Saturday, Holy Week:
Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
It was still dark and the sky cloudy when they reached Mount Calvary, where they found the servants who had been sent on already arrived, and the holy women sitting weeping in front of the Cross. Cassius and several soldiers who were converted remained at a certain distance, and their demeanour was respectful and reserved. Joseph and Nicodemus described to the Blessed Virgin and John all they had done to save Jesus from an ignominious death, and learned from them how they had succeeded in preventing the bones of our Lord from being broken, and how the prophecy had been fulfilled. They spoke also of the wound which Cassius had made with his lance. No sooner was the centurion Abenadar arrived than they began, with the deepest recollection of spirit, their mournful and sacred labour of taking down from the Cross and embalming the adorable body of our Lord.
The Blessed Virgin and Magdalen were seated at the foot of the Cross; while, on the right-hand side, between the cross of Dismas and that of Jesus, the other women were engaged in preparing the linen, spices, water, sponges, and vases. Cassius also came forward, and related to Abenadar the miraculous cure of his eyes. All were deeply affected, and their hearts overflowing with sorrow and love; but, at the same time, they preserved a solemn silence, and their every movement was full of gravity and reverence. Nothing broke the stillness save an occasional smothered word of lamentation, or a stifled groan, which escaped from one or other of these holy personages, in spite of their earnest eagerness and deep attention to their pious labour. Magdalen gave way unrestrainedly to her sorrow, and neither the presence of so many different persons, nor any other consideration, appeared to distract her from it.
From The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Pietà - An Italian word meaning pity, compassion, and sorrow, it is strongly associated with works of art portraying the Virgin Mary holding and mourning over the dead body of Jesus. Although the term derives from the Latin word pio, which means pious, pietà does not itself mean pious or piety.
(Definition from here.)
The Rome Pieta, sculpted in 1499 when he was just 24 years old
The Florence Pieta, one of the artist's last sculptures, finished c. 1550.
Pieta, painted end of 16th century
Pieta, c. 1495
(My second favorite)
Pieta with St. Francis and Mary Magdalene, 1602
(The Bouguereau is my favorite...)
The Thirteenth Station (St. Alphonsus de Liguori)
Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross
V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how, after Our Lord had died, He was taken down from the cross by two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, and placed in the arms of His afflicted Mother. She received Him with unutterable tenderness and pressed Him close to her bosom. (Kneel)
R: O Mother of Sorrows, / for the love of Your Son, / accept me as Your servant and pray to Him for me, / And You, my Redeemer, since you have died for me, / allow me to love You, / for I desire only You and nothing more. / I love You, Jesus my Love, / and I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
By the cross with you to stay
There with you to weep and pray
Is all I ask of you to give.
Thirteenth Station (St, Francis Asissi)
Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Jesus did not descend from the Cross, but remained on it till His death. When taken down, He rested on the bosom of His beloved Mother as He had so often done in life. Persevere in your good resolutions, and do not flee from the cross. For he who perseveres till the end shall be saved. Consider, moreover, how pure the heart should be that receives the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar.
O Lord Jesus crucified! * I most earnestly entreat Thee: * Help me do what is right * and let me not be separated from Thy Cross, * for on it I desire to live and to die. * Create in me, O Lord, a clean heart, * that I may worthily receive Thee in Holy Communion, and that Thou mayest remain in me, * and I in Thee, * for all eternity.
OFur Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.