Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thirteenth Station ~ Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

REMBRANDT PAINTED AT THE HEIGHT of the slave trade. Every year the Dutch ships brought hundreds of thousands of slaves to the Americas from Africa. While the ship captains would read their bibles at night and in rough seas the crew would shoot muskets into the air to wake up heaven to their plight, they saw nothing wrong with stealing people away from their homes half a world away to make slaves of them.

Rembrandt knew about this exploitation and greedy profit. His image of Jesus reflects this numbing sadness. Jesus' muscles are useless here and his body is even deformed, unlike the pumped up, idealized bodies of sculpted Greek gods. Rembrandt isn't saying, Jesus is useless. Rather Jesus, God humanized, has entered our world of decay and deforming choices. 

Saint Paul writes to us: 
"Who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8)

Our Father Who Art in  Heaven...
Hail Mary full of grace...
Glory be to the Father... 


  1. We can take from this life nothing we have received - the illusory trappings of status, power and wealth - only what we have given. And Jesus has given us much: he suffered and died for all of humanity, that we may be saved. In the Kingdom of God the gifts of creation are shared lovingly and fairly by all, and not hoarded by a privileged few.

  2. Relating the slave trade to the 13th Station seems at first glance quite a stretch. But after awhile, the connection becomes more evident. The bad choices we make, the dehumanizing of our fellow man. And Jesus confronts it all with his human body which pays the ultimate price. I am always eager to see how you will put your own twist on things Father. It challenges me to approach what I once thought I knew in a whole new way.

  3. Thank you. I'm always glad when someone wants to go beyond "first glance" or "what I thought I knew."