The crowd seemed to be growing larger in number and more abusive by the minute. It was getting harder for her to keep up with him. But she pressed on, trying desperately not to lose sight of him.
Through the shoves and the screams of the angry mob she remained focused on him. Blinding tears filled her eyes and the sickness that grabbed at her heart was growing tighter and tighter, making it harder for her to breath. “I am with you” were the words she kept repeating over and over again in her mind, “My son, I am with you”.
He staggers as he approaches her. Each stone or pothole in the road weakens his knees causing him to falter. The weight of the cross is getting harder and harder to bear. The open wounds on his flesh stung and the rubbing of the heavy wood on his shoulder was widening some of his sores. He sees her standing there; he sees the pain in her eyes. At that moment between them his eyes seem to smile at her, trying to give her comfort. She in return stands up a little straighter, breathes in a little deeper, she wants to comfort him too.
The Centurion in charge of horrific events realizes that the man beneath the cross will need help to continue this journey. Looking around, his eyes fall upon a strong looking man, he is a father and two of his sons are with him. The Centurion grabs the man and forces him into service.
Thoughts cross the father’s mind, “What can I do, I can not refuse; God what have I gotten myself into?” Reluctantly, he takes the cross and shoulders it himself. He looks into the eyes of the accused man that stands before him and sees nothing but compassion. Suddenly, his heart, too, is moved and he nods at him as if to say, “Yes, I will help you, you can count on me all the way”. He becomes a friend of the cross.
My sweet and gentle Jesus, I, too, want to be a friend of the cross. Help me to see your face in every suffering man, woman or child that comes my way, especially to those that are the hardest to love.
I ask forgiveness for the times I have refused to help in the past, for the wounds I created though my own selfish neglect.
I thank you for those that have helped me in your name, for their love brought your peace and comfort to me in times of trouble.
Thank you mother Mary, your constant love and intercession helps me to recognize that being a friend of the cross means being a true Christ-bearer, or rather another Christ. With your intercession I pray I can answer the call.
"Dear children! Today I call you all to pray that God's plans for us may be realized and also everything that God desires through you! Help others to be converted, especially those who are coming to Medjugorje. Dear children, do not allow Satan to get control of your hearts, so you would be an image of Satan and not of me. I call you to pray for how you might be witnesses of my presence. Without you, God cannot bring to reality that which He desires. God has given a free will to everyone, and it's in your control. Thank you for having responded to my call." BVM, Medjugorje January 30, 1986