We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ Ninth 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 Jesus. You have arrived but, alas, at the cost of your last strength. The journey is over; exhausted, you fall full-length upon the ground. Now you really can go no farther. To the last, you have tortured yourself in order to arrive at the top of the hill. You have sacrificed your very last ounce of strength for us. Now you lie flat on the ground. No bonds are needed to confine the lamb to the place of execution. You lie down before your executioners. They can now begin their work. Helpless, your once strong arm lies limp beside your body, unable to hold your lose garments about you. Half naked, you lie helpless on the ground. The cross slips from Simon’s hands and falls heavily on you. He raised it up again, but, oh, how that beam must have crushed you! Like a worm you lie in dust and mud, which penetrate your open wounds and add burning infection to your other frightful sufferings. Well did the prophet foretell of you that you would no longer resemble a man, but will be like a worm that is trodden under foot.
Your enemies must have feared that they had overtaxed your strength, so helpless and, as though dead, you lie at their feet. They still have no pity, and a cruel pleasure gleams in their eyes when they notice that you are still alive. Yes, Jesus lives. The chalice of suffering has not yet been emptied to the dregs. This journey to the place of torment has been completed, but only now will the cruelest of all tortures begin.
After your scourging Pilate declare, “Behold the man!” What would he say if he saw you now? In the Garden of Olives the fear of death cast you down, and your blood stained the ground. Here reality has taken the place of imagination, and you lie exhausted from all your torments, while the last drops of your blood moisten the ground. Here there are no angels to comfort you; around you only grasping, tearing wolves, ready to lift you up indeed, in order to nail you to the cross.
My God, my God, how profoundly you are humbled, now that you lie there like prey, which is allowed to rest a moment, only to be fallen on with all the grimmer rage. I cannot bear to see you thus. Are you not my God? Yes, truly in requires faith to see God in you. Did your humiliation have to go so far as to submerge all sign of majesty?
Reflect on what true humiliation has looked like in your life. Can you recall that pain and suffering? Can you recall the details of the experience?