I’m always struck by what my kids teach me about my faith. For example, I took my young son with me to the Stations of the Cross the other night. I wanted him to experience this practice of our Catholic faith so that he would really understand what Jesus went through during His Passion. At our church, it’s a blend of old and new traditions – participants in the Stations take turns carrying a large, wooden cross while processing and meditating on the Scripture passages and singing verses of the Stabat Mater.
My son, of course, was most intrigued with the cross itself – basically two trees tied together – and wanted to know how heavy it was. Did I think that the cross Jesus had carried was heavier or lighter? Like any good parent, I promptly deferred his questions to the priest, who assured him that Jesus’ Cross was probably much heavier. But I also encouraged him to walk over and try to lift it. Just taking the priest’s word for it wouldn’t really satisfy his curiosity. Afterwards he remarked, “Wow, Jesus must have been really strong!” I knew that his 9-year-old mind wasn’t ready for an explanation of “spiritual muscle” – that strength that comes from uniting our hearts, minds, and wills with the Creator of the universe – so, I just smiled and said,” Yes, He certainly was.”
But I couldn’t help thinking about my own perceptions about Jesus carrying His Cross, bearing not only its weight, but that of the whole world – the weight of the sins of humanity. At first, it was utterly sobering…the idea that my sin has caused Him so much pain and suffering. For a moment, an image of Atlas came to mind. But unlike the way he’s depicted – forever straining under the weight, the enormity of the world – Jesus is victorious. The Cross of Christ was indeed heavy, but in the Resurrection, He pushes the weight of the world over His head, defeating not only sin and death but also the evil one in the process.
– Kelley Holy