When I pondered the Tenth Station of the Cross as a child, I recall shuddering at the humiliation of being naked in front of everyone. Was it not enough to beat Jesus? Why did the mean soldiers do that? As I matured, my sensibility dulled to the humiliation of being stripped. I guess I moved into a more metaphorical interpretation of being stripped of my various facades and defenses. However, whenever I hear of refugees being stripped of their belongings, prisoners stripped and water-boarded, women trafficked for sex or anytime people are forced into being naked against their will, I once again find myself pondering this 10th Station.
To be forced into complete vulnerability and exposure can only come from a desire to debase and make someone “other than” a human being, possessing no loving traits or redeemable qualities. Jesus knew this dehumanization. Jesus lived it.
When have I dehumanized another person? When have I so loathed another that I felt justified in my disgust and thought of someone as less than me or not worthy of my respect? I hate to admit it, but I have felt such loathing. I know within me lies the potential to be cruel, mean and degrading of another.
Dear Jesus, please heal me of the characteristics I find so disturbing in others. May I only empower and encourage others to grow in Grace. May I never strip anyone of their dignity or humanity.