Saturday, March 10, 2012

Via Crucis V: What of the crosses that aren't ours?

They press Simon of Cyrene to bear the cross. Perhaps it is not sufficient to bear only our own crosses, what of the cross thrust upon our neighbor?

I've been continuing to think about my response to the burdens of those around us. I often think about bearing my own crosses, responding to Jesus' in Luke's Gospel: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." This year, I'm thinking more about the crosses that aren't mine, that aren't voluntary. In the comments on the essay I wrote last week about responding to the invisible and marginalized on city streets, someone posted a link to a modern day study of the Good Samaratian. The conclusion drawn in a commentary about the paper, that we are compassionate as a hobby, in other words, when we have time, is one I find challenging, and I'm afraid all too true of myself.

In a conversation with Patient Spiritual Director yesterday, he noted that at one point in his career he was required by his superior to do a particular service assignment once a week. Each week he would internally lament that he didn't have time for this, and yet each week he found it a grace-filled experience. Even the week someone stole his jacket.

I'm reflecting on the press of time, the press of the needs of others, and how I can practice compassion in more than my spare time. Can I pick up the crosses that belong to my neighbor?

Photo is of a 15th century pilgrim's badge, perhaps depicting Simon of Cyrene.

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading that Baron Von Hugel told his directee Evelyn Underhill to serve the poor as a spiritual practice.