|Agnus Dei Presents!|
|For the reality of the Passion of the Christ:|
|The Stations of the Cross
In the Light of the Shroud
|What better way to comprehend the true reality of the Passion of Christ than to compare the traditional Stations of the Cross — handed down to us by St. Francis and the Franciscans — than by comparing them with the scientific and medical Truths found in more than 600,000 hours of peer-reviewed research surrounding the Shroud of Turin.
For it is the very burial cloth of Jesus, proven not only by the Image of the Holy Face imprinted on the linen, but by the fact that the Saints themselves have instinctually venerated this sacred relic.
The Shroud shows us the Passion of Christ unlike anything in mankind’s history, and unlike a movie, presents accurate details of a Sacrifice no normal person could endure. Not since the eyewitnesses to the Crucifixion of Jesus has anyone been able to comprehend the true depth of what our Lord went through.
In this Light, let us then examine each Station and what the Shroud can visually show us as believers in the 3rd Millennium.
THE FIRST STATION: JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
From the Image of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin we can contemplate what His Body looked like at this point as Pilate asks the people of Israel what he should do with their Messiah.
Jesus is 6-feet tall. The Roman scourgers had our Lord bend over a 3-foot pillar to endure the whipping — a whipping they administered to the front and back of Jesus’ Body. No normal person would have survived this scourging.
Jesus receives, from the marks visible on His cloth, at the very least, 120 blows to His Body. It was against Mosaic Law to punish anyone with more than 40 lashes; yet Jesus is suffering under Roman law, where there is no limit. Usually, the Romans did not have to crucify anyone after they had whipped them so severely: under these circumstances, the victim normally died before they could make it to a cross.
Researchers, in trying to comprehend in our modern understanding the severity of this beating, have likened the Scourging of Christ as equivalent to a person being shot seven times by a .44-caliber Magnum! No one usually survives one shot from a .44, let alone seven! This proves that Jesus is unique, for He is True God and True Man.
One last point on this Station, Jesus is wearing a Crown of Thorns, but that is only a symbolic statement. Our Lord is actually wearing a Cap of Thorns. Pollen found on the Shroud proves the cloth was in Israel as the evidence of the thorn bush that makes up the Cap of Thorns comes from a plant that only grows in Palestine.
This thorn bush grows 2– to 3-inch-long spikes — a very vicious plant. Experts believe had the Roman soldiers tried to fashion this Cap of Thorns around our Lord’s Head, they would have lacerated their hands. It is theorized, therefore, that the soldiers probably whacked the Cap of Thorns into Jesus’ Head using their swords to accomplish the task and then tied it to keep it in place.
THE SECOND STATION: JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS
While we should always love, honor and venerate the Stations of the Cross, there is a mistake in the Sacred art when it shows Jesus carrying a T-shaped Cross. The Romans never had their prisoners carrying the stipe — that was too heavy for any individual to carry and was placed in the ground by soldiers and horses waiting for its next victim. The Romans had their prisoners carry a crossbeam across their shoulders, weighing anywhere from 75 to 100 pounds. The Shroud, unlike the Stations, is archaeologically correct, as it clearly shows Jesus carrying His Crossbeam across His shoulder.
This Crossbeam is irritating Jesus’ back. To understand how painful this is, think of how much a splinter can hurt and we can’t wait for a loved one to remove it for us. Jesus cannot remove the splinters of His Crossbeam and they are rubbing against the very wounds that have ripped parts of His flesh out from the scourging He received at the hands of the soldiers.
In fact, Jesus once told a visionary that His right shoulder blade was His most severe wound, causing Him the most agony. We can see the Truth of this when we look at the dorsal Image on the Shroud. Interestingly, this part of the shoulder is know in Latin as the “scapula.” What did Mary give us as a gift to help save us from the fires of hell and Purgatory? The “Scapular”! Most people refuse to wear this piece of cloth because it “irritates” their back — a spiritual message to remind us of the Crossbeam of Christ which irritated His scapula!
THE THIRD STATION: JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME
On the right knee of the Shroud, we can see a severe skinning of the kneecap and researchers discovered dirt in that area that matches the type found in Jerusalem.
On the Shroud, Jesus also has three distinct facial bruises — bruises which could only have occurred if our Lord fell with His hands tied behind His back! This is exactly what the Romans did to their prisoners on their way to crucifixion. They tied the crossbeam across the condemned person’s back and then tied their hands behind as well. Jesus cannot, unlike anyone can in a normal reaction when one falls, use His hands to break His fall onto His Holy Face.
These facial bruises upon His Face prove the Sacred Tradition that our Lord fell three times on His Way to the Cross!
THE FOURTH STATION: JESUS MEETS HIS SORROWFUL MOTHER
It’s important to remember that Mary, the Mother of Christ, had not seen Her Son since the night before when He was arrested after His Last Supper. Mary, as His Mother, would have had the responsibility — as Jewish tradition dictates — to prepare this Passover meal for Her Son and His Apostles.
Now, instead of the shining countenance She had seen on Holy Thursday, Her Son appears with a Cap of Thorns puncturing His skull; His Blood dripping profusely from His Face; His Body mangled and torn with pieces of skin missing from the scourging He endured. And finally, His Crossbeam — the foster Son of a master carpenter — cruelly tied behind His back with His hands as well.
The Lord’s nose was already bleeding, as is evident from the Image on the Shroud, from being struck in His Face most likely from the blow by the servant of the high priest.
Mary knows She cannot save Jesus from Rome’s murderous soldiers as She once saved Him from Herod’s murderous soldiers. Mary knows it is the Father’s Will that Her Son be Crucified for the sake of mankind. Mary has only one recourse — She prays intently to Her Father and Her Spouse to give the graces necessary for Her Son to complete His Sacred Mission.
THE FIFTH STATION: SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS CARRY HIS CROSS
The fact that Jesus is able to carry on this far again proves He is no ordinary man. At the same time, He is about to do something extremely symbolic. He is going to let an ordinary man help Him carry His Cross! But even in pulling the Cross from the Lord’s shoulders, once again, the pain rips through our God’s Body as the wood ravages the wounds Jesus endured since being tied to a 3-foot pillar and aggravated in every step He has thus far taken.
The reason the Roman soldiers will allow this is because Jesus is tied to the thieves in a chain gang as He carries His Cross. Every time our Lord falls He is holding up this procession of the condemned. A stranger in the crowd is pressed into service.
Simon was compelled to carry Jesus’ Cross. Our Lord calls us to carry our own crosses. In the symbolism of this Station, we must never — especially in Light of the Passion of Christ captured on the Shroud — reluctantly bear the burden of our own cross! The Shroud clearly proves, as an example to all, the Lord wants us to take up our Cross and follow Him!
THE SIXTH STATION: VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
This is one of the most important Stations as Jesus, for the first time in history, leaves the countenance of His Holy Face on a cloth. In the Old Covenant, because the Blood of Christ had not yet been shed, the world was not allowed to see the Face of God. But in the New Covenant, from the time Jesus appeared in the Manger, the world can gaze upon the Face of its Savior.
We can talk until we are blue in the face about the science of the Shroud and how it proves the Passion, Death and, most importantly, the Resurrection of Christ. But that means nothing! What it really boils down to is what does anyone say who gazes upon His Face? We have not left the Face of Jesus on the Shroud — God has!
And just as He captured His countenance on Veronica’s Veil, Jesus captured His Holy Resurrected Face on His burial cloth. That Holy Face looks at every human being on this planet and asks the simple question Jesus asks in the Gospels: “But whom do you say
I AM?” And only the individual can answer that question as Veronica did when she went to wipe the sweat, Blood and tears from Jesus’ eyes on His way to Calvary.
THE SEVENTH STATION: JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME
The Crossbeam is no longer on His shoulders, but the weight of His agony and intense bleeding continues to weaken the human Body of Christ. As the Shroud proves, Jesus is loosing every drop of His Blood, just as the Israelites were instructed that the lamb used for the Passover seder must first be drained of its blood.
When Jesus falls again, He is still in the chain gang with the two other prisoners who are going to be crucified on His left and right. As Jesus holds up the chain gang, the Roman soldiers whip Him again, causing more open lesions on His Body. Just the week before, Mary, His Mother, who continues to accompany Her Son on His Way to the Cross, had seen Him enter Jerusalem in triumph and greeted as a King.
Now the only vestiges of Christ’s Kingship remain under the guise of the Cap of Thorns upon His Head — a cap that continues to cause massive bleeding across our Lord’s Face with its visible rivulets apparent on the Shroud today.
THE EIGHTH STATION: THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM WEEP
On the Shroud, we see the incredible power of God able to Resurrect Himself from the dead! We also see His innocent Blood, shed as the Lamb of God for us in atonement for our sins. In this power of God, Jesus endured His Sacrifice knowing full well He would be Resurrected and returned to Glory!
But the Daughters of Jerusalem do not comprehend His incredible Wisdom and prophetic knowledge. Jesus spilled innocent Blood in the City of Peace; today, just as the Lord prophesied, Jerusalem continues to be anything but a city of peace as innocent blood is continually spilled in a war between the descendants of Abraham over David’s City.
And the Daughters of Jerusalem will continue to weep over Christ the King — whose Resurrection Image on the Shroud ensures the Truth of this — until that day when Jesus will Reign as the Son of David from His Throne in Jerusalem.
THE NINTH STATION: JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME
Our Lord has now fallen three times — once for the Father, once for the Son, and once for the Holy Spirit. The evil one does not want Jesus to make it to the Cross, for if He does, mankind will be redeemed. But the Shroud proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus did make it to the Cross, and as John, the Beloved Disciple testified, not only does the Image prove Jesus was dead on the Cross, but that our Lord rose from the dead!
Most importantly, despite all the scourgings, beatings, fallings, and then being Crucified with nails through His Body, the Shroud also proves that none of Jesus’ bones were broken! Just as Isaias prophesied that the Messiah of Israel’s bones would not be broken, the medical evidence on the Shroud proves this biblical Truth!
THE TENTH STATION: JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
We’ve often wondered why the Lord had to do what He did and if, in His Wisdom, there was not a better way for Him to redeem mankind. But know we understand, through the Image of His Body on the Shroud, exactly why Jesus had to do it this way.
As the Romans strip Jesus of His garments, every single blood wound is opened again, not only causing tremendous agony, but again ripping pieces of Jesus’ flesh from Him. The reason the Lord is allowing this? In reality, Jesus is giving birth to the Eucharist! Every drop of Blood and torn piece of Flesh is our God’s way of ensuring His Body is broken into the necessary molecules and atoms that will, in the future, make up the Eucharist miracle at every Mass! Could He have done it another way? Perhaps. But He chose this way!
Jesus is so intent on this Eucharistic birth to leave pieces of His Body and Blood for the redemption of mankind that He leaves significant quantities of His bodily fluids on His Shroud. These Bloodstains that we see today on the cloth — the actual Blood that flowed so that God may forgive us our sins — are remarkable on the Shroud because not one of them is disturbed in any way.
There are no broken Bloodstains on the cloth!
This means the Body of Christ got out of the Shroud without disturbing the Bloodstains! That is a mathematical impossibility! Surely, if the Body were removed in any normal fashion, the Bloodstains — as occurs when one takes off a bandaid attached to a cut — would open and crack. This is not the case with Shroud, which proves that those who claim the Apostles stole Christ’s Body are completely wrong; for, if they had, the Bloodstains, would show evidence of being disturbed.
Instead, the Shroud proves Christ got out of His burial cloth without disturbing His own Blood! The Body of Christ went right through the cloth!
THE ELEVENTH STATION: JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
Here the Shroud proves something incredibly important. The Gospels clearly teach us that Jesus was Crucified in the “hands” — not mentioning the wrist. Yet, the Shroud absolutely shows that Jesus was Crucified in His wrist!
Does this make the Gospels wrong?
Of course not! There was no word “wrist” at the time the Gospels were written — not in Aramaic, not in Hebrew, not in Greek, and not in Latin. The “hand” to the Gospel writers extended from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow of the arm. Jesus could have had a nail placed through his forearm and the Gospels would have still recorded our Lord was Crucified in His “hand.”
In this lesson, we must seriously consider how wrong those are who then use the word “brother” in the Scriptures to insist and teach wrongly that Jesus had “brothers and sisters” when, in reality, these people are our Lord’s first cousins!
Also important in this Station is the fact that the Shroud clearly shows X-ray information from the internal skeletal structure of Jesus’ Body! When we look at the Shroud and identify the wrist wound, one can make the mistake of then looking at the fingers of Christ and believing our Lord had long digits! The Byzantines, who had possession of the Shroud in the 1st Millennium and called it the “Mandylion” (Christ’s “Mantle”), made this mistake and depicted this in their iconography by showing Jesus with long fingers.
But Jesus did not have long fingers. The wrist wound on the Shroud proves that, instead, the metacarpal bones of Christ’s hands are being imaged — something that research has proven could only have happened had X-rays gone through the Body lighting up the internal structure.
What was the cause of these X-rays? While scientists are not open to speculation, the only logical explanation is simple: the Resurrection of Christ caused this internal imaging to be captured on the Shroud. A Resurrection process science does not understand nor can duplicate! But the Image on the Shroud proves some sort of inexplicable radiation was involved in the Resurrection of Jesus!
THE TWELFTH STATION: JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
This is the most amazing evidence — outside of the X-ray information — we have on the Shroud. Evidence that proves Jesus really did die on the Cross. It comes from the Heart wound itself. Medical researchers who have investigated the cloth discovered that the wound exhibits postmortem (after death) evidence in three separate ways.
When we are alive our blood serum levels are different than when we are dead. In the wrist wound, scientists identify minimum levels of serum — nothing more than water in the blood. However, in the Heart wound of Christ, the serum levels have increased dramatically, 10 times more than those from wounds on Jesus’ Body where Blood flowed when He was alive! And to prove no forgery is involved, these serum levels are detected under the presence of ultraviolet light!
The second fact that proves the Heart wound is postmortem is that the wound itself does not contain one iota of swelling. In the Holy Face of Jesus, it is apparent that many bruises and wounds occurred while our Lord was alive, as His facial tissue, as a result of the injuries, swelled up — a normal reaction for living tissue. But in the Heart wound no swelling occurred, which proves the Body tissue was dead when the wound occurred!
Finally, if the Heart of Christ was pierced by the centurion’s lance when our Lord was alive, the Blood from the wound would have splattered all over Jesus’ Body as the muscle would have pumped one or two more times before expiring. The thrust into the Heart and its Image on the Shroud shows that the Blood is oozing out of the wound consistent with a body in crucifixion position and the force of gravity pulling the liquid out.
The Heart of Christ had stopped beating when it was pierced with a lance and the Shroud, once again, proves it!
THE THIRTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS
In this critically important Station, we will turn to the evidence not on the Shroud, but on another of the cloths which covered Christ on that first Good Friday. This cloth is known as the “Sudario,” or “sweat cloth” and is mentioned in John’s Gospel as the “napkin” that was put around Jesus’ Face.
This cloth exists today and is housed in a Church in Oviedo, Spain. Shroud researchers have been allowed to examine it and compare it to the burial cloth of Christ. As a result, two Jewish scientists, Dr. Danin and Dr. Baruch, one with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the other with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, have stated that through their research on the Shroud and the Sudario they have discovered that the cloths are “synchronatic.”
What does that mean? Both cloths have touched the same Body! How can two scientists from Israel say this about two cloths the Catholic Church has venerated for two millennia as the burial cloths of Christ? Simple. Dr. Danin and Dr. Baruch found the same pollen from that thorn bush plant that only grows in Israel not only on the Shroud, but also on the Sudario, and, most amazingly, both cloths have the same Blood, the world’s rarest!
Other investigators have discovered that the Sudario’s Blood flows prove Christ was on the Cross for 45 minutes before His Body was taken down! And how logical. Remember, Joseph of Arimathea had to get permission from Pontius Pilate to remove Jesus’ Body from the Cross. And, if someone were to die while we are waiting for an ambulance to pick up their body, what would we do with their face? We would, of course, cover it up. And that is what they have done with the Sudario — they have used it to cover the Face of Christ on the Cross as they are awaiting permission to take our Lord's Body down.
The Sudario is also doing something else extremely important for the 1st-century Orthodox Jewish men who are going to bury Jesus. It is capturing the remnants of our Lord’s Blood into the cloth rather than letting it continue to drip into the ground, where, according to their Sacred Tradition, they will have to sweep the very dirt to get the Blood into the Tomb with Christ as the Mosaic Law demands. Far easier for Joseph, John and Nicodemus to get the Blood of Jesus into a cloth than have to sweep the dirt later!
THE FOURTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS LAID IN THE SEPULCHER
This is it — this is the moment the Shroud has been waiting for! The Body of Christ laid into it so that not only will the remaining vestiges of Blood be captured, but on the
3rd Day — in the midnight hour of darkness — the Light of the Resurrection process may be illuminated for all future generations to see! For the Shroud is truly the only temporal witness to the exact moment of Resurrection!
In addition, the most prominent wound on the Shroud is the Heart wound. Yet, as Jesus’ Body is laid into this cloth before He is placed in the Sepulcher, our God’s human Body is already in a physical state of rigor mortis. This means the cloth cannot be touching the chest area as it is draped over Jesus’ Head and bent knees; this position forces the Shroud to float above the Lord’s torso.
So how did the Heart wound become so prominent? There is only one answer: Someone had to place their Hand up against Jesus’ Sacred Heart wound. Someone who would have had a last personal moment in holding our Lord’s Body before the men placed Him in the darkened Tomb. Someone who would have had a right to touch the Sacred Heart of Jesus one last time in remembrance of a bond that was inseparable.
There is only One candidate for this. Her Name is Mary, the Mother of Jesus who stood at the Foot of the Cross and did not abandon Her Son in His Hour of Sacrifice. Someone whom the Lord gave to us all as His last dying Will and Testament. Someone, whom, as the Mother of Mercy, was there to witness when the Blood and Water gushed forth from Her Son’s Sacred Heart as a Fountain of Mercy for us.
Someone who experienced the Sword of Sorrow pierce Her Immaculate Heart as Her Son experienced the thrust of the centurion’s lance through His dead and lifeless Body — a last act to ensure Jesus was dead on the Cross. This piercing of the Heart of Christ proves Jesus was not just dead; He was doubly dead, making the miracle of the Resurrection all the more incredible to eyewitnesses such as John!
In these Fourteen Stations of the Cross, we have shown how the Passion of Jesus is explicitly detailed in the Light of the Shroud and borne out by the medical evidence of modern science.
But we can never forget that in this Sacrifice, the Shroud really stands as a living testimony to a Fifteenth Station of the Cross.
It is, as John Paul II stated it, the Truth that the Shroud is a “silent but eloquent witness to the Resurrection of Christ!”
In this Light, we can never forget that the Passion of Jesus was designed so that we — if we remain close to Him and His Mother — might also experience that resurrection of the body which science cannot understand nor duplicate.
A Resurrection that the Shroud leaves no doubt as to what occurred on the 3rd Day, the very day that Jesus rose — a day symbolically much like today as we move further into the 3rd Millennium of Christianity!
For just as those of long ago, the enemies of Christ today, and of His Mother, His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, believe that He is dead, long forgotten and no longer a player to contend with.
As the enemies of Jesus in 1st-century Israel did, today’s enemies of Jesus have made a drastic mistake. We have only begun the 3rd Day of Christianity — the 3rd Millennium — and Jesus, as the Shroud proves, rose on the 3rd Day!
What will our Lord do as we move further into this Millennium consecrated to His Mother as the Queen of Peace? We can only hope and pray that as He showed Himself in the early morning hours of the 3rd Day to His loved ones, He will soon show Himself again in the early years of the 3rd Millennium to a world in desperate need of His Reign!
A Reign that can only come about through the promised Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as our Queen prophesied at Fatima almost a century ago!
© 2003 Agnus Dei Presents!