"After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross."

Matthew 27: 31-32 (NRSV)

Jesus' burden was very obvious and, eventually, utterly unbearable. How too was Mary's burden of grief and dismay? A man from the crowd is forced to carry the cross - associating him with one who has been condemned and no longer seen as human. He did not know the whole story - did he believe that this man deserved what he got - or did he catch a glimpse of the person within - seeing beyond the "crime" and punishment to the inner goodness of this man.

Many people carry great burdens of shame and guilt - among them those who are addicted to alcohol, to drugs, to gambling - to any of the things that seem to promise so much but hold some people bound. Often, other people may stand in judgement - seeing the problem and not the person within. But there are those who see beyond it and recognise the humanity of those bearing the burden of addiction.

Pray for those burdened with addiction and those who work alongside them

     Mary, Mother of the Love that sets people free,
     you saw your Son carrying a burden beyond bearing
     needing the strength of a stranger to finish his last journey.
     Pray for those who are bearing the burden of addiction
     and for those who who lend their strength to support them.

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