Bear one another’s burdens
and so fulfill the law of Christ.
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon,
The father of Alexander and Rufus,
and they forced him to carry the cross.
I’ve been thinking, too, how blessed we are to have our own Simons in our lives. But more so, how blessed we are to be a Simon to someone else.
To be able to help someone under the weight of a heavy burden, either materially or spiritually, is a privilege. To walk alongside of someone on their own via dolorosa, to ease their burden, to meet their needs is just as much of a privilege for us as it was for Simon of Cyrene to assist Our Lord. Jesus taught us that whatever we do to his brothers, we do to him. I would like to think that if I had been there 2000 years ago, that I would have eagerly borne the Cross for Jesus. It is not enough to simply say that, though, when there are people in my life now who are being crushed by the weight of their own crosses.
We all have crosses and some of our crosses are heavier than other crosses we bear. There are times when our crosses may be hardly noticeable, but other times they are unbearable. This is true for all of us. When I have the ability to see others struggling so hard to keep on their feet, I need to step in. Sometimes they need a hand… like bringing a meal or listening over a cup of coffee. Other times they (and we, of course) need spiritual help more than anything. Sometimes, extra prayer and offerings of sacrifices are the only help we can offer, but they are the best help, too.
When someone’s suffering touches me deeply, (more deeply than other things) I find myself begging God to allow me to give them some mental, emotional and spiritual respite. I ask Him to allow me to bear the pain, confusion and frustration that they are bearing at the time, just to give them a bit of room to breathe, regroup, pray. It is amazing how, when I make this offering to Our Lord, I often feel a sudden weight placed upon me. If a friend is suffering through great sorrow, I may suddenly find myself, with no “logical” explanation feeling very sad, tearful and emotionally oppressed. Usually I find myself confused, wondering what the heck is wrong with me! Then I remember my offering, I remember that I am a Simon, and I embrace the sorrow, the tears, the frustration, hoping all the while that for as long as that cross is mine to bear, the one for whom I am bearing it is finding a bit of relief, even if only temporary relief, and the courage and strength to continue to bear their cross for the glory of God. I truly thank the Lord for the opportunity to give Him aid and comfort (as well as giving aid and comfort to one of His children) by becoming a Simon to another. What an amazing gift to me! To know that I can serve him and His people right in the midst of my everyday duties and situations, right inside my home, right now, is absolutely amazing.
I thank the Lord, also, for all of the Simons he has put into my life. The ones who help me, who pray for me, who walk beside me on my own via dolorosa. I don’t know what I would do without them.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee!