Have you all followed Arwen’s writings? She writes at Faith and Family Live as well as on her own blog, which ironically, was started as a place where she would write to work through her thoughts on infertility. While her recent posts are filled with talk of children and struggles of motherhood, her archives are filled with beautiful reflections like this one.
I read it several months ago and it had me in tears and those tears reemerge every time I reread it. Please go and check it out.
When I relearned of the story of the Passion as a young adult, the characters involved took hold in my heart, especially Simon, a seemingly insignificant character. He’s not mentioned anywhere else and yet played such a key role getting to be so close to our savior. How lucky was he, right!? But Arwen’s (Dad’s?) reflection on his role offers a different perspective (emphasis mine):
Last spring my father wrote me a letter in which he told me of an image he’d gotten while praying for me: that of Simon of Cyrene. In Gibson’s portrayal in The Passion Simon is drafted into service against his will, but after being with Jesus for a while he does not want to leave Him; he has realized what a blessing it is to help carry that cross.
But, Dad pointed out, if Simon had been forced to carry the cross without knowing it was for his Christ, would he have caught on so easily to the goodness of what he was doing? Almost surely not, and yet the act itself would have been just as valuable.
We see Simon as a chosen one, blessed to have been so close to the Savior at such a time. Yet I’m sure that many of those looking on must have pitied the one who was forced into humiliating labor for the sake of a criminal condemned to death. Perhaps there was a man standing next to Simon in the crowd who drew a breath of relief when the guards passed over him, and went on his way thinking himself lucky. But it was Simon who was given the life-changing chance.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, which also happened to be Cycle Day 1 for me, the reading at Mass was the story of the Annunciation. The priest talked in his homily about Mary and the amazing fiat of motherhood, and I couldn’t help it. Tears just kept pushing themselves out of my eyes.
That afternoon, my mom pulled me aside. “I was watching you during Mass, and I just wanted to tell you,” she said, “motherhood is a great thing. But wanting to be a mother, and having to wait – yours is the higher calling.”
My first thought was that I can’t really believe that. I’ve been thinking about it since then, though, and about the little voice inside me, and about Simon of Cyrene being pushed to the ground by that bone-crushing cross. I think about the person I might be now if we’d gotten pregnant that first cycle or even that first year, and you know what? I know I am a lucky one.
Ack, so beautiful, I’m crying now. I had been so eager to say how lucky Simon was even if the reality of carrying such a literal cross appears otherwise. But if I truly believe that, there is no alternative other than to admit through our sufferings and although we may not consciously acknowledge they are bringing us to Christ, just by going through this suffering, we are lucky as well.
Lucky, not a word I ever would have used to describe this position, but it seems true.
Please, please go read the rest of the article.