Stations of the Cross 05 with Joan Chittister, OSB


Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross

The fifth station of the cross demonstrates for us the power of presence in the life of the poor and oppressed. Being where suffering is, associating ourselves with it, standing with those whom society has condemned is a great and gracious witness. At life’s greatest moments we choose it.  At other times, it is thrust upon us: the state wants more tax money to support the poor, a relative’s child has nowhere to go for awhile but with us, a neighbor turns to us for help we did not freely offer and do not want to give. We’re busy,  we’re tired, we don’t want to get involved, we don’t want to change the comfortable pattern of our own lives. But sometimes, if we’re lucky, we find ourselves in one of life’s great acts whether we want to be there or not. Then we so often discover that it is not so much what Simon did for Jesus as what Jesus did for Simon that counts.

The questions with which the fifth station of the cross confronts us are, What are we being called to do for someone in need right now for which we are a disinclined observer? What does the situation have to offer us, as well? When we open our hearts to the other in need, we are very likely to discover that our own hidden needs have been healed in the process.


Jesus, when I fail to recognize the needs

of those around me, send them into my life

so that before I die my own soul can come to

the wholeness that generosity brings.

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