The Holy See Search


Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross

Jesus learns the obedience of love along the path of his suffering


V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to Luke   23:26

And as they led Jesus away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

* * *

Simon of Cyrene is a man portrayed by the Evangelists with precise details regarding his name and background, his family and work. His is the photograph of a man caught at a certain time and place, in some way forced to carry a cross not his own. Yet Simon of Cyrene is really each of us. He accepts the burden of the cross of Jesus, just as we ourselves received the sign of the cross at Holy Baptism.

The life of a disciple of Jesus consists in just such obedience to the sign of the cross, in a disposition ever more marked by the freedom of love and mirroring the obedience of the Master. It is a complete surrender to learning, like him, the geometry of love,[1] according to the measure of the cross: the breadth of good works, the length of perseverance in trial, the height of the hope which trusts and fixes its gaze aloft, the depth of the grace that sinks it roots in gratuity”.[2]

Jesus most humble,
when life gives us a bitter cup to drink,
our nature closes in upon itself, digs in,
fearful of being caught up in the folly
of that greater love
which turns renunciation into joy,
obedience into freedom
and sacrifice into greatness of heart!

Come, Spirit of Truth,
make us obedient when the cross comes into our lives,
and docile to its sign, which embraces our whole being:
“body and soul, thoughts and will,
senses and feelings, acting and suffering”[3]
and expands all things in accordance with love’s measure!



Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

[1] Cf. Eph 3:18.

[2] Cf. Letter 140, 26, 64.

[3] Cf. R. GUARDINI, The Spirit of the Liturgy. Sacred Signs.


© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana