We invite you to quiet yourself and enter into peaceful, prayerful state. Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s reflection on Albert Servaes’ Twelfth 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.
Jesus bowed his head and died. It is finished. For three hours, his body had been able to withstand the torture of the crucifixion. The fight was finished. Three terrible hours. His body hanging from the wounds in hands and feet. Exhaustion, such as never was felt before, must have tortured that body racked with pain. The Lord is tortured to death. The weight of the body stretched the limbs even further, and it pulls heavily on the holes of the nails.
Your enemies watched you, pleased and happy. Nothing was left of your grandeur and splendor. We have seen him, the prophet makes them say, but he could no longer be recognized; nothing remained that recalled his beauty; all brilliance and splendor have disappeared. He who is considered to be the most beautiful of men seemed to be the most monstrous of all. From your mouth, O Jesus, we hear the bitter complaint, “O God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Not only your soul, but also your body, no matter how closely united to the Godhead, lost its perceptible presence in this frightful moment.
Here is the test of our faith. Here, O God, even your human nature appears to be destroyed. We like to think of you as the King of Israel and cannot imagine the frightful destruction, which, not only as God, but even as man, you willed to undergo. We are like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, foolish and slow to believe. We want to see your divinity and forget that you have said, “Blessed are those who have not seen them yet believe.” This is the test but also the victory of our faith. O God, I adore you in your annihilation, in your death on the cross. Let others shake their heads and be scandalized; I will not cease to see you just as you are now, so that I might learn how dearly God has loved me.
Even after your death, mistreatment of you does not cease; yet you want to reveal to us the love of your Sacred Heart. To make sure you were dead, one of the soldiers ran his spear through your dead body. Had not that body been mishandled enough? But, oh my God, it was to make the last drip of your blood flow for me and to expose the heart, seat of your infinite love.
“O God, I adore you in your annihilation, in your death on the cross.” Take a few minutes to reflect on Titus’ words here. What does that image mean to you? How does it affect you?