On the slopes of Mount Doom, we come to it at last. “I can’t carry it for you, Mr. Frodo, but I can carry you.” The will fails in the final stretch, and companionship proves more valued than any personal strength. The weight of the Ring does not translate to Samwise, and out of some hidden source of love, the capacity to bear his Master upon his shoulders is revealed.
On the slopes of Calgary, we come to it at last. “As they lead Jesus away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.” The weight of sin that Christ carries does not translate to Simon of Cyrene, only the physical burden of the Cross itself. Christ carries the greater, and we are called to assist with the lesser: to bear our own crosses as Simon did, in imitation of Christ.
On the slopes of our own lands, we come to it at last. “Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the Savior of the world. Come, let us worship.” It is Good Friday, and we have carried much up to this point. We have carried supplies which we have possessed since we set out on Ash Wednesday. We have carried memories and joy that have allowed us to recall our own Shires. We have carried burdens and regrets that have weighed us down along the way. Yet, in the end, there is only one thing that needs to be carried.
The Ring. The Cross. Our fellow man. We come to it at last.
We can’t carry it for Him. But we can carry him. In our pockets, in our homes, in our relationships, in our hearts. With ashes on our foreheads we set out; in the ashes of the end we lift high that which we can carry. The lesser of the matters, yes, but borne by our own pilgrim hands in the unwrapping of salvation history.
Not our will, but thy will.
Let us never forget our Crosses, and never forget how much more we would bear (beyond our strength, beyond our hope) had we no Cross to carry. Let us never forget the acts of Samwise and Simon, and always seek to imitate them.
The earth is silent; a change is in the air. Something is happening, and the world will never be the same again.
We come to it at last. The pilgrimage concludes. It is finished.