We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ Thirteenth 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.
It is finished. Death has put an end to bodily suffering. The God-Man has become a corpse. Life has passed away. Death has made itself master of the Lord of Life. O Jesus, your bodily suffering has ended, not your humiliation, your annihilation. After one of the soldiers, for the sake of certainty, has pierced your body with a spear, now that the rage of your executioners can do no more to make you suffer because the measure is full, you are left to your friends.
A dead man, Jesus, covered with shame, whose death will make him known to the world as one whose life deserved the deepest disgrace, can be left to his disciples. For the first time they see how frightfully their beloved Jesus has suffered. They stood afar off and we’re not even permitted in the vicinity. Now his enemies have departed, and his friends draw near, now that Jesus is dead, and their presence cannot alleviate his sufferings. Now they come and carefully take him down from the tree of shame to which he was nailed. They remove the nails from the hands and feet, and care is needed to avoid further deforming the racked, dislocated, totally riddled body. Now they see how deeply the points of the crown of thorns of penetrated his head and even reached the brain; now they see how the heavy beams of the cross has torn the flesh from the shoulders; how the frightful scourging has gouged whole pieces of flesh from the innocent body; how the rough nails have completely broken apart the hands and feet; how the far from careful executioners pulled apart and dislocated the members to nail them to the cross; and, filled with horror, their eyes behold the gaping wound in the side, through which they see in the breast the divine heart transfixed. The divine countenance is unrecognizable; only the trait of gentle love and endless sorrow, of patience without complaint under the most severe suffering enables them still to recognize their Jesus.
O Jesus, with your friends let me look on your body, tortured to death and unrecognizable, and see how you have loved me. No, let not my eyes avoid the sight of that frightful deformity of which my imagination conform only the slightest idea.
Titus’ description of Jesus’ mangled body being taken down from the cross is very detailed and vivid. Reflect on those descriptions in your prayer today. What emotions does it bring up for you?