If you are just joining me, I’ve been writing weekly reflections on each of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. So far I’ve covered the agony in the Garden, the scourging at the Pillar, the crowning with Thorns, and now we are onto the fourth mystery – the carrying of the cross.
Oh, that terrible, shameful, heavy cross. In your day it was a sign of disgrace, of embarrassment and shame. The criminals, the murders, the rebel rousers and law breakers were condemned and forced to carry that cross to their death. Somehow, you who were perfect, without sin and without fault, were pressed into the shame of carrying the cross. It was laid upon your beaten and bruised back, your blood no doubt seeping into the wood long before you were nailed to it. The weight of it pressed you down, though the weight of the cross does not compare to the weight of our sins. Yet all was laid on your back, testing the strength of your weakened body. Your accusers and those who mocked you surely believed that the weight of that cross was testing the strength of the God whose Son you claimed to be. How loudly they must have jeered when you fell beneath its weight each time.
What a wonder, then, that you only fell three times. God knows I would have fallen more often, and at some point I would have given up. The weight would have been too much. But your body, filled with love and divine strength, persevered. You stood up, inviting us to do the same when we fall. You never gave up. You could have fallen once and simply laid there while the soldiers beat you to death, but you wouldn’t be defeated. You rose, each time taking up the cross that had been given to you. A sign that was a shame to so many became, because of you, a sign of hope, of triumph, and of love. Those who failed to believe you, who mocked you, spat upon you, beat you, and nailed you to that cross, hoped to defeat you. They hoped to shame you, to tear you down and break you – and all of your followers. For a moment in time, they thought that had won. But they were wrong. You carried the cross and surrendered only to the will of the Father, and in so doing you invite us to hope, and show us how we are to carry the crosses the Father asks us to carry.