We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ Eleventh Station of the Cross. Brandsma’s sincere sorrow and love shine through these meditations, the portent of his own Christ-like passion and death at Dachau. Using the question(s) at the end of each reflection, Allow Titus’ words to inspire your own authentic prayer and meditation.
The tree of the cross has been planted. The altar on which the holy sacrifice will be consumed is ready. Jesus has been dragged there. O God, how can I look on what is about to happen? Hard ropes are looped around your body, your wrists, to hoist you up to the cross and then nail you fast with heavy spikes. Your executioners care little if another wound is added to the many with which your body is covered. You must die, in any case, and who has pity on one crucified? No pity is wasted on a slave, and certainly not on a man condemned the kind of death to which only the scum of slavery is assigned.
If, in any case, he is not considered to be a human being, in this situation, he’s even less than an animal. That death can never be made cruel enough, it must be as cruel as possible. That death, O Jesus, you have willed to die. You have willed to be nailed to the cross as the scum of mankind, as the shame of your people.
Your hands and feet are tucked toward the holes in the beam of the cross. Your frightful torments have caused your body to contract and shrivel up. No problem. The executioners would sooner tear your limbs from their sockets than bore new holes for the nails. They have no time for that. Already they are fastening your feet with wide unwieldy nails, which tear apart the middle of the foot. With heavy blows they flatten those feet under the heads of the nails. The nail is already in the wood. They drive it deeper, more firmly, as firmly as possible. The left hand is tied and can also be nailed. The right hand would have liked to embrace the executioner, but his feelings are blunted by the work he has chosen. O God, by such a human being, an animal really, you allow yourself to be nailed to the word of the cross. He knows not what do you does. You pray for him, but so much the more violent is your suffering.
Jerusalem, oh that even on this day you might recognize who it is that you are fastening to the wood of the cross. But the most frightful of Jesus’ suffering, no matter how frightful, is that his love is not appreciated. Mocking, they stand around him and challenged him to free himself, now that he is nailed fast. They mock at his powerlessness, while one word, one act of his will, would have destroyed them all.
Spend some time contemplating Jesus being nailed to the cross. Pay attention the thoughts and emotions that arise during that prayer time.