Thursday, April 17, 2014

Catholic Stand: "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"

This article originally appeared as two separate posts in The Impractical Catholic: "Good Friday" and "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Since the two posts complement each other, I decided to collapse them into one larger post.

*     *     *
Dear God.

First, the frenzied, howling Sanhedrin. Slapping, punching, spitting all the while … perhaps kicking him if he fell. During the night watch, his anxiety and fear for what he knew is coming is so great that the net of blood vessels around his sweat glands constricted, then hemorrhaged. Hematidrosis. As a result, his skin is extremely fragile and sensitive; every punch and slap is exquisitely painful.

The humiliation of the crowning as Rex Iudaeorum - not a wreath or circlet but a cap woven out of branches from the local thorn bushes, each thorn a nail in his scalp, with a staff made out of reed for a scepter,  a scepter with which he’s struck like a club.

But that isn’t enough. Two Roman soldiers with flagella - whips of leather, with small bones tied to the ends that rip the skin off his back and tear pieces of muscle out. Tied to a post, there’s no way he can move, even involuntarily, that could avoid the clawing fragments that shred his back. There’s no way I can not hear him screaming his agony; slaves have been known to die as a result of the forty lashes.

Then the crossbeam is loaded onto his shoulders, raw and bleeding from the whips, bringing a fresh agony. Weakened, his heart already beginning to be squeezed and his lungs filled by fluids, he stumbles along the travertine-paved road from the castra praetoria to the place called Golgotha. He has probably already lost a liter of blood, if not more: category 3 shock numbs his mind, but doesn’t deaden the pain. He stumbles once, twice, a third time … a passerby is dragooned into helping him, not for mercy’s sake—what Roman soldier chooses mercy over duty?—but to speed things up: the Galilean isn’t moving quickly enough.

Read the rest at Catholic Stand!