Lenten Meditations - Redemption and Its Effects...
The following is an excerpt from the classic book, The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology by the Very Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey, S.S., D.D.
"Two lousy soldiers threw Jesus to the ground, and they pulled His arms out to stretch across the cross beam. Oh, how it hurt, the back so torn! I could see the pain in Jesus' eyes, but He never uttered a word. He just looked sad. Then they took brown, leather-like cord and wrapped it around His wrists at the board, bound to the board. Then they lifted and tied the wrists to the board, bound and wound the leather cord around the ankles and the wood to hold Him in place.
"Then the spikes were thrown onto the ground, and one soldier got down on his knees and he placed the spike in the center of the palm of poor Jesus' hand. With that metal mallet he drove it in through the skin and out into the board. I screamed! I threw up! This was repeated on the right hand. Then Jesus looked up to the sky. They started on the legs--one large spike into both feet, His right foot over the left, at a twisted sort of angle, placed to lie flat against each other. I retched as I heard the metal against flesh and bone and wood. One spike protruded out the other side.
They hammered a block of wood under His poor feet, 'to line 'em up,' they said. It was awful! "I looked off into the crowd. Oh, there were only nine people there to stay with Jesus. I now knew His Mother, Mary Cleophas (the wife of Clopas), Mary Magdalen, and John. Oh, poor Jesus--never a word did He say as they nailed Him to the wood. Oh, such love! "Soon two soldiers lifted the head of the wood and three the bottom, carrying Jesus on the cross, and dropped the end into a hole. It went in with a thump! Jesus winced. And it tore His hands more. Blood was trickling down His face. He couldn't move His head. The pain was awful; each movement cut deep. He sagged a bit, but pulled upward. The sagging tore more.
"Mary and Mary ran up to Him. They did not speak at first; they could talk with their eyes to each other. They didn't need words. John came over, for Jesus' bottom tunic fell down. Oh, dear, He was almost naked. I turned away, but John ran over and tied sort of knots in it, like a diaper. Oh, the humiliation to poor Jesus! Then Jesus said to John: "Behold, John, your Mother. And this, Mother, is Your son. I must go to the Father soon."
"The crowd started to move off. Jesus cried: "Abba, abba sabba la bec tori"--that is what it sounded like--a foreign sound. Sabba sabba sabba la bec tori. (I can't spell it well, just by sound.) Then He looked up. "I thirst!" (This I heard in English.)
". . . Water, yellowish water. . . . Jesus' head hung down to His right. It became dark, so dark. Everyone went away but the nine. They all came close; and Mary clung to His feet, wordless in sorrow."
Veronica finished the recitation of what she experienced to find her feet swollen and her arms sore, the feet marked and the hands stinging. Her wordless reaction was a mixture of wonder, joy, and love--joy that now she could join Jesus in His suffering and hold His hand on the road to the Kingdom.