At every trial, a court reporter “takes down” every word spoken by all involved in a trial. A “deposition” is an accurate ,word for word account, aimed at getting to the truth.
In catholic tradition, after Jesus died on the Cross, He is “taken down,” or “deposed,” hence the Deposition. This ” taking down ” off the cross the lifeless body of Jesus, aims at getting to the Truth of all human existence. God entered our life in incarnation and witnessed to the greatness of God’s Love by giving His very Life. This sacrifice of love is what pulses through the human family AND all creation and the cosmos.
Sacrificial Love, every good parent or friend understands exactly what I am saying… is a love that doesn’t “make sense,” nor can it be measured. It is lived, and only later, reflected upon.
The Deposition of Jesus from the Cross expresses the Truth, the absolute Truth. that God’s Love has undone whatever happened at the moment we call the “original sin.” Love undoes the harm and alienation caused by our own act of sin. Love “untied the knot,” so to speak, freeing us to love in the same way.
Rarely does one see the crucifix above the altar portraying the lifeless body of Jesus being taken down from the cross but I found such a church in one of the villages. I was so taken aback by this portrayal that speaks to a part of the Passion we rarely think about : taking the lifeless body of Jesus down from the cross. This beautiful crucifix spoke the Truth in such simplicity of sculpture, as I have never seen before.
And now I write this reflection in s small chapel with an image of Mary holding the lifeless body on her lap: the Pieta. This is a very popular image seen around the world in almost every culture. Mary is gazing down in piercing sadness at her Son, her lifeless son deposed on her lap. His Body is limp in surrender , a Body soon to break the bonds of tomb and death in Resurrection.
Mary’s sadness pierces not only her son but the sadness of everyone reading this. Many the prayers that you pinned on the wooden cross during the liturgies before I departed for the Camino speak sadness. They are prayers that: ask for healing from cancer and so many other illnesses, like ALS and MS, reconciliation in marriage and family, freedom from addictions, fear and depression and a lifting from loneliness.
Mary’s piercing eyes penetrate out sadness with hope , the hope that only this seemingly lifeless body can bring. He returns… He Rises…Jesus, the New Adam and Mary, the New Eve gaze at each one of us, a gaze which transforms heavy sadness into pure JOY…the final stamp on our lives…JOY!!
Burn camimo. Fr. Frank