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.
Mercilessly the executioners have watched while their victim lay at their feet. He can no longer stand erect. But their executioners’ job must be done; besides, he might die on the ground. Up on the cross he must go. That is what they are being paid for, and they would not like to lose their money. So they pull him upright and, half propping him up so that he does not fall, they seize the bleeding body with tough hands in order, with the others, to pull off the garment that sticks to the wounds and to keep it for themselves as desirable booty.
Later, when the work is done, they will cast lots for that garment. Jesus suffers that contumely, that shame.
The executioners waste no time being considerate. They do not mind if their hands probe deep wounds. Their hands are already stained with blood. They do not care about Jesus. His patience makes them act more cruelly. As a lamb that is being slaughtered, he did not open his mouth. He shivers and trembles from helplessness and fever, and he would silently weep for grief and pain, had not the heat of fever, added to the loss of blood, shriveled his whole body and dried the source of tears.
Deep in their sockets only the eyes mirror the tortured anguish, now doubled through shame at again standing stripped before the eyes of his enemies, whose minds, at sight of that bloodied body, are filled with new thirst for blood. The fierce noonday sun directs its otherwise so beneficial light on that naked body and causes it to be seen by all. The otherwise so beneficial warmth of the sun causes all his wounds to smart more.
My God, it is terrible. Must everything work together to make you suffer? Are human beings not cruel enough that even the insects must come to drink your blood in the sunlight and infect all your wounds? Oh had you at least been left your clothing, to spare you that torturing sorrow and, clothed in your garments as a human person, to hide your frightful mistreatment from the eyes of those who revel in it. But, this is only the prelude. Only the sight of you nailed to the cross will begin to appease their cruel desire.
Have you ever experienced cruelty in your life? Have you been cruel yourself to others?