The Cross That I Carried

10th Dec 2017, was the 8th day of our pilgrimage in the Holy Land and we were slated to follow the path of Jesus to carry the cross on the Via Dolorosa. We broke into smaller groups so that we could all take turns carrying it.
My husband who is much taller than me carried the front of the wooden cross while I and a few others took the remaining part. Despite so many of us carrying it, I felt the weight of the cross on my upper arm which started to ache badly. I couldn’t wait for the next group to take over after the first two stations.
When our turn came again, I assumed a similar position as before. This time the cross was much lighter and I carried it with ease. As we parked the cross at the designated station, I picked it up single handedly and it was surprisingly light! In fact, I hoisted it up 3 times effortlessly to convince myself!
I shared my experience with Daina Suliman, the co-organizer who told me that previous pilgrims had also encountered similar experiences with the heavy cross.
My mind became disturbed as I pondered on the significance of the heavy cross – was it some danger lurking for me personally or was it for someone in my family? I was troubled with anxiety and fear thereafter.
The next day while Father Martin celebrated mass at the Church of Stella Maris in Haifa, he shared his personal encounter as a seminarian. It was in a pool in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that he came across a lone caterpillar floating on a leaf. The gist of the story was the realization that this caterpillar, in spite of its exposure to pitfalls, will one day be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. It was a story of hope and optimism.
Although Father Martin had shared this in his homily in CDM before, it now touched a chord in me. I had focused on the heavy cross and failed to remember the lighter cross as I walked uphill!
As the spiritual enlightening message of hope hit, I cried throughout the rest of mass! My fear and anxiety vanished as I concentrated on cherishing the rest of my pilgrimage.

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