MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: And Going Forth They Found A Certain Man Of Cyrene, Called Simon, Coming From The Country
Christ Carrying the Cross
And going forth they found a certain man of Cyrene, called Simon, coming from the country, the Father of Alexander and Rufus: him they compelled to take uo his Cross, and they enforced him to carry the Cross after Jesus.
Consider first, that the Jews perceiving the weakness of Christ, being spent with labors & pains, and with the loss of so much blood; and fearing, least he might die before he suffered the most grievous torments of the Cross; being moved, not with pity, but with cruelty, caused this Gentile to carry the Cross after Jesus. But God directed this act of theirs to another end. For he signified hereby; First, that the Cross, being consecrated with he blood of our Lord, was given to Christians, converted from Gentilism, who followed Christ going before them loaded with his Cross, being themselves also loaded with they crosses in sundry manners, as some by Martyrdom, some by fasting, some by watchings, and by other voluntary afflictions, some by conquering themselves, and subduing the wicked motions of the mind. Secondly that it is not enough that Christ carry his own Cross, and that we only behold it by faith and contemplation. But it behooveth us to set our hand to it, and in holy works to follow Christ, which saith: He which will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Consider secondly, who he is, which doth profitably carry the Cross of Christ. First. Simon, that is to say, obedient to the Commandments and suggestions of God. Secondly, Coming from the Country: who putting off the redness of sins, forsaketh his uncivil manners. Thirdly, of Cyrene of Pentapolis, that thou shouldest carry the Cross of Christ in thy five senses.
Consider 3. that this Simon, was constrained even against his will, to lay this cross upon his shoulders: to teach thee, First to offer violence to nature, which abhorreth such a crossing the change of manners, and mortifying of the senses, Secondly, not to thrust thyself rashly into perils, but patiently to suffer the evils, which others do unto thee. The Soldiers lay the Cross upon him; for wicked men by their vexations and torments give occasion to the just to suffer with Christ.
Consider fourthly the profit, which this Simon had, as a reward of his labor, though he carried the cross even against his will. First his name, but the divulging of the Gospel through the world, is consecrated to eternal memory. Secondly his City & Country is made know to all Christians. Thirdly his children were not only Christians, but also famous amongst Christians. Do not thou therefore fear the Cross, & troubles for Christ his name, for the Cross of Christ maketh men glorious, and bringeth many commodities with it. But thou must follow after, not run before Jesus; nor chose what cross thou likest but accept if that, which he sendeth and pray him to lighten thy burden with his grace, & to strengthen thy shoulders.
~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.