Simon of Cyrene: A Model for Christian Counselors

The Story of Simon of Cyrene and how Christian Counselors Can Use It

The honor and prestige was not known to him. Nor the foreknowledge that the faithful would one day sing the stanza from the Stations of the Cross that his ”hesitation” was indeed a future “proud station” to be called upon “to bear the Cross of Christ”. None of these things swept through the frightened mind of Simon of Cyrene. He was a man of the country, suddenly thrown into a drama that not only involved Rome and Israel but involved the salvation of humanity with all the supernatural overtones between the forces of good and the forces of evil. All Simon knew is that he was forced to help this innocent and strange man carry the object of his death. He was to lessen the load of the cross that pierced Jesus’ shoulder and allow the weight of it to bear down upon his back; A gesture so small, but spiritually so great to the bloodied figure of Jesus who temporarily rested from the hideous weight of sin. Little did Simon know, he not only carried the load of his own personal sins but also the sin of Adam. This simple man only mentioned briefly in book of Mark, was called to a greater destiny than he could have ever imagined that sad day.  Christian Counselors can use much from this story for their spiritual children.

Reduplicated by the Yorck Project
Reduplicated by the Yorck Project
 In regards to a story so brief but a few lines, one can harvest a great deal of mediation and thought. This short essay will identify the role Simon played as a model for counselors and carriers of grief.
As a counselor, how many times does one see the affliction of the suffering? Does one simply watch as “Christ” falls before them or is one sprung to action, to help, to carry, and to comfort? It is true Simon felt this hesitation and in this we can proceed beyond him, but will we imitate his courage afterwards? Will we carry others as he carried the cross of Christ with compassion and strength? From this we realize that we must at times not only carry our own crosses in life, but must take an active role in carrying the crosses of others. Christ carried our cross as the ultimate example of self sacrifice. He carried our sins and our grief to Calvary. Simon’s ultimate honor was to partake in small part of that trek. In Christ, we see the ultimate success, but in Simon we saw the ultimate attempt. As broken creatures, Christ only asks for so little. He asks merely for sincere effort. He does not wish us, however, to sit and watch as others in grief fall, but to rise them up, to take their hand and help them carry their cross, even if it be for a little while.
Simon’s active role however is dualistic in merit. It was not only beneficial to fatigued and beaten Christ but was also beneficial to Simon’s salvation. Christ’s blood, sweat and tears are for Simon and by helping Christ, Simon partakes physically in the process of his own redemption. This is not by Simon’s merit nor is Simon the sacrifice. Simon’s role is merely helping Christ walk to Golgotha and in that he plays a small role in the redemptive process that is ultimately via Christ. At the time it is beyond the limits of Simon’s imagination that he is actually for a moment, carrying the grief of the world upon his shoulders; nor is it beyond his wildest dreams that angels stand around him in complete sorrow and agony crying at every drop of Christ’s precious blood. He does not see them stand in anxious upheaval to merely rush forward and carry the cross of Christ and lift it from his hands. But this is about God and man, not the fall of the angels. This concerns the role Simon plays as a representative of the fallen and the small favor man plays in serving Christ to the altar to be sacrificed. Christ as the perfect victim and priest will represent man as a perfect sacrifice and as God accept this sacrifice, but he will allow Simon to partake as a fellow representative of fallen man. Simon is far from the high priest of this sacrifice, but a mere server preparing the sacrifice for the priest to bless, consecrate and offer to the Father. In this, Simon not only helped prepare the sacrifice for humanity, but also prepared the great sacrifice for his own soul.
Besides the deep theological meditations that can be drawn from this and the personal merit gained by Simon, can this story also be applied to counselors of today? Is the case of Simon helping our Lord applicable universally to all people? Did not Christ say if you do it for the least of my brethren, then you did it for me? It is undeniable that when we help others carry their own crosses, albeit temporarily, we gain numerous grace and spiritual treasure as did Simon with Christ. In helping people carry their crosses, especially through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, we then answer the questions of Christ regarding the least of our brethren. In carrying others, we carry our self, as Simon did for Christ. In this, Simon becomes a model to all Christian counselors. It is not enough to watch, but to partake and spiritually become involved in the redemption and care of one’s clients. It is a personal bond of mentorship, shared grief, and mutual growth. That is what separates a career from a vocation and that is what separated Simon from the apathetic crowd.
If you are interested in Christian Counseling Courses, please click here.
If you are interested in certification in Christian Counseling Education.
By Mark Moran, MA