edited excerpt from Maria Valtorta’s 28-page description of the
two malefactors to be crucified with the Lord will be fastened to
their crosses with ropes, rather than being nailed. The executioners
offer the condemned men three rags, so that they may tie them round
their groins. […] Jesus, Who strips Himself slowly because of the
pangs of the wounds, refuses it. He perhaps thinks that He can keep
on the short drawers, which He had on also during the flagellation.
But when He is told to take them off as well, He stretches out His
hand to beg for the rag of the executioners to conceal His nakedness.
Valtorta remarks that He is really the Annihilated One to the extent
of having to ask a rag of criminals.
Blessed Virgin has noticed everything and She removes the long thin
white veil covering Her head under Her dark mantle, and on which She
has already shed so many tears. She
it to John so that he may hand it to Longinus for Her Son. The
centurion takes the veil without any objection and, when he sees that
Jesus is about to strip Himself completely, facing the side where
there are no people, and thus turning towards the crowd His back
furrowed with bruises and blisters, and covered with sores and dark
crusts that are bleeding again, he gives Him His Mother's linen veil.
Jesus recognizes it and wraps it round His pelvis several times […].
And on the linen veil, so far soaked only with tears, the first drops
of blood begin to fall, because many of the wounds, just covered with
blood-clots, have reopened again [...] and blood is streaming down.
now turns towards the crowd. And one can thus see that also His
chest, legs and arms have all been struck by the scourges. At the
height of His liver there is a huge bruise, and under His left costal
arch there are seven clear stripes in relief,
[…] a cruel blow
of a scourge in such a sensitive region of the diaphragm. His knees,
bruised by repeated falls that began immediately after He was
captured and ended on Calvary, are dark with hematomas and the
knee-caps are torn, particularly the right one, by a large bleeding
crowds and bystanders scoff at Him in chorus: […] “Oh! Oh! the
Perfect One! Are You the Son of God? Certainly not. You are the
abortion of Satan! At least he, Mammon, is powerful and strong.
You... are in rags, You are powerless and revolting.”
tied to the crosses with ropes and they are
carried to their places, one to the right, one to the left, with
regard to the place destined to Jesus. They howl, swear, curse,
particularly when the crosses are carried to the holes, and […]
oaths against God, the Law, the Romans, the Judaeans are hellish.
is Jesus' turn. He lies on the cross meekly. […]
He lies down
and places His head where they tell Him. He stretches out His arms
and His legs as He is told. He only takes care to arrange His veil
properly. Now His long, slender pale
body stands out against the dark wood and the yellow ground. Two
executioners sit on His chest to hold Him fast. Valtorta laments
as she thinks of the oppression and pain He must have felt under that
weight. A third one takes His right arm, holding Him with one hand on
the first part of His forearm and the other on the tips of His
fourth executioner, who already has in his hand the long
sharp-pointed quadrangular nail, ending with a round flat head, as
big as a large coin of bygone days, watches whether the hole already
made in the wood corresponds to the radius-ulnar joint of the wrist.
It does. The executioner places the point of the nail on the wrist,
he raises the hammer and gives the first stroke. Jesus, Who had
closed His eyes, utters a cry and has a contraction because of the
sharp pain, and opens His eyes flooded with tears. Valtorta comments
that the pain
He suffers must be
nail penetrates, tearing muscles, veins, nerves, shattering bones…
Mary replies to the cry of Her tortured Son with a groan that sounds
almost like the moaning of a slaughtered lamb; and She bends, as if
She were crushed, holding Her head in Her hands. In order not to
torture Her, Jesus utters no more cries.
the strokes continue, methodical and hard, iron striking iron […]
The right hand is now nailed. They pass on to the left one. The hole
in the wood does not correspond to the carpus. So they take a rope,
they tie it to the left wrist and they pull it until the joint is
dislocated, tearing tendons and muscles, besides lacerating the skin
already cut into by the ropes used to capture Him. The other hand
must suffer as well, because it is stretched as a consequence, and
the hole in it widens round the nail.
the beginning of the metacarpus, near the wrist, hardly arrives at
the hole. They resign themselves and they nail the hand where they
can, that is, between the thumb and the other fingers, just in the
middle of the metacarpus. The nail penetrates more easily here, but
with greater pain, because it cuts important nerves, so that the
fingers remain motionless, whilst those of the right hand have
contractions and tremors that denote their vitality. But Jesus no
longer utters cries, He only moans in a deep hoarse voice with His
lips firmly closed, while tears of pain fall on the ground after
falling on the wood.
is now the turn of His feet. At two meters and more from the foot of
the cross there is a small wedge, hardly sufficient for one foot.
Both feet are placed on it to see whether it is in the right spot,
and as it is a little low and the feet hardly reach it, they pull the
poor Martyr […] so that
wood of the cross rubs on the wounds, moves the crown that tears His
hair once again and is on the point of falling. One of the
executioners presses it down on His head again with a slap...
who were sitting on Jesus' chest, now get up to move to His knees,
because Jesus with an involuntary movement withdraws His legs upon
seeing the very long nail, which is twice as long and thick as those
used for the hands, shine in the sunshine. They weigh on His flayed
knees and press on His poor bruised shins, while the other two are
performing the much more difficult operation of nailing one foot on
top of the other, trying to combine the two joints of the tarsi.
they try to keep the feet still, [...] the foot underneath is shifted
by the vibrations of the nail,
is to be moved a little closer to the center. And they hammer, and
hammer, and hammer... Only the dreadful noise of the hammer striking
the head of the nail is heard, because all Calvary is nothing but
eyes and ears to perceive acts and noises and rejoice...
harsh noise of iron is accompanied by the low plaintive lament of a
dove: the hoarse groaning of Mary, Who bends more and more at each
stroke, as if the hammer wounded Her, the Martyr Mother. And one
understands that She is about to be crushed by such torture. Valtorta
remarks that while
is dreadful, equal to flagellation with regard to pain, it is more
cruel to be seen, because one sees the nails disappear in the flesh.
But in compensation it is shorter, whereas flagellation is enervating
because of its duration.
cross is now dragged near the hole and it jerks on the uneven ground
shaking the poor Crucified. The cross is raised and twice it slips
out of the hands of those raising it; the first time it falls with a
crash, the second time it falls on its right arm, causing terrible
pain to Jesus, because the jerk He receives shakes His wounded limbs.
But when they let the cross drop into its hole and before being made
fast with stones and earth, it sways in all directions, continuously
shifting the poor Body, hanging from three nails – the suffering
must be atrocious.
the weight of the body moves forward and downwards, and the holes
become wider, particularly the one of the left hand, and also the
hole of the feet widens out, while the blood drips more copiously.
And if that of the feet trickles along the toes onto the ground and
along the wood of the cross, that of the hands runs along the
forearms, as the wrists are higher up than the armpits, because of
the position, and it trickles down the sides from the armpits towards
the waist [as indicated in the Holy Shroud]. When the cross sways,
before being fastened, the crown moves, because the head falls back
knocking against the wood and drives the thick knot of thorns, at the
end of the prickly crown, into the nape of the neck, then it lies
again on the forehead, scratching it mercilessly.
long last the cross is made fast and there is only the torture of
edited excerpt is based on Chapter 605 of The
Poem of the Man-God,
by Maria Valtorta. At one time placed on the Index primarily because
it was published without an Imprimatur, the work has now garnished
Imprimaturs from a number of Catholic Bishops.