Season of Consolation: Week Four – The Carrying of the Cross
By Peter Yowie26 Mar 2019
Jesuit Communications offers a series of reflections around the five Sorrowful Mysteries. This week, we explore the Carrying of the Cross.
Parishes and prayer groups: Feel free to print out and share these reflections, attach them to parish bulletins, or post them on parish websites or Facebook pages. Download Season of Consolation Week 4 PDF.
Gospel reading: Luke 23:26-31
In the fourth mystery, Simon of Cyrene comes to Jesus’ aid and carries his cross. As Simon walks the way of the cross with his Lord, many women of Jerusalem beat their breasts and wail together. These women had mentally opposed the mob which sent Jesus to his death, and Jesus now suggests that they weep for themselves and their children. This is the day of truth, when walking with Jesus is our consolation.
- Simon helps carry the cross of his friend. Do you know a Simon you want to thank?
- Simon walks with Jesus. Who are you moved to accompany?
- Jesus himself is rejected and alone. Who does this place him in loving solidarity with?
- Peta Yowie names the unconditional love of God as a source of consolation in the midst of devastating struggles and trials. What new awe does this witness give you?
- Peta writes ‘God has looked after me … through people’. When have you felt this providential care in your own life?
Carried by God’s love
Peta Yowie says God’s unconditional love has carried her through her life, especially when others, even the Church, have rejected her.
My favourite scripture in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13, Saint Paul’s words about love, so much so that I got it tattooed on me by Victims of ink.
This scripture was read at Princess Diana’s funeral. That the shop that did the tattoo was called Victims of ink wasn’t lost on me. All my life I have struggled to find my place as a writer and like Princess Diana I have been a victim, in my case of sexual abuse and mental illness. I try not to get cross that I have to carry this cross.
But what’s got me through the most is the unconditional love of God. It’s like when I went to St Paul’s Cathedral a week after Princess Diana’s funeral, and they had taken all the memorial flowers away and a brass band was playing ‘Stand by me.’
Over the years I’ve got recovery, people loving me. I’ve grown up, but I’m still that child born in Bethleham hospital, I’m still that child the priest refused to baptise because my mother was divorced. Only the Angels still came, because the Angels don’t care about the doctrine of man.
When I think about the trials I have borne, the biggest seems just the fact that I was born. It’s not easy to be torn away from your mother’s womb and thrown into the world where so much can harm you.
Yet always Jesus was there like a healer and teacher of my soul. He was there in the wings of my soaring poems. He was there when I felt alone, when I was being crucified by voices in my head, or flashbacks. And somehow God has looked after me, given me a home at the Sisters of Mercy when I was homeless, given me a disability pension, given me a caring doctor, because God works through people.
We all struggle, only tell me a princess knows there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Glass slippers cut your feet, but what God has taught me is that despite all the suffering love is the greatest. If God has a plan for me then it is in my hands as they pick up the pen and write. They’ll have to burn my flesh before the words of a saint will come off.
Every Easter I’ve felt like my life is going to change, like my life has been a test and where there is dereliction there can only be resurrection. I have felt God’s affection. God is giving the directions. I’ve never prayed the Rosary, but I like roses, Christ is crowned in them and he has felt their thorns, the beauty and sorrow.
Let Christ come tomorrow.
For more weekly prayer and spirituality reflections, see the Season of Consolation weekly series.
Peta Yowie is a writer living in Melbourne