Carrying the cross can be to experience hurt, pain and disappointment.
Many people can move forward to resurrection after their fall and find deep meaning and understanding from the situation. Some people fall and carry the scars in their hearts and minds for a short time. For others, the scars do not fade and the wounds are passed from one generation to the next and resurrection is difficult, if not impossible.
I am not surprised that some people are unable to move past hurt, especially when popular media glorifies animosity and encourages conflict and the breakdown of relationships.
Carrying this weight is harmful to our soul and our mental health. Thomas Merton considers a life unable to recover from pain or unable to exist inside God’s love as the False Self. The False Self controls, so we are unable to feel the precious joy of life.
It is only when we come to recognise that life is a state of metamorphosis - a journey where we can learn from hurt, pain and disappointment - that we come to an understanding of life’s transformative nature.
Mary felt her son’s pain. She stayed at the cross with her child; she experienced the precious joy of life stripped from her as she witnessed His death on the cross.
There is a mystical union between a mother and child; Richard Rohr explains this as the Paradox of Mutual Indwelling. Life dwells inside the mother as the child grows and then, as the child’s life dwells outside, the Mother’s life dwells inside of the child. Mary’s life dwelled in her son, Jesus.
Juliana of Norwich describes Jesus as our true mother, in whom we are endlessly carried, and out of whom we will never come. In Mary’s body divinity became humanity.
It is in our humanity that we experience pain and experience joy. As we journey through life, we come to understand that the Paschal Mystery is a vital component for transformation. Metamorphosis is necessary.
At Easter let us be the ones to nurture, so that we can help those who are in pain break through their cocoons and live their precious lives to the full.