It will soon be three o’clock. At last ! Jesus is holding out the whole time. Every now and then He draws Himself up. All His pains, His thirst, His cramps, the asphyxiation and the vibration of the two median nerves have not drawn one complaint from Him. But, while His friends are there indeed, His Father, and this is the last ordeal, His Father seems to have forsaken Him. Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani ?
He now knows that He is going. He cries out consummatum est. The cup is drained, the work is complete. Then, drawing Himself up once more and as if to make us understand that He is dying of His own free will, iterum clamans voce magna : ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit’. (habens in potestate ponere animam suam). He died when He willed to do so. I wish to hear of no more physiological theories !
Laudato si Missignore per sora nostra morte corporale ! O yes, Lord, may You be blessed, for having truly willed to die. For there was nothing we could do. With a last sigh Your head dropped slowly towards me, with Your chin above the breastbone. I can see Your face straight before me, it is now relaxed and calm, and in spite of its dreadful stigmata, it is illuminated by the gentle majesty of God, Who is always present there. I have thrown myself on my knees before You, kissing Your pierced feet, from which the blood is still flowing, though it is coagulating at the tips. The rigor mortis has seized You in brutal fashion, like a stag run down in the chase. Your legs are as hard as steel . . . and burning. What unheard-of temperature has given You this tetanic spasm ?
And now, reader, let us thank God Who has given me the strength to write this to the end, though not without tears! All these horrible pains that we have lived in Him, were foreseen by Him all through His life; He premeditated them and willed them, out of His love, so that He might redeem us from our sins. Oblatus est quia ipse voluit. He directed the whole of His passion, without avoiding one torture, accepting the physiological consequences, without being dominated by them. He died when and how and because He willed it.
Jesus is in agony till the end of time. It is right, it is good to suffer with Him and to thank Him, when He sends us pain, to associate ourselves with His. We have, as St. Paul writes, to complete what is lacking in the passion of Christ, and with Mary, His Mother and our Mother, to accept our fellow-suffering fraternally and with joy.
O Jesus, You Who had no pity on Yourself, You Who are God, have pity on me who am a sinner.
Dr Pierre Barbet ~ 'The Corporal Passion' from 'A Doctor at Calvary'