out the Guides for Practice available here.)
I am Irene Kraegel. I am licensed as a clinical psychologist and teach mindfulness on a faith-based university campus. I practice mindfulness because it opens me up to God (a.k.a. brings joy). I am writing here in hopes of sharing some of my experiences and thoughts related to the practice of mindfulness in the life of a Christian. Thanks for reading!
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