By Scott Athey
St. Cloud seminarian, studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome
Jesus, I watch as your bruised and bleeding body collapses beneath the cross. You have so recently called me “friend.” Yet, I simply watch and come not to your aid. I listen to the guards as they mock and curse. How their mocking and cursing sting my ears, but all the more my heart. My heart is stung not because these words of guile and hate are foreign to me, but how painfully familiar they are to my own lips. How often have I mocked and cursed you in my neighbor, and in myself? How could I forget even those times when I have mocked and cursed you, my God?
Jesus, my God, why must you fall? Do you not know how I cannot bear to watch my false understanding of your full humanity be corrected? Will you, who can strengthen the weak, become weak? Yes! You fall so that I may see more clearly that you are fully man and fully God. You fall that I, too, can rise with you.
Jesus, help me to come to the aid of others when they fall beneath their cross. Jesus, help me to avoid adding to the weight of the cross of others. Jesus, help me to acknowledge and carry my own cross.