Meditations on the Crucifixion

Richard Salbato

Before Each Hail Mary

1.  Once Jesus reached the place of Crucifixion, He was guarded in a cave on the top.  The Executioners put the large barked beam on the ground and hewed out holes in two sides of it to drive in the squared side beams.  They then placed Jesus on the cross to measure Him for the nail holes in the side beams and the carvings they would make in the main beam.  They marked the holes to be drilled for nails in His wrists as was the Roman custom. However, because the Egyptian executioners were drunk, they marked the holes for His hands in the wrong places.  Jesus was put back in the cave as they drilled the holes in the top of the side beams for the nails in His wrists.  They then hewed out the main, barked, beam for the crown of thorns, the small of His back, and the place for His feet.

2. When finished they brought Jesus back to nail Him to the cross.  They stripped off the brown seamless robe that Mary had made for Him. In order to remove the robe, they had to pull off the crown of thorns first, ripping His flesh again. They then beat the crown of thorns back on His head.  They then stripped of His undergarments, which pulled out more of His blood-drenched skin.  This left him completely necked.  His Mother was near by with John and the holy woman, and prayed to God to have compassion on His dignity.  At that moment, Jonadab, the nephew of Joseph, ran up to Christ, grabbing a veil off one of the women and handed it to Christ.  Christ wrapped it around his loins and thanked Jonadab with His eyes.

3. The executioners, who were descendents of Noe’s son, Cham, placed Jesus on the assembled cross to fasten Him with nails.  They were drunk and realized that they had drilled the holes for the nails in the side beams to far out so that they could not nail Him in the wrists.  Laughing at themselves, they decided to nail Him in the palms of the hands and then tie Him at the wrists.  They pounded in the nail through the right hand and tied His arm to the beam.  They then tied a rope around His left arm and pulled it so hard that it dislocated His arms from the sockets of His shoulder. They pulled so hard that they pulled up the side beams into a slight upward angle, and nailed his left arm.  They then tied down to the beam with ropes.  They then pulled His feet down with ropes and nailed both His feet with one nail. 

4. When they lifted up the cross and slid it into its hole, Christ withstood the shock of the fall without a word.  He looked out at His weeping Mother in pain and determination.  His hands were nailed to the top of the side beams, and His weight was on his elbows, which were also on the top of the beams. This method prolonged His suffering by not crushing his lungs. The two thieves were also crucified on both sides of Jesus. Their names were Dismas and Gesmas.  Just as Christ was being lifted up on the cross, the trumpets sounded in the Temple that the slaughter of the Paschal lambs had started.

5.  The executioners cast lots for the robe of Jesus and then sold it to Nicodemus.  On the cross Jesus looked more like a dead man.  He had lost so much blood and water from his body that you could count all His bones.  Through His blood stained skin you could see all His muscles, blood-vessels and organs.  The Pharisees mocked Him: “If you are the Son of God, come down off the cross and we will believe in you.”  The soldiers and the bad thief also mocked him, but He raised His eyes to Heaven and shouted out for all to hear:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

6. Dismas, the good thief, reprimanded Gesmas for his mockery and then looked at Christ: “Lord, when you come into your kingdom, remember me.”  Christ looked at him with loving eyes:  “Amen, I say to you, this day you will be with me in Paradise.” 

Looking down at his sorrowful Mother and His beloved Apostle, John, Christ said:  “Woman, behold your son.” And looking over at John He said: “Behold, this is your mother.”  At that moment Jesus gave Mary to be mankind’s true Mother. 

7.  Now the sun began to darken and fog drifted over the land.  The moon can up but was bright red. Silence drifted over the land as animals and birds took to hiding.  Little by little it became so dark that people had to light their lanterns to see where they were going.  Others locked their doors out of fear. The fog turned to a strange red vapor that slowly drifted through the streets.  It was now approaching the third hour that Christ hung on the cross.  Almost unable to take a breath, Christ looked up to Heaven through the crown of thorns:  “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”  At that His Mother ran up to the foot of the cross, and John, Mary Cleophas, Mary Magdalene and Salome followed Her. Mary Magdalene clung to His feet as His blood fell into her hair.  Mary knelt down on the ground in front of Him and looked in His eyes giving Him all the comfort She could.

8. The darkness continued and everything became frightfully gloomy. Christ looked down at John and said:  “I thirst!”  John looked over at the Centurion, Abenadar, who by now was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.  Abenadar put some wine on a sponge and stuck the sponge on a hyssop branch.  He held the wine to Christ’s lips and He drank from it.  Later, in his Gospel, John verified that he saw Christ drink it.  He drank the fourth cup of wine and therefore finished the Pasch dinner.  What He started at the last supper with His words, “This is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, which shall be shed for you,  was now finished and the new covenant in His blood had started.

9.  Christ looked up to Heaven and said: “It is finished.”  The entire law of the sacrifice of the lambs and the Levite priesthood was over.  The new priesthood of the order of Melchisedec had begun.  The sacrifice of the symbolic lambs was over, and the true Lamb of God had inaugurated the continual sacrifice of His Body and Blood.  At the moment Christ said: “It is finished,” the large curtain in the Holy of Holies of the Temple was ripped in two from top to bottom as if two giant hands grabbed it.

At the same time, the High Priests and people could see the souls of the dead prophets come to life and walking the streets and even in the Temple.  Everyone ran away and the temple was defiled.  The High Priest, Zacharias, who had been martyred in the Temple, appeared and shouted out: “The sacrifice of the Old Law is ended; the New Sacrifice has begun.”

10.  Looking up to Heaven, Christ said:  Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”  He bowed His head and died. ……………………………………………

At that moment there was a great earthquake and the mountain of Golgotha split in two.  The chasm was so great they could not see the bottom.