We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ Third 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 almighty deprived of strength! The strong God in no condition to do what is required of him, unable to face with pride his executioners. His strength is exhausted. With wavering steps my Savior hobbles on, until after a while he stumbles and falls. There you lie, my God. Could you not be crucified here? Your death is really what is intended. Is it not obvious that you can go no farther? Your executioners are determined that you will go farther and your powerlessness is a new source of annoyance to them. In their eyes your strength is not yet exhausted. They allow you to lie for a while, only to make you stand up again and be driven farther. They think they can stir up your final strength with kicks and blows. They do not know that you want to carry the cross with such a willing heart, but that you wish to show that it took all your strength.
Now I see, O holy model, that when we fall beneath the cross and can go no farther, our powerlessness finds comfort in your fall; that our cross is light compared to yours, as long as we do not threaten to fall beneath it. And then, my God, the knowledge that my sins made your cross so heavy that you had to fall under it makes me feel even more strongly that I must share your cross with you and must not shrink from it, even if I think I will fall under its weight. By your weakness you conquered the world. Let me be weak with you and bow low under the weight of life and be trivial and in small in the eyes of the world, only to rise again with you to new suffering, until death is the crown of my sacrifice.
Let me keep my gaze fixed on you while you fall there under the cross, like a worm that is crushed under foot; while you receive kicks and blows from those to whom you wish to bring blessings. Let me not always imagine you as the high and mighty strong one who carries the cross proudly and held high.
It was necessary that the Christ should bow down, fall, and collapse under the cross and so enter into his glory. His sacred humanity had to be destroyed. No human feature should be able to be discerned in him, so cruelly was he to be mistreated. Here we see his strength already fail him.
My God, let me often meditate on your humiliation before your executioners and thereby learn to bear that I should be judged unable to do something I would like to do.
When in your life have you felt that you’ve fallen beneath your cross and that you could go no farther? (Be specific.) What did you do in response?
What does Titus’ line “By your weakness you conquered the world” mean to you?