Lessons from the Saints of Africa

St. Simon of Cyrene

If you've ever walked the Way of the Cross, you probably met St. Simon of Cyrene at station number five. The Gospels of Mark (15:21-22), Matthew (27:32), and Luke (23:26) tell us this bystander was "compelled" by Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry the cross. Some historians believe Simon, who hailed from Cyrene, located in Libya, Northern Africa, was the very first African follower of Christ, and what a journey that must have been!

St. Simon of Cyrene compels us to remember to help Jesus carry his heaviest burden: souls. So if you find a fellow pilgrim with shoulders rounded by the weight of the world, go ahead and take the load off them, knowing that as often as you do so to the least of these, your brothers (and sisters), you also do so to Christ.

Claudia Mair Burney is the author of novels "Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White" and "Wounded: A Love Story", as well as the "Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries" and "The Exorsistah" series for teens.

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