Walking With Jesus

by Lolita Jardeleza

When I read about saints who longed and prayed to suffer more, I used to think, “How neurotic!” Though I was open to whatever the Lord saw fit to send me, I never volunteered for more. That didn’t make sense to me. Until 2007.

In January that year, I went on an organized pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Had I known how arduous it would be, I wouldn’t have gone on it. My knees were in such miserable shape then, and we walked everywhere on cobblestone streets. I didn’t know how I would ever make it up the Via Dolorosa—the path Jesus walked to Golgotha.

As we made our way, the way I got my mind off the tortuous walk was to consider how much harder it was for Jesus who had been brutally scourged and was carrying a heavy cross, being whipped some more, spit upon, mocked and reviled.

It was then I realized this: suffering is Jesus asking us if we are willing to walk beside him on the way to Golgotha.

Can you imagine how alone he must have felt without his friends, his mother torn away from him, being derided and despised by the crowd? Thank God Simon of Cyrene was there to help him carry his burden. Was I willing to be Simon for him?

Needless to say, I made it through the entire Via Dolorosa!

Since then, whenever pain and suffering come my way, I find I am able to say, “Yes, Lord, I will walk with you to Golgotha. Thank you for inviting me!”

The author is the mother of eleven grown children, a poustinik, and a long-time friend of MH.