Thursday, April 1, 2010

Embracing the Cross

And bearing his own cross,
he went forth to a place called the Place of Skull,
in the Hebrew, Golgotha where they crucified him.
Jesus was not only sentenced to death, but to perhaps the most cruel from of death imaginable. The Romans were not the inventors of crucifixion, but they meted it out very generously. So often did they use it that the vertical pole of the cross was left in fair numbers in the ground as a gruesome decor of the outskirts of cities and towns of the vast Roman Empire.
From the tribunal the victim had to carry the horizontal bar on which he was to hang, with arms nailed or tied to it. Such a bar was put on the shoulders of Jesus. The one who spoke of his yoke as easy to bear, took up a yoke of indescribable pains.
Jesus showed no reluctance which is a resistance. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane he did not resist to say that his Father's will be done, no matter what. No trace in him of rejecting even the mere thought of suffering, not even the thought of the torture of crucifixion. Already scourged, his head bore the imprints of a crown of thorns that might have ripped one of the arteries in his temples. A bloodstained wretch he looked every inch, who already had spent a whole night on his feet and was subjected to trumped-up charges, buffeting, taunting and vilification by the vile. He must have now been at the point of exhaustion. Far more exhausting tortures lay just ahead of him.
As he grabbed that beam, his hands and fingers must have acted with a heroic desire which is inconceivable to us humans. We even fail to see that when we hold on to something delightful, we are held in its grip. A fateful grip indeed, when it is the desire of our eyes, or the urging of our body, or our pride of life.
May we be released from such bondage by letting Jesus gain hold of us! All we have to do is take up our crosses with an eye on him as he embraces his infinitely heavier cross.
[S.L. Jaki, Fourteen Stations, pp. 6-7]
(The mosaic of our Lord comes from the webpages of the Capuchin Franciscans of SS Peter and Paul Church, Cumberland, Maryland. I encourage you to visit their site at


Jakian Thomist said...

I have taken down the post I wrote about the comments of Dr. Rowan Williams following his clarification and expressions of regret made this evening.

If anyone still wishes to read it, please contact me and I will forward it to you!

I hope to have a special Easter Sunday posting - the story of a happy encounter with Fr. Jaki!

Angelo said...
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