The Rosary: The Carrying of the Cross


Christ carries the Cross.  It is at this point that his path has grown into full parallel with ours for we are each called “to take up your cross and follow” Christ. What is your cross?  You want to, I’m sure, look for some great thing to be your cross. Forgive me if I am projecting. But if the Cross is a sign of our death, our loss of the illusion of self-ownership in sacrifice to Christ, then the Cross is our very life. The things that make you you; that make me me. Our passions, our talents, our temptations, our joys, our friends and loves, our families, our loss, our pain, our mourning. If we are here to “work out your salvation in fear and trembling” then it is your very gifts, your wins, and your losses, that are your cross.  The thing that is your bliss when you follow it: that is your cross. The sin you mistakenly think really is you, that is your cross. Take it up and sacrifice it.

To be clear, this is not a subtle, Disneyesque plea to “be yourself and everything will be fine” except insofar as “be yourself” means “the saint God wants me to be”. Your real self is not defined by “follow your bliss” or by giving in to your desires, lusts, cravings, and passions. Your real self is not who you think you are – especially if you define “self” by anything that departs from Christian teaching. You must become, by his grace, the Saint that God set out to create: the loving, self-sacrificing, God-praising, and God-pleasing light in your corner of the world. We must avoid any claim of “if it’s hard I must be doing it wrong.” In fact, it is when things are too easy that you’re doing it wrong!

Christ carries the Cross. This is not “for us” in the sense of paying a debt, but rather to show us how it’s done. You, too, in conforming to Christ, will die. And rise.

The verses below are taken from Matins for Holy Friday. The embolism I use in this Mystery is “the Incarnate Word of God, carrying his cross.”

The Fourth Dolorous Mystery:
The Carrying of the Cross

Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ, being sentenced to die bore, with most amazing patience, the Cross which was laid upon him, for his greater torment and ignominy.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

Israel my firstborn son hath twice done wickedly: he abandoned me, source of the water of life, and hath dug for himself a broken well. He crucified me on a tree but hath asked for Barabbas, releasing him.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Heaven was amazed at this and the sun hid its rays; yet Israel felt no shame, and handed me over to death. Forgive them, holy Father, for they know not what they have done.
Hail, Mary, &c.

A destructive band of wicked men, hateful to God; an assembly of slayers of God came upon thee, O Christ, and dragged thee away as a malefactor, who art the Creator of all things, whom we magnify.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The impious, ignorant both of the Law and of the Prophets, meditating vain things, unjustly dragged thee away to slaughter as a sheep, the Master of all things, whom we magnify.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The priests with the scribes, wounded by envious malice, handed thee over to the nations, to be done away with, Thou who by nature art very Life, and the Giver of life, whom we magnify.
Hail, Mary, &c.

They surrounded thee like many dogs, Sovereign Lord; they struck thee cheek with a blow; they questioned the, they bore false witness against thee, and thou, enduring all things, hast saved all.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Seeing thee crucified, O Christ, all creation trembled; the foundations of the earth quaked with fear at thy might. For when thou wert lifted up today, the Hebrew race perished; the veil of the Temple was rent apart; the graves were opened, and the dead arose from the tombs.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The Centurion, seeing the marvel, was afraid; whilst thy Mother, standing by, cried out, lamenting as a mother, ‘How should I not lament, and beat my breast, as I see thee naked as one condemned, hanging on a tree?’
Hail, Mary, &c.

They stripped me of my garments, and clothed me in a scarlet cloak; they placed a crown of thorns upon my head and put a reed into my right hand, that I might smash them like a potter’s vessels.
Hail, Mary, &c.

I gave my back to scourgings, while I did not turn away my face from spittings. I stood at Pilate’s judgment seat and endured the Cross for the salvation of the world.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Holy Virgin, model of patience, by the most painful carrying of the Cross, in which thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, bore the heavy weight placed upon him, obtain for us of him, by thine intercession,  courage, and strength to follow his steps, and bear our cross after him to the end of our lives.  Amen. 

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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