I am having a "Fifth Station Moment"

When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26

Many Catholics have a devotion to a saint or a particular prayer. Over the past ten years or so, I have developed a devotion to the 5th Station of the Cross. In fact, I refuse to have a “bad day.” Rather, I chose to call those times “Fifth Station Moments.”

Simon the Cyrene is pressed into service

The Fifth Station recalls the moment Simon the Cyrenian is pressed into service to carry the Cross of Christ. Simon was a bystander who probably had no interest in helping. In fact, he probably thought of Jesus as a common criminal and was angry when the Roman soldiers forced him to carry the Cross.

At times, we are all pressed into service

I have a special devotion to this station because in my life there are many times I feel like Simon. In others words, there are times when I feel like a relatively innocent man who has unwillingly and unfairly had a Cross thrust upon his shoulders. Sometimes it is the Cross of one of my students, fellow parishioners or teachers. Other times it is the Cross of another member of my family. I have even had a Cross of two that was purposefully thrust upon me by the calculated and sinful actions of another Christian. Finally, I must admit that very often, it may a Cross of my own making that I am forced to carry.

When this happens, I try hard not to lament my circumstances, though I often do exactly that! Rather, through prayer, I try to turn to the Fifth Station and the example of Simon. Simon is mentioned only briefly in Holy Scripture but he is mentioned by name in the three synoptic Gospels. Therefore, his example is worthy of some contemplation.

Simon was clearly a reluctant participant during this pivotal moment in salvation history. If this were not true, he would not had been “pressed” into service. Nonetheless, it is easy to imagine that Simon eventually realized that he had been given a privilege to carry the Cross of Christ. Furthermore, in carrying the Cross he did not walk away or go ahead. He was still following Christ. And, more profoundly, maybe only after Simon recognized Jesus as the Redeemer, Jesus eventually took the Cross back and proceeded up Calvary on his own.

Bad day? No, just a “Fifth Station Moment”

When I am having a “Fifth Station Moment” it helps me to remember that in the end, the Cross is always taken away from me, by God himself no less! I have to bear it for a while but it is Christ alone who died for my sins. He still has the hardest part of the deal. The Fifth Station also helps me to recognize the redemptive power of suffering. Christ said, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:27.

Let us remember that all of our burdens can and will be carried by Jesus, but only as we too recognize Him as our Savior.

I hope you have a good day today.  But, if not, I pray you have a “Fifth Station Moment” instead.

19 Replies to “I am having a "Fifth Station Moment"”

  1. Maybe its just my experience, but I’ve often wondered why Simeon is seemingly given so little emphasis, importance or significance within our Church.

    1. I think it is because Scripture says very little about him. However, I am kind of glad Scripture is so brief. It makes it easier for me to imagine myself in his place.

  2. Dear Deacon,
    Just before I opened up this blog, the prayer that went forth from my heart was ‘Lord, the problems that are pressing in on me are all too overwhelming,yet,none of it is mine. Am tired of these crosses.Take them away,please’. But after reading your post, I feel, I can see myself as Simon of Cyrene. All I need to do is keep trusting in Jesus and he will finally take it all from me because he alone is my Redeemer.

    1. How true! Remember, he never asks us to die on the Cross – Just carry one every now and then. Furthermore, Simon was chosen because he was presumably healthy and able. Thank God for the privilege because you must be able as well.

  3. This is brilliant … As a mother, you can imagine the numerous little crosses that are often thrust upon me, and I am not always a gracious bearer. Thank you for putting things in the right perspective.

    1. “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.” – 2 Peter 3:8.

      Maybe the same is true of a Fifth Station Moment as well as a Fifth Station Two Weeks. Keeping you in prayer Cynthia!

      1. Thank you, Deacon Turner. This isn’t the place to describe what’s going on, but if only you knew! I told Msgr P because I had his email.

  4. I too have been living a Fifth Station life for some time now. And sometimes it’s just almost too much to bear. Thank you fo this new perspective.

    1. I love your sign in name – Perhaps it should be “A lot like Simon of Cyrene” When it gets too much to bear remember only Christ fell three times. He took the cross back before Simon fell even once! He will do the same for us.

  5. My BAD HAIR days now seems so… so inelegantly SECULAR!

    THANK YOU! I shall rearrange my “bad hair days” into Fifth Station Days!!

    You are an inspiration to me and my newfound love of the Church. When the list of articles comes out – I can pick yours, by heading alone, as they are so relevant, interesting and inspiring!

    God be with you.

    1. Kathy,

      Thank you for your kind comments. If you have ever seen my picture on this website, you will see that it is impossible for me to have a bad hair day. In fact, it has been at least ten years since I had ANY kind of hair day. So, I have no choice but to have Fifth Station Days!

  6. I often ask St. Simon to pray for me. I ask him to pray that I might be able to deny myself, carry my cross, stay close to Jesus, and be transformed by the cross as he was.

    1. It is amazing how a man who did not get more than one sentence in Scripture can have such a profound effect on us over 2000 years later. It is a reminder that many come to Christ in the midst of adversity.

  7. I, too, frequently ponder Simon’s big day in Jerusalem, his “compelling” encounter with Jesus disguised as a tortured criminal on his way to execution, & how the worst thing that could possibly happen may actually hold in it the best thing that could possibly happen.

    I have been told of a tradition that Simon’s sons Alexander & Rufus (mentioned in Mark 15:21 & Rufus possibly again in Romans 16:13) both became bishops in North Africa.

    A little (OK, a lot) off topic, but wherever did you find that 70’s-looking, mummy-meets-zombie stations picture? It’s kinda scary!

    1. God often presents gifts in humble appearances – Jesus is a prime example.

      I have to investigate the legacy of Simon’s sons. I have not heard that tradition before.

      Regarding the picture, it was the only one I could find that was not a church relief. However, now that you mention it, maybe I should have invested a little more time on my search engine. -smile-

  8. Mark 15:21 “…the father of Alexander and Rufus”. Fr. Christopher Philips points out that if we know that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus, it must be because they all three (or more) became followers of the Way (Christians). He also says to note that in Romans 16:13 Rufus is mentioned again. Could it be the same Rufus? I would put money on it if I were a betting person. So if we carry the cross with Jesus we grow closer to Him. Who would not be overjoyed to experience that? Only our rebellious flesh disagrees. That’s why we need the discipline of obedience of the Church, devotions, etc. to help us.

    Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. ~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420

  9. The cross I have to bear turned out to be my own self. I get weighed down by the weakness of the flesh. I am reconciled in confession, but recently I have been asking St Paul, St Augustine, and St Jerome to go out and locate St. Simon Cyrene in his celestial retirement, and press him to give me a hand carrying myself through this constant warfare against enlavement to self. Like a tag team, so I avoid falling under the heavy load of temptations.

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