Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Valtorta sees Jesus’ crucifixion
By Ding Cervantes

Apr 18, 2017

NOW the top of Golgotha has its trophy and its guard of honour. At the top there is the cross of Jesus. At the sides the other two crosses. Half a century of soldiers, in fighting trim, is placed all round the summit; inside this circle of armed soldiers there are the -ten dismounted soldiers, who throw dice for the garments of the condemned men.

Longinus is standing upright between the cross of Jesus and the one on the right. And he seems to be mounting guard of honour for the Martyr King. The other half century, at rest, is on the left path and on the lower open space, under the orders of Longinus’ adjutant, awaiting to be employed in case of need. The indifference of the soldiers is almost total. Only an odd one now and again looks at the crucified men.

Longinus, instead, watches everything with curiosity and interest, he makes comparisons and judges mentally. He compares the crucified men, and the Christ in particular, and the spectators. His piercing eye does not miss any detail. And to see better, he shades his eyes with his hand, because the sun must be annoying him…

While looking, he sees Mary, just under the slope, with Her tormented face raised towards Her Son. He calls one of the soldiers who are playing dice and says to him: « If His Mother wants to come up with the son who is escorting Her, let Her come. Escort Her and help Her. »

And Mary with John, who is believed to be Her « son », climbs the steps cut in the tufaceous rock, I think, and passes beyond the cordon of soldiers, and goes to the foot of the cross, but a little aside, to be seen and see Her Jesus.

The crowd showers the most disgraceful abuses on Her at once, associating Her with Her Son in their curses. But with Her trembling white lips, She tries only to comfort Him, with an anguished smile that wipes the tears, which no will-power can refrain the robber on the left hand side continues to insult from his cross. He seems to have summarised all the curses of the other people and he repeats them all, and ends by saying: « Save Yourself and save us, if You want people to believe You. You the Christ? You are mad! The world belongs to crafty people, and God does not exist. I do. That is true and everything is permitted to me. God? Nonsense! Invented to keep us quiet. Long live our egos! Man’s ego alone is king and god!

The other robber, who is on the right hand side with Mary almost near his feet, and looks at Her almost more than he looks at Jesus, and for some moments has been weeping murmuring: « My mother », says: « Be silent. Do you not fear God even now that you suffer this pain? Why do you insult Him Who is good? And His torture is even greater than ours. And He has done nothing wrong.

But the robber continues to curse.

Jesus is silent. Panting as a result of the effort He has to make because of His position, because of His fever and heart and breathing conditions, the consequence of the flagellation He suffered in such a violent form, and also of the deep anguish that had made Him sweat blood, He tries to find some relief by reducing the weight on His feet, pulling Himself up with His arms and hanging from His hands. Perhaps He does so also to overcome the cramp that tortures His feet and is revealed by the trembling of His muscles. But the same trembling is noticeable in the fibres of His arms, which are constrained in that position and must be frozen at their ends, because they are higher up and deprived of blood, which arrives at the wrists with difficulty and trickles from the holes of the nails, leaving the fingers without circulation. Those of the left hand in particular are already cadaveric and motionless, bent towards the palm. Also the toes of the feet show their pain, especially the big toes move up and down and open out, probably because their nerves have not been injured so seriously.

And the trunk reveals all its pain with its movement, which is fast but not deep, and tires Him without giving any relief. His ribs, wide and high as they are, because the structure of this Body is perfect, are now enlarged beyond measure, as a consequence of the position taken by the body and of the pulmonary oedema that has certainly developed inside. And yet they do not serve to relieve the effort in breathing, all the more that the abdomen with its movement helps the diaphragm, which is becoming more and more paralyzed.

And the congestion and asphyxia increase every minute, as is shown by the cyanotic colour that emphasises the lips, which the fever has made bright red, and by the redviolet streaks, which tinge the neck along the turgid jugular veins, and widen out as far as the cheeks, towards the ears and temples, while the nose is thin and bloodless, and the eyes are sunken in a circle, which is livid where no blood has trickled from the crown.

Under the left costal arch one can see the throbbing imparted by the point of the heart, an irregular but violent palpitation, and now and again, owing to an internal convulsion, the diaphragm has a deep pulsation, which is revealed by a total stretching of the skin, for what it can stretch on that poor wounded dying Body.

The Face already has the aspect we see in photographs of the Holy Shroud, with the nose diverged and swollen on one side; and the likeness is increased by the fact that the right eye is almost closed, owing to a swelling on this side. The mouth, instead is open, with the wound on the upper lip by now turned into a crust.

His thirst, caused by the loss of blood, by the fever and by the sun, must be burning, so much so that He, with automatic movements, drinks the drops of His perspiration and His tears, as well as those of blood, that run down from His forehead to His moustache, and He wets His tongue with them…

The crown of thorns prevents Him from leaning against the trunk of the cross to help the suspension on His arms and lighten the weight on His feet. His kidneys and all His spine are curved outwards, detached from the cross from His pelvis upwards, owing to force of inertia that makes a body, suspended like His, hang forward…

The Mother for a moment raises Her tortured face and looks at him, the poor wretch who through the remembrance of his mother and the contemplation of the Mother moves towards repentance, and She seems to caress him with Her kind gentle eyes.

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