V. Simon helps Jesus.

Play this music before you start in preparation for your prayer.

Hold your heart and the whole world in your hands.

Station 05

He was just a bystander,
one of many in that crowd
watching the spectacle of criminals
being led to their execution.

We know that he wasn’t a local:
Cyrene is located in modern-day Libya.
So he was virtually a tourist– 
though more likely, a Jewish pilgrim
who had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover.
Before he knew it, he found himself
carrying a convicted man’s cross.

We’re not sure how he got picked by the Roman soldiers.
One interpretation says that Simon was chosen
because he had shown some sympathy for Jesus.
But most seem to think that he was simply picked randomly,
was given no choice,
and could not, out of fear of the Romans, protest.
In short, the man who gets to help Jesus bear his cross
was probably dragged into it.

Imagine the resentment that he might have felt:
Wasn’t he just going about his own private life?
Remember, to him at this point,
Jesus wasn’t just a stranger,

but a convicted criminal at that!
We can almost visualize him
recoiling from the bloodied man
staggering beside him,
this criminal
whose cross he ended up carrying against his will.

Don’t we, in some way,
feel like Simon of Cyrene these days?

We were all just quietly and busily going about
our private lives–

and then we got dragged into this!
Like any passerby,
the last thing we wanted was to get involved–in this!

We enjoy being voyeurs,
but we want to be able to walk away.
We prefer to remain a spectator and not get involved.
Out of curiosity, we would google a crime or a catastrophe–
like that outbreak in Wuhan–
but we also want to be able to surf elsewhere
and watch something else
when we’re done, and return to our routines–
business as usual.
The last thing we want
is to have our lives disrupted.

But here we all are, aren’t we?
Our lives have been disrupted,
and chances are, when this is all over,
we won’t simply be able to go back to “business as usual.”

We could stay in denial or simmer in resentment–
OR we could choose to do what Simon of Cyrene must have done.

To be honest, we really don’t know for sure what he did:
All the Gospels that mention Simon by name are silent
about what happened to him when they got to Golgotha:
Did he stay to watch the crucifixion?
Or did he scamper away the first chance he got
to return to his private life–business as usual?

What we do know is that his two sons are mentioned
by name in Mark’s account.
It’s unlikely that the early Christian Church would know
the names of the sons of a foreigner–
unless Simon, for some reason, decided to stay behind
and to become one of the early Christians.
In short, maybe something did happen
to that reluctant bystander on the way to Calvary
as he carried Jesus’ cross.
At a certain point, Simon of Cyrene must have accepted his fate,
and as a result, was able to freely make some important choices.

Sometimes God pulls us out of our comfort zone–
at times without asking us!–
and before we know it, life as we know it is different.
When God allows these unwelcome disturbances to go our way,
we need to pray for the graces of acceptance and freedom.
If we make the right choices,
these disturbances can offer us the rare opportunity
to encounter the Lord up close–
our initial reluctance notwithstanding–
and nothing can be more life-changing.

Ask yourself today:
How are you feeling about the unexpected turn-of-events
in your life and in our world?
Still in denial? Resentful? Anxious? All of the above?


We’re sure to feel differently (and more strongly!)

if we have been personally affected by the coronavirus–
either ourselves or someone we love,
or even just someone we know.
But in whatever situation we may find ourselves,
what choices can we make today
to improve our acceptance of the situation
and freedom to respond to it?
Can we at least pray for these two graces?

Here are some very powerful–and relevant–words
from the first verses of Coldplay’s song “Everyday Life”

What in the world are we going to do?
Look at what everybody’s going through
What kind of world do you want it to be?
Am I the future or the history?
‘Cause everyone hurts
Everyone cries
Everyone tells each other all kinds of lies
Everyone falls
Everybody dreams and doubts
Got to keep dancing when the lights go out.

 Let’s make the choice to keep dancing
even in this time of the Pandemic.

“Behold the Wood” from St. Louis Jesuits. Image for Station from Fratel Venzo. “Everyday Life” from Coldplay

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17 replies on “V. Simon helps Jesus.”

It was blessing in disguise for Simon to help You. He might have been reluctant, but in his heart, there is remorse. His life must have been blessed so much.

Lord, this pandemic, may have been a cross, but there is silver lining. There is a blessing behind it – purification and restoration in our lives, earth and our souls. We will just get crazy analyzing all of these. We trust You in these times. At the end, Your Glory will always rise.

I pray for safety for my family. Out of my four children only one is with me . Two are doctors and one is on the frontline. The third is far away .
I am unable to place myself in the shoes of Simon. Unlike him I am selfish and would not have done what he did- . I would not have had the courage . I would just prefer to be a bystander looking from a distance not getting involved , being safe. That’s me – I always want to be safe- I don’t want to risk being so involved so that I don’t make a mistake. Non involvement keeps me on the safe side. I’m a coward. I need Simon’s courage to make me do what is right no matter what .

Dear father,
late, I have known this station of the cross. I just started last March 31. Now I’m trying to have 2 to 3 stations of the cross every day to be able to join the group. I do it in the morning and in the afternoon. would that be ok?
I was looking for an online retreat and a priest recommends this online station of the cross which is in tune with our Lenten celebrations. Salamat po.

Lord, I thank you for the unplanned situation in my life. I will make us it. I accept it as Simon accepts the cross to be able to help you. a few months ago I planned what to do during this vacation time. I said i will visit my brothers in sisters. But now I can’t travel. but then I will make use of this time I take it as a moment of grace. I will have more time to pray, evaluate myself, rest do spiritual reading and most of all listen to what you want me to unveil at this point in my life. I take this lockdown a moment of grace wherein I could have more time with you. I become cautious about my actions.
Lord, I don’t know what will be my tomorrow but I put must trust in You. I claim your promise that you will be with me even I don’t feel your presence. In you, I draw strength.

As we continue to pray and hope that things will get better soon, may we also reflect on what we are called to do to reach out, to help, to go out of our comfort zone… as Simon of Cyrene did

thanks father. i forwarded the song to a good friend who is in the hospital who has the corona and her husband died last week too. you are doing a great job father. lets pray for each other?

The reflection for this station made me come to terms to the reality of our situation now. It is acceptance of how we have neglected so much the real purpose of our existence of being one and connected with this world. We all got busy making a name for ourselves, amassing wealth, fighting for our own beliefs and ideologies, thinking only of what can be good for ourselves and the few around us. Our freedom to choose our own selfish interests got the better of us. Suddenly with this pandemic, it disrupted our choice and moreso, disturbed us .
We are silenced by the cries of help from within and beyond our borders. We are awakened by the pleas to unite and reach out to those who are in need. We are compelled to accept the reality of an invisible and invincible threat to our lives. Most of all, we are forced to bow down in humility and beg for mercy and healing from our GOD, who in our freedom, we may have chosen to take a back seat in our lives.
May our locked down days be spent in fervent prayers and reflection as we ponder what is really in our hearts. May our Lord grant us the graces of acceptance and freedom to rediscover our real purpose in this world and be transformed in the way He intended us to be.

This major, major disruption of the whole world is making me anxious and fearful of what will happen to me, my loved ones, people in the front lines and yes, the back lines too, the future. I acknowledge my fears and anxieties and pray for the grace to make choices that affirm life, that affirm that God is with us. Thank you for the song! You have very interesting song choices — this one particularly spoke to me. God bless us all.

This station and this reflection gave me great comfort. And hope. I’ve never quite seen this station this way nor thought about what Simon must have felt. I shared this with a dear one who cried herself to sleep the other night, because, well, she felt exactly like Simon did! She appreciated the reflection too. Thank you so much.

Lord we have been in our comfort zone for too long… now that we are in this situation we don’t know what to do. Please help us all become better versions of ourselves after this episode in our life. I pray for healing for my mom. May she be able to surpass this trial. Please keep everyone else in the family healthy…?

The pandemic signified one thing that is clear to me…we are all interconnected and therefore we are all responsible for each other’s actions.
Like Simon, at times we think … why me?… i’m not involved in this… what have i done? Why do i have to partake un this suffering?
We can ask these questions or we can take advantage of this time to look down deep inside of us… where is Jesus? Is He there? What can we do for Him? What can we do for our brothers and sisters. What can we do to preserve the earth… the beautiful place God has created for us to live?
LORD, have mercy on us… forgive our sins and heal our land. Amen

In my heart, I am resentful of one person in my family and I nurse this resentment. I justify it but when I reflect on it, I realize that part of my resentment comes from seeing myself years from now in her image and I am frightened. I am frightened that I may become like her. And every day I spend time here at home, in this situation, makes me more resentful and frightened.

I am Simon in my resentment but I am not like Simon in his conversion. So I beg God for the grace to be better because this person in my family deserves a better me, because if I were to truly follow Christ, I should be the better me.

May God help me.

Life is full of surprises & uncertainties. I never thought we would start the year with a pandemic, putting the entire world to a halt. I thought we only see this in the movies. But it is really happening in our present time. Unbelievable but true. Lives are at stake here. We have no control of what is happening but to pray hard for everyone and for this disease to end soon. It makes all of us anxious not knowing what lies ahead of us. I can’t help but ponder about death & have accepted the fact that it comes to everyone & anytime when we least expect it.
Lord, be with us always. Thank you for the gift of life. May we make the most out of it while we can, to continue to love & serve you. ????

I admit I am still in partial denial about the situation (Things will get back to normal soon.) & also anxious about the future (What if it doesn’t?). I worry not only for myself but for my family, relatives & friends.

Lord, please grant us the grace to accept the situation & to make the right choices from this situation…to help those less capable of helping themselves now, to provide encouraging words instead of rumors & malice.

Lord, You will always be there for us. You have not forgotten us. Perhaps it is us who have forgotten You. Help us to return to You.

Amen

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