Going to chapel early on a Lenten morning to meditate on the Readings for Mass and not being touched by them, I put down the book and tried to meditate on the Stations of the Cross, which hung on the chapel wall at our Senior Center where I was recuperating. Not being moved or touched by that meditation, I put down the book and just watched the residents enter the chapel. Some needed a helping hand; others managed with the help of a cane, a wheelchair, or crutches. I was deeply touched by how each one had their own LIVING STATIONS OF THE CROSS.
|Veronica wipes the face of Jesus|
(Photo by Patricia Ruether, OSB)
Right in front of me, a man in a motorized wheelchair specially designed to carry his weight, became an image of Jesus who carried the weight of our sin. Seconds later, in came a Mother with four little children and a baby in her arms reminding me of the women and children who followed Jesus on the journey. No matter where I looked, there was someone either bearing the cross or, like Simon of Cyrene, helping others to carry their cross. The many volunteers who attended others’ every need, either before, during, or after the Eucharist, were for me, the Veronicas who wiped the face of Jesus. Before Communion was distributed, a Sister came up front with small glasses of water on a tray for those who needed it to help swallow the host. Some residents who came to Mass had the good intention but soon their tiredness or their aching bodies took over and they fell asleep, like Jesus in the arms of His Mother.
This experience of witnessing the LIVING STATIONS OF THE CROSS, so moved and touched me, I was left with some questions:
How, when and where am I asked or invited to follow Jesus in my every-day life? When I realize the moment, how do I respond? Do I say, “Maybe tomorrow or next week? I am too busy now.” Can I be grateful and accept the call?
Margaret Mandernach, OSB