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  • Writer's pictureMonica Walton

Can I be a Simon?

On Holy Thursday morning, I was greeted with a gorgeous sunrise that inspired me to take a Rosary Walk. I waited until the sun had warmed the path for me. There is so much to pray for right now that it couldn't be contained indoors. I had to let my prayers meet the fresh air, raw earth, and rays from Heaven. It helps me imagine the weight of the worries being lifted from my shoulders by God as He takes them into His bosom to return blessings to me.

As I set out on my walk and rounded the path by the park, I heard the unusual sounds of machinery in the usually peaceful place by the water. In a few more steps I saw with horror what was happening -- they were cutting down most of the trees in one section of the park. That area had always provided shade and solace on the winding walking path through the trees. So many trees had been reduced to mere stumps. It made me sad.

I continued along the perimeter and it seemed the tall pines standing along the edge were crying -- their pine cones were dropping as if they were shedding tears. I shared their sorrow.

My mind tried to continue the next decades of the Rosary, but the symbolism chased me down the remaining two miles of my walk. It was the eve of Good Friday, the day bad things happened. The day our Lord suffered His Passion and Death on a tree.

Jesus became the new Tree of Life we read about in Genesis. Because of His life, we know the way to love. Because of His persecution, we know how to endure redemptive suffering with grace. Because of His death, we know how to await new light amid deep darkness. Because of His Resurrection, we have a path to Heaven and Eternal Life with God the Father.

It is good to be reminded each year because it's so easy to forget what He has done for us. We re-live the events as one of the bystanders. We shout 'Crucify Him' claiming our part in His Story. We admit that we are vulnerable to fear and societal pressure to conform. We relate the experience to our darkest, most painful moments, then we multiply the horror exponentially.

When a woman gives birth, her body is broken and opened to bring forth new life. She would do it all over again for her child, even knowing the pain she would suffer. Jesus' body was broken and opened to give us new life and He would repeat every step He took for each one of us, even knowing the pain He would suffer.

Try to think of one person you love so immensely that you would die for them. Think of choosing to have your body torn every time your loved one is hungry. If you don't, they will die and it will be the end. It's beyond our scope to imagine such a scenario. I think of the Nazi concentration camps -- if my child or grandchild would only be granted food after I endured a beating, I can imagine saying yes over and over again. Jesus was beaten and He gives us food for our Salvation. He says yes to us over and over again.

On this Good Friday morning, I joined some fellow St. Paul parishioners on a 7-mile walk to commemorate the Stations of the Cross, Jesus' path to Calvary.

We took turns being Simon, carrying a life-size wooden cross, stopping each half mile to pray and pass the cross to another who would walk with Jesus and bear its weight.

I am changed by this experience.

As I carried that heavy cross on my shoulder and contemplated Jesus carrying a heavier cross to His death. I felt His true presence. I felt like I was walking with Jesus, doing my little part to try to ease His burden. I wasn't badly beaten, exhausted, bleeding, and spat upon. He was. I wanted to wipe His face and look Him in the eye with all my love to thank Him.


Close your eyes. See the whip. See the crown of thorns. Hear the guards. Hear the crowds. They all spit on Him and celebrated the fact that He was going to be killed.

It really happened. For us.  

Read the Passion.

The Triduum are the most solemn and sacred Holy Days of the year. Will this be just another ordinary weekend? Or, will we allow it to be extraordinary? Can we be Simon to someone, carrying the weight of some burden? Simon couldn't stop what was happening to Jesus. He couldn't fix it. But, he was there. Veronica was there. Mary was there. John was there. We are Simon when we are simply there with another who is hurting. It does make a difference to them and the world.

Let us be Simon.

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Mar 30
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

What a beautiful journey! Would love to have been with you all on this walk!


Mar 30
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So moving


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