We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ First 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.
O God, must I behold you in this state? What happened during the night? How have you wronged your people that they should have mistreated you in this fashion? Not only mistreated but handed you over to be crucified. Truly did you foretell that this night the shepherd would be struck and the sheep scattered. Your warning still sounds in my ear: “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” Nevertheless, I slept.
Alas, during that time he became unrecognizable to me. With an icy chill the thought arises in my befuddled mind: should or ought you the Christ, have suffered this? That too you foretold with the words, “You will all fall away because of me this night.” Alas, so it is, we are scandalized in you and do not even dare to behold the suffering of which we ourselves are the cause. While you cry out, beseeching, “Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow” we think we cannot see that suffering. Our mind revolts at seeing you stripped, beaten, bruised, nay, torn to pieces, so that there is no place left on your body which maybe called sound.
As on a threshing floor, the flail of sin has threshed the Holy Wheat and broken the chaff. Your blood flowed in streams and still seeps from all your wounds. The last drop is not yet spilled. True, the pallor of death already covers your body, but in your eyes I still read the glow of the fire of your love that burns like a fever that consumes you until it is fulfilled. That look brought Peter to himself tonight. I read it in your silent reproach at my refusal to recognize you, my scandal at your powerlessness, my shame at your humiliation. You wanted to be counted among the greatest criminals, and I would like to see you as the king who triumphantly plants the cross on Calvary’s height.
O God, drive that scandal away from me. I know: “Watch and pray,” is the only answer you vouchsafe me. While four hands of executioners roughly and unfeeling take you away to crucified, I hear again that “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” My God, I will pray. I will look upon your suffering. I will sound the depths of your love by looking into the depths of your humiliation.
How do you plan to “watch and pray” this Lent?
How do Titus’ words describing Christ’s “humiliation” make you feel? Do they bring up any specific thoughts or images?