The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
My Jesus, Your tormentors enlisted a Simon of Cyrene to help You carry Your cross. Your humility is beyond my comprehension. Your power upheld the whole universe and yet You permit one of Your creatures to help You carry a cross. I imagine Simon was reluctant to take part in Your shame. He had no idea that all who watched and jeered at him would pass into oblivion while his name would go down in history and eternity as the one who helped his God in need. Is it not so with me, dear Jesus? Even when I reluctantly carry my cross as Simon did, it benefits my soul.
If I keep my eyes on You and watch how You suffered, I will be able to bear my cross with greater fortitude. Were you trying to tell all those who suffer from prejudice to have courage? Was Simon a symbol of all those who are hated because of race, color and creed?
Simon wondered as he took those beams upon his shoulders, why he was chosen for such a heavy burden and now he knows. Help me Jesus, to trust your loving Providence as you permit suffering to weave itself in and out of my life. Make me understand that You looked at it and held it fondly before You passed it on to me. You watch me and give me strength just as You did Simon. When I enter Your Kingdom, I shall know as he knows, what marvels Your Cross has wrought in my soul.
Prayer for the Fifth Station of the Cross
Simon probably just wanted a closer look. The streets were packed, lined with people shouting, jeering, sobbing. I imagine him being shoved and pushed by sweaty bodies before being grabbed by a Roman soldier in full garb. His stomach had to have dropped into his legs emptied of blood as he tried to understand what the soldier wanted from him. He was from Cyrene, modern day Libya and Mark says he was just passing through. He spoke a different language and may have struggled to comprehend the soldier’s request. He was just passing through and probably didn’t want anything to do with anything he saw happening.
Suddenly he is no longer part of the crowd but is in the middle of the road standing beside an exhausted and bloodied Jesus. Simon picks up the filthy, bloody patibulum, across which Jesus’ arms would be spread and begins to carry it up the hill for Jesus. A drop of grace in a depth of torment, did Jesus think his help a blessing or a curse? As Simon struggles he hears the yells, feels the stones and spit aimed at Christ, he must have had a weird feeling of not wanting to be carrying this terrifying weapon yet knowing what will happen when he is able to set it down. Eventually they arrive at their destination. Hands and back cut from splintered wood, Simon lays down the cross and Jesus takes his place. Jesus accepted Simon’s help, a messiah who didn’t have a messiah complex and Simon’s life was forever changed.