In the only book on the faith I will ever put together I don't want to deprive the reader of what I view, notwithstanding its crudity―perhaps because of ?―as an artful portrayal of the great historical event that preceded, and led to, the Resurrection, a depiction if not inspired by God, inspiring nonetheless.
William F. Buckley Jr.
Nearer My God
THE CRUCIFIXION, AS SEEN, OR IMAGINED
BY MARIA VALTORTA
BY MARIA VALTORTA
Four men, seemingly more worthy of death on the cross than the condemned men, jump from a path onto the place of the execution. They are wearing short sleeveless tunics and in their hands they are holding nails, hammers, and ropes, which they show to the condemned men, scoffing at them. The crowd is excited with cruel frenzy.
The centurion offers Jesus the amphora, so that He may drink the anesthetic mixture of myrrhed wine. But Jesus refuses it. The two robbers however drink a lot of it. Then the amphora, with a wide flared mouth, is placed near a large stone, almost on the edge of the summit.
The condemned men are ordered to undress. The two robbers do so without shame. On the contrary they amuse themselves making obscene gestures towards the crowd and in particular towards a group of priests, who are all white in their linen garments and who have gone back to the lower open space little by little, taking advantage of their cast to creep up there.
The executioners offer the condemned men three rags, so that they may tie them round their groins. The robbers take them, uttering horrible curses. Jesus, who strips Himself slowly because of the pangs of the wounds from His flogging, refuses them. Perhaps He thinks that He can keep on the short drawers, which He had on during the flagellation. But when He is told to take them off as well, He stretches out His hand to receive the rag of the executioners, to conceal His nakedness.
But Mary has noticed everything and has removed the long thin white veil covering her head under her dark mantle, on which she has already shed so many tears. She removes it without letting her mantle drop and gives it to John so that he may hand it to Longinus for her son. The centurion takes the veil without any objection. He sees that Jesus is about to strip Himself completely, turning to the side where there are no people, His back, furrowed with bruises and blisters, to the crowd. The back is covered with sores and dark crusts that are bleeding again. The centurion gives Him His mother's linen veil. Jesus recognizes it and wraps it round His pelvis several times, fastening it carefully so that it will not fall off. And on the linen veil, so far soaked only with tears, the first drops of blood begin to fall, because many of the wounds, covered with blood-clots, reopened again as He stooped to take off His sandals and lay down His garments, and blood is streaming down again.