Another Term ...
The Passion and The Death of Jesus Christ – page 263
IV. The Crucifixion
It was revealed to St. Bridget that when the Saviour saw himself laid upon the cross, he stretched out his right hand to the place where it was to be nailed. They then immediately nailed the other hand, and then his sacred feet; and Jesus Christ was left to die upon this bed of anguish. St. Augustine says that the punishment of the cross was a most bitter torment, because, upon the cross, death itself was prolonged, lest the pain should be speedily ended.
O God! What horror must then have smitten heaven, at the sight of the Son of the Eternal Father crucified between the two thieves! Such, in truth, was the prophecy of Isaias: He was reputed with the wicked. Therefore St. John Chrysostom, contemplating Jesus upon the cross, cried out, full of amazement and love, “I see him in the midst, in the holy Trinity; I see him in the midst, between Moses and Elias; I see him in the midst, between two thieves.” As though he had said, “I see my Saviour first in heaven between the Father and the Holy Ghost; I see him upon the Mount Tabor, between two saints, Moses and Elias; how, then, can I see him crucified upon Calvary between the two thieves?” How could this come to pass, but through the divine decree, that thus he might die, to satisfy by his death for the sins of men, and to save from death, as Isaias had foretold: He was reputed with the wicked, and He hath borne the sins of many.
The same prophet also asks, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra; this beautiful one in His robe, walking in the greatness of His strength?”
(Edom signifying a red colour, though somewhat dark, as is explained in Gen. XXV. 30); and he gives the answer, I that speak justice, and am a defender to save. The person who thus replies is, according to the interpreters, Jesus Christ, who says, I am the promised Messiah, who am come to save men, by triumphing over their enemies.
Then, further, he is again asked, Why is Thy apparel red, and Thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress? And he answers, I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with Me. Tertullian, St. Cyprian, and St. Augustine explain the winepress to mean the Passion of Jesus Christ, in which his garments – that is, his most holy flesh – was covered with blood and wounds, according to what St. John wrote: He was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood; and His name is called the Word of God. St. Gregory, explaining the expression I have trodden the winepress alone, says, “He trod the winepress, and was himself trodden.” He trod it, because Jesus Christ, by his Passion, his body was bruised and broken, as the grapes are broken in the winepress, and, as Isaias expresses it in another text, The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity.
And now behold this Lord, who was fairest among men, appears on Calvary with his form so disfigured by torments, that it struck horror into all who saw it. Yet this deformity makes him seem more beautiful in the eyes of souls that love him, because these wounds, these marks of the scourging, this lacerated flesh, are all tokens and proofs of the love he bears them; upon which the poet Petrucci beautifully sings, “O Lord, if Thou sufferest scourgings for us, to the souls that are bound to Thee, the more deformed Thou art, the more fair dost Thou appear.”
St. Augustine adds, “He hung in deformity upon the cross, but his deformity is our beauty.” And truly so, because this deformity of Jesus crucified was the cause of the beauty of our souls, which, when they were deformed, were washed with his divine blood, and became fair and lovely, according to what St. John wrote, Who are these that are clothed in white garments? These are they who have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their garments, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
All the saints, as being children of Adam (with the exception of the Blessed Virgin), were at one time covered with a foul garment, and soiled with Adam’s sin and with their own; but being washed with the blood of the Lamb, they became white and agreeable in the sight of God.
Well, then, didst Thou say, O my Jesus, that, when Thou shouldst be lifted up upon the cross, Thou wouldst draw everything unto Thee; “and this he said, signifying by what death he should die.” Truly Thou hast left undone nothing to draw all hearts unto Thee. Many are the happy souls who, in seeing Thee crucified and dying for love of them, have abandoned everything – possessions, dignities, country, and kindred, even to the embracing of torments and death – in order to give themselves wholly to Thee. Unhappy they who resist Thy graces, which Thou hast gained for them with Thy great labours and sorrows. O my God, this will be their great torment in hell, to think that they have lost a God who, to draw them to love him, gave his life upon a cross, that of their own choice they have perished, and that there will be no remedy for their ruin through all eternity. O my Redeemer, I have already deserved to fall into this ruin, through the sins I have committed against Thee. Alas, how often have I resisted Thy grace, which sought to draw me unto Thee, and, in order to cleave to my own inclinations, have despised Thy love, and turned my back upon Thee! Oh that I had died before I had offended Thee! Oh that I had ever loved Thee! I thank Thee, O my love, that Thou hast borne with me with so much patience, and that, instead of abandoning me, as I deserved, Thou hast repeated Thy calls, and increased Thy lights and Thy loving impulses upon me. I will sing the mercies of God forever. Oh, cease not, my Saviour and my hope, to continue to draw me, and to multiply Thy graces upon me, that I may love Thee in heaven with more fervor, remembering the many mercies that Thou hast shown me, after all the offences that I have committed against Thee. I hope for all, through that precious blood which Thou hast shed for me, and that bitter death which Thou hast endured for me.
O holy Virgin Mary, protect me; pray to Jesus for me.
- By Saint Alphonsus Ligouri.
You can click on this link if you want to read something that I posted on our group blog, on the Vigil of the Assumption. The poetry is especially beautiful.
Veritas Liberavit vos! (Jn 8:32)
And you shall know the truth, and the TRUTH shall make you free.