Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Something I saw while checking out the On-Demand programs from my cable was a special on how crucifixion was done. It’s brutal, to say the least. In fact, the word “excruciating” comes from the Latin word “excruciatus,” the word they used for crucifixion/crucifying. It’s horrible enough to know that Jesus underwent a severe whipping and public humiliation, but this was literally the final nail for his coffin. Every part of the process of crucifixion is meant to prolong the pain, making it harder and harder to breathe until the victim died of asphyxiation.
When I first learned of the Spiritual Exercises, we were placing ourselves on the cross as the repentant thief. I still remember everything I felt. I felt air blowing through my hands and feet as though they were pierced. My back felt strained, as if it was carrying something heavy. There was pain in my shoulders that probably wasn’t from the hunching I always did. But what I remembered most was how hard it was for me to breathe.
I’m going to share the Seven Last Words of Christ and ask you to pick a verse to meditate on for this station.
“Father, forgive them , for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34
“Amen, I say to thee: this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Lk 23:43)
“Woman, behold thy son.” To the disciple, “Behold your mother.” (Lk 19:26-27)
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34)
“I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)
“It is finished.” (Jn 19:30)
“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Lk 23:46)
Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
I have been blessed to not lose a lot of people in my life. Most of my grandparents passed away when I was young and I couldn’t really remember them. The principal of my Catholic school died in a car accident, but by then I was all the way in California, so the impact of her death wasn’t as bad a blow as it could’ve been. A classmate committed suicide during my first year of college, but I didn’t really know him. It was just strange that he wasn’t there anymore. However, during my last year of college, I finally lost someone close to me. I knew that he moved back to Canada because he didn’t want any accidents happening to him on campus, but I imagined writing letters to him, asking him to come to my wedding, and maybe visiting him in person. Except on October 24th, 2012, God called him back to Heaven.
Whenever I hear of someone passing, it’s always strange to me. It’s hard for me to comprehend that a person can just not be around anymore. It’s especially hard when the death is sudden, such as the passing of Monty Oum or was done by suicide like Robin Williams. I can understand old age more than sudden deaths. But then again, my dear friend passed away of old age and it still felt sudden to me.
But maybe death is like one my favorite quotes from The Fault in Our Stars
There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.
Funny thing is that while God the Divine has no beginning and no end, Jesus Christ, as a human being, got to have a little infinity.