Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Via Crucis Grid Blog: Stations V & VI

The Via Crucis Grid Blog continues.

Station V: Symon of Cyrene is Made to Bear the Cross

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. -- Luke 23:26
My dearest, Imperatrix pulcherrima Africae occidentalis, mentioned to me that Simon was, like her, an African. He came from Cyrene in present-day Libya. Imagine visiting bustling Jerusalem and being grabbed roughly by a guard and having some sweating, bleeding criminal's heavy cross to his place of execution. That fact that Simon is named (along with, in Mark's version, his sons) possibly indicates that he was a known member of an early Christian community. So Simon was aware who the bleeding criminal was, or at least he learned later.

We speak of picking up one's cross, but Simon went a step further -- picking up someone else's cross. This act that is so ironic -- carrying the cross of the man who carried the cross of all humankind -- is the essential Christian act, and perhaps in this imitatio Christi at such a dire moment of the story of Christ made Simon, if not the first follower of Christ, the first Christian. Perhaps it was at the moment when he felt the weight of the cross on his shoulders that he knew who Jesus was. Every Christian at every moment is rushing by an execution in Jerusalem where he or she can be pressed into service, and may (or may not) accept the burden of the suffering person fallen on the dusty road.

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station V bloggers: Preston, Annie, Elena, Martha2, PmPilgrim, Only Wonder Understands, Jimmy

Station VI: Christ's Face is Wiped by Vernonica

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. "Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages and the money given to the poor." They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." -- Mark 14:3-9

Veronica is not found in scripture and is almost certainly legendary. Like so many legends, her truth is not in her factual existence, but in what her story reveals to us. Like the woman in Bethany, she performs a kindness for Jesus, a kindness that anticipates his death. The imprint of Christ's face -- imago Dei -- on her veil is like the imprint of Christ's image that is marked on our soul when we are moved to compassion and act on it. Jesus, who is suffering for us, makes us suffer for him and share his [com]Passion. The journey to Calvary is becoming a ever widening circle of compassion, taking in Mary, Simon, and Veronica, as Christ's love spreads outward like ripples on a pond. The redemption that Jesus promises in the Passion is not some blood sacrifice to an angry God, but a purifying of humanity through a humanity that is divine and the love and compassion that it engenders.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station VI blogger: Crossroads Dispatches


crystal said...

Thanks for the details about Simon, the Cyrenian. It's interesting that Jesus touched so many in this scenario, not by helping them but by being helped by them.

Liam said...

That's what I'm beginning to realize as I write about the Via Crucis -- the lesson of compassion it teaches.

Paula said...

Thank you Liam.Reading your post i was thinking about what i heard years ago...
years ago an ex-political prisoner from my old country (Romania) who survived terrible conditions in communist prisons said that the only thing that can help someone to overcome life´s difficulties is to learn and really understand Via Crucis...