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Full text of "New Lenten sermons"

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Wirth, Augustine, 1828-1901 



A 



New Lenten sermons, translated 
from the German, and adapted by 
Rev. Augustine Wirth, O.S.B. 



Elizabeth, N J., 1882 



• v 



IND 09-6188-03 



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a Wirth, Augustine, |d 1828-1901, |e ed. and tr. 

a New Lenten sermons, |c translated from the German, and adapted by Rev. Augustine Wirth, O.S.B. 
a Elizabeth, N.J., |b The translator, |c 1882. 
alp. 1., v-vi, 7-204 p. |c 24 cm. 

a The way of the cross.—Lenten sermons. 2d ser.—Lenten sermons, homilies. 3d ser. 
a Lenten sermons, 
a Catholic Church |x Sermons, 
a Sermons, English |x Translations from German, 
a Sermons, German |x Translations from English, 
a BATCH |b 00 |c 19981 225 |1 NDU0 1 |h 0209 
c 2001 1208 |lNDU01|h 0123 



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Lenten Sermons 



Translated from the German, 



AND ADAPTED BY 



REV. AUGUSTINE WIRTH, O. S. B. 



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ELIZABETH, N. J. 

published arr ^sTe ■xis.A.iTex-.A.rrois. 






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INDEX 



• + 



Entered According to Act or Congress, in the Year 1882, by Augustine Wirth, in the Office 

or the Librarian or Congress, at Washington, D. C. 







PRINTED BY 

* ■ 

MYERS, SHINKLE & CO,.", 145 WOOD STREET, 

PITTSBURGH, PA. 



THE WA#<)F THE CROSS. 

Vr^ p AGE . 

FiR8T*fl|ATiON. — Jesus is Condemned to Death 7 

Secontm&tation. — Jesus takes the Cross upon His shoulders 13 

k^TTATiON.— Jesus falls beneath the Cross the first time 19 

FoundST Station.— Jesus meets His most Afflicted Mother 24 

FiFT^rtTATiON. — Simon of Cyrene assists Jesus in carrying the 
QTJ Cross .. . 30 

SixtmBtation.— Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus 35 

Seventh Station. — Jesus falls beneath the Cross the second time 41 

EigjS^ Station.— Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem, who 
rj-ni* wept over Him 47 

NintoJ Station. —Jesus falls beneath the Cross the third time 53 

TEN^fe Station.— Jesus is Stript of His Garments 59 

EleJBnth Station.— Jesus is Nailed to the Cross 65 

TwcWth Station. — Jesus Dies on the Cross 70 

Thirteenth Station.— Jesus is taken Down from the Cross and laid 

in the lap of Mary 76 

Fourteenth Station.— Jesus is laid in the Tomb 82 

LENTEN SERMONS.— Second Series. 

Sermon I.— Christ's Sufferings for the Salvation of Mankind 91 

Sermon II.— The Mental Sufferings of Christ 99 

Sermon III.— The Trial.. 106 

Sermon IV.— The Denial of Peter 114 

Sermon V.— The Repentance of Peter 120 

Sermon VI.— The Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, 

and the Crucifixion of Christ 125 

Sermon VII.— The Last Seven Words of Christ on the Cross 133 

V 



vi Index. 

Page. 

LENTEN SERMONS.—HOMILIES.— Third Series. 

Homily I.— The Washing of the Feet, Peter, Judas, and the Questions 

of the Disciples ^ I* 7 

Homily II.— The Garden of Gethsemane, the "Prayer, the Agony and 

the Bloody Sweat of Christ, and the coming of the Angel. . 155 
Homily III.— Judas in the Garden, the Apprehension of Christ, Annas, 

the blow, Caiphas I 64 

Homily IV.— The interior Sufferings of Christ, the Denial of Peter, 

Pilate, the Despair of Judas, Herod, Barabbas 172 

Homily V.— The Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, and the 

Derision 178 

Homily VI.— Ecce Homo, the Condemnation, the Way of the Cross 

from Jerusalem to Mount Calvary. 185 

Homily VII.— The Crucifixion, the Seven Words and the Death of 

Christ 194 












FIRST STATION. 

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH. 

"Then Pi/ate delivered him to them to be crucified." — John ig : 16. 

Among the many devotions of the Catholic Church, one that 
deserves to be most recommended is the devotion of the " Way of 
the Cross/' which originated as follows : In the first centuries pious 
Christians from all parts of the known world, made pilgrimages to 
Jerusalem, there to visit the holy places, and to retrace the path 
rendered sacred to us by the footprints of our divine Saviour lad- 
end with his heavy cross. Bye and bye on this Way of the Cross 
station-pictures were erected at certain distances from each other, at 
which the people stopped for some time, meditating on the mystery 
of the Passion represented by the picture. When, at a later period, 
the Saracens took the Holy Land, and rendered visits to the holy 
places impossible, the Christians, with the approbation of the Popes, 
erected station-pictures in other places, also in order to afford the 
faithful a means for meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ. The 
first who did this were the Franciscans. Gradually this pious cus- 
tom became more general, and to-day you will see the Way of the 
Cross in almost every church. Those who devoutly visited the sta- 
tions of the Way of the Cross, gained many indulgences. The Popes 
Innocent XI. and XII., and Benedict XIII., granted these indulg- 
ences also to all those who visit the Stations erected by the Francis- 
cans, and there devoutly venerate the bitter Passion and death of 
Christ. That you may perform the devotion of the Way of the 
Cross in a profitable manner, I shall give you a brief explanation on 
■each of the fourteen stations. To-day we will represent to ourselves 
in spirit the First Station, which bears the inscription : " Jesus con- 
demned to death" and consider two reasons why he was condemned to 
death, namely : 

J. The human fear of Pontius Pilate, and 
II. The inconstancy of the Jewish people. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 



8 



The Way of the Cross. 



\> 



Part I. 

Our Blessed Lord repaired with his disciples to Mount Olivet in 
the evening of Holy Thursday to begin his Passion. There in an un- 
speakable agony he sweat blood, and was apprehended. Like a crim- 
inal, deserving of death, he was led bound, first to Annas where a rude 
servant struck him in the face, then to Caiphas where he was declared 
guilty of death. Then during the whole night he was so shockingly 
insulted and maltreated, that St. Jerome says : " The mockery and 
insult which were inflicted on Jesus during that night were so great, 
that their enormity shall only be known on the day of judgment." 
When after a night of such humiliation and suffering, day dawned, 
our Good Friday, the Jews brought Jesus before Pilate, that he might 
condemn him to death. Let us now consider : 

1. The human fear of Pilate which caused him to condemn Christ 
to death. Pilate was soon convinced of the innocence of Christ, and 
because he still had a due regard for what was right and just he was 
also willing to set him free. Having examined our Lord, lie came 
out to the Jews and said to them : "I find no cause in this man." — 
Luke 23 : 14. The Jews, however, were anything but satisfied with 
this explanation ; on the contrary they insisted upon his death with 
importunity. Then Pilate had recourse to a cruel means to save 
Jesus : " I will chastise him, therefore, and release him." — Luke 23 : 
16. For he reasoned thus : If I chastise Jesus, your rage will be 
calmed, and you will no longer demand his death. Jesus, therefore, 
was scourged. This punishment, which was inflicted by the Romans 
only on slaves and the greatest malefactors, was horrible. From six 
to eight torturers relieved one another in turns, by pairs, and with 
rods, whips and straps struck the condemned criminal, who stript of 
his clothes was tied with ropes to a column, till their cruelty was sati- 
ated ; so that many died during the scourging. By this cruel flagella- 
tion the body of Jesus was so lacerated that it seemed but one wound. 
The prophet who in spirit saw Jesus thus mangled says of him : 
" From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head there is no sound- 
ness therein, wounds and bruises and swelling sores, they are not bound 
up, nor dressed, nor fomented with oil." — Is. 1 : 6. 

After this cruel scourging the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, 
and put it on the head of Christ. The sharp thorns penetrated his 
holy head and caused him intolerable pain. To complete the meas- 
ure of malice, they clothed him with a purple mantle, put a reed in 
his hand, spat in his face, struck him on his cheeks, and mocked him 




First Station. • 

most shamefully. Thus maltreated, abused and bruised they again 
brought him before Pilate. Although a pagan, Pilate was moved 
with compassion at the pitiful sight of Jesus, and exclaimed : " Ecce 
homo /" " Behold the man !"— John 19:5. He imagined that the 
Jews would now no longer insist upon his death, but he deceived 
himself! Their cruel hearts thirsted for blood: "Crucify him, 
crucify him," they cried out in their savage rage. — John 19 : 6. 
Pilate made still another attempt. It was customary among the 
Jews to liberate at Easter a malefactor whomsoever they would. 
Availing himself of this opportunity he brought before them a rob- 
ber and a murderer named Barabbas, placed him near Christ and 
said : " Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus who 
is called Christ?"— Matt. 27 : 17. The choice, he thought, will cer- 
tainly be in favor of Christ ; for Barabbas is a great criminal, who 
has repeatedly deserved death. But again he deceived himself. The 
Jews demanded that Barabbas should be liberated and Christ crucified. 
When Pilate still hesitated to comply with their request, they cried 
out the more, saying : "If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's 
friend, for whosoever maketh himself king, speaketh against GesaiV 
— John 19 : 12. These words overcame the resistance of the Roman 
governor, he sat down in judgment, declared once more the innocence 
of Jesus bv washing his hands, and delivered him to the Jews to 
be crucified. Behold, to what human fear brought Pilate! He 
feared that the Jews would denounce him to the Roman emperor, and 
that as a result he would lose his office, his dignity, and perhaps his 
life. To avert such a danger he condemned innocence to death ! Of 
what crying injustice did Pilate become guilty, and all through human 
fear ! 

2. The human fear of Christians which is the cause of the com- 
mission of so many sins in our days. How much good is omitted, 
how many sins committed against the duties of one's station in life 
through human fear. For this reason many superiors are too indulgent 
to their inferiors, are silent in regard to their dissipations and are 
indifferent spectators of their excesses. For this reason one dares not 
call the attention of a friend or an acquaintance to his faults or to 
admonish him to amend his faults. For this reason some dare not 
even go to confession and Communion frequently, visit and adore 
the Blessed Sacrament, or lead a retired life, they fear to expose 
themselves to the mockery and ridicule of worldly-minded people. 
For this reason also some do not dare contradict discourse which 
violate religion, fraternal charity, and chastity disapprove of them 



10 



rr* 



The Way of the Cross. 



First Station. 



11 



and prevent them according to their ability. It is also human fear 
and human respect that frustrate so many conversions. How many 
sinners are held captive in the bonds of sin through human fear, how 
many infidels and heretics does it not deter from embracing the true 
faith ? In order to renounce their errors and be converted, they 
should manifest certain public signs, give up sinful connections, break 
with friends and acquaintances, and they cannot resolve to do these 
things. O how much good does human fear prevent and how much 
^vil does it occasion ! 

Guard against nothing so much as against human fear. "Be not 
afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no power that 
they can do * * * fear ye him who after he hath killed hath power 
to cast into hell."— Luke 12 : 4, 5. Make a firm resolution never 
through human fear to do or to omit what would burden your con- 
science and violate the commandments of God. Whenever you are 
in danger of sinning through human fear think of Pilate, who from 
human fear condemned Jesus to death and perished eternally ; take 
courage and say with the wise man : " He that feareth man, shall 
quickly fall ; he that trusted in the Lord, shall be set on high."— 
Prov. 29 : 25. 

Part II. 

Another reason why Christ was condemned to death was the incon- 
stancy and fickleness of the Jewish people. 

1. How incredible is the inconstancy of this people! Jesus was 
always a favorite of the people ; wherever he went great multitudes 
accompanied him ; they listened with pleasure to his words and went 
so far in their enthusiasm as to proclaim him king on several occa- 
sions. The ambitious Scribes and Pharisees were right when, fired 
with indignation they exclaimed : " Do you see that we prevail noth- 
ing? Behold, the whole world is gone after him."— John 12: 19. 
And what love, what veneration and attachment did they not mani- 
fest towards him shortly before his death, when he solemnly entered 
Jerusalem. In great crowds they went to meet him, spread their gar- 
ments in the way, and accompanied him, bearing palm branches in 
their hands and in the joy of their hearts they cried out : " Hosanna to 
the son of David. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." 
— Matt. 21 : 9. But what an incomprehensible change is wrought 
in this people in a few days ! They are suddenly completely blinded, 
they no longer know their Redeemer, and their ardent love is turned 
into deadly hatred. Jesus stands before Pilate; the high-priests, 



Scribes and Pharisees demand his death and allege a multitude of 
false accusations and calumnies against him ; they say that he is a 
false teacher, a demagogue, a rebel who refuses obedience to Csesar, 
a malefactor guilty of death. How do the people behave in the 
face of these calumnies? Do they take his part and defend his 
innocence ? . Ah, no ; they espouse the part of his inveterate ene- 
mies, and in a wild rage, cry out : " Crucify him, crucify him."— 
John 19:6. They ask the release of Barabbas, a robber and a mur- 
derer and petition that Jesus should die, Pilate washes his hands 
and affirms solemnly: "I am innocent of the blood of this just 
man, look you to it." And all the people answering said : " His 
blood be upon us, and upon our children."— Matt. 27 : 24, 29. How 
detestable, how damnable is this inconstancy of the Jewish people ! 
Have they not a thousand times deserved the punishments which God 
has visited upon them ? 

2. But how great is also the inconstancy of many Christians ! 
Let us call to mind some particular season of grace, e. #., a mis- 
sion, a Jubilee. How many showed themselves the most fervent 
penitents. They avoided evil occasions, gave up their sinful 
familiarities with persons of the opposite sex, no longer visited 
the houses and societies in which they had so grievously offended 
God, they renounced impurity, unreasonable hours, drinking and 
gambling. No obscene words, no curses and blasphemies crossed 
their lips, they gave up their enmities, shunned every kind of injus- 
tice and carefully guarded against every sin. At the same time they 
were scrupulously observing their religious duties, they prayed, 
listened to the word of God and frequently received the Sacraments. 
Thus piously and penitently many Christians lived a longer or shorter 
time ago. Hew do they live now? Ah, they have returned to their 
old ways. The good resolutions which they made are forgotten, their 
zeal for penance has disappeared, frivolity and forgetfulness of God 
have again taken possession of their hearts. They again entertain 
sinful familiarities, frequent wicked houses and societies, drink, gam- 
ble, curse, swear, blaspheme, commit impurity, cheat, steal, in short, 
again commit the old sins and walk in the ways of vice. I need 
hardly say that they have lost all love for exercises of devotion, and 
especially that they will not hear of the reception of the Sacraments. 
In what great danger is the salvation of such inconstant, wavering 
Christians! There is reason to fear that they will share the fate of 
the fickle-minded Jews, whom the Lord has rejected. An inconstant 
Christian is in greater danger of being lost than the greatest sinner. 



12 



The Way of the Cross. 



Second Station. 



13 



An unchaste man may be moved, like David, who did penance for 
his adultery. A publican may renounce his injustices, like Zaclneus, 
who restored fourfold the goods he had unjustly acquired and gave 
the half of all that he possessed to the poor. People who are sunk 
in the mire of iniquity can be converted like Mary Magdalene who 
bewailed her sins at the feet of Jesus. But of an Achab, who hav- 
ing been warned by Elias, did penance in sackcloth and ashes, and 
afterwards went to Bethel and sacrificed to Baal— of a Zedekias, who 
asked to know the will of the Lord of the Prophet Jeremiah and 
shortly after relapsed into his former blindness — of a Saul, who after 
he had known and repented of his injustice to David, shortly after 
persecuted him again and sought his life— of these we do not read 
that they were ever thoroughly converted or their souls rescued from 
perdition. The words of St. Peter apply to such inconstant Chris- 
tians : " If having fled from the pollutions of the world through the 
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, being again 
entangled in them, they are overcome : their latter state is become 
unto them worse than the former. For it had been better for them 
not to have known the way of justice, than, after they have known 
it, to turn back from thy holy commandment, which was delivered 
to them."—//. Pet. 2 : 20, 21. " And Christ himself says : " No man 
putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the king- 
dom of God."— Luke 9 : 62. Supported by these divine words, St. 
Bernard also says: "Of those who after their conversion relapse into 
the old sins, become ungrateful for the divine grace received, and after 
laying hands to the plough, being of a lukewarm and carnal disposi- 
tion, relapse or after having known the truth, publicly apostatize and 
enter again upon the way of sin — of these you will find but few who 
after such a relapse return to the right path." 

PERORATION. 

What resolution should we make to-day at the first Station? Cer- 
tainly this : Never to allotv human fear and inconstancy to be our 
guides. Pilate acted contrary to his letter knowledge and conscience 
in condemning Jesus to death. He did it from human fear. Let us 
not fear man, but rather God and him alone. Ia* this be your reso- 
lution : rather to incur the hatred of the world and to shed your 
blood than to offend God. Let us detest the inconstancy of the Jews. 
Let us not be reeds, driven about by every wind, but guard against 
every relapse into sin. He only will receive the crown who perse- 
veres unto the end. Let us resolve to be constant in the service of 
God, and let us mourn our weakness and unfaithfulness with humility 
and contrition : "Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us." Amen. 



SECOND STATION. 

JESUS TAKES THE CROSS UPON HIS SHOULDERS. 

"And they took fesus, and led him forth , and bearing his oiun cross, he went forth to 
that place which is called Calvary" — "John iq : /6, if . 

Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, through human fear, has 
yielded to the importunate demands and clamors of the Jews and con- 
demned the divine Saviour to the death of the cross. The preparations 
for the crucifixion are all made ; carpenters hew a long and heavy 
cross, carry it before the governor's palace, others bring nails, ropes, 
hammers, ladders and other things requisite for the crucifixion. The 
servants and soldiers take off the purple mantle, with which Jesus had 
been clothed in derision, aud put on him his own clothes ; in order to 
lead him they put a rope around his loins and commanded him to take 
the cross upon his shoulders. 

Second Station. Jesus takes the cross upon his shoulders. To this 
mystery of the Passion w r e shall to-day direct our attention and con- 
sider that Jesus took the cross upon his shoulders and carried it, 

I. With patience ; and 
II. With joy. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy cross 
thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

. 1. Jesus Christ takes the cross upon his shoulders and carries it 
with patience, although it is in itself very heavy, as well as because of 
the sins of the world. 

(a) The cross teas very heavy in itself. It had been put together 
in haste of rude, hewed wood ; its perpendicular beam measured, 
as St. Bonaventure and others report, fifteen feet, and the cross beam, 
eight feet ; it was a load burdensome enough for any strong, robust 
man. How heavy, then, must it have been for the Redeemer, already 
weakened by the loss of so much blood ! Under the most cruel and 
inhuman treatment he had been dragged from one place to another, 
and not a minute's rest had been allowed him during the preceding 
night ; the loss of blood and the pains of his cruel flagellation had 
completely exhausted him ; moreover, the terrible strokes of the scourg- 



INTENTIONAL SECOND EXPOSURE 



12 



The Way of the Cross. 



Second Station. 



13 



An unchaste man may be moved, like David, who did penance for 
his adultery. A publican may renounce his injustices, like Zachseus, 
who restored fourfold the goods he had unjustly acquired and gave 
the half of all that he possessed to the poor. People who are sunk 
in the mire of iniquity can be converted like Mary Magdalene who 
bewailed her sins at the feet of Jesus. But of an Achab, who hav- 
ing been warned by Elias, did penance in sackcloth and ashes, and 
afterwards went to Bethel and sacrificed to Baal— of a Zedekias, who 
asked to know the will of the Lord of the Prophet Jeremiah and 
shortly after relapsed into his former blindness — of a Saul, who after 
he had known and repented of his injustice to David, shortly after 
persecuted him again and sought his life — of these we do not read 
that they were ever thoroughly converted or their souls rescued from 
perdition. The words of St. Peter apply to such inconstant Chris- 
tians : " If having fled from the pollutions of the world through the 
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, being again 
entangled in them, they are overcome : their latter state is become 
unto them worse than the former. For it had been better for them 
not to have known the way of justice, than, after they have known 
it, to turn back trom thy holy commandment, which was delivered 
to them."— IV Pd. 2 : 20, 21. And Christ himself says : " No man 
putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the king- 
dom of God."— Luke 9 : 62. Supported by these divine words, St. 
Bernard also says : " Of those who after their conversion relapse into 
the old sins, become ungrateful for the divine grace received, and after 
laying hands to the plough, being of a lukewarm and carnal disposi- 
tion, relapse or after having known the truth, publicly apostatize and 
enter again upon the way of sin— of these you will find but few who 
after such a relapse return to the right path." 

PERORATION. 

What resolution should we make to-day at the first Station? Cer- 
tainly this : Never to allow human fear and inconstancy to be our 
guides. Pilate acted contrary to his better knowledge and conscience 
in condemning Jesus to death. He did it from human fear. Let us 
not fear man, but rather God and him alone. Let this be your reso- 
lution : rather to incur the hatred of the world and to shed your 
blood than to offend God. Let us detest the inconstancy of the Jews. 
Let us not be reeds, driven about by every wind, but guard against 
every relapse into sin. He only will receive the crown who perse- 
veres unto the end. Let us resolve to be constant in the service of 
God, and let us mourn our weakness and unfaithfulness with humility 
and contrition : "Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us." Amen. 



SECOND STATION. 

JESUS TAKES THE CROSS UPON HIS SHOULDERS. 

"And they took Jesus, and led him forth, and bearing his oxvn cross, he went forth to 
that place which is called Calvary" — John ig : 16, 17. 

Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, through human fear, has 
yielded to the importunate demands and clamors of the Jews and con- 
demned the divine Saviour to the death of the cross. The preparations 
for the crucifixion are all made ; carpenters hew a long and heavy 
cross, carry it before the governor's palace, others bring nails, ropes, 
hammers, ladders and other things requisite for the crucifixion. The 
servants and soldiers take off the purple mantle, with which Jesus had 
been clothed in derision, and put on him his own clothes ; in order to 
lead him they put a rope around his loins and commanded him to take 
the cross upon his shoulders. 

Second Station. Jesus takes the cross upon his shoulders. To this 
mystery of tlie Passion we shall to-day direct our attention and con- 
sider that Jesus took the cross upon his shoulders and carried it, 

/. With patience ; and 
II. With joy. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy cross 
thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

1. Jesus Christ takes the cross upon his shoulders and carries it 
with patience, although it is in itself very heavy, as well as because of 
the sins of the world. 

m 

(a) The cross was very heavy in itself. It had been put together 
in haste of rude, hewed wood ; its perpendicular beam measured, 
as St. Bonaventure and others report, fifteen feet, and the cross beam, 
eight feet ; it was a load burdensome enough for any strong, robust 
man. How heavy, then, must it have been for the Redeemer, already 
weakened by the loss of so much blood ! Under the most cruel and 
inhuman treatment he had been dragged from one place to another, 
and not a minute's rest had been allowed him during the preceding 
night ; the loss of blood and the pains of his cruel flagellation had 
completely exhausted him ; moreover, the terrible strokes of the scourg- 






y, 



r / -■ 

i' . 



i^€ 



14 



The Way of the Cross. 






ing had so bruised and lacerated his back and shoulders that the least 
pressure caused him the most intense pains. From this it is evident, 
what a heavy load the cross must have been for our divine Saviour, 
and what violent pain he must have experienced when it was laid 
upon his mangled back and shoulders. 

(6) But the sins of the world rendered the cross still heavier. There 
are living upon the earth over a hundred millions of men, who on an 
average die within the space of thirty years thereby making room for 
as many and even more descendants. Though the earth was not as 
much populated before the coming of Christ as it is now-a-days, still 
more than a hundred millions must have lived up to this time, and as 
many may yet live until the end of time. Let us now suppose what 
is far from being real, that every man commits only one sin every 
day, mortal or venial, he will have committed about ten thousand sins 
in thirty years. Now, if we compute this number of sins for all men 
that have ever lived from the beginning of the world, and shall live 
to the end of time, we obtain a number of sins, which no longer 
amounts to millions and billions, and of which we can no longer form 
an idea, because of the immense multitude. Behold all these sins 
together with the cross were laid upon his shoulders, and Jesus, the 
Lamb of God, was compelled to take them and carry them with the 
cross. Therefore, St. Peter writes : " Who his own self bore our sins 
in his body upon the tree, that we being dead to sin should live to 
justice." — /. Pet 2 : 24. Now, if many of the Saints were so deeply 
grieved at the sins which are committed in the world, who can com- 
prehend the sorrow which Jesus experienced, when he saw the cross, 
loaded with so many sins, lying before him ? And who will be able 
to describe his consternation and terror, when he took this terrible load 
upon his shoulders ! 

t (c) Nevertheless he takes the cross upon his shoulders with patience. 
He offers himself as a sacrifice to his Heavenly Father with the great- 
est willingness, and patiently takes the cross upon his shoulders in 
order to carry it to Calvary. The prophet Isaiah (53 : 7) had said of 
him : " He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened 
not his mouth : he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall 
be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his 
mouth." His body writhes under the terrible load, and all his mem- 
bers tremble, but he complains not, he laments not, but prays even 
now as on Mount Olivet : " Father, not my will, but thine be done." 
— Luke 22 : 42. 



Second Station. 



15 



2. We, too, must carry our cross with patience. And why f Since 
sin entered into the world the earth resembles a cemetery where one 
tombstone follows another, one cross another. Poverty and need 
sickness and pain, oppression, persecution, and a thousand other spir- 
itual and corporal calamities afflict men and draw from them num- 
berless doleful sighs and groans. Job was right in saying : " Man 
born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many mis- 
eries." — Job 14: 1. 

(b) Because it is only when the cross is borne in patience that it is- 
meritorious. Simply to carry the cross of itsself does not lead to 
heaven, its value depends upon the patience with which it is borne. 
There is no doubt but that many who had heavy crosses on earth are 
now in hell, their cross afforded them no blessing because they did 
not carry it with patience and resignation to the will of God. St. 
Gregory says, that as patience in suffering is a sign of election, im- 
patience is a mark of condemnation. And Christ himself says : " In 
your patience you shall possess your souls." — Luke 21 : 19. Know- 
ing this, as we do, it is, indeed, unreasonable for us to become impa- 
tient in carrying our cross', for thereby the cross is not removed from 
our shoulders, but we lose all merit ; the more patiently we carry the 
cross, the greater the reward that awaits us in heaven. 

(c) Because Christ has carried his most heavy cross with the most 
perfect patience. A young lady of noble extraction wished to enter 
an austere Order. To try her vocation the superioress gave her a 
terrible description of the austerity of the convent, conducted her in 
spirit to all the apartments of the community, and showed her only 
such things as were calculated to terrify human sensuality. The 
virgin seemed very much startled at what she heard, and said nothing. 
"My daughter," said the superioress, " you are silent." "I have 
only one question to ask," replied the postulant, "are there also cruci- 
fixes in the convent?" "Yes, my child," said the superioress," "in 
all these places there are crucifixes." " Oh, then," replied the young 
lady, " all is well ; wherever find an image of my crucified Saviour 
I shall have no difficulty." My brethren, crucifixes are not wanting 
to us, faith and devotion has placed them everywhere for our venera- 
tion. When a heavy cross presses upon you, follow the example of 
this young lady, cast a look upon your crucified Redeemer and con- 
template the unconquerable patience with which Jesus carried his 
cross; and you will most certainly be encouraged to carry yours with 
patience, since for the love of you Christ bore a far heavier one. If 



/ 



16 



The Way of the Cross. 



it happens that we suffer opprobrium or insult, let us consider what 
Jesus Christ has suffered and instantly our suffering will become tol- 
erable and even sweet, nay, the sharpest thorns will be changed into 
roses for us. 

Part II. 

When Jesus saw the cross he stretched out his hands streaming with 
blood and embraced it affectionately, kissed it, and with joy took it 
upon his shouldws. 

1. Why did Christ take the cross upon himself not only with 
patience but also with joy ! Through mere love and mercy towards 
mankind. Through the sin, which we all inherited from our first 
parents, and through our own actual sins we were plunged into the 
deepest misery; deprived of sanctifying grace we languished in the 
servitude of the devil, heaven was closed against us and endless misery 
awaited us. What rendered our lot still more deplorable was the 
impossibility of raising ourselves from our fall by our own exertions 
and of again obtaining God's love, grace and friendship. Left to 
ourselves, nothing remained for us but to live and die in the state of 
disgrace and sin and to be cast away for ever. Jesus knew our misery 
and our inability to help ourselves, and having compassion on us, he 
resolved to redeem us. Since according to the divine decree the work 
of Redemption could not be accomplished except by his death on the 
cross, his heart rejoiced when he saw before him the instrument of our 
redemption. He did not think of the weight of the cross, nor of the 
inexpressible pains in which he would die ; his merciful love had 
before his eyes only the precious fruits, which would ripen for us on 
the cross; therefore, with the greatest desire he stretched out his 
hands streaming with blood, embraced the cross, kissed it and with 
joy took it upon his mangled and bleeding shoulders. 

2. that we also, imitating Jesus, would take up our cross and 
carry it not only with patience but also with joy ! Why ? 

(a) Because the cross disengages and detaches our hearts from the 
world, and directs our thoughts to eternal goods. Contemplate a sick 
person who suffers great pains -and has no rest day or night. What a 
change takes place in him ! He finds no relish in earthly things, 
possessions, and worldly goods are indifferent to him, he remembers 
with disgust the pleasures he has enjoyed, he is convinced with Solo- 
mon that all things under the sun are vanity and afflictions of spirit. 
Even the passions which governed him lose their power, and die 



Second Station. 



IT 



under the pressure of the cross. The hostile and revengeful man is 
inclined to reconciliation, the proud man becomes humble, the un- 
chaste man detests his debaucheries, and even the unbeliever again 
seeks peace and consolation in faith. Thus the cross is to innumerable 
sinners and worldly people the means of the salvation of their souls. 

(b) Because the cross confirms us in virtue. The more strokes of the 
hammer you give to the nail the deeper it sinks into the wood, and the 
stronger it holds, so also the more a pious Christian has to suffer, the 
more he is confirmed in virtue. Let us only think of ourselves. 
How soon do we become lukewarn, how soon does our zeal for vir- 
tue grow cold, if for any length of time we enjoy days of prosperity r 
and can live without trouble and cares ! It is, therefore, very salu- 
tary, nay, often necessary, that tribulations come upon us from time 
to time. Thereby we are moved, the soul which has grown languid 
is animated anew, and fidelity to God takes a deeper root in our heart. 
Moreover, the cross is especially calculated to detach us from creatures 
which could shake our constancy, it awakens and preserves within us 
a salutary diffidence in ourselves, compels us to watch and pray, and 
to employ (ftner necessary and useful means for preserving God's 
grace in our heart. In general, the cross affords an opportunity for 
the practice and increase of many Christian virtues. In sufferings 
and afflictions faith becomes more living, hope firmer, love more ar- 
dent, devotion more fervent, humility, and resignation take deeper 
root and produce more precious fruits. 

(c) Because the cross increases our glory in heaven. Since, like fire 
it purifies us from the dross of sin and revives our fervor in virtue 
and since it extirpates self-love and inflames within us the love of 
God, it enables us to enrich ourselves with merits in this life, and to 
gain hereafter a great reward. Hence, St. Gregory the Great says : 
" If an innocent man is punished with scourges, the treasure of his 
merits is increased by his patience. The soul of the elect, indeed, 
withers now, but it becomes green hereafter in the exultation of beat- 
itude." 

(d) Finally, because the Saints have given us the most beautiful 
example in carrying their cross. Far from rejecting the cross, they 
accepted it with the greatest willingness from the hand of God, and 
carried it with a joyful heart. Thus " the Apostles went from the 
presence of the council rejoicing, that they were accounted worthy to 
suffer reproach for the name of Jesus."— Acts 5 : 41. St. Teresa used 
to say: "Lord, let me suffer or die ; " and St. Magdalene of Pazzi used. 



18 



The Way of the Cross. 



to pray : " Let me suffer, and not die." St. Francis of Assisium called 
pains and sickness his brothers and sisters, poverty and contempt his 
dearest daughters. When St. Francis Xavier was at Lisbon, he was 
grieved because everything went according to his desires and wishes, and 
lie was anxious lest he might fall from the state of grace,' if freed from 
every cross. Whenever a calamity befel him, he used to exclaim : " More 
yet, my God, more yet." Often in tribulations he prayed : " Lord, 
take not this cross from me, unless you send me a greater one." When- 
ever in their sufferings and tribulations the Saints were tempted by a 
want of faith, they at once consoled themselves with the words of the 
Apostle: "The present tribulation, which is momentary and light, 
worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory/' 
—II. Cor .4: 17. 

PERORATION. 

This should be for us also an inexhaustible source of comfort and 
consolation in every tribulation and difficulty. Our cross weighs upon 
us only for a time, but the reward which follows will be eternal. Let 
us look upon Jesus ; heavy was the cross which he carried ; he now 
carries it no longer, it glitters in his hand as an emblem of victory 
over death and hell, and has acquired for his humanity the glory of 
heaven. What a happiness for us, if, like Jesus, we carry our cross, 
during the shore' time of our earthly pilgrimage, like him we shall 
also be glorified. Let us, then, to-day, prostrate ourselves again before 
Jesus in the Second Station of the Way of the Cross, and pray with 
heart and lips : How could I be a friend of Christ if I am an enemy 
of the cross? O dear, O good cross ! I embrace thee, I kiss thee, I 
joyfully accept thee from the hand of God. Far be it from me to 
glory in anything but the cross. By it the world shall be crucified to 
me, and I to the world, that I may belong to thee, O Jesus, alone and 
completely. Amen. 



Third Station. 



19 



THIRD STATION. 

JESUS FALLS BENEATH THE CROSS THE FIRST TIME. 



" Haze mercy on me, O God, for man has trodden me tinder foot." Ps. jj ; /. 

Jesns Christ is condemned to death ; he has taken the heavy cross 
upon his mangled shoulders, and goes forth with it to the place of 
execution, there to shed his precious blood under sufferings the most 
intense. On his way to death he is surrounded by soldiers armed 
with swords and clubs, and a great multitude precede and follow him. 
Many also of the respectable among the Jews, priests, Scribes and 
Pharisees accompany the Saviour laden with his cross ; they mock 
and blaspheme him and with exulting mien say : " At last, he is in 
our power, and he shall never escape us, we shall, ere long, see him 
die on the cross." Let us also accompany this mournful train, and 
stopping at the Third Station consider how Jesus falls beneath the cross 
(he first time. Why did Jesus fall so painfully f For two reasons, 

I. Because of the superabundance of his suffering, which we have 
inflicted upon him by our sins ; 
II. Because of the unfruitfulness of his Passion, in regard to those 
sinners who will not desist from their sins. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

As the first reason, why Christ on his way to death fell so painful a 
fall, we may assume the superabundance of sufering which we have 
afflicted upon him. This" suffering of Jesus was twofold. 
1. Interior. 

(a) The holy martyrs in the midst of all their tortures enjoyed 
divine consolation ; God sustained them in their sufferings, consoled 
and strengthened them. They, therefore, did not hesitate and trem- 
ble at the sight of the instruments of martyrdom ; exultingly, as to a 
nuptial banquet, they went to death and endured the most cruel tor- 
toes with a courage and joyfulness, that astonished even their torturers. 
The holy deacon Lawrence, when lying on a red hot gridiron jest- 
ingly said to his torturers : " Take and eat, for I am roasted." But 
it was not thus with Christ, when loaded with the cross he went to 



20 



The Way of the Cross. 



Calvary to die for us. The heavenly Father looked upon him as a 
victim who, because he had taken upon himself the guilt of sin, de- 
served punishment; he therefore withdrew all consolation from his 
humanity, so that he could even now exclaim, as afterwards on the 
cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me."— 3IatL 
27: 46. Neither did he receive any consolation from man on his 
hard way of the cross. His disciples had abandoned him, the people 
had forgotten his benefits and desired his death, the leaders of the 
Jews were his sworn enemies. Therefore Christ could truly say with 
David : " I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but 
there was none ; and for one that would comfort me, and I found 
none." — Ps. 68: 21. Now who can comprehend what the most 
Sacred Heart of Jesus suffered in being thus deprived of all consola- 
tion, and abandoned by God and man on his way to death, amid such 
inexpressible bodily pains ! yea, when he was mocked, blasphemed, 
insulted, and abused by his enemies! Can a greater affliction be im- 
agined? Can we wonder, that exhausted and powerless, he fell to the 
ground beneath the load of the cross ? 

(6) This interior suffering, this utter abandonment and dereliction 
our dear Lord wished to take upon himself for the atonement of 
our sins, whereby God is offended in so many ways. But if men dc* 
not avail themselves of the merits of Christ, if they impenitently per- 
severe in their sinful life, they shall receive a taste of that anguish of 
soul and abandonment which crushed Jesus to the earth on his way 
to death. When they come to die, they will call for their former 
friends and companions of sin, and implore their help, but these will 
turn their backs upon them and abandon them to their misery. They 
will seek consolation of the world, but the world will refuse them its 
caresses, and will do nothing for their relief. They will, perhaps, turn 
to God, but it is to be feared that in them the words of the Holv 
Ghost will be fulfilled: "Because I called, and you refused: I 
stretched out my hand ; and there was none that regarded. You have 
despised all my counsel, and have neglected my reprehensions. I also 
will laugh in your destruction ; and will mock when that shall come 
to you which you feared." — Prov. 1 : 24, 25. Consider this unhappy 
end of the impenitent sinner, and labor to escape it by a thorough 
and speedy repentance. 

2. Exterior. 

(a) When criminals are in prison, or already condemned to death, 
they are generally treated with mildness and consideration. Just the 



Third Station. 



21 



reverse was the case with Christ. He is scarcely in the hands of his 
enemies when one ill treatment follows another, he is dragged before 
Annas, Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod, buffeted, scourged most inhumanly , 
a crown of thorns is put on his head, and during the whole night 
from Holy Thursday to Good Friday they allow him not a moment's 
rest, and they never grow tired of mocking, blaspheming or torment- 
ing Mm, And behold, after so many and such great sufferings, 
after such complete exhaustion, Jesus takes the cross upon his' 
shoulders in order to carry it to Calvary's Mount. Is it, therefore, 
astonishing, that after a short space he staggers and falls prostrate to 
the ground ! 

{b) Recognize herein the enormity of sin, for after all it is sin only 
that is the cause of the sufferings of Jesus in general, as also of this 
painful fall m particular: "He was wounded for our iniquities he 
was bruised for our sins."-A 53 : 5. Now if God does not spare 
even his only beloved Son, having taken the sins of the world upon 
himself, but subjects him to the full severity of his justice, can it be 
something insignificant, can it be only a matter of small amount to 
commit mortal sins and to relapse into them again and again ? Basil- 
his, a notorious emperor of the Orient, while out hunting one dav 
Meeting an elk of extraordinary size, rushed upon him and tried to 
slay h,m with a lance; but the elk, by means of his antler, caught 
the emperor at his cincture, lifted him on high and was about to dash 
Mm to the ground, when a nobleman in the vicinity noticing the peril 
of the emperor, hastened to his rescue and saved his life. Every one 
praised the heroic act of the nobleman, and believed that the emperor 
would richly reward him. But what did he do? The infaLous 
wretch, whose pr.de could not endure to be under obligations to any 
one for a benefit, ordered the nobleman, under the pretext of having 
sought Ins hfe, to be beheaded. Do not people who commit mortal 
sms act more wickedly and ungratefully towards Jesus, than did this 
emperor towards the nobleman who saved his life? Is it not a 

Znk^7 l \ S - 0ff f Ce T USt ° Ur dh ' ine Savi0Ur ' if ' instead of be^g 
thankful to him for the grace of Redemption, we crucify him anew" 

Beholding our suffering Saviour thus fatigued unto death, and lying 
prostrate beneath the weight of the cross, let us reflect what a terribll 

tei tSl'rV 8 ' "S V" make the reS0luti0n henceforth t0 kad a peni- 
tential life, and to d.e rather than offend him again by mortal sin 




22 



The Way of the Cross. 
Part II. 



Third Station. 



23 



Another reason why Christ on his way to Calvary's Mount fell in 
so painful a manner was, without doubt, the unfruitfulness of his 
Passion in so many impenitent sinners. To convince ourselves of 
this, let us consider, 

1. The love of Jesus for men. No mother loves her only child as 
Jesus loved us, for as the prophet Jeremiah assures us, he loved us 
with an eternal love. Is not his incarnation even a proof of his in- 
finite love ! Or is it not an evidence of his infinite love for us, when 
for our redemption he exchanged heaven* for earth, walked among us 
in the form of a servant, and for thirty years led a life of poverty, 
contempt and humiliations ? Was it not loving us with an infinite 
love, when, finally, he suffered the most bitter death of the cross, in 
order to reconcile us with God, and rescue us from eternal damnation? 
And how affectionate did he not show himself towards sinners during 
his earthly career ! How condescending was he not towards the 
Samaritan woman, how mercifully did he not treat the adulteress, 
whom the Jews wished to stone to death, how affectionately he re- 
ceived Magdalene, that notorious public sinner, how mercifully and 
forgivingly he looked at Peter, who had denied him three times ! He 
rejected not even the murderer on the cross, but in the last hour of 
his life gave him the consoling assurance: "This day thou shalt be 
with me in paradise." — Luke 23 : 43. Evidence of the love of Jesus 
for us sinful men, and of his desire to save us, are also the parables of 
the good shepherd, who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in the desert and 
goes after the lost one, till he find it, and having found it, rejoices 
over it ; of the woman who seeks the lost groat with the greatest 
anxiety, and when she has found it shows it to her friends and neigh- 
bors, saying : "Rejoice with me, because I found the groat which I 
had lost." — Luke 15:9. Because Christ loved men with an ineffable 
love, he longed, during his whole life upon earth, for the day on 
which he could accomplish the work of redemption ; for this reason 
he said to his disciples at the last supper : " With desire I have de- 
sired to eat this pasch with you before I suffer." — Luke 23 : 15. 

2. His foreknowledge that his bitter Passion and death would be 
fruitless for the greater part of mankind. By virtue of his omnis- 
cience he foresaw, that the majority of Jews and pagans would perse- 
vere in voluntary blindness, and, therefore, remain for ever excluded 
from the kingdom of God ; he foresaw that many Catholics would 



apostatize from the true faith, and thereby be eternally lost ; he fore- 
saw that the majority of Catholics would fail to become partakers of 
the merits of his Passion, and consequently perish eternally. While 
Christ, on the way of the cross, by reason of his omniscience repre- 
sented to himself the people of all times, he was forced to say to him- 
self : U I love men so affectionately, and I have done and suffered so 
much for them, I am even now on the way to die for them, and what 
will be the result of all my sacrifices? Fruitless with so many are 
my instructions, my benefits, my miracles, and all the suffering of my 
earthly life; fruitless is my agony and my bloody sweat on Mount 
Olivet; fruitless the numberless insults, ignominies, and pains which 
I endured at my scourging and crowning with thorns; fruitless my 
going unto death, and the blood which I am about to shed on the 
cross. Great is the number of the unchaste, the avaricious, the un- 
just, the irreconcilable, the slothful, and those forgetful of salvation, 
for whom I shall shed my blood in vain, for they will not do pen- 
ance, but live and die in sin." Now when Christ, on the one hand,, 
loved men so much, and therefore wished to save them in every pos- 
sible way, and on the other hand saw, that nevertheless by far the 
greater number would be delivered to eternal perdition, an inexpressi- 
ble sadness and sorrow, more oppressive than the cross which he 
carried, weighed upon his most sacred heart, with every step his 
strength decreased, and at length, completely exhausted, he fainted 
and fell to the ground. 

3. Ah, how many there may be amongst us, who were the cause of 
Christ's sorroivf ul fall on the way to Calvary! How many there are 
who thoughtlessly violate the commandments of God, and the pre- 
cepts of the Church, and persevere in their sinful career ! They have 
so many means at their disposal, but they either do not avail them- 
selves of them or abuse them for the still ^greater offence of God. 
Many sermons are preached during the year; if by each sermon only 
one soul would be converted, in a short time there would be no more 
sinners, they are remembered at every Sacrifice of the Mass, many 
Christians pray for them, offer up holy Communions for them ; they 
always have an opportunity, especially on Sundays and holydays, of 
reconciling themselves to God by a worthy reception of the Sacra- 
ments, yet they do not amend their life, but persevere in sin, and no 
grace is powerful enough to recall them from their evil ways. How 
was it possible for Christ, ladened with the cross, not to have fallen 
to the ground on account of these sinners? If you live among 
Christians, with whom the merits of the Passion and death of Christ 



24 



The Way of the Cross. 



seem lost, on account of their continued impenitence, tell them to 
place themselves near the Third Station and there to reflect that Jesus 
on account of their impenitence, fell beneath the cross. Parents, tell 
your dissipated son, your wayward daughter : For your sake Christ 
fell beneath the cross. Christians, tell all impenitent sinners : On your 
account Christ fell beneath the weight of the cross; yet it was not the 
weight of the cross, but your sins that pressed him to the ground. 

PERORATION. 

Looking at the picture of the Third Station, let us ask ourselves the 
important question : Am I also the cause of Christ's sorrowful fall ? 
We all, perhaps, have reason to answer in the affirmative, and confess : 
Yes, I am the cause, and on my account Christ fell thus painfully to 
the ground. Though at present we live in the state of grace, yet in 
years past we have often contaminated our conscience and offended 
God by thought, word, deed and omission. Whether we are sinners 
or penitents, let us prostrate ourselves at the Third Station, strike our 
breast and sigh contritely : " Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on 
us ! " Amen. 



FOURTH STATION. 



JESUS MEETS HIS MOST AFFLICTED MOTHER. 



" O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sor- 
row. " — Lam. i : 12. 

Christ having somewhat recovered from his painful fall, summons 
all his remaining strength, takes the heavy cross upon his shoulders 
and again pursues the way to Calvary. But how hard did this jour- 
ney become for him before he arrived at its end ! Mary, knowing her 
dearest Son to be in the hands of his enemies, has no longer any resi 
or peace, she must see him and accompany him on his way to death, 
in order to afford him all possible relief in his dire need and aban- 
donment. In order to see him, she takes with her companions a 
shorter route which leads to Calvary, and waits at a spot By which 
the mournful procession must pass. She has not long to wait, sav- 
age cries fill the air, Christ, bent beneath the burden of the cross, 
surrounded by soldiers and accompanied by a great multitude of 



Fourth Station. 



25 



people, approaches and meets his mother. Let us consider with heart- 
felt sympathy in this meeting of Mother and Son under the most 
afflicting circumstances, 

L The sorrow of the Son, and 

II. The sorrow of the Mother. 

* 
" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 

<;ross thou hast redeemed the world." 



Part I. 

In order to comprehend the greatness of the sorrow which Jesus 
experienced on his way to Calvary when he met his most afflicted 
mother, let us consider, 

1. That he loved her most tenderly. His heart was ever full of 
love, mercy and compassion towards the afflicted. Thus in the city 
of Xaim, a youth was carried out, the only son of a widow. Jesiis 
seeing the mother of the dead youth in the deepest grief, is at once 
moved with compassion ; drawing near to her, he says : " Weep not." 
Then he called the dead man to life, and changed the sorrow and sad- 
ness of the mother into inexpressible joy. Shortly before his own 
death, he stands at the grave of Lazarus in Bethany ; the death or" 
this man, and the affliction of those present, grieve him so much that 
he himself sighs, and is moved to tears.— John 11 : 33-35. Such 
a sympathizing, feeling heart had our divine Lord for the sufferings 
of others. Yes, even the misfortunes of his enemies moves him to 
tears. How great was his sorrow over the destruction of Jerusalem ? 
At the sight of this city, whose end is to be so deplorable, he cannot 
restrain his tears: "Seeing the city, he wept over it."— Luke 19: 41. 
Still more; even with his murderers lie hud mercy, and from the cross 
spoke those words of love and forgiveness: "Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do."— Luke 23 : 34. Now when Jesus 
was so affectionate towards all men, even towards his enemies, Oh, 
what anguish must have pierced his heart when he met under such 
afflicting circumstances his mother, whom he so tenderly loved. His 
sorrow was great when the terrible scourges lacerated his body, when 
the sharp, pointed thorns penetrated deeply into his head, and when 
weighed down by his cross, he fell to the ground, but the sorrow 
which the sight of his afflicted mother caused him. was incomparably 
greater, and we may well believe what St, Bridget says : " When 
Jesus saw his mother in such affliction, the sorrow he experienced on 
her account was so great that the pains of all his wounds ceased." 



26 



The Way of the Cross. 



Fourth Station. 



27 



2. That he was unable, in her deep affliction, to offer her any 
comfort or consolation. It is true, this was not impossible to him, 
for even in his deepest humiliation, he, being the Son of God, was 
almighty, and he had only to will, and Mary's intense sorrow would 
have been changed into the greatest joy ; but according to the decree 
of his divine Wisdom, he had ordained that his most holy mother 
should take an active part in his Passion and death ; in this sense he 
was not able to raise her up in her sorrow and console her. Though 
according to his human will, he desired to comfort his afflicted 
mother, his divine will prevented it, and it demanded of him to 
accomplish the work of Redemption under all its painful, aggravating 
circumstances and to drink the chalice of bitterness to the very dregs. 
Although the best of sons, he could not help his dearest mother, no, 
not even console her by a single word. Truly, meeting his most 
beloved mother under such circumstances, he could exclaim with the 
prophet : " O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be 
any sorrow like to my sorrow ! " 

3. Application. Christian sons and daughters, look upon the 
Fourth Station and learn from your Saviour, how you too should ten- 
derly love your parents, and share with them both joy and sorrow, 
prospeiity and adversity. Although they are not as good and perfect 
as Mary, the best of all mothers, yet they deserve all your love and 
gratitude, for after God they are your greatest benefactors. Reflect 
upon all the good they have done you in body and soul, think of all 
the trouble and solicitude you have caused them, the labor and pain 
they have endured for your sake. How ungrateful you would be if 
you should forget the benefits received, or should repay them with 
rudeness and ill-treatment ! What a callous, hard heart you would 
have, if in their old age, in sickness and distress, you should abandon 
or repudiate them ! And yet there are such children. A good tree 
nourishes many fruits, and causes them to grow and ripen. But as 
soon as they are mature they burden the tree, bend it to the ground, 
and break off many branches, yea, would even destroy it altogether, 
were it not supported by props. Do many c'ildren act otherwise? 
Having been reared by their parents at the cost of much care and 
trouble they cause them nothing but sorrow and grief. They have 
no patience with their frailties, treat them harshly and rudely, and 
frequently let them suffer want and misery. An old saying is 
very applicable just here : " Parents can support five, six and more 
children, but five, six, and even more children often do not support 
an aged father and mother." They willingly see their parents depart 



this life, in order to have no longer any care and expense with them. 
Such God-forsaken, ungrateful children certainly incur a great 
responsibility before God and have reason to fear, that in them will 
be fulfilled the words of the Holy Ghost : " Of what an evil fame is 
he that forsaketh his father ? And he is cursed of God that anger- 
eth his mother." — Eccles. 3 : 18. Beware then, Christian children, 
of such conduct towards your parents, treat them with reverence, 
mildness, and forbearance, though they should not be without fault, 
love them affectionately and let them want for nothing in their sick- 
ness or old age. Consider the words of the Lord : " Son support the 
old age of thy father; and grieve him not in his life: and if his 
understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not 
when thou art in thy strength : for the relieving of the father shall 
not be forgotten."— Eccles. 3 : 14, 15. 

Part II. 

Great, ineffably great, was the sorrow of the Blessed Virgin, 
Mother/ of God, when she met Jesus ladened with his cross. The 
greatneW^oj/ this sorrow will become manifest to us when we con- 
sider, 

1. The person who carries the cross. Compassionate hearts sym- 
pathize with the misery of others, and on beholding it can scarcely 
refrain from tears. Thus the women of Jerusalem wept when they 
saw Jesus laden with the cross, and accompanied him to the place 
of execution, wherefore he said to them : " Daughters of Jerusalem, 
weep not over me ; but weep for yourselves and for your children." 
Luke 23 : 28. How much greater is the grief if the suffering per- 
son is no stranger, but a relative, or a child ! How much did not 
Jacob lament when the bloody coat of Joseph was exhibited to him, 
and he was told that a wild beast had devoured him ! Inconsolable in 
his grief, he exclaimed : " I will go down to my son into hell (limbo) 
mourning."— Gen. 37: 35. What must have been Mary's anguish 
when she saw her son in the hands of his murderers led to crucifixion ! 
If she was so sorrowful at the loss of her son at Jerusalem that she 
said lamentingly : " Son, why hast thou done so to us ? Behold, thy 
father and I have sought thee sorrowing."— Luke 2 : 48. What must 
have been her sufferings at the Fourth Station when she saw him so 
.terribly abused, and knew that he was to die on the cross? How 
truly St. Bernardine says : " At the sight of her Son Marv experi- 
enced a sorrow so great that if it had been equally divided among all 
men they would have died." 



28 



The Way of the Cross. 



Fourth Station. 



29 



2. His suffering form. Ah, the most beautiful amongst the sons 
of men lias no longer any form or beauty, he is the most despised 
and abject of men, a man of sorrows, like to a leper, whom the Lord 
has bruised for our sins. — Is. 53 : 2-5. His head is crowned with 
thorns, his eyes are swollen and full of dust, tears and blood, his 
countenance is disfigured with spittle, perspiration, wounds and blood, 
his garment is soiled and reddened with blood, upon his mangled 
shoulders lies the heavy cross, the terrible instrument of his Passion, 
the weight of which presses him to the ground, in short he is a most 
pitiable object to behold. Add to this the horrible curses and impre- 
cations of the soldiers, the mockery of the Scribes and Pharisees, the 
clamor and noise of the rabble, and you have but a faint idea of how 
Mary beholds her Son! Pilate, a pagan, seeing him, has compassion 
on him and exclaims : " Ecce Homo ! " Behold the man ! If the 
cold heart of a pagan is touched, how must the most tender, loving 
mother's heart feel ! O, at the Fourth Station of the Way of the Cross 
the prophetic words of St. Simeon were fulfilled in Mary to the very 
letter: "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce." — Luke 2: 35. On 
account of this sorrow Mary is justly called " The Queen of Mar- 
tyrs." 

3. Application. Parents have an excellent example in Mary, 
how they should take an active interest in the necessities of their 
children, and relieve them as far as is in their power. They are 
obliged thereto by Christian charity and the duty of their station of 
life. They, therefore, sin against charity and against justice by not 
being solicitous, 

(a) For the temporal welfare of their children. Many parents 
have a number of children, which necessitates their working early 
and late, in order to procure for them the necessities of life. But 
how do many act? They give themselves up to idleness, spend 
their time in saloons, and squander their last cent in drinking 
and gambling. Though the wife and children suffer the utmost 
need, though they have no clothes to cover themselves decently, no 
bread to stay their hunger, the dissipated father cares not, provided 
his wants are gratified. To such fathers the words of the Apostle 
apply : " If any man have not care of his own, and especially 
those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an 
infidel."— J. Tim. 5:8. 

(6) For their spiritual welfare. Many parents act contrary to 
their duty in this regard. Their children frequently, even in early 



life manifest great levity and conduct which foreshadows the worst 
results. The older they become the more they degenerate; prayer, 
going to church, receiving the Sacraments and all religious exercises 
are distasteful to them ; they plunge themselves into a life of world- 
liness and dissipation, and give free scope to all their sinful lusts and 
desires. With such children parents should have no compassion, they 
should act toward them with severity ; for they are in a fair way of 
becoming miserable for time and eternity. But no ; they allow their 
son their daughter to go the way that leads to perdition and are even 
angry with those who disapprove of their wicked conduct. Are there 
not parents who scold about teachers when they punish their little 
good-for-nothings at school ? Are there not parents who resist the 
rules and regulations which are made for the good of children ? Are 
there not parents who reprehend priests for forbidding unseasonable 
hours, drinking, gambling and dancing ? O the blindness of some 
parents, whilst they believe that they love their children they are 
their greatest enemies, and not a spark of true love and compassion 
glimmers in their heart ! What a responsibility is theirs, because 
their children on account of neglected discipline offend God in many 
ways, and are perhaps lost for ever ! 

PERORATION. 

Parents and children, assemble to-day before the Fourth Station of 
the Way of the Cross, consider the sorrow of Jesus and Mary in their 
meeting and make firm resolutions to fulfil conscientiously your 
respective duties. Children, love your parents, honor them, obey 
them ; if they are old have patience with them and assist them accord- 
ing to your ability, in order to repay whilst they live at least a part of 
the debt which you owe them. Parents, have a true, Christian love 
for your children, be solicitous for their spiritual and temporal welfare 
and put forth all your energy in order to bring them up in the love 
and fear of God, and to rear them good Christians. Such a love as 
exists between parent and child should reign amongst you all. Let 
us, according to the admonition of the Apostle, put on the bowels of 
mercy, assist one another in our necessities according to our ability 
and promote our temporal and eternal welfare. But because with the 
best will we cannot help ourselves or others without the assistance of 
God's grace, let us have recourse to Jesus the fountain of all consola- 
tion and help, and pray with humility and confidence : " Jesus Christ 
crucified, have mercy on us." Amen. 



/ 



30 



The Way of the Cross. 






FIFTH STATION. 

SIMON OF CYRENE ASSISTS JESUS IN CARRYING THE CROSS. 

"And they forced one Simon of Cyrene io take up his cross." — Mark ij ; 21. 

Thanks be to God! The fury with which the divine Saviour 
has been persecuted ceases by degrees, and human feelings again in- 
fluence the hearts of his enemies. Even the rude soldiers manifest 
some mercy and compassion, for they take the heavy load of the 
cross from his shoulders and place it upon a certain Simon of Cy- 
rene. "And they forced one Simon of Cyrene to take up His 
cross." Christ is now relieved of his heavv burden, he can some- 
what recover from his weakness, and the easier accomplish his way 
to Calvary. Human hearts have procured him this mitigation. But 
think you that the cross was removed from the shoulders of the 
exhausted Saviour from a motive of mercy and compassion? By 
no means; it was only done in order to be able to crucify him. 
His enemies plainly saw that he was too weak to carry the cross, 
they, therefore, took it from him and compelled Simon of Cyrene 
to carry it for him. Thus, they thought, we shall bring him living 
to Calvary, and can crucify him. Let us to-day place ourselves at 
the Fifth Station of the Way of the Cross, over which are written 
the words : " Simon of Cyrene assists Jesus in carrying the cross," 
and consider, 

I. The reasons which Simon had for not carrying the cross y and 
II. The reasons which nevwiheless induced him to caiTy it. 

M We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 



Part I. 

1. Suppose even that Simon carried the cross for Jesus more from 
compulsion than voluntary, he nevertheless deserves an excuse, on 
account of the reasons which he had for not carrying it, and of 
which I shall mention only these three: 

(a) His business. He was a farmer, and had to earn his bread 
in the sweat of his brow. Consequently, when he drew near the 
mournful procession, he had no idea of joining the crowd, but, as 
the Gospel especially makes mention, he only wished to pass by so 



Fifth Station. 



31 



as to lose no time from his work. Therefore, when the soldiers 
detained him and prevailed upon him to carry the cross for Jesus, 
he could have justly replied : "I have no time, you see yourselves I 
have just come from work and cannot be detained. There are many 
idlers here who will lose nothing by carrying the cross, put it upon 
one of them." Thus or in similar words, Simon could have excused 
himself. - 

(b) The disgrace of carrying the cross. The cross was an instru- 
ment of death for malefactors of the lowest class, and he who had 
to die upon it was considered as cursed by God and man. " Cursed 
is every one that hangeth on a tree." — Gal. 3 : 13. What a dis- 
grace then for Simon to be obliged to carry the cross for Jesus, who 
was considered the greatest malefactor. 

(c) The fatigue, of carrying the cross. The cross was heavy, so 
heavy that Jesus fell beneath its weight and could carry it no 
farther ; the way to Calvary was steep, and Simon, without doubt, 
already wearied by hard work. He was about going home to his 
dinner to refresh himself for the continuance of his work, but 
instead of doing so he was made to take the cross upon himself and 
carry it to the place of execution, which certainly was an arduous, 
painful task. 

2. We are called upon and invited, not by soldiers, but by Jesus 
Christ himself, to carry the cross. " If any man will come after 
me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."— 
Matt. 16 : 24. Being Christians, we are obliged to carry the cross, 
that is, to undergo mortifications and labors, without which it is 
impossible to lead a pious life. But many Christians will not consent 
to this, 

(a) On account of their temporal affairs. On account of their 
temporal cares and concerns, they do not take time to think of the 
salvation of their soul and to comply with their religious duties. 
From year to year they give themselves up to distractions, and are 
solicitous for the things of this world. They resemble busy Mar- 
tha, who was careful about many things, whilst she neglected the 
one thing necessary. They neglect to say their morning and 
evening prayers ; on Sundays, if they go to Mass at all it is to 
a low Mass; they hardly ever hear a sermon in a twelvemonth; 
they put off the reception of the Sacraments till the close of 
Easter time. Why ? Because, as they allege, they have no time. 
O that they would say rather that they lack the good will and zeal 



3^ 



The Way of the Cross. 






Fifth Station. 



in doing good ! If other Christians who are overwhelmed with 
work, find time to pray, to go to church, to receive the Sacraments,, 
why cannot they ? Example : Louis IX. A good Christian, solic- 
itous for his salvation, always finds the time necessary for the ful- 
filment of his religious duties. 

(6) On account of the contumely of which they are afraid, if they 
zealously follow Jesus and endeavor to lead a holy life. In our days 
it is frequently considered a shame to show oneself a practical Cath- 
olic, and to keep the commandments of God and of the Church. Do 
we not see how contemptibly pious Christians are treated, how their 
company is avoided, their virtue suspected, they themselves insulted, 
mocked and slandered ? Many neglect their religious exercises, 
through fear of mockery, and conform their lives to those of their 
worldly friends. They think : what will people say of me if I differ 
from them ? It is the fashion of the world, I must act this way, 
otherwise I should be overwhelmed with mortification. When I hear 
irreligious, unchaste discourse, I am really displeased, but I must 
assent to them for fear of mockery and contempt. I would like 
to go frequently to confession and Communion, and to attend Mass 
regularly, but if I did I should be exposed to unkind remarks and 
all kinds of abuse. Thus people think and speak, and it is but too 
true that many Christians, from a false shame and for fear of the 
judgment of the world, act contrary to their conscience and despise 
the cross. O, that such Christians would consider the words of 
Christ : " Whosoever shall deny me before men, I will also deny him 
before my Father who is in heaven." — Matt 10 : 33. Whosoever 
shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and 
sinful generation, the Son of Man also shall be ashamed of him, 
when he shall come in the glory of his Father, with the holy 
angels."— Mark 8 : 38. 

(c) On account of the hardships and difficulties attendant upon 
the following of Christ. It cannot be denied that to follow Christ 
or to lead a pious life demands many a hard sacrifice. Christ him- 
self says : " The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the vio- 
lent bear it away." — Matt. 11: 12. And again: "How narrow is 
the gate, and strait is the way, which leadeth to life; and few there 
are who find it." — Matt. 7 : 14. A pious Christian must continually 
carry his cross, mortity the flesh with its concupiscences, renounce 
the sinful pleasures of^the world, take upon himself the difficulties 
of the service of God, atone by penitential works for the insults 



33 






he has offered to him, and carefully guard against a relapse. At 
the sight of so many hardships, difficulties and sacrifices, many 
Christians are discouraged and cannot resolve to go to work in 
earnest to carry the cross after Christ. O, the blindness and in- 
fatuation of such people; they do not consider that God commands 
nothing impossible, that his grace supports our weakness and effec- 
tually sustains us in all that is necessary for salvation, that only 
the beginning of a pious life is hard, and that the consolation and 
peace enjoyed by the faithful servants of God sweeten all bitter- 
ness and render everything that is heavy and hard light and easy. 

Part II. 

1. Three reasons, in particular, may have induced Simon of Cy- 
rene to carry the cross for Christ: 

(a) Compulsion. He refused at first to carry the cross for Christ 
but all to no effect; for he was forced by the soldiers. « They forced 
one S,mon of Cyrene to take up the cross of Jesus," says the Gospel. O 
When he found that resistance was useless, he yielded to necessity 
and carried the cross. 

(b) Compassion. He saw the divine Saviour weakened, bruised^l 
full of wounds and blood, he saw that if he would not take the > 
cross from him he would die beneath its load. Although he wa« 
not perfectly convinced of his innocence, yet a feeling of sympathy 
was awakened in him ; he, therefore, resisted the soldiers no longer 
but took up the cross and put it upon his own shoulders. He did' 
this the more readily as the patience with which Jesus Christ bore 
every hardship, his eyes raised to heaven, his silence, and his whole 
conduct convinced him more and more of the innocence of the 
saviour. 

(c) The shortness of the way. Looking ahead, Simon saw that 
he would soon reach the summit of Mount Calvary. He said to 
himself: I will no longer resist, in a few minutes it will be over 
and I shall lay down the cross, and with the consciousness of hav- 
ing performed a work of mercy, can return to my work. 

2. Application. 

(a) "God will have all men to be saved," (J. Tim 2- 4) 
but because many are not willing to do what is required' for 
salvation, he does, what the soldiers did who forced Simon to take 
«p the cross, he forces them by tribulations and sufferings to serve 

c 



..v 



>* 




^ 
^ 



34 



The Way of the Cross. 



him. There are alas! but too many who resemble a clock which 
works only when it is loaded with a weight, or water which can be 
preserved from corruption only by the strength and virtue of salt. 
How many sinners do we not find who owe their conversion to crosses 
and afflictions ! Adam and Eve, the brothers of Joseph, Manasses, 
the man who was afflicted with an infirmity for thirty-eight years, 
and thousands of others would probably have contiuued in sin, if God 
had not recalled them from their evil ways by sufferings and tribula- 
tions. Such is also the case to-day. Man, who in the days of pros- 
perity easily forgets God and deviates from the right path is recalled 
to his senses by poverty, sickness and other calamities; he detaches his 
heart from the deceitful world, repents of his errors and reforms his 
life. The tribulations with* which God visits us are, therefore, especial 
proofs of his love and are frequently the only means of salvation for 
the sinner. Let us not, then, complain of sufferings and afflictions, 
but receive them patiently and bear them as long as it pleases God to 
afflict us, mindful of the words of the Apostle : " Whom the Lord 
loveth he chastiseth, and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." 
— Heb. 12: 6. 

(6) One glance upon our suffering Saviour should stimulate us to 
patience. " My God," says St. Alphonsus, " how is it possible that 
he who looks at his Saviour, who beholds his God die in a sea of 
sufferings, can become impatient in his sufferings, nay, how is it possi- 
ble for him not to wish for the love for his Lord, to endure all 
possible pains ! * St. Magdalene of Pazzi says : " The greatest pain 
is agreeable when one looks upon Jesus on the cross." And St. Ber- 
nard says : " He who loves his crucified Saviour never murmurs or 
complains in sufferings and tribulations." In all your trials, suffer- 
ings and afflictions look up to Jesus ou the cross and consider what 
he has suffered, and with what heavenly patience he has endured 
everything, and it will certainly not be hard for you to follow him on 
the Way of the Cross. 

(c) When Simon of Cyrene took up the cross, he consoled himself 
with the thought : The end is very near at hand, the way to Cal- 
vary is not long, I shall soon be there. Can we not also console our- 
selves with this thought, when we are visited with sufferings and 
afflictions, or when to follow Christ on the way of mortification and 
self-denial appears hard to us? O yes, for what is our life upon earth 
but a shadow which quickly passes, a flower that blossoms to-day and 
withers to-morrow. Some of us may yet live thirty years, others 



Sixth Station. 



35 



twenty, others ten, others five, some perhaps only one year, one month 
one day. How quickly will this time pass ! And suppose some of 
you should live fifty or sixty years longer, what are these years com- 
pared with the years of eternity? Not a moment; "for a thousand 
years in thy sight (O eternal God) are as yesterday which is past."— 
Ps. 89 : 4. And, behold, if in this short space of time you carry the 
cross after your Saviour, you will enter with him into glory, for if 
we suffer with him we shall be glorified with him.— Rom. 8 : 17. O 
where is the Christian who, considering this consoling truth, will re- 
fuse to follow Jesus Christ on the way of the cross, with patience and 
constancy ! 

PERORATION. 

O Jesus, our crucified Lord and Saviour, we know and take to 
heart what thou hast said : " He that taketh not up his cross and 
followeth i^e, is not worthy of me."- Matt 10: 38. Meditatincr 
then upon the Fifth Station let us make the firm resolution to carry 
the cross after Jesus, to walk in his footsteps and to follow him that 
we may one day participate in his glory in heaven. Amen. 



SIXTH STATION. 

VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS. 
" Do good to the just, and thou shall find great recompense."— Eccles. is : 2 . 

In the Sixth Station of the Way of the Cross a pious woman, who 
is deeply affected by the sufferings of Christ, offers him her veil that 
he might wipe his sacred countenance, covered with dust, blood and 
perspiration. It is not known who this good woman was, we cannot 
even g lV e her name with certainty. Some call her Berenice, othere 
say that her name was Seraphia, and that she was the wife of a cer- 
tain councilman named Sirach. The general name, however, by which 
she is known is Veronica, which signifies: "The true picture; " this 
name was given to her, because Christ when he wiped his face im- 
printed on the veil the picture of his most holy countenance. Let us 
meditate to-day on this event. Placing ourselves beneath the Sixth 
btation, which bears the inscription: " Veronica wipes the face of 
Jesus, ' let us consider for our edification, 

L What act of charity Veronica did to Christ, and 
II. What recompense she received from him for it. 



36 



The Way of the Cross. 



" We adore thee, O Lord Christ, and we bless thee, because by thy 
holy cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

1. At first sight the act of charity which Veronica did to Christ in 
presenting him a towel to wipe his face does not appear as something 
great, but we shall judge otherwise, when we consider, 

(a) The great love with which she came to the relief of Christ in 
his abandonment There is no doubt that Veronica was of the number 
of those who acknowledged Christ as the Redeemer promised and 
sent by God, and that she adhered to him with a believing, faithful 
heart. How she trembled when she heard that he was condemned to 
death and would be led to Calvary to be crucified ! She started at 
once on her way, hastened to Mount Calvary and took a position at a 
place from which she could see the mournful train as it passed. What 
a grief for her, when the procession drew near to see Christ stagger- 
ing beneath the heavy load of his cross and blinded by the perspira- 
tion which, mingled with blood, rolled in great drops from his sacred 
countenance ! At this pitiable sight the compassionate woman was 
moved to tears. How gladly she would have delivered the innocent 
Jesus out of the hands of his enemies! But this being impossible, 
she did at least what she could, she approached Jesus and with the 
greatest reverence wiped his face with her veil, in order thereby to 
mitigate his sufferings. This certainly was an act of charity which, 
on account of the good heart from which it proceeded, deserves our 
entire approbation. 

(6) The obstacles which she had to overcome in the, performance of 
this act of charity. The divine Saviour was surrounded only by men 
Avho hated him with a most intense hatred, and who took the greatest 
pleasure in aggravating his way to death as much as possible. With 
what contempt must this good woman have been treated when she 
pressed forward to wipe the face of Jesus ! Some called her crazy 
because she wiped the face of a malefactor with her costly veil, others 
rudely pushed her back, cursing and threatening her. And what did 
the priests, the Scribes and Pharisees? They looked at her with a 
countenance of wrath and indignation and threatened to expel her 
from the synagogue. Thus Veronica to perform her act of charity 
had to expose herself to universal mockery, insult and persecution, but 
she is unconcerned about these difficulties, she overcomes all obstacles 
and does not rest till she has accomplished the work of charity in- 
spired by love. 



Sixth Station. 



37 



2. Application. 

(a) What a beautiful example does not Veronica give us for our 
consideration! The service of God is attended with difficulties. 
Christ himself says : " If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross and follow me." — Matt. 16 : 24. He 
who wishes to live as a good, pious, practical Christian, must be pre- 
pared to suffer contempt, insult, derision and persecution, and to en- 
dure much that is not only not pleasant, but even disagreeable. 

(6) These obstacles are the reason why so many Christians become 
faithless to Christ and enter the camp of the enemy. They resemble 
the Apostles who zealously adhered to their Master, as long as things 
went well, but who left him and fled when the hour of trial came. 
They lack good will ; trey find pleasure in good and detest and hate 
that which is evil, they serve God in time of prosperity and joyfully 
walk in the path of virtue ; but in time of adversity, when a sacrifice 
is required of them for Christ's sake, they become discouraged, cow- 
ardly surrender and make a dishonorable peace with the enemies of 
the cross. Whence this weakness? Ah ! their love for God is still 
weak and imperfect. If their love for Christ was as ardent as was 
Veronica's, they would surmount all obstacles to salvation. " Love 
is strong as death, many waters cannot quench charity," (Cant. 8:17), 
for charity beareth all things, endureth all things.—/. Cor. 13 : 7. 
He who loves God above all things can exclaim with St. Paul : "Who 
shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or dis- 
tress? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? or 
the sword ? "—Rom. 8 : 35. Let us daily ask Jesus for this strong, 
conquering love, that we may adhere to him with equal fidelity in 
the days of adversity as well as in those of prosperity. 

Part II. 

Veronica through devotion and compassion for Jesus offered the 
veil from her head, that he might wipe the sweat from off his brow, 
and he deigned to imprint his sacred countenance upon the cloth. In 
truth, a great recompense for the act of charity which Veronica per- 
formed ; for he thereby gave her, 

1. The most touching evidence of his love. If we give to any one 
something which is precious and dear to us, we indicate that we es- 
teem and love such a person. Thus Jonathan divested himself of his 
own garments and gave them, together with his arrow, sword and 
cincture, to his friend David as a sign of his affection and love for 



38 



The Way of the Cross. 



him. The dearer to us is the gift which we give to another, the more 
we manifest our love for him. Now there is nothing in closer rela- 
tion to us, and of greater value in our own eyes, than our own 
portrait. By giving it to one we give him, as it were, ourselves. 
Now in giving to Veronica the impression of his sacred countenance 
our divine Lord gave her a manifest proof, that he deemed her worthy 
of his complacency and love. Thereby he distinguished and preferred 
her to the weeping women of Jerusalem, to whom he gave no other . 
sign of his love than to say to them, that they should not weep over 
him, but for themselves and for their children. — Luke 23: 28. 

(a) What a grace for Veronica that Jesus gave her the impression 
of his sacred countenance, thereby assuring her of life love ! What 
treasure is more valuable and more desirable than the love of Jesus ! 
He who possesses this inestimable treasure enjoys even here below the 
greatest happiness, for he enjoys a peace which surpasses all concep- 
tion and which the world cannot give with all its joys and pleasures. 
Even in sufferings and tribulations he can say with the Apostle : " I 
am filled with comfort, I exceedingly abound with joy in all our trib- 
ulation." — jQE Cor. 7 : 4. And what an unspeakable felicity is re- 
served for him in the next life? There he will enjoy a beatitude in- 
comprehensible in its greatness and eternal in its duration : " The eye 
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of 
man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him." — L 
Cor. 2:9. 

(b) An excellent means for a return of love. Good children highly 
appreciate the portraits of their dead parents ; the thought of the bene- 
fits received from them often brings the tears of gratitude and love to 
their eyes. At the same time they vividly remember the salutary 
lessons and admonitions given them by their father and mother and 
they renew their resolution to live according to them as long as life 
lasts. Good children do this, the picture of their parents is to them 
not only a dear keepsake, but also a powerful incentive to a virtuous 
life. We cannot doubt that Veronica thought and felt thus before 
the image of Jesus. O, I think I see her look at this wonderful 
picture and contemplate it for hours at a time. When she represented 
to herself the bitter Passion and death of Christ, the fire of love would 
ardentlv inflame her heart and full of emotion she would exclaim : 
" O Jesus, how much thou hast done and suffered in order to redeem 
us miserable sinners ! In gratitude to thee for this infinite love I 



SrxTH Station. 



39 



devote my whole love to thee!" And this she did; she made a sacri- 
fice of herself to her divine Saviour and served him with unswerving 
fidelity all the days of her life, and now she enjoys the unspeakable 
happiness of beholding face to face, him whose picture she so often 
contemplated. 

2. Application. 

(a) We possess the same means which incited Veronica to the love 
of Jesus Christ; everywhere there are Ecce homo pictures, pictures, of 
the Crucifixion. He that contemplates these pictures with attention 
and in the light of faith, would have a very hard heart, if he would 
remain cold and insensible to all emotion. History proves that even 
the most careless people and the greatest sinners become contrite, 
totally changed and inflamed with the love of God. Hippolitus Gal- 
leatinus, a pious priest of Florence, had a painting of the thorn- 
crowned head. Many hours he would daily stand before this picture 
and with a grateful heart contemplate the infinite love of Christ for 
men. On the opposite side of the street there lived a proud, vain 
womau, who because she believed he was constantly looking at him- 
self in the looking-glass, was scandalized and asked him, what beau- 
tiful mirror had he, that he so often contemplated himself in it, and 
her curiosity was so great that she asked him to show her this re- 
markable mirror. The priest willingly complied with the request. 
He took his picture and brought it to the house of this vain daughter 
of the world. Seeing the image of our Redeemer, with a crown of 
thorns on his head, tears in his eyes, his lips purple, his face covered 
with spittle, perspiration and dust, and in such a pitiable state that he 
scarcely resembled a man, she was struck with terror and deeply 
moved. The priest said : " Behold the mirror which you desired to 
see; in it all should daily contemplate themselves. If this looking- 
glass makes no impression upon you and does not move your heart to 
conversion, you are lost. Contemplate in this sacred countenance how 
much your Redeemer suffered on account of your pride and vanity. 
Behold with your own eyes him, before whom on the day of judgment 
you must give a rigorous account of all whom you have scandalized 
and seduced." These words made so powerful an impression upon 
her that she began to weep bitterly for her sins and contritely pros- 
trated herself at the feet of the priest and begged pardon for them. 
Shortly afterwards she renounced the world, and entered a convent, 
where she led a penitential life. 



40 



The Way of the Cross. 



(6) Follow the example of this penitent. Frequently and with a 
contrite heart look upon the picture of the Crucifixion. This medita- 
tion will prove very profitable to you. You will understand what a 
great evil sin is, and will resolve to love and serve Jesus who suffered 
so much for you. Look upon the picture of your crucified Saviour, 
particularly in time of temptation and when in danger of committing 
sin. If you have to suffer injustice and persecution, if anger and 
hatred arise in your heart, look upon the crucifix and consider, what 
great ignominy and abuse Jesus suffered for love of you, and you will 
overcome all desire of revenge and remain meek. If great tribula- 
tions afflict you, look at the crucifix and contemplate the inexhausti- 
ble patience with which Christ suffered and you will regain courage 
and resign yourself to the will of God. If you are tempted to pride, 
to impurity or to any other sin, look at the crucifix, and consider 
what Jesus had to suffer on account of our sins, and take to heart the 
words : " If in the green wood they do these things, what* shall be 
done in the dry ; " {Luke 23 : 31) ; thus with the help of God's grace 
you will overcome every temptation and with constancy walk in the 
path of virtue. 

PERORATION. 

Yes, according to the example of Veronica and other pious Chris- 
tians, often look at the image of the suffering and dying Redeemer ; 
contemplate yourselves in this mirror of all virtue and perfection, and 
you will be greatly stimulated to avoid every sin and to serve God 
with fervor. Thus the pictures of the Passion will be to you as to 
Veronica a great gift of grace, and you may hope that you will one 
day behold in heaven him, whose pictures you so often contemplate 
with devotion here below. Amen. 



Seventh Station. 



41 



SEVENTH STATION. 



JESUS FALLS BENEATH THE CROSS THE SECOND TIME. 
" Being pushed, I was overturned that I might fall." — Ps. 117 : ij. 

We are again assembled to-day to direct our attention to the divine 
Saviour who for love of us died the most painful death, for nothing 
is more profitable and salutary than the devout. meditation of all that 
Jesus has done and suffered for us. Herein we learn not only God's 
severe justice which spared not his only-begotten Son ; but having 
pledged him for sinners, delivered him up to the most painful death, but 
we are also palpably convinced of God's infinite love and mercy, which 
sacrificed the dearest object of his love that the sinful human race 
might be redeemed; and we are stimulated to renounce sin, to serve 
God and to save our soul. For this reason the holy Fathers and spir- 
itual writers urgently recommend the meditation on the Passion and 
death of Christ, and St. Albert the Great says that to meditate daily 
on the Passion of Christ is more profitable than to fast on bread and 
water every Friday throughout the year, to discipline oneself severely 
and to .recite all the psalms from beginning to end. Let us place 
ourselves at the Seventh Station, over which is written : " Jesus falls 
beneath the cross the second time/' and let us consider what was the 
cause of this fall. I find two reasons, in particular : 

/. The cruelty of his enemies, and 
II. The faithlessness of his friends. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee, because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

Jesus falls again beneath heavy load of the cross with his holy 
face to the earth. Why does he fall again to' the ground, from 
which he had but a few moments ago risen from his first fall? 
You need not question long ; the first cause was the cruelty of his 
enemies. 

1. They had not the least compassion on him. If a criminal 
is led to the place of execution, he is treated with consideration, 
and his way to death is made as easy for him as possible. He is 
placed in a wagon or carriage, a priest accompanies him, who speaks to 
him words of solace, prays with him and for him. The spectators, too, 



42 



The Way of the Cross. 



Seventh Station. 



43 



observe a profound silence, and feelings of humanity are awakened 
especially if he dies penitently. But how is Jesus treated, with 
the cross on his shoulders? Is his hard way to Calvary's 
Mount alleviated, is the adorable Son of God treated better than 
a malefactor? We must answer these questions absolutely in the 
negative. They have compassion on Barabbas, the robber and 
murderer, compassion on the two thieves, but they have no com- 
passion on Jesus; all who conduct and accompany him to death 
are his sworn enemies, who vie with one another in making his 
way to death as painful as possible. The leaders of the Jew- 
ish people, the Scribes and the Pharisees, blaspheme and calumni- 
ate him and can scarcely bide their time to see him die. The 
degenerate people, too, who in great multitudes accompany him > 
desire his death, and anxiously look forward to the moment when he 
is to be crucified. On his way to Calvary, with the exception of 
Mary, his mother, and a few pious women, who with all their good 
will can give him no comfort or relief, there was none who had com- 
passion on him or who would in any way alleviate his last journey. 
Truly he could say with the Psalmist: "I looked for one that would 
grieve together with me, but there was none : and for one that would 
comfort me, and I found none." — Ps. 68 : 21. 

Application. Had you been present at the time when Jesus 
laden with the cross went to Calvary, would you, too, have had 
no mercy, no compassion on him? Certainly you would have 
had. With Veronica you would have offered him a towel ; with 
Simon of Cyrene, assisted him in carrying his cross and with the 
women of Jerusalem you would, at least, have wept over him. What 
you would have done then, you can do even to-day, you can prove in 
deed that you have compassion on Jesus, your suffering and dying 
Redeemer. One day, in the midst of a very hard winter, when the heavy 
frost was on the ground and many perished with cold, St. Martin, 
afterwards bishop pf Tours, was 'marching through the country with 
other officers and soldiers, when he met at the gate of the city of 
Amiens a poor man, almost naked, trembling and shivering with cold, 
begging an alms of those who passed by. Martin seeing that those 
who went before him took no notice of the poor mendicant thought 
he was reserved for himself : on account of his charities to others he 
he had nothing left but his arms and the clothes he wore; yet 
drawing his sword, he cut his cloak into two pieces, gave one to the 
beggar and wrapped himself up in the other half. The following 
night saw in his sleep Jesus Christ dressed in the half of the 



garment which he had given to the poor man. Telling him to 
look well at it and say whether he knew it, our Lord said to him : 
a Martin, yet a catechumen, has clothed me with this garment." Do 
you know now how you should have compassion ? Be charitable to 
the needy and afflicted. Christ receives what you do to others, as 
done to himself, for he says : " Amen I say to you, as long as you 
did it to one of these my least brethren you did it to me." — MatL 
25 : 40. 

2. He is treated most unmercifully. Did you ever see a man 
whipping his horses unmercifully, when they could not pull the load 
he had in his cruelty put on them ? Such is the treatment which 
Jesus received. He cannot, how much soever he may endeavor, carry 
the load any farther, his knees shake, he begins to fall to the ground. 
As soon as his torturers notice it, they behave like madmen, they 
strike, kick and pull him forward with ropes, which they had fas- 
tened around his loins. Under such cruel tortures he loses the rem- 
nant of his strength, and falls as one dead to the ground with the 
heavy weight of the cross upon his bruised and bleeding body. "He 
falls the second time beneath the heavv load of the cross." 

Application. Guard against nothing so much as against being 
unmerciful towards your fellow-men, especially towards the poor, the 
needy and the afflicted, for as great as is the pleasure which God takes 
in Christians who practise works of mercy toward their fellow-men, 
so much is he displeased with those who have no heart and feeling 
for the needs of their neighbor and uncharitably thrust him from 
their doors when he asks their assistance. The inhabitants of a cer- 
tain city in Posen were condemned by the enemy to pay so enormous 
a sum as an indemnification, that it seemed impossible to raise the 
amount. There lived in the city a woman, the widow of a prince, 
who possessed a fabulous amount of wealth ; ai the cost of some 
deprivation to herself she could have paid the whole amount, which 
the poor citizens all together were not able to pay. They humbly 
asked her for help but were repulsed. The petition was repeated, 
because the necessity was urgent, but in vain ; the unmerciful woman 
locked herself in her house and refused to see any one. When she 
was missing for a long time her neighbors opened the door and found 
her a corpse before a box of gold at which her lifeless eyes were staring. 
What must have been the death of that hard-hearted woman ? The 
answer to this question you find in the parable of Dives and Laza- 
rus, {Luke 16 : 20) as well as in the sentence pronounced by Christ 



44 



The Way of the Cross. 



upon the unmerciful. — Matt. 25: 21. Far from showing yourself 
hard and unmerciful towards the poor and needy, be rather char- 
itable towards them and assist them in word and deed, considering 
the words of Christ: " Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain 
mercy." — Matt. 5:7. 

Part II. 

Jesus Christ fell the second time on account of the unfaithful- 
ness of his friends. Our oft-repeated sins are the cause of his fall. 

1. When our divine Saviour with the heavy load of the cross 
upon his shoulders was on the way to Calvary's Mount, he thought 
of his friends to whom he had done so much good, and from whom 
he had received the most touching evidences of love and loyalty; 
but alas, this very thought was for him the source of the greatest sor- 
row of heart, because all were disloyal to him. Peter had repeatedly 
promised that, though all should leave, he would never abandon him, and 
the weak disciple denied his Saviour after a few hours and even swore 
that he did not know him ; the other disciples, too, who at the Last Sup- 
per had assured him that they would live and die with him, fled when 
they saw him in the hands of his enemies, and no longer dared to 
show themselves publicly. The inhabitants of Jerusalem only a few 
days ago had received him within their walls amid loud cries of exul- 
tation and enthusiasm, exclaiming: "Hosanna to the son of David; 
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the 
highest ;" (Matt. 21 : 9,) now thoroughly blinded they again and 
again cry out: "Away with him, away with him ; crucify him." — 
John 19 : 15. During his public life Christ had rendered assistance 
to numberless unfortunate persons and conferred on them all manner 
of benefits, now there is not one among them who would dare to take 
his part, all remained away from him and were silent, some even 
joined in the cry of murder. Should not such base treachery deeply 
afflict and wound the heart of Christ ? Nay must not this treachery 
of his friends have been more painful to him than even the cruelty 
of his enemies? Who could doubt it? Nothing inflicts a deeper 
wound upon the human heart than the treachery of friends. When 
Caesar noticed his friend Brutus, upon whom he had lavished so much 
kindness, among the conspirators who fell upon him with sharp daggers, 
his strength left him and mournfully exclaiming :" And thou 1 , too, 
Brutus ! * he covered his face with the toga, and without any further 
resistance, suffered himself to be wounded and killed. Thus it was 
with our divine Saviour; when he remembered the treachery of his 



Seventh Station. 



45 



friends to whom he had done so much good, a sorrow so great seized 
his soul that his strength failed him and he fell beneath the weight of 
the cross. 

2. How are matters with us ? Have we also been the cause that 
Jesus fell the second time beneath the cross? Yes, many of us have 
become unfaithful to Christ,, many have left, 

(a) The ways of innocence and have sinned. Perhaps a short time 
ago they walked in holiness and purity of morals, and were happy in the 
knowledge of never having lost their baptismal innocence. But how 
do matters stand with them now ? Ah, their love for God has grown 
cold, the Holy Ghost no longer reigns in their hearts, but in his stead 
the evil spirit, for they have fallen into mortal sin. If they would 
depart this life in this unhappy state their ruin would be inevitable. 
O, how deplorable is the lot of such Christians ! Is it any wonder 
that Jesus faltered with pain and grief of mind and fell to the ground 
on his way to Calvary when he thought of their sad fall from the 
state of grace ? O unfortunate souls, that you would consider what 
pain you have caused your suffering Saviour by the loss of baptismal 
grace, and rise from your fall by a true repentance, and thus rescue 
your soul from eternal perdition. But you who are so happy as to 
possess baptismal innocence, preserve it as your most precious treas- 
ure, and " watch and pray that you enter not into temptation." 

Matt 26: 41. 

(b) The way of penance and sinned again. Absalom, David's 
degenerate son, had killed his brother Amnion. This was a great affl ic- 
tion for the aged father, who loved all his children most tenderly. 
Absalom fled in order to escape just punishment ; but repenting of 
his crime he begged his father's pardon, and David again admitted 
him to his presence and forgave him.— II. Kings 14. But what did 
this wicked child do shortly afterwards ? He forgot all the love 
of his father and rebelled against him, being desirous of usurping his 
sceptre and crown. Now judge for yourselves : was not Absalom a 
very detestable man ? did he not deserve the death he met with at 
the hand of Joab, who thrust three lances into his black, treacherous 
heart? But m however grievously Absalom erred by his repeated 
crime toward his father, the relapsing sinner commits a greater crime. 
Why ? Evidently because he renders himself guilty of the greatest 
ingratitude towards God whom he offends anew after having been 
pardoned by him. Tertullian says : " A sinner, who, having received 



46 



The Way of the Cross. 



Eighth Station 



47 



from God the remission of his crimes, again relapses into them, pre- 
fers the devil himself to God 5 for since God by means of sancti- 
fying grace has entered into the heart of the penitent sinner accord- 
ing to the words of the Evangelist : < We know that we have passed 
from death to life/—/. John 3: 15; such a sinner, who dares to 
offend God anew, makes, as it were, a comparison between God and 
the devil, and, finally, by his resolutions to sin, actually passes the 
sentence : that the one of the two for whom he declares himself must 
be the better." What an infatuation, to prefer the devil to God ! 
Relapse into sin, especially if it is frequent, greatly endangers our 
salvation ; because by yielding to sin, we become weaker, our passions 
become stronger, the devil acquires a certain dominion over us, and 
the grace of God departs from us more and more. Hence St. Ber- 
nard says : " As the relapse into a bodily sickness is worse than the 
first attack, so it is with the relapse into sin." And St. Augustine 
says : " Did Christ give sight twice to a blind man ? Did he twice 
heal the man sick of the palsy ? Did he twice raise the same dead 
man to life ? The Sacred Scripture speaks of only one healing, that 
we should fear to relapse into sin." It was this ingratitude and this 
danger of our soul's salvation — which relapse into sin includes — 
that grieved our divine Saviour on his way of the cross so much, 
that he fell the second time to the ground. Consider this, you 
relapsing sinners, humbly ask pardon of Jesus for the pain which you 
have caused him by your infidelity and resolve to amend your life and 
henceforth to walk with constancy on the way of penance. 

PERORATION. 

Let us all, sinners and just, devoutly meditate on this painful 
second fall of Christ, which was caused by the cruelty of his enemies 
and the treachery and unfaithfulness of his friends. Let us detest 
from the bottom of our heart, the inhuman cruelty with which the 
Jews maltreated our divine Saviour, but let us also detest our own 
infidelity of which we have been guilty, and let us vow to him a 
thorough amendment and cry out in the words of the Way of the 
Cross: "Jesus! have mercy on us. Stretch out your succoring hand, 
support us in our weakness, that we may never again relapse into our 
former sins. We have said it, and this very moment we shall begin 
the work of our conversion in all earnestness. Do thou O Jesus, 
strengthen us with thy grace without which we can do nothing, that 
we may faithfully keep our resolution." Amen. 



EIGHTH STATION. 

JESUS CONSOLES THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM WHO WEPT 

OVER HIM. 

« Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me ; but weep for yourselves and for your 

children."— Luke 23: 28. 

Jesus having fallen the second time under the weight of the cross 
lies prostrate on the ground. The soldiers seeing it, become wild with 
rage, curse and blaspheme in so loud and awful a manner that the 
Mount resounds with their imprecations and blasphemies ; they strike 
and pull him with the ropes fastened around his loins until they get him 
on his feet again. The women of Jerusalem who follow the mournful 
train are profoundly touched on account of his painful fall, and ob- 
serving the cruelty with which his savage enemies treat him/they can 
no longer repress their sorrow, but break out into loud sobbing and 
weeping. Jesus hearing their cries and lamentations turns and 
addressed them these earnest words: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep 
not over me : but weep for yourselves and for your children."' We 
will make a short meditation on this circumstance in the Passion of 
Christ. Turn your eyes upon the Eighth Station, which bears the 
inscription : " Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem who wept over 
him," and consider : 

/. The tears which tlie women wept oven* Jesus and 
II. The words which Jesus spoke to the women. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

The Eighth Station also affords us some consolation at least. We 
see there the women of Jerusalem, who had compassion for Jesus and 
shed tears over him. The tears of those women however do not 
merit our undivided approval, for 

1. Tliey flowed from a natural cause. 

{a) It was indeed no remarkable, circumstance to weep over Jesus • 
the sight of him was enough to excite sympathy in the heart of every 
one who had not lost all feeling for the woes of others. If even the 
pagan Pilate, when he saw before hin\the Saviour scourged, crowned 



48 



The Way of the Citoss. 



with thorns and most inhumanly abused, exclaimed in sadness and 
sympathy: u Ecce homo ! Behold the man ! " How should women, 
who are by nature much more tenderhearted and sympathetic than men, 
have refrained from weeping at the sight of his pitiable condition ? It 
was but proper that the women of Jerusalem should weep over Jesus, 
but they should also have investigated the cause of the deplorable 
misery into which he was plunged. And what was this cause ? Alas ! no 
other than their sins, the sins of the world. "He was wounded for our 
iniquities, he -was bruised for our sins." — Is. 53: 5. Sin ultimately 
is the sole cause that Jesus had to carry his cross to Calvary's Mount 
and die on it. The women of Jerusalem did not consider this ; they 
wept only from natural tenderness of heart, it never entered their 
mind to repent of and bewail their sins as the cause of Christ's pain- 
ful journey to Calvary. Hence their tears were profitless and would 
not avert the judgments of God, which were to come upon Jeru- 
salem. 

Application. Do not many Christians resemble these women ? They 
sigh, moan, lament, and weep, but not for or on account of 
their sins, but on account of the temporal evils which they have 
brought upon themselves by their sinful life. A daughter weeps and 
sobs. Why ? Because she has brought disgrace upon herself by her 
scandalous conduct, lost her honor and good name and is reduced to 
poverty. A son who in a riot, a fight, has wounded or killed his ad- 
versary, sighs and weeps. Why ? Because he sees before him an 
expensive lawsuit, perhaps the prison or the scaffold. The man who 
by his intemperate habits has contracted an incurable disease laments 
and weeps. Why ? Because he can no longer . hope to recover his 
health, and because he dreads approaching death. Thus there are 
many Christians who sigh, moan and weep, but without benefit to 
themselves, without fruit before God, because their sighs and tears have 
no reference to sin as an offence against God, but only to the evil con- 
sequences of sin. The repentance that proceeds from a hatred of sin 
and love of God is a true repentance, " but the sorrow of the world 
worketh death."— II. Cor. 7 : 10. 

2. They were not efficacious. 

(a) The women of Jerusalem wept over Jesus, but we do not read 
that they made any exertions towards alleviating his misery or pro- 
curing him any comfort. The wife of Pilate, who urged her husband 
to liberate Jesus, Simon of Cyrene, who notwithstanding he carried 
the cross more from compulsion than free will, Veronica who offered 



Eighth Station. 



49 



him her veil, that he might wipe his face, which was covered with 
spittle, dust, perspiration and blood, these deserve more praise than 
the women of Jerusalem. 

Application. There are many who act as did the women of Jeru- 
salem. Occasionally they have a lively feeling of the wrong they 
have done and of the misery they have brought upon themselves hy 
sin. They have sometimes a momentary desire to amend their life 
they weep and sorrowfully sigh over their transgressions. This indeed' 
is good and is the beginning of repentance; but if they do nothing 
further, if they do not really refrain from their gross and flagrant 
excesses, if they do not renounce sin and enter upon the way of pen- 
ance, if they continue in the same indifference and tepidity in the 
service of God, and if the same abuse of divine grace and the same 
love of the world find place in their soul, all their tears and sighs are 
of no profit; their tears resemble blossoms which fall off before they 
develop the fruit. The tears must be followed by deeds, we must 
avoid what we bewail. See for example all true penitents: Mary 
Magdalene, Peter, St. Margaret of Cortona. Weep then for your 
sins, you have reason to tremble at the recollection of them ; but do 
not stop there, be not content with useless tears, bid farewell to sin 
control your passions, root out your bad habits and do all that is 
necessary in order to amend your life. Only in such a way will your 
penance be pleasing to God. 

3. They were of short duration. 

(a) The tears of those women were soon dried, they wept over 
Jesus only so long as they beheld him. When they returned from 
Mount Calvary they no longer thought of him, but resumed their 
ordinary duties, laughed and joked, according to the adage : " Out of 
sight, out of mind." This, indeed, was a great fault ; it was impos- 
sible for Christ to be pleased with the tears which so soon ceased to 
flow. More acceptable to him were the tears of St. Peter and St.. 
Mary Magdalene, who never ceased to weep for their sins. 

Application. Therefore you must perseveringly weep for yom 
sins, if not exteriorly, at least interiorly, that is, you must be sorry 
lor the evil you have done, all the days of your life and persevere in 
works of penance. Christ demands this, saying: "Sin no more, lest 
some worse thing happen to thee." He who repeats the sins of which 
he has repented, is no penitent, but a scoffer; he who commits again 
the sms which he bewailed, runs the risk of being eternally rejected 

D 



50 



The Way of the Cross. 



as a relapsing sinner; for " no man putting his hand to the plough, 
and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." — Luke 9 : 62. 
Only he who perseveres in penance to the end, shall be saved. 
Witnesses : All holy penitents. 

Part II. 

The Gospel says of Jesus on his way of the cross : " There followed 
him a great multitude of people and of women ; who bewailed and 
lamented him. But Jesus, turning to them, said : Daughters of 
Jerusalem, weep not over me ; but weep for yourselves and for your 
children. For, behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say, 
Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the 
paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the 
mountains : Fall upon us : and to the hills : Cover us. For if in the 
green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?" — 
Luke 23 : 27-32. In these words the divine Saviour foretells an 
event, which would be so terrible that barren women, who were con- 
sidered very unhappy, would be better off than the fruitful mothers 
blessed with many children ; he prophesies an event of a nature so 
terrible that people would be glad to escape it even by a sudden 
death. Let us now consider how this prophecy of the Lord, 

1. Was fulfilled in Jerusalem. Thirty-eight years after the death 
of Christ, the Boman general, Titus, with a great army appeared 
before the gates of Jerusalem, with the determination to chastise the 
Jews severely for their continual sedition. The first thing he did was 
to cast a trench about the city, so that no one could enter or leave. 
In a few weeks the provisions in Jerusalem were consumed, and 
famine began to exercise its ravages so severely, that the inhabitants 
were reduced to the necessity of eating the most disgusting things. 
There was not a plant in the gardens, not a blade of grass anywhere, 
everything had been devoured by the hungry populace. Mothers 
even ate their own offspring. The number of those that died of 
hunger and disease is estimated to be about 600,000. The dead could 
no longer be buried, but were thrown from the walls into the trenches. 
Five hundred prisoners were crucified every day in order to intimi- 
date the inhabitants of Jerusalem to surrender. After a siege of five 
months the city was taken. Thousands of the Jews fell by the swords 
of the furious Boman soldiers, blood flowed in torrents through the 
streets cf the city ; the city itself was pillaged and the temple set on 
fire. The massacre of the inhabitants appears to us exaggerated when 
we read the numbers, although the truth is verified by the concurrent 



Eighth Station. 



276015 



51 

testimonies of the Jewish and, heathen historians who calculate the 
number of deaths fioin hunger, disease and the sword to be over a 
million. The entire city was reduced to ashes, and not a stone wis 
left upon a stone. When Titus, after taking the city, rode anion* 
the rums and saw the great number of dead he sighed and raised his 
hands toward heaven, saying : "I am innocent of this misery It i< 
the Lord who has done this, not I." Here we see fulfilled Christ's 
prophecy to the women of Jerusalem: "Daughters of Jerusalem 
weep not over me ; but weep for yourselves and your children." 

mnnas^ ™ C<W<T ^ *" pnphec * is WW in ^penitent 

(a) The impenitent sinner on his deathbed. Wherever he turns 
Ins eyes, frightful spectres meet his gaze. All the sins of his past life 
appear in confusion before him, the inspirations he has neglected the 
promises he has broken, and the many years now lost and -one' for 
ever rush before his mind. He considers his present situation and 
aees himself abandoned by the world, its goods and its pleasures his 
pains are great, he moves restlessly from one place to another, 'cries 
and moans, a cold sweat is stealing over him, his breath is failing he 
frequently famts away; at last opening his eyes to the truth of eter- 
nity, of which during his life he made but little account, he sighs with 
Antiochus: "Into how much tribulation am I come, and into what 
floods of sorrow, wherein now I am : I that was pleasant and beloved 
m my power."-/. Mach. 6: 11. Glancing into the future, terror 
seizes his unhappy soul, for dawning faith tells him: "The death of 
the wicked is very evil."-P s . 33: 22. He exclaims: How I have 
unsspent my life ! What will become of me in a few moments ! And 
disturbed by confusion, fear and despair his soul departs from his 
bod, -and appears before his Judge. St. Gregory the Great relates 
the following of a certain Chrysontins, who was a man of grea 
wealth but of bad morals, and who had spent his life in entire fofget- 
fulness of God and eternity. When he fell sick and was at the point 
of death, he cried to the evil spirits, who visibly appeared to him 7, 
order to snatch him away: % "Give me time, g ve me time t 
to-morrow." But they said : "Yon fool, you' be, for time uo 
jou had plenty of time but you misused it to your own destrueln' 
mie „ no longer yours." The wretch ceased not to cry anfSS 
for help One of his sons, named Maximus, being with him X 
time, Chrysontms cried out to him : " Mv son, help me Maxim 
help me!" Whilst throwing himself from side to side Id &32 

dtlhofTe-'^T/ 16 breath6d h!S ^ Sfc* %* <*tiw 

ueatn oi the impenitent sinner. * ' - lJ 



» ■ 

t « » 

. i » 

i ) 



. * « 



52 



The Way of the Cross. 



(6) And what awaits him after death f How will his soul tremble 
when she departs from the body and beholds how the evil spirits fall 
upon her in order to plunge her into the bottomless pit ! She wil) 
strive to re-enter the body, but in vain, an invisible power urges her 
forward and places her before the judgment-seat of God. O who can 
describe the anguish of the soul at that terrible moment ! When our 
first parents heard the voice of God speaking to them in paradise 
after they had sinned, they did not tremble as much as the sinner now 
trembles before the eternal Judge. He must now speak and give an 
account of the sins he has committed during the whole course of his 
life and which are as countless as the hairs of his head, of the good 
he has neglected to do, the graces he has abused, the scandals he has 
given, the souls he has ruined, in short, of everything whereby he has 
offended God. What will he do? Will he defend himself? Alas ! 
no, he is silent. Now the Judge pronounces sentence upon him : 
Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared 
for the devil and his associates ! What a thunderbolt for the sinner I 
He is to depart for ever from God, to be for ever excluded from 
heaven ; he is to depart into everlasting fire, where in the company of 
the evil spirits and of the damned, he will be tormented for all eter- 
nity. The sentence is passed, the instant that reveals it sees its fulfil- 
ment ; the evil spirits fall upon him and thrust him into the abyss of 
hell, where he Avill suffer nameless torments, as long as God shall be 
God, for a never-ending eternity. Such is the end of the impenitent 
.sinner, more terrible than that of the Jews at the destruction of Jeru- 
salem. 



PERORATION. 

We may also apply to ourselves the words of Christ : " Daughters 
of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and your 
children." They were spoken for all men of all times, that by a 
speedy and thorough repentance they may avail themselves of the 
proffered graces and escape eternal perdition. Let us prostrate our- 
selves before Jesus at the Eighth Station, bewail our sins and pray 
with a contrite and humble heart : O Jesus, who shall give water to 
our head, and a torrent of tears to our eyes that day and night we 
may bewail our sins ! We beg thee through thy bitter and bloody 
tears to give us the grace of tears and to soften our hearts in such a 
manner, that in bitter sorrow we may bewail thy sufferings and our 
sins all the days of our life. Amen. 



Ninth Station. 



53 



NINTH STATION. 



JESUS FALLS BENEATH THE CROSS THE THIRD TIME. 

"He fell flat on the ground." — Mark 14 : jj. 

The words which Jesus spoke to the weeping women of Jerusalem 
on his painful journey to Calvary's Mount was the last warning he 
gave the Jews for their conversion. Once more he placed before 
their eyes the terrible judgments of God, which would be visited 
upon them, if they did not bring forth fruits worthy of penance. 
Had they heeded this last warning of the Saviour, and believed in 
him they would have found mercy and their city would have been 
spared : " The Lord beareth patiently for your sake, not willing that 
any should perish, but that all should return to penance;" (II 
Pet 3 : 9,) but the Jews remained obdurate. Instead of taking- to 
heart the affectionate words of Christ, they broke out into blasphe- 
mies, and forced him to hasten on his wav to Calvarv. He had 
arrived almost at the summit of the Mount, but before he reached the 
spot where he was to be crucified, his strength again failed him, and 
he fell the third time, to be again dragged up, and goaded onward by 
the brutal soldiery. Let us look at the Ninth Station, which bears 
the inscription : Jesus falls beneath the cross the third time, and con- 
sider, that this third fall was occasioned, 

/. By the ill-treatment of his enemies, and 
II. By the fear of approaching death. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

Our divine Saviour fell beneath the cross the third time on account of 
the ill-treatment which he received at the hands of his enemies on his way 
to Calvary. Who can adequately describe this ill-treatment and abuse? 
Although completely exhausted by his past sufferings, he is neverthe- 
less loaded with a cross so heavy that it would have been a burden for 
even a strong healthy man to carry a short distance. The way to Mount 
Calvary leads upward and is for the most part very steep. It would 
have been arduous enough for Christ to have ascended without any load* 
and behold, he has to carry the heavy load of the cross. One would 
naturally think that the Jews and the soldiers would have treated him 



54 



The Way of the Cross. 



Ninth Station. 



55 



humanely and rendered the carriage of the cross as easy as possible for 
him. But no, they have not the least sympathy, they procure not the 
smallest comfort for him, but do all they can to make his way to death 
' as painful as possible. When worn out with fatigue he wishes to stop 
and rest a little, they break out into curses and blasphemies and like 
a beast of burden drive him onward with kicks and blows. When 
overcome by weakness he falls to the ground they give him not a 
moment's rest, but drag him up and goad him onward, and he has 
scarcely risen from his fall when he must again take the cross upon 
his mangled shoulders. Not contented with this, in their malice they 
add many other injuries. With the ropes fastened about his loins, 
they pull him hither and thither, give him blows on his cheeks with 
their fists, strike the crown so that the long, sharp thorns pierce 
more deeply into his sacred head ; some shake the cross, others 
stand on the end that touches the ground, that the load may become 
heavier and the pressure greater. What he endured on his way to 
Calvary surpasses our comprehension, but we shall be amazed, when 
it will be made manifest to us on the day of judgment. We need 
not, therefore, wonder that Jesus fell the third time beneath the 
weight of the cross. 

2. Application. Our life here below is also a way of the cross, 
we have many enemies who frequently cause our fall. 

(a) Who are these enemies t The flesh, the icorld, and Satan. 
The flesh or concupiscence, a result of original sin, is ever intent upon 
drawing man from heavenly and spiritual things to what is earthly 
and sensual, rendering difficult for him the practice of virtue and 
enticing him to many sins. This evil concupiscence is in every man, 
in the just as well as in the unjust, and does not leave him till he 
dies. It is the inheritance of which we read : "The imagination and 
thought of man's heart are prone to evil from his youth." — Gen. 
8 : 21. And: "Every man is tempted, drawn away by his own 
concupiscence." — James 1 : 14. The world, too, is a dangerous 
enemy, for it hates God and all that is good, lays many snares for us 
by its representations, bad examples and scandals and tries in many 
ways to draw us from the service of God, and to put upon us the 
yoke of slavery. St. John warns, us against it when he writes : 
" Love not the world nor those things which are in the world. If 
any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. 
For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, the 
concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life." — J. John 2 : 15, 16. 



/ 



A man's worst enemy, however, is Satan. He envies the happiness 
which we are to possess in heaven in his stead, and leaves no means 
untried to plunge us into sin and perdition. It was he that caused 
the fall of our first parents, that seduced men to the most abominable 
idolatry and the most shameless vices, yea, that even dared to 
approach Christ himself and tempt him three times. St. Peter 
calls him a roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may 
devour.—/. Pet. 5: 8. And St. Paul writes: "Put you on the 
armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the snares of 
devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood ; but against 
principalities and powers ; against the rulers of the world of this 
darkness ; against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." — 
Ephes. 6 : fl, 12. 

(b) What means must we employ that these enemies may not cause 
our fall? Particularly these two : Watchfulness and prayer, accord- 
ing to the admonition of Christ : " Watch ye, and pray, that you may 
not enter into temptation. The spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh 
weak."— Matt. 26 : 41. We must watch, that is pay attention to 
all that passes within and without us, that w r e may observe in time 
the danger that threatens our salvation and guard against it. For 
want of vigilance and co-operation with the inspirations of God a 
soul which has been the object of his favors, may nevertheless be lost. 
He who relying on his former dispositions does not vigilantly watch 
over himself will soon fall into sin. David, because he did not watch 
< >ver his eyes, committed the heinous sins of murder and adultery. Dina 
imprudently entered the city of Sichem, and lost her innocence; Peter 
through curiosity, went into bad company and denied his Lord and 
Master. How many there may be among us, who for want of vigi- 
lance have grievously sinned ? You did not banish a sinful thought 
as soon as it came into your mind. What was the result ? Com- 
placency, and complacency gave way to delectation, delectation to con- 
sent, consent to gratification. Remember that no one ever became a 
saint without vigilance and labor. The salvation of man depends 
upon vigilance and co-operation with grace. In the practice of 
virtue you can never say with certainty that you will be faithful to- 
morrow because vou have been faithful to-dav. One unfortunate 
occasion is sufficient to cause your eternal ruin. Therefore, watch 
that you enter not into temptation. Our whole life is so full of 
temptations that with justice it may be called one constant tempta- 
ion, a continual warfare, therefore, watchful prudence, circumspection 
and prayer are necessary if we wish not to be led into temptation. 



56 



The Way of the Cross. 



Ninth Station. 



57 



(c) We must pray. By prayer we obtain God's grace, which 
enlightens us to know the cunning assaults of our spiritual enemies 
and afford us strength to resist them with determination. St. Augus- 
tine says : " As long as you pray you may be assured that the divine 
mercy will not fail to come to your succor." And St. Chrysostom 
says : " The roar of the lion does not drive away the wild beast, as 
does the prayer of the just man all enemies." The pious hermits in 
the desert of Egypt one day consulted among themselves which exer- 
cise was most necessary for every Christian in order to obtain eternal 
salvation. They unanimously agreed that it was none other than 
fervent, persevering prayer. Hence they resolved, that each of them 
should often say with David : " O God, come to my assistance ; O 
Lord, make haste to help me."— Ps. 69 : 2. Be fervent, then, in 
prayer, and do not omit to cry to God for help in every temptation, 
that you may not fall. 

Part II. 

Another reason why Jesus fell the third time beneath the cross was 
without doubt the agony he suffered at the thought of the approach 
of death. 

1 . Death is something fearful for every man, because the separation 
caused by death between the soul and the body is so unnatural. God 
in creating man destined him to be immortal, both body and soul. He 
placed him in the garden of Paradise where he might have lived in per- 
fect happiness, and when his time had come he would have been trans- 
lated body and soul into heaven, without tasting death. Death is a 
consequence of and a punishment for, an act of disobedience against 
the law of God. It is not a blessing, but an evil, and even pious 
Christians tremble when the final hour draws near. St. Arsenius on 
his death-bed was seized with a fear so great that his disciples, who 
had been witness of his holiness, said to him: ".And you, too, trem- 
ble, father?" He answered: "Yes, children, this is no new fear, I 
have feared this hour all the days of my life." Since Jesus Christ 
was not only God, but also man, and as man wished to suffer and die, 
it is natural that he, too, experienced the terrors of death, and so 
much the more as by his omniscience he foresaw what a painful death 
was awaiting him. Let us consider this a little more minutely in the 
Ninth Station. Under abuses the most horrible and sufferings the 
most intense he had arrived almost at the summit of Calvary and 
reached the spot where he was to be crucified. At a short distance 
from him he sees workmen drill a hole into the rock for his cross. 



he notices the awful preparations for the crucifixion and a great mul- 
titude of people, who are waiting with impatience, and as soon as 
they see him, cry out : " Now he is coming, we need not wait much 
longer, he will soon be crucified." In this moment all the tortures 
and sufferings that accompany his death are vividly presented to his 
mind. He sees how they strip off his clothes and present him 
almost naked to the gaze of the curious populace, he sees how they 
stretch him on the hard bed of the cross, how his hands and feet are 
extended and cruelly pierced through with nails, he sees how the cross 
is erected and fastened in the opening, how he hangs upon it for three 
hours in the utmost abandonment and in a sea of suffering, how he, 
finally, bows his head and dies. What must have been the feelings 
of 'our Saviour at the representation of all these circumstances of his 
Passion and death. If he already said in the garden of Olives when 
he beheld his death in the distance: "My soul is sorrowful unto 
death," and sweat drops of blood, what anguish, what terror must 
have seized him at the near approach of death ! Can we wonder 
that no strength is left him and that he falls to the ground beneath 
the weight of the cross ? 

2. Application. Let us sympathize with our Redeemer, sorrowful 
unto death, and lying prostrate on the ground ; but let us also reflect 
upon our own condition, and consider that sooner or later our end 
will draw near. What an important affair, therefore, is death, since 
it decides our fate for time and eternity ! 

(a) For time. As long as we live the salvation of our soul is in 
our own hands, we can lay up a treasure of merits for heaven and 
prepare ourselves for eternity. Even if we have the misfortune to 
forfeit the grace of God by mortal sin, there is rescue in store for us, 
we need only make a good confession to find grace and pardon with 
God. All this is no longer possible when we are dead and gone, 
then time will be no longer ours, the season of probation is past 
and the door of grace shut against us for ever. The moment we are 
no more the words of St. John in the Apocalyse apply to us : " The 
angel lifted up his hands to heaven and he swore by him that liveth 
for ever and ever : That time shall be no more." — Apoc. 10 : 5, 6. 
O what an important thing it is to die ! And yet there are Christians 
who continue to live in levity, forgetful of their salvation and who 
never trouble themselves about dying. How negligent they are in doing 
good ! They squander the days of salvation, neglect public and private 
prayer, and if they sometimes pray, it is without fervor, without 
devotion ; they are so distracted, that it would appear they intended 



i 

i 



58 



The Way of the Cross. 



only to insult God, they hardly ever read a spiritual book or listen to a 
sermon, and allow months and years to pass without confession and 
Communion. They have so many opportunities to put their conscience 
in order and to reconcile themselves to God by a good confession, 
but they suifer these opportunities to pass by unacceptable to God and 
unprofitable to themselves. How can I anticipate, how can I describe 
their feelings in the other world ! What pain must it be for them 
when they must say to themselves: Alas ! of what folly I have been 
guilty ! In my life I had long series of years, in which I might have 
become a saint, but I would not, I thought of everything but of pre- 
paring for a good death, and now I have no time to make up for 
any neglect and to save my soul. 

(6) For eternity. " If the tree fall to the south, or to the north, 
in what place soever it shall fall there shall it be."— Ecdes. 11 : 3. 
In eternity there is no change, in what state soever man dies, in that 
will he remain for ever. It is now more than five thousand years 
since the death of the fratricide Cain. Because he persevered in his 
impenitence to the last, he was damned and has been burning in hell 
for over five thousand years. During all this long time there has 
been no day, no hour, no moment in which his situation has been 
changed, or his sufferings been in the least interrupted or mitigated. 
How much he must have already suffered during all these long series 
of years, but after five thousand years more have elapsed, nay, after 
millions and millions of years have passed his lot and the lot of all 
the damned will still be the same, ever the same torments, the same 
hopelessness, the same despair. What a terrible state ! But the des- 
tiny of the blessed is unalterable. Over eighteen hundred years have 
passed away since St. Peter and St. Paul suffered martyrdom and were 
received into heaven. Who can describe the joy, the happiness 
which these Apostles have enjoyed without any interruption during 
all these long centuries! And who can form an adequate idea of 
the joy and happiness which they with all the elect shall continue 
to enjoy throughout the ages to come— for all eternity, without 
any interruption. O how much depends on death, on that last 
moment of onr life, which decides our fate for all eternity! On 
it depends our happiness or misery for an endless eternity. Do 
you believe in your impending fate? Why then do you live as if 
you were never to die? What folly it is for the sake of a wretched 
momentary pleasure in this life to run the risk of dying a miserable 
death and commencing a life of misery that will 'never terminate. 
Remember Lot's wife. Remember death ; it is certain ; prepare for 
it, that you may escape a miserable death. 



Tenth Station. 



PERORATION. 



59 



Think well on death, and during life frequently descend in thought 
into the silent grave there to witness the progress of the worms of 
corruption, that you may turn your eyes from the vanity of the world 
and guard yourselves against sin. The frequent and oft-renewed 
remembrance of death will be to you a shield, from which all the 
arrows of your spiritual enemies will rebound, especially if you are 
watchful and invoke God's help in every temptation. But because 
you have hitherto failed to do this on many occasions and have there- 
fore sinned grievously, prostrate yourself before Jesus in the Ninth 
Station and full of sorrow and compunction of heart, pray : O most 
merciful Jesus, we thank thee, that thou didst not permit us to die in 
our sins, and didst not bury us as we have deserved, in the abyss of helL 
We beseech thee by the merits of this thy third most painful fall, to 
pardon our frequent relapses and our long continuance in sin ; and 
may the thought of these thy sufferings make us hate our sins more 
and more, and persevere in good to the end. Amen. 



TENTH STATION. 

JESUS IS STRIPT OF HIS GARMENTS. 

" They have parted my garments among them ; and upon my vesture they have cast lots." 

— John iq : 24. 

When Jesus Christ had fallen beneath the cross the third time, 
who could believe that he would rise again ; his death seemed cer- 
tain, because he was so much exhausted ! But he did not die, his 
love for men made him desire to suffer still more, he wished to 
die the most ignominious death of the cross, therefore, he raised 
himself once more from his fall, and took the cross upon his 
shoulders ; his love gave him strength to carry it till he reached 
the place of execution. He stands upon Calvary— on that moun- 
tain which is connected with Mount Moria, on which Isaac, his 
prototype, was to be slaughtered ; on that mountain where our first 
parent Adam, as Origen and St. Athanasius relate, is buried; on 
that mountain where the head of the infernal serpent is to be crushed > 



60 



The Way of the Cross. 



Tenth Station. 



61 



sin blotted out, and divine justice satisfied by a superabundant satis- 
faction. "And they came to a place that is called Golgotha, which is the 
place of Olivary."- J/atf. 27 : 33. Let us consider at this Station : 
i". The corporal denudation of Jesus Christ, and 
II. The spiritual denudation of the Christian. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 
When our divine Saviour had reached the spot where he was to 
be crucified, he was stript of his garments, and oh ! 
1. With what great pain ! 

(a) According to the Roman law, the malefactors who were 
condemned to the death of crucifixion, were to be deprived of 
their garments, and the soldiers who executed the sentence received 
them as their portion. Christ too, who, in every respect, was 
treated as the greatest malefactor, had to submit to this law. The 
soldiers, then, began to strip him of his garments. First, they took 
off his cloak ; under this cloak Christ wore a seamless garment, 
tightly fitting his body, woven by the hands of his holy Mother! 
This garment was open only at the throat, and had to be drawn 
over the head. But it was impossible to do this because he wore 
a great crown of thorns on his head. The crown of thorns 
therefore, had to be first removed. How painful this must have' 
been to Jesus! If we draw out a splinter which has penetrated 
somewhat deeply into the flesh, we experience a very painful sensa- 
tion; how intense, then, must have been the sufferings of our divine 
Saviour, when the long, sharp thorns, which had penetrated deep 
into his head, and had remained there, were drawn out. Medi- 
tate on these pains of our Lord, and at the same time think 
of the unchaste thoughts and desires with which you have many 
times offended God. Ah ! on account of these shameless thoughts 
and desires the most holy head of our Lord has been so painfully 
tortured by the crown of thorns and its removal. O, be sorry for 
these sins; and resolve henceforth to fight against and banish all 
impure thoughts and desires, that you may not contaminate your 
conscience with sin. 

(6) Having removed the crown of thorns, the soldiers began to 
strip him of his clothes. His whole body was lacerated and full 
of wounds and blood, his garment adhered to his body, especially 



to his shoulders and back, because these parts of the body had been 
most exposed to the pressure of the cross. How terrible must have 
been the pains which Jesus suffered at the removal of this garment, 
especially as the soldiers did not do it slowly and gently, but pulled 
it violently over his head ! When we read in the life of St. Bar- 
tholomew, and of other martyrs, that they were flayed alive, we can 
scarcely think of such a martyrdom without a shudder. But no less 
painful was the torture which Christ endured when he was stript 
of his clothes, which adhered to every part of his body, and by 
which operation pieces of skin and flesh were torn off and his wounds 
renewed and made to bleed afresh. 

Think of these pains of your Eedeemer, and shun all effeminacy 
of the flesh and sins of lust, for it was on account of these sins of 
effeminacy that Christ had to endure the great pain of being stript 
naked before the gaze of an immense multitude of people. When- 
ever you are tempted to impurity, think of your Redeemer stript 
of his clothes, covered with wounds and blood, and say to your- 
selves : O, Jesus, my suffering Saviour, let me die rather than offend 
thee by a sin of impurity. 

2. With ichat great ignominy! 

(a) Every decent, well-behaved person considers decorum and 
modesty a duty, and would endure anything rather than permit 
himself to be indecently uncovered. Even the Gentiles had this 
feeling of modesty, for Plutarch relates that in a certain city of 
Greece suicide had at one time become so prevalent among the 
female sex that the authorities no longer knew how to put a stop 
to it. They finally passed an ordinance that the bodies of the sui- 
cides should be stript naked, exposed to the public gaze and burnt. 
This ordinance had the desired effect, from that hour the mania of 
suicide subsided, for all shuddered at the punishment of being ex- 
posed naked to public view. The pagans, even, who were given 
to the most abominable debaucheries, entertained a similar regard 
for modesty. And how great was the sense of modesty among the 
early Christians! They would rather endure the greatest tortures 
and the most cruel death, than the ignominy of being stript naked. 
Even whilst being martyred, they were carefully intent upon avoid- 
ing every immodest denudation. St. Perpetua, a noble Roman lady 
of twenty years, when thrown to the ground by a wild cow in the 
amphitheatre, where she was left lying upon the earth half dead 
quickly covered the nakedness at her side, where the cow had torn 



62 



The Way of the Cross. 



her dress with her horns, that she might die modestly. Now you 
can estimate to some extent the pain whieh the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus felt when the rude soldiers deprived him of his clothes, and 
in a state of nakedness exposed him to the curious gaze of an im- 
mense multitude. Sorrowfully he looked to the ground and sighed : 
<( Thou, (O Lord), knowest my reproach, and my confusion, and my 
shame." — Ps. 68 : 20. Have mercy on me and cover my shame. 
One of the bystanders offers him a cloth with which he immediately 
girds his loins. 

(6) Spiritual writers say that our Lord took upon himself this 
ignominy of nakedness especially on account of the abominable vice 
of impurity. " When a man," says a Father of the Church, " yields 
to pride, it is a man indeed that sins, but he sins like an angel ; when 
he succumbs to avarice, it is a man indeed that sins, but he sins like 
a man ; but if he gives himself up to impurity, he does not sin as an 
angel or a man, but as a beast." O what a detestable vice is impuri- 
ty, since it so deeply degrades man, who is created to the likeness of 
God, placing him upon a level with the brute creatures. O shun this 
detestable vice, and lead a chaste, modest, well regulated life. 



Part II. 

The corporal denudation of Jesus Christ serves as a lesson to us, 
that we must spiritually denude ourselves, if we wish to be his true 
followers, and with him to possess the eternal joys of heaven. 
Wherein does this spiritual denudation consist ? In this, that we 
divest ourselves — 

1. Of all love of sin. It is not enough not to commit sin any 
longer in reality ; we must have no voluntary inclination to sin ; we 
must hate and detest all evil from our heart. God regards the heart, 
the seat of love or hatred. As long as our heart finds pleasure in 
evil we displease him, although externally we may do nothing wrong. 
Everything depends upon the internal justice, without it all exercises 
of virtue and good works are as a shell without a kernel, tinsel 
without value. He who, for instance, does not commit the vice of 
impurity in deed, but loves it and would commit it if he had an op- 
portunity, or entertains with pleasure unchaste representations and 
desires, is anything but chaste before God ; on the contrary, he is to 
be numbered among the unchaste, and can expect nothing but eternal 
damnation, unless he changes his sinful mind and disposition. 



•Tenth Station. 



63 



Reflect how matters stand with you. Have you put off the old 
man, all perverse will, all love for sin, as you put off a garment? 
Can you say in truth, I hate what is evil, and take pleasure in that 
which is good ; my heart, my whole, undivided heart belongs to God. 
Blessed are you, if such is the case; you are on the right' road to 
heaven, and may rest assured that when you die you will go straight 
to heaven. But you would have to be pitied, your case would be de- 
plorable, if you still found pleasure in what is evil, if your will was 
turned from God ; and, should you persevere in your perverse incli- 
nation, you could not be saved. 

2. All inordinate worldly love. A soldier who had faithfully 
served his prince for many years, but neglected his own salvation, fell 
dangerously sick and died. The prince, who was very much attached 
to him, visited him on his death-bed and desired him to ask any 
favor of him he desired. The sick man replied that the prince in 
recompense for his long, faithful service, should obtain for him the 
grace, either to escape death or to be relieved of his terrible pains for 
at least an hour, and, finally, after leaving this world to be admitted 
into heaven. The prince, with tears in his eyes, said : "My dear 
friend, to grant you this favor is not in my power." The soldier sor- 
rowfully sighed : " In vain have I labored, in vain have I served you 
so long. Had I served my God as long and as faithfully as I have 
served my prince, he would give me heaven as a recompense. Alas ! 
of what great folly I have been guilty, that I have misspent my years 
and made no provision for my soul, for a happy eternity." The lan- 
guage of this soldier will be the language of many Christians who 
have lived many years in the world, but have not spent them' for God. 
All the time that has not been spent for God is lost time. They are 
now attached to the world and to worldly things, they are enamored of 
them, they hardly ever think of the affair of their salvation. Now 
and then they have a few transitory desires of conversion, but delay 
their repentance until their death-bed, and only resolve to abandon 
sin when sin has abandoned them, when they are no longer able to 
commit it, and thus their case is as hopeless as that of the soldier. If 
however, a worldly advantage is to be gained, they are all life and 
activity, they spare no labor, no pains, whereas in the service of God 
they will make no sacrifice, they omit their morning and evening 
prayers, neglect to hear the word of God on Sundays and holydays, and 
to receive the Sacraments, they never enter into themselves and never 
ask themselves whether the way they go leads to heaven or to hell. 



64 



The Way of the Cross. 



The result of their inordinate love of the world frequently is, that 
they entirely neglect the salvation of their souls and offend God by 
committing the most grievous sins. 

Beware, then, of being ruled by the love of the world. Consider 
the words of Christ: " What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul ? "—Matt. 16 : 26. What folly would it 
be, if, for the sake of such fleeting, vain, worldly goods, you would 
plunge yourselves into eternal perdition ! Imitate the Saints, who 
knew no more important affair than to serve God and save their souls. 
" Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity, besides loving God and serving 
him alone. It is the highest wisdom to despise the world and to tend 
to heavenly kingdoms. It is vanity to seek after riches which must 
perish, it is vanity to be ambitious for riches, it is vanity to follow the 
lusts of the flesh, it is vanity to mind only this present life, and not 
to look forward into those things which are to come. It is vanity to 
love that which passeth away with all speed, and not to hasten thither 
where everlasting joy remains." — Imit. Christ, book 1, ch. 1. You 
are not forbidden, it is true, to seek after temporal goods with a cer- 
tain solicitude, but your principal care must be the salvation of your 
soul. You must render everything else subordinate to this. As the 
sunflower is ever turned towards the sun, so the Christian must direct 
his eyes constantly towards heaven, and in all his works be guided by 
the thought of what is eternal. Shun, therefore, everything injurious 
to the salvation of your soul, and so pass through what is temporal 
that you may not lose what is eternal. 

3. All inordinate self-love, which consists in seeking agreeable and 
sensual things, in gratifying the passions and leading an easy life. 
Christ demands self-denial and mortification of his followers: "If 
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 
cross, and follow me."— Matt 16 : 24. The Apostle also writes ; 
" They who are Christ's, have crucified their flesh with the vices and 
concupiscences."- Gal. 5 : 24. He, therefore, who has put off inor- 
dinate self-love, subjects his body to mortifications and denies it every- 
thing that could entice it to lust and unfit him for the service of God. 
Thus St. Paul chastised his body, and brought it into the subjection 
of the spirit, that after having preached to others, he, himself, might 
not become a cast away.— J. Cor. 9 : 27. St. Francis of Assisium 
led a very mortified life. The earth was generally his bed, he slept 
in a sitting posture, the head resting upon a piece of wood or stone. 
What he ate was seldom cooked, he never drank anything else than 



Eleventh Station. 



65 



water, and even this very sparingly, no matter how great was the heat 
We are not bound, it is true, to live so austerely, but we are obliged 
to refuse to ourselves what is sinful and prohibited, and whatever 
might entice us to sin. In order to put off all inordinate self-love, it 
is also necessary that we deny our own will, and willingly and cheer- 
fully comply with all that God requires of us and to which obedience 
obliges us. If we have divested ourselves of all inordinate self-love, 
we will be truly humble, will not seek the praise of men, prefer to be 
rather last than first, yield to the will of others and not complain if 
obedience demands of us a sacrifice. 

PERORATION. 

Herein consists the spiritual denudation of the Christian. We must 
put off all love of sin by the renovation of our mind and the amend- 
ment of our heart, put off all inordinate love of the world by the 
contempt of all earthly things and an earnest solicitude for what is 
eternal, divest ourselves of all inordinate self-love by the mortification 
of all sensuality and self-will. True, this spiritual divesting is no 
child's play; it is difficult, but not impossible, for with the help of 
God's grace we can do all things. Consider the Saints who have ac- 
complished this spiritual denudation and let their example stimulate 
us to imitation. Let us look at Jesus in the Tenth Station, and con- 
sider the pains and ignominy which he suffered when his clothes were 
torn from his body, that we may not despise the difficulties connected 
with our spiritual denudation. " Yes, O Jesus, may we put off the 
old man and put on the new, who is according to thy pleasure 
wish and will. Though it should be hard for us, we will not spare 
our flesh ; divested of all earthly things, and attached to thee alone, 
we desire to die, that we may live eternally with thee." Amen. 



ELEVENTH STATION. 

JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS. 
" They crucified him:' 1 — Luke 23 : 33. 

Jesus has arrived at the summit of Calvary, where the prepara- 
tions for the crucifixion are being made. The executioners having 
dug a hole on the top of the Mount, carried the cross of our Saviour 
to the spot where they intended to crucify him and placed it in such 

E 



66 



The Way of the Cross. 



Eleventh Station. 



67 



a position that it would fall easily into the opening prepared for it. 
There lay the terrible cross, the hammers, the ropes, the nails, and 
beside these frightful instruments of torture stood the brutal execu- 
tioners, half drunk, and almost without clothing, swearing and blas- 
pheming whilst making their preparations. They had brought a vase 
containing vinegar and gall, a mixture which looked like wine, and 
which was iriven to malefactors before executing the sentence of death 
in order to render them insensible to the approaching tortures, and to 
make death easy for them. They offered a glass of it to our Lord, 
which he tasted, but would not drink ; (Matt 27: 34) for he wished 
to die without the least mitigation of the pains of death. Now begins 
the most horrid tragedy which the world has ever witnessed, the Cru- 
cifixion of Christ. The Eleventh Station, Jem is nailed to the cross. 
Let us consider, 

/. T he nailing of his hands, and 
II. The nailing of his feet, to the cross. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world/' 

Part I. 

Jesus had suffered much on his journey to Mount Calvary, but in- 
describably greater are the sufferings that still await him. Let us con- 
sider, 

1. The nailing of his hands. 

(a) The barbarous executioners commanded our divine Lord to 
place himself upon the cross, which they had taken from his shoulders 
and laid upon the ground that they might nail him to it; and Jesus, 
patient as a lamb, which is dumb before its shearer, (/*. 5o : 7) ex- 
tends his sacred body on the cross. Hard was his bed when as a child 
of poverty be came into the world ; for a crib was his cradle, and hay 
and straw his bed ; hard was his bed in the days of his earthly life, 
for he had not, as he himself assures us, where to lay his head, but 
infinitely harder is his bed now, when he lies down to die. Jesus is 
placed on the cross; and why/ Will he, perhaps, rest from his 
fatigue, as a wanderer rests upon his bundle on a hot summer day ? 
Ah ! no ; Jesus is placed on the cross to be nailed to it. Stretch out 
your hands that we can nail them, they commanded. And the Son of 
God, the Lord of heaven and earth, obeys iu silence and without re- 
sistance. Seizing his right arm they dragged it to the hole prepared 
for the uail, and having tied it tightly down with a cord, one of them 



knelt upon his sacred chest, a second held his hand fiat, and a third 
taking a long, thick nail, pressed it on the open palm of that adorable 
hand, which had ever been ready to bestow blessings and favors upon 
the ungrateful Jews, and with a great iron hammer drove it throU 
the flesh and far into the wood of the eross. Our Lord uttered one 
deep but suppressed groan, al ,d his blood gushed forth and sprinkled 
the arms of the executioners. The nails were very large the heads 
about the size of a silver dollar, and the thickness, that of a man's 
thumb, while the points came through at the back of the cross When 
the executioners had nailed the right hand of our Lord they per 
ceived that his left hand did not reach the hole thev had bored to re 
ceive the nail ■ therefore, they tied ropes to his left arm, and bavin* 
steadied their feet against the cross, pulled the left hand violentJv until 
it reached the place prepared for it. This dreadful process caused our 
Lord indescr.bable agony, his breast heaved, and his legs were vio 
lently contracted. They again knelt upon him, tied down his arms 
and drove the second nail into bis left hand ; his blood flowed afresh 
and his feeble groans were once more heard between the blows of the 
hammer, but nothing could move the hard-hearted executioners to the 
.si igli test comm iseration . 

2. The cause of this painful nailiny. Our divine Lord suffers 
this indescribable agony of the nailing of his hands to the cross on 
account of the sins which men commit in many ways by the abuse of 
their hands. God has given us hands that we mav employ them 
m his sery.ee as well as for our own and our neigh bore' "benefit 
Many Christians, however, act in direct opposition to this purpose 
of God and misuse their bands by committing mauv sins and vices 
For is it not making a sinful use of their hands, when thev make un 
just attacks upon the property of others, rob and steal ;" when thev 
•strike, wound and even take the life of their fellow-men; when thev do 
servile work on Sundays and holydays instead of going to church and 
praying; when they are guilty of unchaste touches on their own 
person, touches which are abominable in the sight of God and in the 
eyes of every honorable person, or when one edits and spreads books 
which undermine faith and morals? 

Reflect if you are not of the number of those who have misused 
heir hands in various sinful ways. If you have, make an act of con- 
trition, humbly ask pardon of your Saviour and promise him to 
amend your life. Henceforth employ your hands according to the 
will of God in labor, prayer, the practise of good works, and especially 



. 



68 



The Way of the Cross. 



Eleventh Station. 



69 



works of mercy and charity. If you should be tempted to misuse* 
your hands for the perpetration of anything sinful, remember the pains 
which Jesus suffered when his hands were nailed to the cross, and 
beseech him to give you grace to overcome the temptation and not 
to offend him by any sin. 

Part II. 

The nailing of the hands to the cross was followed by the nailing 
of the feet. Let us now consider, 

1 . The nailing of the feet to the cross. The executioners had fastened 
a piece of wood to the lower portion of the cross beneath where the 
feet of Jesus would be nailed, that thus the weight of his body might 
not rest upon the wounds of his hands, as also to prevent the bones 
of his feet from being broken when nailed to the cross. A hole had 
been pierced in this piece of wood to receive the nail when driven 
through his feet, and there was likewise a little hollow place for his 
heels. These precautions were taken lest his wounds should be torn 
open by the weight of his body, and death ensue before he had suf- 
fered all the tortures which they hoped to see him endure. The whole 
t>ody of our Lord had been dragged upward, and contracted by the 
violent manner in which the executioners had stretcheol out his arms, 
and his knees were bent up ; they, therefore, flattened and tied them 
down tightly with cords; but soon perceiving that his feet did not 
reach the piece of wood which was placed for them to rest upon, they 
became infuriated. Some of their number proposed making fresh 
holes for the nails which pierced his hands, as there would be consid- 
erable difficulty in removing the piece of wood, but the others would 
not hear of this and continued to vociferate : He will not stretch him- 
self out, but we will make him. These words were accompanied with 
the most fearful oaths and imprecations, and having fastened a rope 
to his right leg, they pulled it violently until it reached the wood and 
then tied it down as tightly as possible. The agony which Jesus suf- 
fered from this violent tension was indescribable ; so great that the 
words : " My God, my God," escaped his lips, and the executioners 
increased his pain by tying his chest and arms to the cross, lest the 
hands should be torn from the nails. They then fastened his left foot 
over his right foot, having first bored a hole through them with a 
pointed instrument, because they could not be placed in such a posi- 
tion as to be nailed together at once. They next took a very long 
nail and drove it completely through both feet into the wood of the 
cross, which operation was more than usually painful, on account of 



his body being stretched so unnaturally. Thirty-six blows of the 
hammer were required until the nail went through both feet and the 
wood. Who can describe the pains which Jesus experienced during 
this long torture ! Every blow penetrated marrow and bone, his heart 
heaved and trembled, his breathing became slower, paleness covered his 
face, and there was not a nerve or artery in his body that was not 
torn with the most violent pain. 

2. ^ The muse of the painful nailimj of his feeL We need not 
long inquire what was the reason that the feet of Jesus were fastened 
to the cross in so painful a manner: It was the sins which men commit 
with their feel. God has given us feet that we should walk the 
narrow road that leads to heaven by observing his holy command- 
ments. But how many go the broad way of sin ! Ask yourselves 
have you not taken many steps, which were not in the interest of the 
service of God and your duty, but for the gratification of base and 
condemnable passions. It was Sunday morning, vou knew it to be 
your duty to go to Mass, but many of you went to saloons and squan- 
dered the precious hours in drinking and idle conversation, whilst 
better Christians listened to the word of God in church and prayed. 
It was night, you should have gone to rest, but many of you walked 
forbidden ways and offended God with the most grievous sins ! Alas ! 
many of you have taken steps, of which you will think with a heavy 
heart when called upon to take your last step— the step into eternity. 
Deplorable indeed, is the condition of those unfortunate ones who 
misuse their feet to offend God and always walk in evil paths, for it 
is much to be feared that their course will lead to hell. 

PERORATION. 

Reflect well on this, and if your conscience reproaches you that 
your feet have led you into various sins, repent of them at the 
Eleventh Station and humbly ask forgiveness. With Mary Magda- 
lene prostrate yourselves at the feet of your Lord, wash them with 
tears of sincere contrition and promise that henceforth you will walk 
in the path of virtue. Yes, O Jesus, this shall be the fruit of our 
meditation to-day : We will never again employ our hands or feet 
in evil ways; on the contrary, we are resolved to follow thee on the 
rough road of mortification and penance that we may be permitted to 
follow thee into the eternal glory of heaven. Amen. 



70 



The Way of the Cross. 



TWELFTH STATION. 

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS. 

" And bowing his head he gave up the %host" — John ig : jo. 

Let us place ourselves again in spirit on Mount Calvary and con- 
template Jesus on his bed of pain. His hands and feet are nailed to 
the cross, his sufferings are indescribable, but a new torture awaits 
him. When the executioners had finished the crucifixion of our Lord, 
they tied ropes to the trunk of the cross, and fastened the ends of 
these ropes to a long beam which was fixed firmly in the ground at a 
little distance, and by means of these ropes they raised the cross. 
Some of their number supported it, while others poshed its foot 
towards the hole prepared for it — the heavy cross fell into this open- 
ing with a frightful shock — Jesus uttered a faint cry — his wounds 
were torn open in the most fearful manner, and the blood again gushed 
forth. They pushed the cross to get it thoroughly into the hole, and 
(caused it to vibrate still more by planting five stakes around it to 
support it. Christ is thus exalted and as a malefactor hangs on a 
gibbet between heaven and earth. Let us place ourselves at the 
Twelfth Station, which bears the inscription : Jesus dies on the cross, 
and consider, 

I. The victory which Jesus won on the cross, and 
II. The victor jj ichich we, too, must win. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

From the severe struggle which Christ had to endure on the cross 
he came forth as conqueror, 

1. In the struggle against his unutterable bodily pains. 

(a) How intense are the pains which Jesus suffers on the cross! 
His head is covered with wounds and pierced by thorns, his face is 
swollen and disfigured by blows, his chest is extended and raised in 
such a manner that his bones can be counted, his back is lacerated, his 
hands and his feet pierced through with nails and fastened to the cross, 
in a word, his whole aspect is such as makes him appear to us as a 



r 



Twelfth Statiox. 



71 



man of sorrows. And in these nameless sufferings he cannot procure 
for himself the least mitigation. His head pains him, but he can 
make no use of his hands to draw out the thorns ; his hands and feet 
pain him, but he is bound fast by the nails ; his back and chest pain 
him, but he cannot change his position. He can neither lie nor sit, 
neither go nor stand, the whole weight of his body must hang sus- 
pended by these three nails. His members are growing weaker by 
the long hanging, the wounds made by the nails become larger and 
from moment to moment cause greater pain, but nothing he "can do 
but suffer. As St, Alphonsus remarks, Jesus suffers the pangs of 
death every moment, and we may say that he suffers death as often as 
there are moments in the three hours during which he hung upon the 
cross. The terrible crown of thorns that encircled his head prevented 
his raising it even for a moment without the most intense suffering ; 
his mouth was parched and half open from exhaustion, and his hair 
and beard clotted with blood. His chest was torn with stripes and 
wounds, and his elbows, wrists and shoulders so violently distended 
as to be almost dislocated ; blood constantly trickled down from the 
gaping wounds in his hands, and his fiesh was so torn from his ribs 
that you might almost number them. His legs and thighs, as also 
his arms, were stretched almost to dislocation, the flesh and muscles so 
completely laid bare that every bone was visible and his whole body 
covered with black, livid and gaping wounds. The blood which 
flowed from his wounds was at first red, but by degrees it became 
light and watery, and the whole appearance of the body was that of a 
corpse ready for interment. Thus Jesus on the cross could truly ex- 
claim in the words of the prophet: "O all ye, that pass by the way 
attend and see, if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow. "—Lament 
1: 12. 

(/>) Yet, notwithstanding the horrible wounds with which he was 
covered, notwithstanding the ignominy to which he was reduced, there 
still remained that inexpressible look of dignity and goodness which 
had ever filled all beholders with awe. Indescribable as are his pains, 
he does not become impatient or despondent, he does not make the 
least exertion to be freed from his torture; he remains on the cross 
and with constancy perseveres to the last moment. Though his hands 
and feet and every member of his body suffer unspeakable pains, he 
does not complain ; as in the Garden of Olives, so now on the cross, 
he is resigned to the will of his heavenly Father. Thus he is victori- 
ous over all his bodily pains. 



72 



The Way of the Cuoss. 






2. In the struggle against the wickedness of his enemies. 

(a) One would think that at the sight of the countless pains of the 
divine Sufferer the fury of his enemies would have subsided and given 
place to feelings of compassion and mercy ; for it is peculiar to the 
human heart to be satisfied when it sees the object of its hatred de- 
stroyed. But no, the leaders of the Jews have not the least commis- 
eration for the crucified Saviour, on the contrarv they emulate one 
another in blaspheming and mocking him in his misery and abandon- 
ment. " Vah," some of them said, "thou who destroyest the temple of 
God, and in three days buildest it up again, save thy own self; if thou 
be the Son of God, come down from the cross:" Others said: "He 
saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, 
let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He 
trusted in God, let him deliver him now, if he will have him ; for he 
said: I am the Son of God." — Matt. 27: 40-43. How painful such 
blasphemies must have been to our crucified Saviour ! What woe his 
Sacred Heart must have experienced when in his greatest sufferings 
he was mocked by his own creatures and not even granted the privi- 
lege of dying in peace ! 

(6) How does Christ conduct himself towards his enemies? Does 
he burn with holy indignation at their wicked behaviour? Does he 
from the cross pronounce a curse upon his heartless scoffers or destroy 
them with the breath of his mouth ? Ah ! no ; Jesus, the eternal 
love does not do this. He does not regard the injury inflicted 
upou him, but their immortal souls and the judgments awaiting them, 
and full of compassion and commiseration he asks pardon for his 
murderers, saying: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they 
do." — Luke 23 : 34. O love of my Jesus, what a good fight thou 
hast fought, what a glorious victory thou hast won ! O, millions of 
thy servants, who are despised and persecuted in the world look upon 
thy struggle and conquer in thy victory. 

3. In the struggle against the dejection of his. heart. 

[a) The Apostles and martyrs, it is true, had to endure a hard 
struggle in the hour of their death, for they were most cruelly tor- 
tured. When we read of the sufferings which many of them had to 
undergo for the sake of their faith, we shudder and can hardly believe 
it possible that they could endure such torments. But then, in all 
their struggles and sufferings these Saints enjoyed divine consolation, 
and it was this that raised their drooping spirits, strengthened them 
and sweetened the most bitter pains. But how different is the manner 



m 



Twelfth Station. 



73 



in which our crucified Saviour suffers ! He is destitute of all heav- 
enly consolation, for he voluntarily parted with it, in order to be able 
to suffer death in all its bitterness. His heavenly Father withdraws 
himself from him, as it were, and no longer allows him to enjoy the 
sweetness of his presence. His soul, like his body, is overshadowed 
by the densest darkness, and not a ray of heavenly light penetrates 
into his agonizing heart. His humanity shudders at this and breaks 
forth into the plaintive cry: "My God, my God, why hast thou for- 
saken me ! "—Matt. 27 : 4(3. 

(b) Let us not believe, however, that Jesus wished to indicate by 
this cry that he had lost all courage and yielded to despondency. No, 
he only complains, and that in a loud voice, in order to give as to 
understand what an inexpressible pain it is for him to be deprived of 
all divine consolation, and how great is his love for us, since he vol- 
untarily underwent this pain in order to render our death less pain- 
ful. He does not waver a moment in his confidence in God, even in the 
hour of his greatest abandonment he is perfectly resigned to the will 
of his heavenly Father, therefore, after a short pause he exclaims: 
"" Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." — Luke 25 : 45. 

Thus Jesus conquers in the threefold struggle which he has to fight 
for the salvation of the wprld, thus he is triumphant on the cross, and 
as conqueror bows his head and gives up the ghost. 

Part II. 

Being disciples of Christ crucified, with him we must fight and 
conquer, 

1. In the tribulations of this life. 

(a) Sufferings are our portion in this life; for since sin has found 
entrance into the work!, it is no longer a paradise, a garden of 
pleasure, but a valley of tears. The first act of the babe that leaves 
its mother's womb, is to whimper and cry, as if already conscious 
that it must shed many tears on its journey through life. And when 
man lies on his death-bed, he does not generally laugh, but sighs, 
moans and groans, while bitter tears flow from his breaking eves. 
Ah ! how many sufferings and tribulations there are in the world ! 
How many suffer the greatest poverty all their life ! Great is the 
number of diseases, and scarcely a day passes on which we are not 
overtaken by a greater or less indisposition. How many cares and 
difficulties are connected with the duties of our state of life! Heat 



74 



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The Way of the Cross. 



and cold, hunger and thirst, fatigue and night-watches, and accom- 
panying all these are many disquietudes and unpleasant circum- 
stances. Care and solicitude are the sacrifices which every one must 
make who desires to fulfil his duties. Job indeed spoke truly when 
he said : " Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled 
with many miseries," — Job 14 : 1. 

(b) How should we conduct ourselves in the midst of these suffer- 
ings ain] tribulations? Become impatient and despond, or murmur 
against God? Ah ! no, that would be wrong and sinful. Whatever 
cross may rest on our shoulders, we must not lose patience ; " for 
patience is necessary for us; that, doing the will of God, we may re- 
ceive the promise/— HA. 10: 36. In the days of tribulation let us 
arm ourselves with the weapon of patience, and beg our divine 
Saviour through the pains he endured for love of us on the cross, to 
grant us resignation to his holy will ; and let us carry the cross with 
constancy as long as it pleases, him, remembering the words of St. 
James: " Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he 
hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath 
promised to them that love him." — 1 : 12. 

2. In the injuries and offences which ore offered to us by our fellow- 
men. 

(<() It costs a struggle to sutler patiently and to forgive from the 
heart those who offend us, for it is repugnant to our self-love which 
will not hear of yielding and forgiving. But as Christians it is our strict 
duty to love all men, even our enemies and those who offend us, and to 
return them good for evil. Our divine Lord emphatically says: "But 
I say to you-: Love your enemies : do good to them that hate you : 
and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you." — Malt. 5: 44. 
We also know well that it is vain for us to expect forgiveness of God, 
unless we forgive from our heart: " If you will not forgive men, 
neither will your Father forgive you your sins." And we daily pray: 
" Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against 
us." We would be guilty of falsehood before God, if we would not 
forgive those who offend us, and we would, as it were, demand of him 
not to forgive us. 

(b) To forgive our enemies and those who offend us often costs a 
hard struggle; nature revolts against it, but if we have a good will, 
with the grace of God, which is never wanting to us, we shall overcome 
nature and conquer. Consider the many Christians who have won this 
victory. St. Stephen prayed for his murderers in the moment of death : 



Twelfth Station. 



7o 



"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." — Acts 7 : 59. St. Francis of 
Sales was grossly insulted by two men. Instead of being angry he 
cast himself on his knees, humbly asked their pardon, though he had 
in no way injured or offended them. Contemplating such examples 
you should say with St. Augustine : " If these could do it, why not I." 
Fight, therefore, with courage against all the temptations of hatred 
and ill-will, and consider what a glorious recompense is awaiting you 
if you bridle every desire of revenge and preserve a benevolent dispo- 
sition towards those who offend you, as Christ assures us: "Blessed are 
you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all 
manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake ; rejoice and be exceed - 
m $\y glad? because your reward is very great in heaven." — Matt. 
5: 12. 

3, In the disconsolate state of mind. 

(a) "This state," says St. Alphonsus, "is the most sensitive and 
is the severest pain which a pious Christian can suffer in this world." 
As long as he is favored with divine consolation, no affliction grieves 
him, derision, contempt, pains, privations and persecutions are rather 
a consolation to him because they afford him an opportunity of mak- 
ing a sacrifice to his Redeemer and of becoming conformable to him.. 
But it is a very bitter pain to him to see that he is without devotion, 
without fervor, without holy desires, and that in no religious exer- 
cise, not even in Communion, can he find consolation and comfort. 
Still more wretched is he when he thinks that God has abandoned 
him and will no longer acknowledge him as his child. Thus St. 
Francis of Sales when seventeen years old was tempted by the terrible 
thought that God, from all eternity, had decreed to condemn him to 
hell, and that, do what he might, he could not escape this evil. This 
temptation lasted one month, till it pleased God to relieve him of it 
through the intercession of Mary. We read similar incidents in the 
life of St. Theresa, St. Rose of Lima, St. Margaret of Cortona and 
of many other Saints. As a rule God generally visits with interior 
sufferings those who aspire to higher perfection and often withdraws 
his consolation from them for a time. 

(b) Xow, if God should find it expedient to give you a few drops 
of the bitter chalice, which Jesus and many Saints had to drink, 
do not lose courage, arm yourself and f\ght manfully, and you will 
come forth victorious from the contest. Arm vourself with humility* 
acknowledge and confess that you have deserved this chastisement 
on account of your sins; arm yourself with courage and confidence 



76 



The Way of the Cross. 



Thirteenth Station. 



77 



in the conviction that God will not abandon yon ; arm yourself with 
prayer by continuing your exercises of devotion, though you should 
feel no devotion ; and, finally, arm yourself with sincerity by can- 
didly disclosing the state of your soul to your confessor and doing 
what he prescribes for you. 

PERORATION. 

Therefore go forth to battle with courage and show yourselves 
worthy soldiers of Christ, who on the cross won so glorious a victory 
over his pains, over his enemies and over his abandonment. If suf* 
ferings and tribulations come upon you, do not despond, put your con- 
fidence in God and full of resignation pray: "Thy will be" done on 
earth as it is in heaven." If you are offended, let no thought of 
hatred and revenge arise in you, but forgive, as God also has forgiven 
you. If you are visited by dryness and become disconsolate in the 
exercise of your religious duties resign yourself to the will of God and 
serve him with equal fidelity in good as well as in evil days. Blessed 
are you, if you thus fight and conquer, you shall triumph with your 
crucified Redeemer for ever in heaven. Amen. 



THIRTEENTH STATION. 

JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS AND LAID IN THE LAP 

OF MARY. 

" They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen clothes with the spices." 

— John K) : 40. 

Jesus has expired on the cross. It is three o'clock in the afternoon ; 
according to the law of Moses (JDcut. 21 : 23) which commanded that 
those crucified be buried the same day, haste was necessary in order 
to take the body of Christ down from the cross. As those who were 
crucified frequently did not die for some time the executioners broke 
their legs and chest in order to hasten death. This was to be done 
too in the case of Jesus, but when tliev saw that he was already dead 
they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers opened his side 
with a spear and immediately there came out blood and water. These 
things were done, that the Scripture might be fulfilled : " You shall 
not break a bone of him," (Ex. 12: 46), and again: "They shall 



look upon him whom they have pierced." — Zach. 12 : 10. Prepara- 
tions were now being made for taking the lifeless body of Christ 
down from the cross. The Thirteenth Station represents this mystery 
to us : Jmm is taken down from the cross and laid in the lap of Mary. 
At this Station we will consider two points : 

/. Jesus is taken down from the cross, 
II. He is laid in the lap of Alary. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy 
holy cross thou hast redeemed the world." 

Part I. 

Jesus Christ being dead on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea a mem- 
ber of the Sanhedrim, went to Pilate and asked of him the body. 
This petition was necessary, because otherwise Christ like the others 
executed could not have received a decent burial, but would have 
been interred on Calvary. Pilate having convinced himself of the 
death of Christ did not hesitate to give the body to Joseph, who 
with his friend Nicodemus, likewise a member of the great council 
went to Mount Calvary and in the presence of the Mother of Jesus 
and some pious women and disciples took down the body of Christ. 
Then, according to a revelation of St. Bridget, they carried the body 
to a rock, spread out some fine linen, cleansed our divine Saviour from 
all dust and blood, anointed him with precious spices and prepared him 
for his burial. Herein Joseph and Nicodemus give us a beautiful 
example of a strong and generom love for Jesus. 

1. Of a strong love. 

(a) " Love is strong as death," {Cant 8 : 6) for like death it 
can be deterred by no obstacle, "it hopeth all, endureth all."— 
/. Cor. 13:7. Such was the love of Joseph and Nicodemus for 
Jesus. The great council long before had threatened all who should 
espouse the cause of Christ with expulsion from the Jewish church 
and it had already inflicted this punishment on some of his adherents. 
These two pious men had to expect the same, if not worse ; it was to 
be foreseen, that if they should interest themselves in preparing a 
decent burial for the body of Christ they would incur the hatred of 
the Scribes and Pharisees and expose themselves to hard, life-lono- 
persecutions. But these considerations did not deter them from the 
good work, they were ready for the love of Christ to sacrifice all 
they possessed, honor, dignity, property, and even life. 



7<s 



The Way of thk Cross. 



(6) How humiliating is the example oftlie.se two friends of Christ 
for many Christians who so often vow : "Jesus, for thee I live, Jesus 
for thee I die," but who are not willing to make even the smallest 
sacrifice for the love of Christ. They are tempted to anger, impurity, 
hatred, aversion towards their neighbor. For love of Christ they 
should battle against and overeome these temptations, but they yield 
and thereby sin. Is this a strong love ? They are in a society 
where irreligious discourses take place. It is their duty to manifest 
their displeasure at such discourses and to show themselves practical 
Catholics, but they remain silent and event exteriorly consent to what 
they interiorly disapprove of, because they fear to displease others and 
expose themselves to ridicule and raillery. Is this a strong love ? 
They have made their confession and .promised God and their con- 
fessor never again to commit this or that sin, but a few days have 
scarcely passed by, when they relapse into their former sinful life and 
forget all resolutions of amendment. Is this a strong love? How 
deplorable the condition of such cowardly, wavering Christians. To 
them are applicable the words of Christ : " He that loveth father or 
mother more than me, is not worthy of me ; and he that loveth son 
or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." — Matt. 10 : 37. 
Consider this and endeavor so to love Christ that you can say in truth : 
" Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation ? 
or distress ? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? 
or the sword ? * 

2* Of a generous love. 

(a) The removal of the body of Jesus from the cross and his 
burial caused Joseph and Nieodemus no small expense, but they 
deemed themselves happy to be permitted so great a privilege, and 
with the greatest joy procured what was necessary for the embalming 
and interment of the sacred body. "Joseph taking the body, 
wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new mon- 
ument, which he had hewed out in a rock." — Matt. 27 : 59, 60. 
Truly, a love, which we must not only admire but also imitate. 

(6) How can we imitate the love of these two pious men? In 
various ways. There are churches, school-houses and orphanages to 
be built and maintained. Now, if you give according to your abil- 
ity and contribute towards the support of your Catholic school and 
your church, you certainly do an act of charity most pleasing to your 
Saviour. If you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, 
in general, if you relieve the needy and the afflicted Christ accepts 



Thirteenth Station. 



79 



these works of mercy as if done to himself. "Amen, I sav to vou 
as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it 
to me."— Matt. 25: 40. 

Part II. 

Jesus is laid in the lap of Mary. It is an ancient tradition that the 
body of Jesus after the descent from the cross was laid in the lap 
Mary. St. Bridget testifies that Mary* revealed this to her in these 
words : u When my Son had been taken down from the cross I took 
him like a leper into my bosom. His eyes were red and full of blood, 
his mouth was as cold as ice, his hands so stiff' that they could not be 
bent. As he had hung on the cross, so they laid him in my bosom." 

Let us here consider, 

1. The grief of the divine Mother. What must have been her 
feelings when she contemplated the body of her Son ! H it is true 
what St. Augustine says that the measure of the pains is the measure 
of love, and if it is certain that Mary loved her Son far more inti- 
mately and affectionately than any mother ever loved her only child, 
youjnay imagine, how great, how unspeakably great must have 
been the sorrow which pierced her soul at the aspect of his sacred 
body. We can without hesitation assent to what a spiritual writer 
has said: " If we consider all the torments which the holv mar- 
tyrs endured together, they were not as bitter as the sorrow which 
Mary experienced at the death of her most beloved Son. Mary, 
herself revealed her sorrow to St. Bridget in these words: " Xo man 
is. able fo express the grief 1 suffered when I had my Son in my 
bosom, I was like a mother in travail, whose members tremble, who 
is unable to breathe for very pain." 

2. Why she underwent this great grief. For no other reason than 
out of love for us sinners. She was well aware that according to the 
decree of God we could not otherwise be redeemed than by the death 
of Christ on the cross; therefore loving us most tenderly and wishing 
nothing more ardently than our redemption, she made a sacrifice of 
herself to God and even at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ gave her 
consent to his painful death. She does the same now that she has the 
body of her crucified Son in her lap. Suppressing her natural mater- 
nal feeling she again makes a sacrifice of Christ, and savs : Mv heart 
is ready to break with sorrow, but now I see those whom I so tenderly 
love, rescued from perdition, I see them reconciled with God and fit to 
enter into heaven, therefore, I love and praise thee, O God for having 
inflicted upon me this very great grief, for I esteem the salvation of 
men above all things. 



80 



The Way of the Cross. 



Application. What a glorious example Mary gives us that we, too, 
should sincerely love our fellow-men and be solicitous for their salva- 
tion. 

1. Motives. This love is our sacred duty. " He gave to every one 
commandment concerning his neighbor." — Eccles. 17 : 12. If we 
are even obliged to promote the temporal welfare of our neighbor, 
how much more must we be solicitous for the salvation of his soul, 
since the soul is inestimably more precious than the body and eter- 
nity more important than time. What did the Saints do in order to 
save souls ? St. Francis Xavier went to India and Japan at the cost 
of innumerable hardships and dangers in order to bring the blind 
pagans to the knowledge of God. St. Paulinus sold himself into 
slavery in order to ransom the son of a widow and to preach the 
Gospel to infidels. St. Fidelia oftentimes exposed himself to immi- 
nent danger by his sermons to heretics, and esteemed it the greatest 
privilege to die a martyr. What these and thousands of other saints 
have done, is done to-day still by the missionaries who go into distant 
parts of the world and disregarding labors and dangers preach the 
holy faith. 

2. Means. 

(a) 1 Vords. A word of instruction, of correction or of warning, spoken 
at the proper time and with charity, exercises a great influence upon 
the human heart ; the careless man abandons his negligent habits, the 
lukewarm become zealous, the sinner enters upon the way of finance. 
Examples: King Saul persecuted the innocent David unto death ; but 
at the persuasion of his son Jonathan he desisted from his persecution 
and swore not to injure David. — I. Kings 19: 4,5. David had 
grievously sinned, and for a time persevered in impenitence. Nathan 
came to him and showed him the greatness of his crimes, David at 
once opens his eyes to the true condition of his soul and repents of 
his sins. — II. Kings 12: 1, et seq. Make use of this means in all 
cases where you can promise yourselves a good result, and be assured 
that God will recompense you for this act of charity ; for " thev that 
instruct many to justice, shall shine as stars for all eternity." — Dan. 
12: 3. 

(b) Good example. A good example like a lovely song capti- 
vates and ravishes every, even the most savage, heart. The pious 
Christian feels himself sustained and strengthened by the good 
example of others to walk in the path of virtue ; the lukewarm 
Christian reproaches himself for his forgetfulness of God and becomes 



Thirteenth Station. 



81 



more fervent. The sinner who for years indulged his passions turns 
from his evil ways and enters upon the way of penance. History 
also teaches us the effect of good example. The Centurion Cornelius 
asked and received baptism, and stimulated by his example his whole 
house embraced the Christian faith.— Acts 10: 48. The hermit 
Abraham endeavored for a long time to convert the infidels, but in 
vain. When, however, he received with patience the blows and igno- 
minies which they inflicted upon him, they felt themselves drawn 
towards him by an irresistible power. "Behold," they said, "the 
patience of this man, behold his love for us, notwithstanding all 
the injuries and sufferings which we cause him he remains among us 
and continues to announce the Gospel. If his words were not from 
God, he certainly would not suffer so much for us. Come, then, and 
let us believe in the God whom he preaches." According to the ad- 
monition of Christ, therefore, " let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is 
in heaven." — Matt. 5 : 16. 

(c) Prayer, which as experience proves is a very effectual means 
for the salvation of souls. The prayer of Moses availed much. God 
had often decreed to punish the Israelites on account of their sins, but 
through the intercession of Moses he was again pacified and spared 
the people. Through the intercession of Abraham God would have 
spared the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, if ten just men had been 
found therein. St. Augustine observes that St. Paul owed the grace 
of his conveivion to St. Stephen, who prayed for him whilst being 
stoned. St. Paul, himself, was convinced of the power of interces- 
sory prayer, for he exhorts us, "that supplications, prayers, interces- 
sions and thanksgiving be made for all who are in high stations that 
we may lead a quiet and a peaceful life, in all piety and chastity "— 
/. Tim. 2: 1,2. 

PERORATION. 

Here is a wide field in which you can contribute your share towards 
the salvation of your fellow-men. Instruct them, correct them with 
all patience and doctrine, now with friendly, now with severe words 
as in your prudence you deem it expedient and necessary ; in every- 
thing shine before them with a good example and frequently commend 
them in your pious prayers to the love'and mercy of God. If in such a 
manner you manifest your love for your neighbor you will do an 
amount of good, you will strengthen the weak, excite Christian fer- 
vor in the hearts of the lukewarm, lead the sinners back to the way 

F 



i 



82 



The Way of the Cross. 



of penance and rescue many souls from perdition. You may be 
assured that God, who desires nothing more ardently than that all 
men be saved, will be pleased with your works of charity and will 
reward you for them with many graces in this life and with eternal 
beatitude in the next. Amen. 



FOURTEENTH STATION. 

JESUS rs LAID IX THE TOMB. 

" Joseph taking his body, icrapped it up in a dean linen cloth ; and laid it in his oivn 
nnv monument which he had hewed out in a rock" — Matt. 27 ; jg, 60. 

Mary the Mother of God had taken her Son after his descent from 
the cross into her bosom, once more contemplated all his wounds, 
whereby a grief pierced her soul, such as uo mother has ever felt. 
But her sorrow is to be increased. The sun is going down, the day 
draws to its close, and the burial of Jesus must be hastened, because 
after the setting of the sun begins the Easter-feast on which no dead 
can be buried. The two friends of our Saviour, Joseph and Nico- 
demus, make ail the necessary arrangements for the burial. They 
wash the sacred body, anoint it with the precious ointments they 
had brought, wrap it up in fine linen and bury it in the new 
monument of Joseph of Arimathea. This is represented tons in the 
last Station of the Holy Way of the Cross, whereon we read : Jesus 
is laid in the tomb. Let us consider, 

* 

/. The burial of Jesus in the new monument, and 
IL His burial in our heart. 

" We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee. Because by thy holy 
cross thou hast redeemed the world/ 1 

Part I. 

1. The persons who follow the corpse to the grave. Respectable 
and rich people generally have a grand funeral. An elegant casket 
contains the mortal remains, the bells are tolled, a long line of car- 
riages, filled with people, accompany it to the grave. And if the 
deceased was some great, or mighty potentate, whole regiments attend 
in order to add to the solemnity of the funeral. \ow if miserable 



Fourteenth Station. 



<S3 



men arc buried with such great pomp, how magnificent should be the 
funeral of the Son of God ! He is rich, immensely rich ; for all the 
treasures of the immense universe are his ; he is the ruler whose 
dominion extends over the whole visible creation and whom heaven 
and earth obey ; he is a saint, before whose splendor the sanctity of 
Angels and Saints disappear as the light of the moon and the stars 
before the rays of the sun. Moreover, he was the greatest benefac- 
tor of men, for he went about doing good to all ; he fed the hungry, 
healed the sick, raised the dead to life, instructed the ignorant, par- 
doned sinners and sacrificed himself on the cross. Such a man will 
without doubt have a funeral, the like of which the world has never 
seen, all Judea and Samaria will congregate, millions will shed tears 
at his grave and his heroic and great deeds will be told all over the 
world, and his praise l>c in every one's mouth. But what do I sav ? 
As in the days of his earthly life the number of those who were 
devoted and attached to him was small, so at his death there were but 
few whose friendship was genuine. He was the King of the Jews, 
but I see no Herod, no Pilate, no minister or general at his funeral ; 
he was High-priest, but I see no priest, no Levite among the mourn- 
ers ; he was a Prophet, but I see no Scribe, no Pharisee following 
him to the grave. Who accompanies the corpse ? Mary, his most 
afflicted mother, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, St, John, one or 
two of the disciples, Mary Magdalene and a few pious women of 
Jerusalem. What a small unpretending funeral for so great a person ! 

Lesson. Such is the world. If Christ had flattered the passions of 
the Jews, countenanced and sanctioned their vices, or at least silently 
overlooked them, he would without doubt have had a most magnificent 
funeral and the fame of his works would have been spread throughout 
the land. But because he taught the truth, condemned vice and preached 
the mortification of the flesh, he everywhere reaped hatred, was con- 
demned to the death of the cross, and if his enemies could have had 
their way, they would have destroyed even his memory from 
the face of the earth. Do not seek the praise and applause of the 
world, but be firm in your allegiance to Christ ; the friendship of one 
pious soul is of infinitely more worth than the friendship of the 
world. And if when you are borne to the grave you have the devout 
prayers of ten pious Christians it will afford you more consolation, than 
a thousand worldly people, who only from self-interest or for the sake 
of propriety accompany you to the grave and do not say an Our 
Father for the repose of your soul. 









1' 



84 



The Way of the Cross. 



2. The place of burial Christ was laid in a new sepulchre. The 
respectable Jews had their own monuments, which often were very 
spacious and magnificent, and looked more like a dwelling than a 
grave. Joseph of Arimathea, too, had such a monument, for he was 
wealthy and a member of the great council. Christ having died on 
the cross, was to be buried like all other criminals, on Golgotha, that 
is, the place of skulls, in the valley Enon, a horrible place, where all 
the refuse of the city was thrown. But Joseph prevented this 
ignominy, he conveyed the body of Christ to his own monument ami 
deemed himself happy to be able to bury him there. Thus Jesus was 
buried in a stranger's grave ; he who on the cross had not where to lay 
his holy head, had not even his own grave in the world, because he 
was not of the world. 

Lesson. Do not set your heart and affections on the goods of this 
world, much less, offend God on account of them. All earthly (roods 
are vain, fleeting, perishable, and resemble a vapor which is seen a 
little while and then disappears.— James 4:15. What else is our 
life here below but a drama, which will soon end; for " the figure of 
the world passeth away."— 7. Cor. 7 : 31. He that plays the king 
does not take the purple with him. When the drama is at an end he 
that acted the king is king no more, and the master is no longer 
master. The sad hour of death puts an end to all glory, all nobility, 
all greatness and all possessions. Casimir, king of Poland died while 
sitting at table with the great ones of his kingdom, just as he was 
putting a glass to his mouth; thus the drama ended for him. Celsus 
was killed after having been commander-in-chief only seven days, 
and the drama was at an end for him. Ladislas, king of Bohemia, a 
youth of eighteen years, was expecting his bride, a daughter of the 
king of France, and great preparations had been made for her recep- 
tion, when behold ! one morning he was seized with violent pains 
and died; messengers were despatched to convey the sad tidings to his 
bride and to tell her that the end of the drama had come for him. 
You are only actors in the drama of life, you think you are something 
. great, but you are nothing, you are only acting yonr part. You may 
imagine that yon are rich, but the world deceives you, you are poor, 
you have nothing, because you brought nothing into this world, and as 
you came so shall you leave, the world claims all your possessions. 
Beware, therefore, on account of these vain, fleeting, perishable 
worldly goods, of burdening your conscience and of preparing for 
yourself a miserable eternity. 



Fourteenth Station. 
Part II. 



85 



We Catholics enjoy a still greater privilege than did Joseph of 
Arimathea and Nicodemus, for we can bury Jesus, not only once, 
but as often as we please, and not in the earth, but in our heart. As 
often as we communicate, Jesus comes to us, our heart becomes his 
resting place. But that our heart may become a worthy habitation 
for our divine Saviour, it must resemble the monument in the garden 
of Joseph of Arimathea. This monument was, as we read in the 
Gospel, {Matt 27: 60), 

1. New. It had been but lately hewed out, and no man had as yet 
been interred therein. Our heart must also be new, that Jesus may 
find there a worthy sepulchre. How ugly a heart looks which is con- 
taminated by the filth of sin ! The throne which God has erected is 
cast down and demolished, the light of grace and with it the splendor 
of Christian virtues, is extinguished, and instead of Christ dwelling 
there, Satan has entered and with him sin and vice ; it now resembles 
a gloomy, dismal prison full of filth and unwholesome air. What an 
insult, therefore do those Christians inflict upon their Saviour, who 
offer him an impure, sinful heart for his abode! They compel the 
God of all holiness to enter where sin and the devil dwell. Is not 
this insulting him in the grossest manner? Let us not wonder when 
the Apostle says : " He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth 
and drinketh judgment to himself."— I. Cor. 11 : 29. The very 
instant that man communicates unworthily, he renders himself guilty 
of eternal damnation. " A very great crime for the Christian to 
commit, a crime which incurs the most terrible punishment, is the 
unworthy reception of Jesns Christ, the Son of God, in the Sacra- 
ment of his love. The profaners of this adorable Sacrament shall 
be compelled to drink the chalice of divine wrath for all eternity."— 
St. John Damascen. 

Reflect well on this, and be careful that at all times, but especially 
this year again at Easter, you make a worthy Communion. Renew 
your spirit, create for yourselves a new heart, cleanse it by a good 
oonfession from all sin and adorn it with Christian virtues, especially 
with the virtues of faith, love, humility and a holy desire of being 
united with Jesus. After such a preparation you may with confidence 
receive the Holy of holies into your heart, for he will find there an 
agreeable resting place. 

2. Hewed out in a rock: The monument of Joseph of Arima- 
thea which was hewed out in a rock, was, therefore, protected against 



/ 






86 



The Way of the Cross. 



IV 



all storms and afforded to the sacred body of Christ a secure habita- 
tion. Firm as a rock must also be your heart, no power of hell, no 
allurement of the flesh, no enticement of the world should be able 
to induce you to become disloyal to the divine Saviour, who has 
entered into your heart and to whom you have given yourself whole 
and entire. At your Easter Communion think of the sepulchre of 
Christ hewed out in a rock, and keep the resolution which you have 
made all the days of your life. Walk with constancy in the way of 
God's commandments, in the way of virtue, and confiding in the 
assistance of divine grace, often say with the Apostle: "I am 
sure that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, 
nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us 
from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.— Rom. 
8: 38, 39. 

3. Closed irith a heavy stone. As we read in the Gospel Joseph 
of Arimathea rolled a massive stone before the entrance of the mon- 
ument. With such a stone you, too, must secure the entrance of your 
heart, that no enemy may enter and drive out your Saviour. By this 
stone I understand, 

(a) The careful avoiding of whatever might cause a relapse into 
sins, i. e., the proximate occasion of sin. He who does not shun the 
proximate occasion of sin, is not really converted, he will and must 
ere long relapse. It is difficult to be in the midst of fire and not 
burn, to have the opportunity to sin and not sin. St. Augustine says : 
"To love the proximate occasion, and to fall into sin are one and the 
same thing/' " He that loveth danger, shall perish in it."— Eccles. 
3: 27. u He that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled with it."— 13: 1. 
Example: Alipius, a friend of St. Augustine, had been a pas- 
sionate lover of theatricals, which are so pernicious in their effects, 
but when faith began to penetrate his soul he renounced them. One 
day he mot several friends who invited him to go with them, and 
who drew him after them as he resisted. He said : " You may drag 
my body into the theatre, but you cannot direct my mind and eyes to 
the play. I will, therefore, be present and absent at the same time." 
He assisted at the play with his eyes closed. Suddenly, an immense 
shout of applause burst upon his ears, in the same instant his old 
passion returned and he opened his eyes. He relapsed into his former 
sins and continued in this deplorable condition, till the hand of God 
totally changed him. Here you see that he who does not shun the 



FOURTEENTH STATION. 



87 



occasion of sin, does not shun sin itself. Experience : Whence does 
it come that drunkards, gamblers and the unchaste relapse into their 
former sins ? Because they do not avoid saloons, gambling houses and 
familiarity with persons of the opposite sex. Shun, therefore, the evil 
occasions, especially those which have heretofoie been to you the cause 
of a fall. Though this should be difficult for you to accomplish, it 
must be done, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, it is not for 
cowards, but brave soldiers who know how to fight and conquer. "If 
thy right eye cause thee to offend, pluck it out, and cast it from thee ; 
for it is better for thee that one of thy members should perish, than 
that thy whole body should be cast into hell."— Matt. 5: 30. 

(b) A diligent use of the means of amendment. Though a patient 
be convalescent, he must continue to take medicine, in order to build 
up his system. Thus it is with penitents, who, by nature, are weak 
and inclined to evil, and whose innate weakness has been much in- 
creased by their sinful life. They must employ various means in 
order to preserve themselves from a relapse. Such a means, first, is 
prayer, for this fortifies us with heavenly strength, that we may over- 
come all the enemies of our .salvation. " Prayer," says St. Chrysostom, 
" is a saving anchor for him who is in danger of suffering shipwreck, 
an inexhaustible treasure For the poor, and an effectual medicine for 
him who desires to retain his health." Prav, therefore, without ceas- 
ing, especially in time of temptation, for prayer is most necessary that 
we may not fall. Another means for the preservation of grace is the 
frequent reception of the Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Euch- 
rist. The oftener you receive these holy Sacraments with a heart well 
prepared, the weaker your evil inclinations become, the greater power 
the spirit obtains over the flesh, and the more graces you receive to 
overcome temptation and to remain steadfast in good. Another means 
is the frequent renewal of our good resolutions. If you wish to pre- 
serve fire in a stove, you must put fuel in from time to time. In like 
manner you must renew the good resolutions you have made at your 
confessions, that your zeal in virtue may not grow cold and give place 
to tepidity, the forerunner of a relapse. Finally, another means is the 
serious and frequent consideration of the four last things, according to 
the words: "In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt 
never sin." — Eccles. 7 : 40. 



PERORATION. 

You know, now, how vou are to burv vour divine Saviour in your 
lieart. Cleanse it from every mortal sin, for he who is all purity can 






88 



The Way of the Cross. 



dwell only in a pure heart. If Christ has taken up his abode with 
you, promise him eternal love and fidelity, carefully shun the oc- 
casions of sin, and avail yourselves of the means of amendment. If 
you do this you may hope one day to reign with Jesus Christ, your 
Saviour and Redeemer, in heaven for all eternitv. Amen. 








A 9. 



..•» A. 



f 






$> in % 



Lenten Sermons. 



■*-■ 



SECOND SERIES 



~~ ^i^^if^i^ — ^ 




SERMON I. 



a. 



CHRIST S SUFFERINGS FOR THE SALVATION OF MANKIND. 



" He suffered under Pontius Pilate:'* — Apostle's Creed. 

The bitter and rude contumelies of an ungrateful world, the 
sorrowful Pa&sion and ignominious death which Jesus Christ suf- 
fered under Pontius Pilate for the salvation of mankind, form the 
great mystery which the Apostles make the subject matter of our 
meditation in the fourth article of the Creed ; a mystery which 
includes not only the superabundance of the great love of the 
Father, who sacrificed the precious life of his only-begotten Son for 
us sinful men, [John, ch. 3), but also the love of this divine Son, who 
laid down his life on the altar of the cross for mankind, urged, as it 
were, by his ineffable love for his ungrateful children. Of this 
mystery, namely, of the bitter and rude contumelies, of the sorrowful 
Passion and death of our Saviour, I shall speak to you during Lent ; 
but before entering «upon the particular circumstances of the sorrowful 
Passion of our Blessed Redeemer, 1 shall speak of it in general, ex- 
plaining to you — 

J. Who it was that suffered, 
II. For whom he suffered, and 
III. Why he suffered. 

These three considerations are most necessary, and are of the great- 
est importance for those wl>o would meditate with fruit on the Passion 
of Christ; for without meditating first on these three points, the 
history of the Passion of our Saviour would be of little or no advan- 
tage to them. 

J. Who is it that endured such great, such hard, and such long 
sufferings? Who is he? Is he a saint? No, he is more than a 
saint. Is he an angel ? No; he is more than an angel. He is no 
created spirit. Who is he? Listen and be filled with astonishment. 
He that is suffering is God himself, God suffering. It is Jesus 

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02 



Lenten Sermons. 



Christ, true God and true man. — As man lie was externally, so 
charming and amiable, that David says of him, (Ps. 44), " He was 
beautiful above the sons of men." The author of the Canticles com- 
pares his head to the finest gold, his locks to branches of palm-trees, 
his eyes to the eyes of doves upon brooks of waters, which are washed 
with milk, and sit beside the plentiful streams, his lips to lilies drop- 
ping with choice myrrh.— 5 : 11-13. He was adorned with such 
beauty and loveliness that his presence alone sufficed to banish melan- 
choly and sadness from the heart, and to fill it with joy and consola- 
tion. He was the humblest and meekest of men, for he never opened 
liis month to complain of the insults which were offered to him. He 
was most innocent; he never committed a sin, and in him neither 
malice nor delusion was found, whence he needed not to offer sacrifice 
for his own sins.— Heb. 7 : 27. He was merciful above all the sons 
of men, for he never ceased during the whole course of his life to do 
good to all, and to become all to all. We may also add that he was 
tender above all the sons of men, and felt every pain, even the least, 
more than other men, by reason of his most perfect physical organiza- 
tion, which was formed of the pure blood of the Blessed Virgin by 
the agency of the Holy Ghost. Who can be so hard-hearted as not 
to have compassion when he sees such a man mocked, insulted, dis- 
figured by the blood which drops from his body to the ground, so 
that he was not like another man, as the Sacred Scripture says? 

But this man who was treated so cruelly, and martyred without 
mercy, was also God. God begotten by God, the Divine Light, which 
proceeds from the Father, true God and true man. The Apostle 
says: "He is the same, whom God hath appointed heir of all things, 
by whom he also made the world, who being the brightness of his 
glory, and the figure of his substance, and upholding all things, by 
the word of his power, sitteth at the right hand of his Majesty on 
high : being made so much better than the angels, who being perfectly 
happy in himself, begins and completes the happiness of the Saints. 

It is the Son of God, who assumed human flesh, became man, suf- 
fered and died for us. Yes, it is the God of heaven and earth, who is 
tortured, sweats blood, who is betrayed by one of his disciples, dragged 
before wicked judges, derided and mocked, insulted, abused, scourged 
at the pillar, crowned with thorns and crucified. It is the King of 
Glory, who offers his back to be lashed by his servants. It is the 
Judge of the living and the dead, who, condemned to death by an 



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93 



unjust sentence, is led forth with a heavy cross on his mangled 
shoulders to Mount Calvary ; who, fastened to the cross between two 
highway robbers, dies on that infamous gibbet. Isaias (66 : 8), ex- 
claims : " Who hath ever heard such a thing; and who hath seen the 
like to this? 1 If an angel had suffered so much, he would deserve 
the highest admiration ; but no, he that suffered is God, in comparison 
to whom man is nothing, and the whole universe like a dew-drop that 
falls upon the earth in tie morning. But it is not an angel that 
suffers and dies, it is the only-begotten Son of the heavenly Father, 
the Creator and sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, it is he that 
suffers and dies. 

It is an article of our holy faith that the divine nature of the God- 
man has not suffered, because it being essentially unchangeable, cannot 
suffer. It was the humanity of Christ that suffered and died ; but 
because the humanity is most intimately united to the divinity, 
and because there is but one person in Christ, namely, the divine, we 
are right in saying that he, the only-begotten Son of God, consubstan- 
tial with him, and equal to him in power, wisdom, majesty, and all 
other perfections, from eternity, has suffered in time persecution, con- 
tumely, torture, crucifixion and death. And as — making use of an 
example of St. Augustine's — a man is a philosopher only according to 
his soul — we say, without hesitation, the philosopher has become 
blind, has died, has been buried — things which concern only the body 
— so Jesus Christ is the Son of God and King of Glory only accord- 
ing to his divine nature; and yet, we are right in saying, God suf- 
fered, God was crucified, God died and was buried, though these 
things regard only the human nature of Christ; for although there 
are two natures in Christ, that is, the divine and the human, there are 
not two Christs, but one only, as in the philosopher, there are not two 
men, but one only, notwithstanding the two substances in him, soul 
and body. Whence it follows, that the same Jesus Christ, who is 
true God and true man, could be, and was, crowned with thorns and 
crucified. This was the admirable invention of God, the great mira- 
cle of his love, which caused Jesus, though incapable of suffering ac- 
cording to his divine nature, to suffer, uniting in the one person of 
the Word two natures, the human and the divine. 

II. For whom has the Son of God suffered t 

Did he, perhaps know himself guilty of any crime for which he 
was obliged to atone? Or was there any imperfection in him, which 
he was obliged to blot out with his blood? No; for who does not 



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Lenten Sermons. 



know, as the Apostle says, that he is holy, innocent, undefiled, and 
separated from sinners? Who does not know that he was filled with 
so many and such great graces, as to render him incapable of siuning; 
that in him the fullness of the Deity dwelt corporally, and that God 
acknowledged him at his baptism as his well beloved Son ? For whom, 
then, did he suffer, if he had no need to suffer for himself? He left 
his throne in heaven, assumed flesh in the womb of a Virgin, suffered 
all the helplessness of infancy, the bitter and rude contumelies of 
an ungrateful world, and offered himself a bleeding victim on the 
Cross of Calvary for us miserable sinners. Yes, he suffered all this 
for us, who, compared to him, are nothing but dust and ashes, who, 
like the leaves of a tree, are tossed to and fro, and carried about by 
every wind. He suffered for us wicked, sinful creatures, who are not 
only unable to move and to prolong our lives, but are even incapable 
of conceiving a thought of ourselves. The Creator has suffered 
for his creatures, the Lord and Master, for his servants; the fullness 
of riches and power and majesty has suffered for us poor, weak, 
impotent men. But how can we believe that the Creator should 
be willing to suffer for his creatures? We must believe because 
faith so teaches us. The Council of Nice commands us to confess : 
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who for us 
men, and for our salvation was crucified, suffered, died, and was 
buried. 

Let us imagine that a prince, animated bv a desire to do srood 
to his subjects, and to raise them out of poverty, should lay aside his 
purple, his crown and sceptre, and regarding neither pain, nor expense 
to accomplish his design, should undertake painful journeys, should 
expose his life to danger, and should even lay down his life for 
the welfare of his people, would it not be a singular case? But 
Jesus has done what no prince or king ever did for his people. 
His goodness and mercy arrived at that superabundance of love to 
which the love of a prince for his people never aspired, nor ever 
will, and this great love for us appears the more admirable the 
greater the distance is between God and man, and the more it ex- 
cels the relations of a prince to his subjects. He that was great 
became little for our sake, he whose kingdom is the kingdom of 
all centuries, and whose dominion is over all generations, became 
the reproach of men and the outcast of the people. — P.s. 21. The 
prophet Isaiah calls him "a man of sorrows/' and such he was, 
for his whole life was a life of sorrow. He took on his shoulders 
all our debts. It is true, he was hot only man, but also God ; a 



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95 



single prayer from him would have been sufficient to make full 
satisfaction for the sins of the world, but he would rigorously 
satisfy the justice of God, and for this reason he chose for himself a 
life of contempt and suffering, being content to be treated as the last 
and vilest of men, for the love of man as the prophet Isaiah had fore- 
seen him: " We have seen him despised and the most abject of men." 

Was there nothing in us to render us worthy of God's love? No ; 
but there was everything that aroused his anger against us. Besides 
our natural meanness and insignificance, there was in us sin, which 
made us the objects of his hatred and indignation. We are all con- 
ceived in sin and born children of wrath, and God beheld in us 
rebels whom his justice had to condemn. But notwithstanding our 
insignificance and unworthiness, our divine Saviour, out of mere 
goodness and mercy, became our mediator, took upon himself all our 
debts, and was ready to atone for them. Where is the man that 
would give his life for a criminal, when, as the Apostle says : there 
is not to be found one who would be willing to lay down his life for 
an innocent man ! Christ did this. He died for criminals. He 
shed his blood for the salvation of man. He laid down his life not 
only for those who are thankful for his benefits, but also for such as 
return only ingratitude for so great a favor. He foresaw this black 
ingratitude; it was not hidden from him that the oreater part of man- 
kind would reap no benefit from his sufferings, but he would also suffer 
for these ungrateful people. If he had suffered only for those who, after 
having obtained the garment of innocence by baptism, would preserve it 
with jealousy ; for those only who, after having recovered the friendship 
of God in the Sacrament of Penance, would never lose it again ; for 
those only who would make his name known to heathens, and increase 
his glory by converting wild tribes to the belief in him, his love would 
be amazing. But how great must be our admiration when we con- 
sider that he suffered for those who live for months and vears without 
devoting even a moment to the meditation of his Passion ; who, 
instead of gaining souls for God, are the very means of. perverting 
and destroying them by the scandal, they give ! And if it be the 
summit of heroic love to which man can aspire, to give his life for 
his friend, language fails to express the love of Christ, who gave his 
life for us who were not his friends, but his enemies. AVe were born 
slaves of sin, children of the devil, enemies of God, and vet Christ, 
becoming obedient unto death, atoned for our disobedience, died for 
our salvation, and by his death, recovered for us that bright inher- 
itance which we had lost by sin, namely, liberty, grace and, the right 
to heaven. 



90 



Lenten Sermons. 



Before the coming of Christ, the devil exercised the greatest tyr- 
rany over mankind. He had taken possession of the intellect or 
understanding, which was darkened by ignorance and error, and of 
the heart or will, which he held captive by pride, concupiscence and 
covetousness. He had arrogated to himself the adoration which is 
due to God alone, and introduced idolatry into the world ; temples 
were erected to false deities, incense was burnt before ihe idols of 
Satan, aid parents immolated even their children to make him pro- 
pitious to them. Jesus Christ, by his last words on the cross, " It is 
consummated," uttered his death-warrant, and when he bowed his 
head and diet), he gave him his death-stroke, the idols were dashed to the 
ground, and his temples destroyed or dedicated to the service of the true 
God. Christ himself foretold that the prince of this world would be cast 
out. It was then that St. John saw the angel coming down from 
heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in 
his hand who laid hold of (he dragon, the old serpent, which is the 
devil and bound him, and cast him into the Iwttomless pit, and shut 
him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should no more seduce 
the nations.— Apoc. 20: 1-3. It was then that man was delivered 
from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of 
God. It is true, the devil is enraged at us and desires to take 
revenge on us, because we have escaped his hands. He is likened to 
a dog that is tied by a short chain; he may bark at a«, show his teeth 
and snarl, but he cannot injure us unless we go within his reach, and 
if he should wound us through our own fault meditation on the 
Passion of Jesus Christ is a powerful remedy against the poisonous 
bite of the hellish Cerberus. 

Besides liberty, Christ has merited grace for us. All men were con- 
ceived in sin and born guilty of high treason against the divine majesty, 
objects of God's anger, and sentenced to be punished for an endless eter- 
nity. In order to reconcile man to God, and to elevate him again to 
the state of grace, it was necessary to appease the wrath of God and to 
•make full reparation and satisfaction for the offense committed against 
him ; a sacrifice was required sufficient to free man from all that made 
him abominable in the sight of God. But who was able to make a sacri- 
fice of such virtue and efficacy ? It would not suffice to offer irrational 
animals for rational beings, for though the blood of goats and oxen 
cleansed the flesh according to the law of Moses, it was never able to 
cleanse the conscience, and to take away the sins of the world. Irra- 
tional animals were no suitable sacrifice for the guilt of man : a man 
was required, who would offer himself for the rest of mankind as an 



Second Series. 



97 



expiation. A rational being must be immolated for rational beings. 
But there was no man to be found without sin, and could a man, a 
sinner like the rest, blot out the sins of others? That the sacrifice 
might be a rational one a man was to be sacrificed ; and that by means 
of this sacrifice men might be cleansed from their sins, a man without 
sin must be offered. This man without sin was Jesus Christ, who, 
in a mysterious manner, was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by 
the agency of the Holy Ghost, and who was of the same nature as 
the rest of men, but not stained with the same guilt. This God-man 
Christ, offered himselt a bleeding expiation to his Father, saying to 
him at his entrance into the world : " Sacrifices and oblations, and 
holocausts for sin, thou hast not desired, neither are they pleasing to 
thee, which are offered to thee according to the law. Then said I • 
< Behold, I come to do thy will, O God.'"— Heb. 10 : 8, 9. In this 
will we are sanctified by means of the offering of the body of Jesus 
Christ. What no other sacrifice was able to accomplish, Christ 
accomplished by his Passion and death on the cross. He washed our 
souls in his blood, appeased God's wrath, and made peace between 
heaven and earth. 

All men having contracted a heavy debt, divine justice required . 
that the honor of which God had been deprived by sin, should be 
restored to him. No one else than the God-man could render this sat- 
isfaction. The offence was offered to the infinite majesty of God, it 
was of necessity to be atoned for by a person of infinite majesty, and 
this person could be no other than Jesus Christ, who, in the quality 
of true God and true man, taking on himself our guilt and the pun- 
ishment due to it as man, was able to give it an infinite value as 
God. Offering himself, therefore, to his Father, he offered him a price 
which not only balanced our guilt, but outweighed it; wherefore, St. 
Paul says : that if the guilt was great, the grace was abundant. ' All 
the spiritual treasures, by which we are enriched, the sacraments 
which he instituted for our sake, the graces which we have received 
and still receive, are the fruits of that price which Jesus paid for us 
by his Passion and death ; a price, by which he recovered for us be- 
sides liberty and grace, the right to the heavenly mansions. 

Jesus Christ endured these sufferings and a cruel death, not only to 
deliver us from the power of the devil, whose slaves we had the mis- 
fortune to be, not only to reconcile us to God, whose anger was 
aroused against us, but also to open a pathway for us into heaven. 
The Old Testament furnishes us with a beautiful figure of this partic- 
ular favor. In the book of Numbers we read that God said to 

G 



I 



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Lenten Sermons. 



Moses: When you shall have passed over the Jordan, into the land 
of Canaan, determine what cities shall be for the refuge of fugitives 
who shed blood against their will. And when the fugitive shall be in 
them, the kinsman of him that is slain, may not have power to kill 
him, until he stand before the multitude and his cause be judged, and 
if he be found innocent, he shall be delivered from the hand of the 
avenger, and shall be brought back by sentence' into the city whence 
he had fled, and he shall abide there until the death of the high-priest 
that is anointed with oil. God wished to say by this command that 
no one, though he had lived in innocence, could be permitted to enter 
into heaven before the death of the eternal High-priest, who is Christ 
Jesus. Adam, with all his posterity, was in exile; even the patriarchs 
and prophets remained excluded from heaven until the High-priest 
completed his sacrifice on the cross. It was then that the gates of hea- 
ven, which had been closed for four thousand years, were opened and 
remained open, and still remain open for all the souls that make them- 
selves partakers of the merits of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. 

When he that was holy, innocent and undefiled voluntarily suffered 
persecutions, contumelies, tortures and death, is it not just that we, 
who are defiled by many sins and iniquities, should bear the sufferings 
of this life with patience and resignation to the will of God ? When 
God suffered so much for us sinful men, is it right that we suffer 
nothing for our sins ? Is it right that we renounce no pleasure for his 
sake, that we do not restrain our sinful inclinations ? When Christ 
suffered so much to deliver us from the power of the devil, to recon- 
cile us to his Father, and to open for us a pathway into heaven, is it 
right and prudent for us to enlist again under the banner of Satan — 
to put on his livery and to shut the gate of heaven against ourselves ? 
When God retired into the desert and fasted forty days and forty 
nights for our sakes, is it right that you should live in gluttony dur- 
ing this holy season ? Will you do no penance for your sins ? Some 
of you are, perhaps, dispensed from the rigorous observance of Lent, 
but you are not, and cannot be dispensed from the obligation of doing 
penance. You are all obliged to fast from sin : this fast admits of no 
dispensation, but binds all alike, young and old, sick and healthy, 
rich and poor, it binds all — in all places, at all times, during the 
whole course of their life. Now is the acceptable time, this is the day 
of salvation, the present is yours; by employing it well, you may 
escape a miserable eternity. Let us not suffer these days of grace to 
glide away unacceptable to God and unprofitable to ourselves, lest we 
die in our sins, a misfortune which may God in his infinite mercy 
avert from us all. 



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Second Series. 



99 



SERMON II. 



14 



THE MENTAL SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. 



My soul is sorrowful even unto death" — Mall 26 : 38. 



The evil which the unhappy fall of our first parents brought on 
all mankind and with which all are infected, is threefold, as St. 
John says : All that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, 
the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life. Adam, having 
eaten the forbidden fruit, immediately perceived that a change took 
place in his affections and inclinations, and this change passed upon 
all men, for, as he himself after the first sin, was drawn to sinful 
objects, for which, in the state of grace, he had no inordinate desire, 
so all his descendants are born with an inclination that draws them 
from spiritual and divine things, to corporal and earthly objects. 
Whence it comes that man sets his consolation in the perishable 
goods of this life, his greatness in the attainment of honors and dig- 
nities, and his pleasure in the enjoyment of lust; that he loses himself, 
in a pitiable manner, in a happiness which is as empty as the consola- 
tion which it gives, the magnificence which it boasts, and the pleasures 
which it promises. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, who came into 
this world to banish all imperfection, set his tribulation against the 
vanity of human consolation, his love of contempt against the vanity 
of human greatness, his tortures and pains against the vanity of 
human pleasures, and suffering a sorrowful passion in his mind, dis- 
grace in his honor and pains in his body, made use of the right means 
to heal those three deadly wounds of which mankind was lying sick. 
/ shall speak to you to-day only of the interior sufferings which Jesus 
endured during the whole course of his life and particularly in the 
Garden of Olives. 

Having taken the last supper with his disciples, after which he 
instituted the Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist, having given the 
commandment to love one another, and recommended to his heavenly 
Father in fervent prayer all who would believe in him, Jesus passed 
over the brook Cedrou, which divides Jerusalem from Mount Olivet, 
where there was a garden called the garden of Olives. Into the 
garden he went accompanied by his disciples. How different was 
this garden from the one in which God had placed the first man. In 



100 



Lenten Sermons. 



the garden of Paradise was the tree of life; in this Christ could 
pluck only the fruits of death. The former was watered by four 
streams, which made it as fertile as it was charming, but this was 
moistened by the tears and the blood of a God-man. The garden of 
Eden was a living picture of the happy state of the blessed, this was 
a living picture of the tortures to which all were condemned in con- 
sequence of the sin of Adam ; the first man was placed in Paradise 
to enjoy all possible pleasures, but the second went into this to endure 
the greatest sufferings. Scarce had he set his foot into that garden, 
when, as the Scripture phrase expresses it, he was plunged into a sea 
of suffering, and so great an anguish arose in his soul that it would 
have killed him had not his omnipotence preserved him from death. A 
languishing sadness, an alarming fear entered into his beautiful soul, 
like roaring waves and made him feel the pains that were to come, 
the more violently, the more he buried them in his interior. At last 
he gave vent to his feelings, and revealed his sorrow and grief to his 
disciples, saying : u My soul is sorrowful even unto death" But you 
will say : what? anguish, fear and, sorrow with the Lord who is the 
comforter of the afflicted here, the joy and happiness of the Angels 
and Saints in heaven ! Yes, and it was for our sakes that he became 
sorrowful unto death. His sufferings were not sudden and unex- 
pected. He had foretold them to his disciples in these words : Behold, 
we go up to Jerusalem, where the Son of man shall be betrayed to 
the chief priests and they shall condemn him to death, and they shall 
deliver him to the Gentiles, and they shall mock him, spit upon him, 
scourge and crucify him. He had told them that he would drink the 
bitter chalice, and be baptized by a hard baptism. He voluntarily 
offered himself as an expiation for the sins of mankind, and at his 
entrance into the world, he promised his father this great and 
magnanimous sacrifice. Now the hour had come to put his lips to 
the bitter chalice, to receive the baptism of tribulation, to commence 
the great sacrifice, and Jesus permitted himself to be seized with 
anguish, fear and sorrow, prostrate with his face on the earth. This 
was not an effect of weakness, or lack of courage; no, it was an 
effect of his infinite love, which, in a miraculous manner, made 
these various affections enter his soul. He was not confused and 
grieved by the weakness of his soul, but by the power of his love. 

He was willing to suffer, not only in his body, but also in his soul. 
The rage of the Jews and cruelty of the executioners were able to 
torture his body only, his soul was beyond their reach. The scourg- 
ing, the thorns, the nails, and all the instruments that were used to 



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101 



torture his flesh were incapable of destroying the peace of his soul. 
His great love for mankind was the inventive executioner which 
found means to make his mind also suffer the pains of his body. 
It was his love for us that banished from his soul that sweet- 
ness which streamed into it from the enjoyment of God ; it was his 
love for us which, after having stripped his soul of every consolation, 
left it a prey to excruciating pains, and presented before it all the 
sufferings he was to endure. The presentiment of an impending calam- 
ity is able to strike terror even into the most courageous heart. The 
Sacred Scripture relates that a dream terrified the two servants of 
Pharaoh, who were in prison with Joseph only on account of the 
possibility that the dream might have an unlucky foreboding. How 
great must be the interior sufferings of a man who foresees the cer- 
tainty and all the circumstances of an accident that is impending 
over him ! But no one is able to foresee it as well as Jesus was. Man, 
how much soever he may be afflicted in this world, enjoys from time 
to time, some consolation and obtains relief. Thus our merciful God 
treats us, his ungrateful aud rebellious children. But he would no* 
thus treat his beloved Son, for the life of Jesus in this world was an 
uninterrupted succession of afflictions from the crib to the cross. 
Again, men suffer afflictions, but it is only during the time that they 
suffer them, because they do not know what is to come. But Jesus, 
having, as God, a knowledge of all future things,- suffered at every 
moment of his life, not only the pains which he was actually endur- 
ing, but also all those which were to come upon him, and especially 
the outrages of this most sorrowful Passion ; having always before 
his eyes his scourging at the pillar, his crowning with thorns, his 
crucifixion and death, with all the horrors of desolation that accom- 
panied it. 

The sorrows and desolation which the soul of Jesus endured in the 
garden of Olives, not only equalled the sufferings of the body, but 
surpassed them. It is true, the tortures which he endured in the 
members of his body during the time of his Passion, were manifold 
and cruel, but it was only during the time that he suffered them. 
First, he was scourged, then he was crowned with thorns ; the execu- 
tioners ceased from one kind of cruelty before they began another. 
How different soever the instruments of his executioners were, each 
one was calculated only to torture a certain part of his body. If an 
executioner were cruel and inventive enough to make a man feel va- 
nous tortures at one and the same time, how much greater would, be 
the pains. In such a manner the damned are punished, "where 'they 






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feel all kinds of pains by means of fire; and in such a manner the 
soul of Jesus was tortured in the garden of Olives by his great and 
inexpressible love, which made him feel, at one and the same time, 
the thorns and the nails with which he was fastened to the cross, so 
that he could say of himself what is written in the Psalms : " The 
tortures of hell have surrounded me." I know no figure better cal- 
culated to portray to you the appalling situation in which our Saviour 
was placed in consequence of his foreknowledge of his future tortures, 
than that of unhappy Job. We behold that poor man surrounded by 
many messengers who bring him tidings of great misfortunes and sad 
accidents. One messenger said : " The oxen were ploughing, and the 
asses feeding beside them, and the Sabines rushed in and took all 
away and slew all thy servants with the sword, and I alone have es- 
caped to tell thee." And while he was yet speaking another came, 
saying : " The Chaldeans made three troops, and have fallen upon the 
camels and taken them ; moreover, they have slain thy servants with 
the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell thee." He was yet speak- 
ing, when, behold, another came in and said : " Thy sons and daugh- 
ters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their elder 
brother. A violent wind came on a sudden from the side of the desert, 
and shook the four corners of the house, and it fell upon thy chil- 
dren, and they are all dead, and I alone have escaped to tell thee." 
One of these occurrences would have been sufficient to depress his 
spirits, and you may also easily imagine what impression so many un- 
happy tidings, which, at one and the same time, striking his ear and 
heart, made upon him. He rent his garments, and overwhelmed by 
the thought of his- misfortune, fell down upon the ground. What 
happened to this holy man is only a shadow of what Jesus endured. 
All the tortures and pains which the hatred and malice of the Jews 
could invent were heaped upon him at once, and at the thought of it 
he grew pale, trembled, and was filled with desolation and sadness. 
He felt that agony which usually precedes death and which was the 
greater with him, the more cruel the tortures were which he had yet 
to endure. And to heighten the desolation of Job, he was struck with 
a grievous ulcer, from the top of his head to the sole of his foot, so the 
horrid wounds of mankind were joined to the impending sufferings of 
the Eedeemer, in order to increase his interior tortures. These 
wounds are the sins of men, so great in number, and so awful in 
malice, that, with justice, they are called in the Sacred Scripture 
streams of inanity. He bore all our iniquity, because God put on him 
j ajl pur gui^.; He few himself marked with the sign of sinners. He 



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who never sinned, felt the weight of all the sins that had been com- 
mitted from the beginning of the world, and of all those that will be 
committed to the end of time. He felt the disobedience of Adam, 
the fratricide of Cain, the adultery of David, the idolatry of Solo- 
mon, all the sins of impurity of Sodom and Gomorrah, all the abom- 
inations of the Gentiles, all the ingratitude of the people of Israel, 
all the blasphemies that were ever uttered, all the horrible perjuries, 
sacrileges, debaucheries, homicides, and in fact, every kind of the 
basest crimes and iniquities were laid on his shoulders. What hor- 
ror k must have seized him beholding so many and such great sins, 
and what torture to see himself laden with them ! To understand the 
greatness of the desolation which the aspect of the sins of mankind 
produced in his soul we should be able to comprehend the greatness 
of sin. Ah, if it were given to us to know the greatness, the enor- 
mity and malice of mortal sin, we ourselves would be seized with 
horror, and wonder no more at what is related of some penitents, 
who, being enlightened by God, and comprehending the greatness and 
malice of mortal sin, became a prey to death. Now Christ had a 
perfect knowledge of the turpitude of sin, such as no other man can 
have, and knowing also the greatness and majesty of God, he clearly 
saw the malice and baseness of sin, by which God is most cruelly out- 
raged and offended. What then must have been the torture of his 
oppressed heart, wheu the millions upon millions of sins, by which his 
Father was offended, were present before his eyes ! He was grieved 
as much as all men together should have been grieved, because the 
sins of all men were resting on his shoulders. His sorrow w T as so 
great, that, had it been divided among all men, it would have killed 
all, and under the severity of it, he himself would have expired, had 
not the justice of the eternal Father reserved him for punishments 
still more cruel. We might however, suppose that, when he was ani- 
mated by the desire to redeem mankind by his Passion and death 
on the cross, this desire sweetened the bitterness which the knowledge 
of the future tortures and the sight of sin caused him. He knew 
that by his death on the cross he would destroy the kingdom of the 
devil, reconcile man with God, and merit for him liberty and the 
right to heaven, and desiring the salvation of man so ardently, we 
might suppose, I say, that this consideration gave him great comfort 
in his sufferings. The thought of the combat making him sad, the 
certainty of the victory must have strengthened him, the foretaste of 
the tortures to which he was to submit, discouraging him, the super- 
abundance of the fruits which he was to reap must have inspired 



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him with courage, and trembling at the array of the many sins, by 
which God was offended, the thought, that, by his Passion and death, 
the glory of his Father would be re-established must have filled him 
with joy. But, this very desire to glorify his Father and to save man, 
became to him a fountain of sorrows. He wished to efface sin, and 
for this purpose he was willing to lay down his life, and to shed the 
last drop of his precious blood. He wished that all men might know 
God and love him, and that, through this knowledge and love, they 
might be saved. But he saw, at the same time, that all his exertions 
would be useless for the greater part of mankind. He saw that, not- 
withstanding all his sufferings, man would continue in sin. He fore- 
saw that, though many, that is all are called, but few would be 
chosen. He beheld a numberless multitude of heathens, who in the 
stubbornness of their hearts, would shut their eyes against the light 
of faith, who would refuse to give to God the adoration due to him. 
He beheld a great number of heretics, who, instead of seriously seek- 
ing the one true Church established by him, would follow their own 
systems, according as interest and prejudice would lead them, who 
would seek self more than truth. Moreover, he saw many, even 
of the believers, who would make no good use of his holy doctrine, 
but live according to their inclinations, and prefer rather to offend 
God than break with the world. What great pain must this convic- 
tion have produced in his mind ! 

When a woman, after suffering great pains, brings forth a living 
child, her joy is so great, that she scarcely remembers the pains she 
suffered. But if, after great labor, she brings forth a dead child, she 
is grieved and almost inconsolable. Jesus Christ was going to bring 
forth children of God in the garden of Olives. He sighed, behold- 
ing the ignominious death which he was to die for the salvation of 
mankind. If he had foreseen that all would make themselves par- 
takers of the merits of his Passion, he would not have felt the pains 
so sensibly. But a numberless multitude of people of every state, 
sex and age, presented themselves before his mind, who, notwith- 
standing his great sufferings, would for ever remain excluded from the 
kingdom of heaven, and it was this that increased his sorrow and 
anguish, and tendered it almost unendurable. He was, as it were, 
saying to himself: " I am shedding my blood for the salvation of 
men, yet only a few shall be saved. I am laying down my life to 
prepare an acceptable people for God, who would honor him by doing 
his holy will, but they will continue to live in sin, and never cease to 
dishonor and offend him. In vain do I labor, in vain do I exhaust 



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my strength." In this state of depression he sought comfort and 
help from his heavenly Father ; prostrate on the ground he prayed : 
41 O my Father! if it is possible, let this chalice pass from me : never- 
theless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." These words make known 
to us the interior contradiction that existed between- the higher nature, 
which was ready to die, and the inferior, which feared death and 
wished to escape it. Having finished his prayer, he said to his disci- 
ples : " Rise, let us go, behold, the hour is at hand : and the Son of 
man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. And as he yet 
spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great 
multitude, with swords 'and clubs, sent from the chief priests and 
ancients of the people. And he that betrayed him gave them a sign say- 
ing : Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he." This treason heightened 
the sorrows of Jesus beyond imagination. What torture of mind was 
it for him to see himself betrayed by one of his disciples, to see him- 
self betrayed with a kiss, the token of friendship, love and peace — 
betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, the ordinary price then paid for a 
common slave ! Christ said to him with infinite sweetness : " Friend, 
whereto art thou come, Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with 
a kiss? Is it thus that thou repayest my love with the blackest 
ingratitude and the basest perfidiousness. If an enemy had done 
this it would cause me no pain, but thou betrayest me, thou Judas, my 
beloved child, my apostle, thou who wert sitting with me at the 
same table. Ah, the prophecy is verified : ■ He that eats bread with me 
raises his heel against me.' " Yes, nothing filled Jesus with greater 
sorrow and grief than the perfidiousness of an apostle, and the eter- 
nal damnation which he prepared for himself, while Jesus was suffer- 
ing for his salvation. 

This, my brethren, was the mental suffering which Jesus endured 
in the garden of Olives. There were three reasons for this interior 
suffering, as already stated : the impending painful death, the sins of 
the world, and the loss of so many souls. He voluntarily submitted 
to the tortures of the body, notwithstanding the reluctance and fear 
with which his inferior nature was filled. The sins of mankind 
caused him an inexpressible anguish, he felt an overpowering sadness 
at the loss of so many souls, because he understood how precious they 
were. Let us learn from this to look upon the troubles and afflic- 
tions of this mortal life as a means of liquidating the debt we have 
contracted with God, accept them cheerfully, and bear them patiently, 
in the spirit of penance. But, O my God, how different are our 
affections and feelings from those of thv divine Son ! We know that 



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107 



we have sinned exceedingly, that we have sinned against heaven and 
earth, but we do not think of doing penance for our sins. Instead 
of accepting sickness, afflictions and the tribulations of this life with 
patience and resignation to the will of God, we complain and mur- 
mur against God, and thus by impatience increase the number of our 
transgressions. Our idea of sin is quite different from that which 
Jesus had. All our thoughts are fixed upon earthly things, we seldom 
or never raise them to meditate upon the offences offered to the majesty 
of God, and hence, sin appears to us a thing of little account. What 
wonder then, that we are calm and unconcerned at the thought of 
our guilt, when Christ is troubled and confused, that we enjoy 
pleasures, when he was grieved, that we shed not a single tear when 
he shed blood. We have no idea of sin ; otherwise our feelings and 
sentiments would be different from what they are. 

Let us change our lives, let us live in piety, in the fear and love of 
God ; let us ever be mindful of the grief and sorrow of Jesus, and 
fear nothing more than to offend God. Oh ! let me, then, exhort you 
to sleep no longer in the arms of perdition, to remain no longer in the 
deplorable state of mortal sin, but to renounce sin, without any 
further delay, to renounce the criminal habits of cursing, swearing, 
blaspheming and all detestable vices which render so many unhappy 
sinners of our days enemies of God, objects of his hatred, slaves of 
the devil, a scandal to religion, and a disgrace to the Church, whose 
children they pretend to be. O come, come all, Christ is waiting 
for you, his arms are outstretched to receive you, he calls you, he 
invites you, oh ! come, come and fly into his wounds. To-day if 
you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 



SERMON III. 

THE TRIAL. 

" / am a worm, and no man, the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people"— 

Ps. 21 : 7. 

As Chris! set the sufferings of his mind as an effectual remedy 
against the vanity of human pleasures, so lie would also suffer con- 
tumely and insult, in order to break down human pride, which is ever 
thirsting after honor and preferment. It is difficult for us to compre- 
hend the greatness of the pains which he endured in his mind, because 



they were inward, but it is easy for us to conceive the greatness of the 
insult and abuse which were offered to his person. Here lam to do 
nothing else than to place before your eyes lolmt the Evangelists relate. 
You will see your Redeemer so dishonored, so humbled, and so de- 
based that he could truly say by the mouth of the prophet : <( Iam 
a worm, and no man, the reproach of men, and the outcast of the peo- 
ple. "—Ps. 21 : 7. At the signal of Judas, the soldiers approached 
Jesus, binding him as if he were a robber or a murderer ; they bound 
him, I say, lest he should escape their hands, and conducted him into 
the city as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide 
the spoils. — Is. 9 : 3. Let us pause here a moment and meditate how 
great the confusion and shame of the God-man must have been on 
this occasion. He who, according to his human nature, was a de- 
scendant of the royal house of David and, according to his divine na- 
ture, infinitely above all men and angels, was taken by a set of the 
basest and lowest ruffians, and exposed to the scoffs and mockery of a 
wild and wicked soldiery. The same hands that created heaven and 
earth, that gave motion to the planets and poised the universe, that 
performed so many miracles, were tied with ropes and shackled with 
chains. The higher in rank and station a man is, the greater is the 
offence that is offered him. Now, can a greater offence be imagined 
than that which the God-man received when those wicked men laid 
hold on him, when they took him prisoner and treated him as the 
worst malefactor ? The Creator chained by his creatures ! Who has 
ever heard the like? But he bore even this excess of contumely and 
disgrace. His Father would have given him more than twelve legions 
of angels if he had asked him. He had power to make his enemies 
recoil backward to the ground and to destroy them, but he would not — 
out of love for us sinful men. He allowed himself to be dishonored 
by the arrogance of these furious and bloodthirsty monsters. The 
measure was not yet full, How much did not his confusion increase 
when he was to appear before Jerusalem in chains, and in such com- 
pany ! A short time, only a few days before, he had entered Jerusa- 
lem in triumph, amidst the loud hosann&s and acclamations of the 
people, who believed in him and acknowledged him as the promised 
Messiah and Redeemer of the world. Now he was to make his ap- 
pearance once more, before the self-same people, guarded*by soldiers, 
and treated as a malefactor. When the king of the Ammonites 
shaved off one-half of the beard and cut off one-half of the garments 
of the ambassadors of David and sent them away, their shame and 
confusion to appear before their king were so great that they staved 



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109 



at Jericho till their beards were grown, then they returned to Jerusa- 
lem. And yet, they could expect to be received kindly, both by the 
king and the people, and that every one would scorn the wicked in- 
sult which Hannon, by violating the law of nations so shamefully, 
had offered the ambassadors of another country. But when Jesus was 
conducted into Jerusalem as a prisoner, there was none who had com- 
passion on him, and he received from the fickle people nothing but 
contempt. Even those who had heard his doctrine and who had been 
witnesses of his wonderful works, looked upon him as a crafty impos- 
tor, when they saw him bound by the order of the high-priest ; for 
they reasoned somewhat thus : the high-priest would not have acted 
in this manner if his impositions had not been found out. They, 
therefore took it for granted that he was an impostor, and as such de- 
served the greatest punishment. The people cried out: "Look 
there ! Jesus of Nazareth, who preached a new doctrine and an- 
nounced himself to be the promised Messiah; behold! they take him 
to prison." I leave you to judge how great must have been the 
shame and confusion of Christ on this occasion. After entering Jeru- 
salem in so humiliating a manner, he was led to Annas, and from 
him to Caiphas, who was high-priest for that year. There the Phari- 
sees, the Scribes, and the ancients of the people were assembled . The high- 
priest asked Christ about his disciples and his doctrine. He answered : 
" I have spoken openly to the world, I have always taught in the syna- 
gogue, and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort, and in secret I 
have spoken nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them who have 
heard what I have spoken unto them ; behold, they know what things 
I have said." And when he had said this, one of the servants stand- 
ing by gave Jesus a blow in the face, saying, " Answerest thou the 
high-priest so ?" A wicked soldier gave Jesus a blow in his sacred 
face and reprimanded him for having answered the high-priest irrev- 
erently. Was Jesus not right in telling the high-priest to ask those 
who had heard him ? Is not the evidence of others, rather than that 
of the criminal who is arraigned at the bar, to be weighed in a court 
of justice ? Would they have believed him ? That face which was 
transfigured on Mount Thabor and appeared as brilliant as the sun, 
the same face that ravishes the Saints, and before the splendor of 
which the angels veil their faces with their wings, became the object 
of the insolence of a servant, a common soldier. This wicked servant 
had courage enough before the eyes of the judge, of the court, and 
against every law, to abuse that innocent man, for his guilt had not 
yet been proved. And not one of the whole assembly opened his 



mouth ; not one, I say, not even the judge, whose duty it certainly 
was to punish that servant for assuming to himself an authority which 
did not belong to him, but to the judge. Christ, who came into this 
world not to make an ostentation and a show of his omnipotence, but 
to teach us patience and humility, was, indeed grievously offended by 
so unjust and insolent a treatment, but he manifested no sign of anger, 
and very probably would have kept silence, had not that servant cast 
up to him that he had violated the reverence due the high-priest. In 
order to leave no room for suspicion, and show that he had proper re- 
spect for the high-priest, he said : " If I have spoken ill, give testi- 
mony of the evil, but if well, why strikest thou me?" This answer 
should have sufficed to enlighten them and to soften their hearts. 

Neither the high-priest nor any man of the whole assembly thought 
of punishing that wicked servant, who, full of insolence, had assumed 
to himself judicial authority before their eyes, by abusing Jesus; but 
filled with hatred against him, and anxious to see him out of the num- 
ber of the living, and to have his memory destroyed from the face of 
the earth, they deliberated how they might accomplish their wicked 
design under the pretence and appearance of justice. Hence, they 
sought false witnesses against Christ, who should accuse him of the 
crimes they alleged against him, that they might put him to death. 
Although there were many who accused him, their testimonies disa- 
greed, and could not be considered sufficient to put him to death, and 
thus was verified what the royal prophet says : " Many false wit- 
nesses have risen against me, and injustice hath betrayed itself." Last 
of all two witnesses came in and said : " We have heard this man say, 
I am able to destroy the temple of God, and in three days to rebuild 
it." The high-priest rising, and turning to Jesus, said : " Answerest 
thou nothing to the things which they witness against thee ? " But 
Jesus held his peace. And the high-priest said to him : "I adjure 
thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be Christ the Son of 
God?" Jesus said: "Thou hast said it: Nevertheless, I say to 
you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand 
of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Then 
the high-priest rent his garments, saying : "He hath blasphemed, 
what further need have we of witnesses ? behold, now you have heard 
the blasphemy." And all that were present said : " He is guilty of 
death." 

From this simple narrative of St. Matthew, the immense injustice 
which was committed against Christ on this occasion is clear and 



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evident. Men who were filled with ill-will, envy and hatred against 
him, assumed the plaee of judges. The testimony of hired witnesses, 
who disugreed with one another was heard, and without further 
inquiry, the testimony which he had given to truth was declared blas- 
phemy. He who had labored so zealously for the honor of God, 
and who had declared many times that he was not seeking his own 
honor ; he who knew that it was no robbery to call himself the Son 
of God, was branded as a blasphemer. The wicked judge refused to 
believe his word ; ah ! why did he not believe his works? Did they 
not speak for him ? The truth he had spoken was confirmed by the 
blind to whom he had given the light of their eyes, by the lame whom 
he had made to walk, by the dumb to whom he had given the use of 
their tongue, by the sick whom he had healed, and by the dead whom 
he had raised to life. These miracles had not been wrought in 
closets or retired places, but before the eyes of all the people through- 
out Judea and Galilee. His judges knew this well enough, but every 
feeling of justice and humanity being extinguished in their hearts, 
their malice dared to call him a blasphemer. How painful it must 
have been to Jesus to stand before the people of Jerusalem branded 
as a blasphemer. If only one of the many who had heard his doc- 
trine, seen his miracles, partaken of his benefits, if only one, I say, 
indignant at the falsehood, had defended him from their malice, 
it would have been a great comfort to him. But no one spoke in his 
favor. He who was the friend of all, had no friend. He was aban- 
doned by all his disciples, and even Peter, who had boasted so much 
of his courage, swore that he did not even know him, so that it was 
verified what the prophet said in his name : * I am a worm, and no 
man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the people." 

It remained, therefore, decreed in the council of these wicked 
maligners, that Jesus was guilty of death. The soldiers already 
looked upon him as a victim sentenced to death, and for sport and 
pastime treated him most cruelly during the succeeding night. Some 
spat in his face and buffeted him, others struck him with the palm of 
their hands, saying in derision : " Prophecy unto us, Christ, who it 
was that struck thee?" The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, 
suffered all this for an ungrateful world. Spitting in the face was 
considered by the Jews so disgraceful, that if a father spat upon the 
face of his daughter, she was to be ashamed for seven days at least. — 
Num. 12 : 14. How great must have been the shame of Christ to 
see his face spit upon by a set of the vilest and basest ruffians. 
The contumely and disgrace he suffered that night were so great that 



Second Series. 



Ill 



he was filled with humiliation. He, before whom the powers of 
heaven and earth tremble, at the mention of whose name even the 
devils in hell shudder in awe, became the laughing-stock* of a set of 
malicious men, so that he could say with justice : "I am a worm, and 
no man, the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people." . 

The terrible night had passed away, the most memorable day in the 
history of the world began to dawn, and behold ! the high-priest and 
the ancients of the people assembled again, and took council against 
Christ, as they had done the day before in the house of Caiphas, that 
they might put him to death. But they could not execute that sen- 
tence without the approbation of Pilate, who was then governor of 
Judea, under the Roman Emperor. The Jews brought him bound 
to Pontius Pilate, that he might condemn him to be crucified. New 
contumely and disgrace is now in store for our divine Redeemer. He 
is looked upon as a malefactor, he is led through the streets of 
Jerusalem, with his hands tied, bare-headed and disfigured in coun- 
tenance, the curious look out of the windows, the rabble gather to see 
hina, and instead of sympathizing with him, they mock and insult 
him. Arrived at the governor's palace, the chief priest delivered 
him to Pilate. Pilate, seeing him in such a pitiable condition, turned 
to the multitude saying: What accusation do you bring against him? 
They answered insultingly: "If he were no malefactor we would not 
have delivered him to thee. We have found him perverting our nation 
and forbidding to give tribute to Ccvsar and saying that he is Christ 
the Son of God." Pilate asked him : Art thou the king of the Jews? 
He answered and said : Thou sayest it. And Pilate said to the chief 
priest and the multitude: I find no cause in him. He did not hasten 
to pronounce sentence as the cruel Jews desired, being not altogether 
blinded by the envy and hatred that filled their hearts, he wished to 
let the law take its course, and to give the accused a fair trial. 
Having examined the case with the prudence and circumspection 
of an impartial judge, he could find nothing but innocence in Christ, 
and malice, envy, and hatred in his accusers; hence, he publicly 
declared that he could find no cause in him to put him to death. 
Now the Jews began to fear he would escape and said : He stirs up 
the people throughout Judea and Galilee. Pilate, hearing them speak 
of Galilee, asked them if the man was from Galilee. He wished to 
get rid of the importunity of the Jews, who would compel him to 
condemn to death an innocent man. Hearing that Christ was from 
Galilee, which belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to 
Herod, who was in Jerusalem at that time, and thus embraced the 



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opportunity of reconciling himself with Herod, without compromising 
his dignity. They had been enemies, and this would be an overture 
for friendship. Thus our Lord was compelled to walk from Pilate 
to Herod. On the way he was exposed to new mockery. Herod 
was very glad to see Christ, and had entertained this desire for a long 
time, because he had heard many things of him, and he hoped to see 
some sign wrought by him. He questioned him in many words, but 
he answered him nothing. And therefore, Herod and his men mocked 
him, puttiug on him a white garment, to indicate that Christ was a 
fool, and sent him back to Pilate. What shame, what confusion 
must have covered the face of Christ, when he was again obliged to 
go through the streets of Jerusalem in that disgraceful garment, and 
to appear before Pilate in this humiliating attire. Pilate, convinced 
of the innocence of Christ, called the high-priest, the Pharisees, 
and Scribes together, and said to them : " You have presented this 
man to me, as one who perverts the people : I have examined him in 
your presence, and find no cause in the man in those three things 
wherein you accuse him : no, nor has Herod, for I sent him to him, 
and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him. I will chastise 
him, therefore, and release him." The furious Jews gnashed their 
teeth demanding his death. Now, upon the solemn day of the Pass- 
over, the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner, whom they 
would, and he had then a notorious prisoner, who was called Barabbas. 
They, therefore, being gathered together Pilate said : Whom will you 
that I relase to you, Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ, for he 
knew that out of envy and malice they had delivered him up. We 
shudder to see the Most Holy One compared with the leader of rob- 
bers and murderers. But listen : that is not all. The chief priests 
and the ancients persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, 
and make away with Jesus. The governor, answering, said to them : 
Which will you have of the two to be released unto you ? But they 
said : Barabbas. Pilate said to them : What shall I do then with 
Jesus, that is called Christ ? They all said : Let him be crucified. 
The governor said to them : Why, what evil hath he done ? But 
they cried out the more, saying : Let him be crucified. And Pilate 
seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, 
having taken water, washed his hands before the people, saying : I 
am innocent of the blood of this just man, look you to it. And all 
the people, answering, said : His blood be upon us, and upon our 
children. Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged 
Jesus, delivered him to them to be crucified. 



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Behold, how far man can go astray from the right way, if he per- 
mits himself to be governed by passion. It was envy that entered 
the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees, when they saw what impres- 
sion the words and works of Jesus made upon the people, words and 
works by which their authority was lessened, and their income proba- 
bly shortened ; it was envy and hatred that made them petition for 
the life of Barabbas rather than that of Jesus. Burning with hatred 
against him, they began to calumniate him, and not content with this, 
they proceeded openly to persecute him, and shutting their eyes against 
the light of truth which was confirmed by so many miracles, they 
were daring enough to resist Pilate who declared Qirist innocent, 
and demanded to have a murderer set at liberty, that they might have 
the satisfaction of seeing Jesus crucified. You tremble with anger 
and cannot help execrating the injustice and wickedness of these 
Jews, but my brethren, turn your anger against yourselves, for you 
have not only once, but numberless times, been guilty of the same 
injustice. As often as you have committed a mortal sin, what else 
have you done than preferred Barabbas to Jesus ? How often have you 
preferred a temporal advantage to him? This is what you must 
learn from the Jews. The great aberration of which they made 
themselves guilty furnishes us with an opportunity of entering into 
ourselves and of considering how often we have renewed, by our sins 
the injury, mockery, and unparalleled humiliation which they offered 
him only once. O, the black ingratitude ! Let us learn to overcome 
our passions in the beginning; for if they are not checked when weak, 
they will grow and acquire new strength every day, until they 
darken the understanding o£ man, and corrupt his heart and soul, in 
such a manner that he arrives at the summit of wickedness and 
malice, and sets the Creator below the creature. And how is it pos- 
sible that a Christian, after having seriously reflected on the contume- 
lies and humiliations which the Son of God endured for us, should 
not be ashamed of his pride, ambition, and haughtiness. Jesus Christ 
who did no sin and in whose mouth was found no guile, is treated as 
a malefactor, whilst mortal man, who is so full of sins and imperfec- 
tions, and whose crimes and iniquities are, we may say without any 
exaggeration, more numerous than the hairs of his head — mortal man 
requires of every one to consider his conduct as laudable and praise- 
worthy, and is desirous of being honored and respected. He to 
whom the highest honor is due, is despised, and man who is nothing 
but a handful of dust and ashes, desires to be honored. Jesus Christ 



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the Judge of the living and the dead, is set below a murderer, and 
weak, impotent man desires to rule, and refuses to subject himself 
even to the authorities thai; are of God. 

Let us renounce those inordinate desires for honors, dignities, and 
preferment. Let us be humble in spirit and understanding, and in 
heart and will, for humility is the road to heaven. Let us humble 
ourselves before God, before men and before ourselves, and on this 
way of humility, which Jesus pointed out to us by his holy example, 
we shall arrive one day at the mansions of true felicity. 



SERMON IV. 



THE DENIAL OF PETER. 

" Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny vie thrice" — Mark 14 : J2. 

Who can comprehend the greatness of the sufferings into which our 
divine Lord was plunged, during that terrible night which preceded 
the most terrible dav of his crucifixion? What tortures had he not 
to endure before Annas, where he was abandoned to the ill-treatment 
of an obsequious servant, and to the most offensive and rude contume- 
lies of a troop of soldiers. And yet, all the ill-treatment he received 
at the hands of these men, grieved him not so much as the conduct of 
one, nay, of the first of his Apostles. The men who abused and in- 
sulted Jesus knew him not, they were men of the lowest class, but 
Peter had accompanied him during the whole course of his ministry. 
Peter knew* him ; for, a short time before, he had made an excellent 
profession of his divinity: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living 
God." Considering these circumstances, I ask again : What pained 
our Lord more, the slap which that wicked servant gave him in his 
face, or the deliberate denial of the first of his Apostles on entering the 
palace of the high-priest, when a servant-maid remarked : "Art thou 
not also one of his disciples ? " O, my brethren, it is a great pain for 
every feeling heart, to this very day, to read the history of the denial 
of Peter, and if the four Evangelists did not relate it, I could hardly 
believe it. That Judas could betrav his Master is more within the 
sphere of the possible ; his thirst for money, the thefts he had com- 
mitted, and the frequent and forcibly repeated warnings before this 
treason, without the slightest protest on the part of the traitor, except 



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in the feeble words: "Lord, is it I?" all this tells us, that Judas 
came slowly but deliberately, and with premeditation, to the crime of 
treason. It was not so with Peter. Two hours before his fall, he was 
the most zealous defender of his Lord, and on a sudden he falls. And 
this fall of St. Peter is, on account of these circumstances, deserving 
of our serious reflection, for what happened to St. Peter, has hap- 
pened already to thousands upon thousands, and may also happen to 
us. The sudden and deep fall of St Peter, shall then be the subject of 
cur meditation to-day. 

It is certain, beyond doubt, that the idea of denying his Lord and 
Master, never entered the mind of Peter. He went into the palace of 
the high-priest, not with the intention of denying, 'but, if necessary, ft) 
die with him, for he had said a few hours before: "I will follow 
thee, even unto death." This was most certainly his intention when 
the gate keeper refused him admittance. He wished to get inside and 
to see the end. It is very probable, that while he was standing outside, 
he resolved, if he would be permitted to enter, to wait there for the 
end in the strictest incognito. He wished not to be known, and 
thought the less perplexity he would show, the easier he would suc- 
ceed in remaining without trouble and difficulty to the end of the 
trial. He surely did not think of the possibility of a denial; he in- 
tended to keep silence if they should speak ill of his Master, to sepa- 
rate himself as little as possible from the rest, that his presence 
might not strike any one, and that he might not attract the 
attention of others to himself. Faithful to his plans, we see 
him sitting at the fire with the people, mingling among them as 
if he were one of them, and as if their company was agreeable to 
him. Peter had formed his plans with the greatest confidence, and 
with the self-same confidence he endeavored to execute them. But 
alas ! his plans were lamentably wrecked. The good disciple had re- 
solved to say nothing, but quietly to wait to see the end, but he proba- 
bly forgot that they might speak to him, though he should not speak 
to them ; he forgot that they might ask him questions, though he 
should ask them none. It was all well if no one should interrogate 
and recognize him. He wished it to be so, but it happened otherwise. 
By the intercession of John, Peter obtained permission to go into the 
palace of the high-priest. He had scarcely crossed the threshold, 
when a servant-maid said to him : " Art thou not also one of his dis- 
ciples ? r This question struck him, but thinking not to exchange many 
words with the woman, he gave her a short answer, saying : " I am 
not." Inside the court, he thought, among the crowd, no one will 



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molest me with questions, the gate-keeper must remain at the gate, 
and all the people are not so inquisitive as this woman. Having an- 
swered her, " I am not," he hastened from her, and went to the fire to 
warm himself. He had made the first wrong step ; he had denied 
Jesus by a lie. O, the good-natured John, what a perilous favor 
he had done to his fellow-apostle, when, through his intercession, he 
obtained admittance for Peter! Had he foreseen the consequences, he 
would surely not have done it. Being questioned by the woman, if he 
wished to rescue himself, he could have done so by returning instantly 
without making any answer. This question was a warning for him. 
He wished to be unknown, but on entering the hall, he was to hear 
Jliat he was known. I say, this was a warning that he would come 
into the temptation of denying the Lord, but Peter understood it not. 
His over confidence had made him blind ; he denied his Lord at the 
first question, and, hoping this would be the last, he mingled with the 
crowd. And thus the first step was followed by another, and again 
another. In the short space of two hours, Peter fell from the height 
of faith into the abyss of the denial of his Master. Relying on his 
own strength, he runs into danger, and sins. With the greatest self- 
confidence, and the sure hope that he could remain there unknown, he 
had crossed the threshold of the palace of the high-priest. This was 
no sooner done, than the gate-keeper recognized him, and the question 
of the servant-maid confused him'. He perceived that he was known, 
and he wished to be unknown ; entirely confused, without reflec mo- 
on w T hat he would say, he replied : " I am not." Instead of evading 
the question of the gate-keeper and returning, he denied his Lord, and 
having denied him, he moved away mechanically, but could not hide 
his confusion and perplexity. He went to the fire and sat down. For 
some time, no one took any notice of hinh All who were sitting at 
the fire, were speaking of the strange, exciting trial. A short time 
after, another maid-servant saw him sitting at the fire, and having 
looked at him closely, she pointed at him with her finger, saying : 
" This man was also with him." When the gate-keeper, who had 
questioned him face to face, had confused him, we may easily im- 
agine what confusion overspread his face, when this woman turned 
the eyes of the whole crowd upon him who had been silently sitting 
at the fire, in order to remain unknown, and pointed with her fingers 
to him, saying : " This man was also with him." This unexpected 
occurrence made him lose all control over himself : from silence he 
came to a lie ; for, in presence of those people who had heard the 
woman say : u This man was also with him," he said in a loud voice : 



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" Woman, you are mistaken, I know him not." Having said this he 
left that company, and presently the cock crew, but Peter did not hear 
it ; he was so confused that he did not reflect upon what a great sin 
lie was committing. He left the place, after helping himself out of 
the difficulty by a lie, but he had scarcely gone forth, when again the 
maid-servant said to the bvstanders : " This is one of them : " but he 
denied it again, and swore that he knew not the man. They molested 
him no longer, and seemed to believe his oath. A whole hour passed, 
and who would believe that Peter was there yet, when he had drawn 
the'eyes of all upon himself. But in the confusion in which he was, 
he dared not go : he feared that his flight might be interpreted as 
cowardice, and that not only his connection with Jesus might be di> 
covered, but also his faithlessness toward him ; he would not go away, 
hoping they would now leave him in peace. Peter had not made use 
of the hour, to leave the house which had been so fatal to him : he re- 
mained, and now the worst was to come. About the space of an hour 
afterwards, as St. Luke relates, a man said to Peter : " Surely this 
man was also with him, for he is also a Galilean ; his very speech be- 
trays him." 

The two maid-servants had only asserted, " This also is one of 
them," without being able to prove their assertion, but here is one who 
is able to prove what he says. Peter had probably asked those 
who were sitting at the fire with him, several questions during the 
hour, to show that he was not the least afraid, and thereby had be- 
trayed his Galilean accent, which is broader and flatter than that of 
the other provinces of Judea, and thus it came that this man saidj 
" You may say what yon please, you can never deny that you are a 
Galilean, for your very speech betrays you." But Peter cursed, and 
swore that he knew not the man of whom they were speaking. How, 
said another, can you deny it ? Yes, you are one of his disciples ; 
did I not see you in the garden with him ? He that said this, was a 
kinsman of Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off with his sword. 
There was an eye-witness standing before him, who named the place 
where lie had seen him with Jesus, namely, the garden of Olives. 
Nothing was wanting to make the measure full, but to call him the 
would-be-assassin of his kinsman. Who can conceive the anguish 
and perplexity of the faithless Apostle, when they assailed him with 
proofs? He knew not what to do; he could not help himself, 
for all present surrounded him, saying: "Your very speech be- 
trays you." Now he began to curse and to swear : I know not 



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this man of whom you speak, I know not what you say ; and pres- 
ently the cock crew the second time. Thus Peter, in a very short 
time, fell quickly and deeply, and perhaps he would have denied his 
Lord and Master oftener yet y had not the scene between him and the 
crowd been brought to a close by Christ being led out of the house of 
Annas. Nobody had time to speak to Peter ; they all followed in the 
train, and so did Peter, but how did he go out ? As a saint, he had 
come in, and as a sinner he went out. The cock had not crowed 
twice before he had already thrice denied his Lord. In a very short 
time the chief of the Apostles became a great sinner ; first, he denied 
his Lord with a lie; the second time, with an oath, and the third 
time, with cursing and swearing. From this sudden fall of St. Peter, 
the Prince of the Apostles, you see what can befall man, even the best 
and holiest, in a short space of time. Who should not tremble ? The 
downfall of Peter made even the Saints tremble. Who could rely on 
his own strength rfter this? Peter fell; he, who a few hours ago 
had declared in a solemn manner, that if all should be scandalized in 
him, he should never be scandalized in him. Now he is a reprobate ; 
three times he denied his Lord and Master. In a moment, a just man 
may become a reprobate, if he relies on himself, and is not supported 
by grace, but left to his own weakness and to the powers of darkness. 
Yes, the powers of hell have power over the proud : this we see in 
the strange concatenation of circumstances which resulted in a tornado, 
and blew down the stately oak. John, certainly with a good inten- 
tion, had interceded for Peter, and obtained permission for him to 
enter the fatal house that caused his ruin. St. John stood under higher 
protection, because he was humble, but Peter was destitute of that 
protection, because of his great self-confidence. The spirit of darkness 
embraced the opportunity to sift him as wheat ; at the very entrance 
into the court, a maid-servant confused him, he denied his Lord ; he 
was scarce inside, when another woman looked at him and increased 
his confusion. Peter desires to go out now, but coming to the gate, 
the keeper said again : This is also one of them. This prevents him, 
he is determined not to run off like a coward : he remains, he draws 
the attention of the crowd upon himself; one puts this, another that 
question : they surround him, prove that he is one of the disciples of 
Christ: he denies it by cursing and swearing — thus falling again and 
again. It is thus the devil knows how to lay snares, and to prepare 
one opportunity of sin after the other. Many wish to return after the 
first false step, but there is a difficulty, and that difficulty becomes the 
opportunity of a new sin. How true it is, that, if a man, after the first 



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wrong step, does not return immediately, a second, and a third will 
follow in quick succession. Many a sinner would return, but he is 
captivated ; he desires to go, and goes not ; he wishes to be constant, 
but alas ! is constant only in sin and dies a reprobate. Many wish to 
repent after having repeatedly denied the Lord, but what would the 
world say, what would the companions at the fire say, if they should 
renounce their evil ways and confess Christ openly ? The world 
would say : " You are also one of his disciples." These words con- 
fuse them, and they say : " I am not, I know not this man." 

Learn from the history of the fall of Peter, that, besides his pre- 
sumptuous confidence, the house into which he went, added to his deep 
and sudden fall. Peter wished not to be known as a disciple of Christ, 
he went into the midst of his enemies, hoping neither to be put to the 
necessity of confessing nor denying him. But he soon experienced 
that from false shame and human respect, man easily adopts the max- 
ims of those with whom he associates. He that a few hours ago was 
with the Lamb, is now howling with the wolves, that he might remain 
unmolested, and not be exposed to disagreeable things in the society of 
these men. He denied Christ three times with cursing and swearing, 
so as not to displease his companions, whom he had met at the fire. O, 
how often is this repeated ! How many go into societies and houses, 
the maxims of which they know to he dangerous to faith and morals. 
They go there with the intention neither to confess nor deny Christ, 
but only to hear and to see, hoping that they will get off unharmed, but 
alas ! many thousands have already denied Christ in this way, and 
perished eternally. From fear and shame they adopted the maxims 
of man ; maxims which they at first hated. He that a few hours ago 
confessed Jesus with his heart and mouth, tacitly listens to blasphe- 
mies, then he makes another step and says : " I know not this man, 
I am not one of his disciples " ; at leugth, he blasphemes, himself, and 
thas a youth in a short time becomes a child of hell. Of course his 
comrades will do everything to ruin him. The gate-keeper is there, he 
is the first that confuses and upbraids him for being so foolish as to be 
one of his disciples. The name of that gate-keeper is vanity ; then 
another maid-servant comes and looks into the face of the confused 
and perplexed man, and confuses him still more, and this is concupis- 
cence of the flesh. He will deny Jesus, not only once or twice, but 
numberless times, and the more abominable and infamous his denial 
is, the more his comrades will rejoice at it : the devil has made a new 
acquisition. In vain, the cock will crow ; in vain, the voice of con- 
science will speak ; as Peter did not hear the cock crow, so, the 



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seduced victim will not hear the cock's crow of his conscience, unless 
a look of Jesus, a warning ray of grace, fall into the heart and melt it 
into repentance. For this reason let us praise St. Peter, for having 
obtained that grace of repentance. This gracious look of Jesus, the 
hitter sorrow and repentance of St. Peter after his fall, shall be the 
subject of our next meditation. 



SERMON V. 

THE repentance of peter. 

" And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." — Luke 22 : 62. 

The cock crows the second time, but Peter is too much engaged 
in cursing and swearing and denying his Lord and Master. He is 
speaking to the men that surround him at the fire, endeavoring to 
defend himself against their accusations. St. Luke says : " Whilst 
Peter was yet speaking, the cock crew." From this it is manifest 
that the voice of conscience alone is not able to arouse man from the 
sleep of sin. The cock of conscience may crow at night, or in the 
day-time, the sinner hears it not, and will not hear it. And when 
that cock can crow no more but only flap . in the agony of death ; 
when the sinner, in his last hour on the bed of death, collects in one 
final effort his last remaining powers, even then the crow of the cock 
of conscience is unheeded. Wonderful and terrible at the same time ! 
The power of sin is appalling, it deprives man of reason and under- 
standing, and renders him totally blind. But we need not Avonder 
that the sinner hears not the cock of his conscience, when he does not 
regard the terrible thunder-bolts of the judgments of God. Noe 
was a hundred years in building the ark ; every stroke of the hammer 
was as so many Growings of the cock for that sinful generation, but 
of what use was the warning? They ate and drank till the deluge 
came and destroyed them. And when Pharaoh heard the threaten- 
ings and saw the judgments of God which come upon him and the 
land of Egypt, did he pay any attention to them? No, he was 
deaf. Sin had deprived him of his senses. And, as it was in the 
time of JS T oe, so shall it be at the last day. Neither the voice of 
conscience, nor the sweet, inviting tones of prosperity, nor the crush- 
ing blows of adversity, are able of themselves 'to draw man out of 
his degradation, and rouse him from his profound sleep of sin, 



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without the grace of God. Without the gracious look of the 
Redeemer the crowing of the cock would have availed Peter nothing. 
He would have been lost like Judas ; but it was this gracious look 
that raised him from his fall ; now, he remembered what his Lord 
had foretold him : " This night, before the cock crow twice, thou 
shalt deny me thrice." He went out and wept bitterly. I have now 
arrived at the point which I intend to make the subject of our medi- 
tation to-day, namely : 

/. The gracious look of Jesus, and 
II. The repentance of St. Peter. 

Peter is yet speaking, his words are curses and blasphemies, he 
wishes that all evil may come upon him if he knows the man who is 
with Annas in the palace; and behold, the doors fly open, and the 
Man whom Peter pretends not to know, enters the hall where Peter 
is standing at the fire, and this man is conducted by the crowd that 
surrounded Peter. The quarrel is at once at an end, the eyes of all 
are turned towards Christ, and Peter likewise looks at the man, 
whom a little while before he would not know. Jesus looks around, 
his eye seeks him who had denied him. He finds him and fixes his 
eyes upon him without speaking a w r ord, but this one look said 
enough. Was it a look of destruction ? Was it the look of a judge? 
No, it was the look of a merciful Redeemer who was come, not to 
judge, but to seek and save that which was lost. The Lord looked 
at Peter but said nothing : his eye, however, spoke and said : Peter, 
what hast thou done ? Where is thy faith, thy love, thy gratitude, 
thy word which thou hast pledged me ? My enemies torment my 
body, but thou, my friend, tormentest my soul. Return, trust in my 
goodness, all shall be forgiven. Who does not admire the unspeakable 
mercy of the Good Shepherd? Though maltreated, abused and 
insulted, disfigured and so fatigued that he was scarcely able to walk, 
at a moment when he had enough to do with himself, he forgot self, 
his eye seeks the faithless, treacherous disciple, who now after his 
deep fall, more than ever stands in need of his help, to snatch the 
stray sheep from despair and the jaws of the hellish wolf; for this 
reason he looks at him mercifully, and this look pierced Peter's heart, 
and made him ashamed of himself. The hands of Jesus w r ere bound, 
but his heart was ready to forgive, his eye ready to show mercy. 
He could only look at Peter, he could not go after the lost sheep, 
for his feet were going no more in the service of one, but for the sal- 
vation and redemption of all mankind. For this reason he sought 



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the lost one with his eye, he pursued that erring soul with a look, to 
snatch it from the devil who had already taken possession of it. 
How consoling to us is this mild, and at the same time, punishing 
look of Jesus. He is also for us a good shepherd, his eye seeks the 
sinner at all times, he looks at him with pity and compassion. His 
look meets us frequently immediately after the commission of sin, as 
it met the treacherous disciple immediately after his denial. How often 
have we offended the Lord and at the same moment in which we fear 
the avenging hand of divine justice, the mildly punishing, merciful 
look of Jesus meets us. Unfortunate Christians ! You go, perhaps, 
for many years the way of the denial of the Lord in thought, word, 
and deed, and you wonder, yourself, that nothing has happened to 
you, that God has not punished you ; you must confess that the mercy 
of God has most graciously spared you, but not so his justice; he 
calls you, he invites you to penance, he looks at you with eyes of 
mercy. Oh ! that we all might avail ourselves of this merciful look 
of the Redeemer, that we may not be destroyed one day by his look 
of wrath as a Judge. Let us cry out to him now : Look down upon 
me, O Lord, with eyes of mercy, as thou hast looked at Peter, that at 
the aspect of thy wrathful eyes, when thou shalt come as Judge, we 
niay not be compelled to say: " Fall upon us ye mountains, and ye 
hills cover us." Woe to us if the eyes of the world can make an 
impression us, and not the merciful eye of Jesus. I assure you 
that the time will come, when those eyes of men, which we now fear, 
and of which we are ashamed, can help us nothing, when the inexor- 
able look of Jesus will dash us to the ground. Christ has looked down 
upon thousands already with eyes of mercy, but they were too much occu- 
pied with the world and its pleasures, they had no. time to turn their eyes 
towards him, they were fixed upon the perishable goods of this 
world ; the hour of death came, they sought the merciful look of 
Jesus, but they could see nothing but the terrible eye of the judge. 
They sought him too late : they sought him not whilst he could be 
found. Judas was one of these. In the garden of Olives when he 
came up to his Lord to give him the treacherous kiss, Christ with 
eyes of mercy, looked at him, at the very time he was committing the 
greatest crime, but afterwards when bitter remorse took possession of 
him, he sought that merciful eye, but in vain— he despaired. He 
had abused the goodness of the Lord too much, and too long; he had 
deliberately despised the gracious look of Jesus, with great coolness 
of mind, lie had planned his treason and with great frigidity and 
unheard-of boldness he executed it. The measure was full; he 



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became a suicide. But it was not so with Peter. He also had been 
forewarned like Judas, but whilst Judas opposed to the warnings a 
malicious silence, and was impudent enough, though conscious of his 
guilt, to ask : Lord, is it I ? Peter, in his love and enthusiasm for 
his Lord and Master, considered the caution superfluous, for he could 
not think it possible that he ever would be scandalized in him. 
"Lord, if all shall be scandalized in thee, I shall never be scandal- 
ized." And yet poor Peter was scandalized, he fell three times; 
denied his Lord; his mouth denied what his heart professed, bespoke 
in anguish and confusion, he wished to go away when he had denied 
his Lord the first time; but it was not so with Judas; no one had 
asked him any questions; he had not come among the high-priests by 
chance, no, he had sought them of his own accord, with the horrible 
intention of selling his Lord, he himself made this shameless offer : 
" What will you give me, and I will betray him." Judas was 
already a thief a year before the actual treason took place. He fell 
slowly with premeditation ; Peter, suddenly, and without a moment's 
reflection on what he was saying. Peter's sin was great, he denied 
his Lord before servants who annoyed and besieged him with ques- 
tions ; but his sin was one of weakness not of malice : he had not 
boldness to say : When that man comes out here, I shall stand before 
him face to face, and prove to you that I know him not. Judas,, 
however, did so, and his sin was so great that the measure was fulL 
Whilst committing the sin of treason, he received the last grace, for 
Christ said : Friend, why art thou come hither ? He could have 
returned then, but he did not ; he kissed his Lord and the time of 
grace was over ; he went out and hanged himself. For this reason 
Christ said : " It were better for him had he never been born." 
Peter also went out after denying Jesus, but how ? Not like Judas, 
who despaired, but he went out and wept bitterly. 

Peter observing the look of Jesus remembered the words : " This 
night before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice." And 
he went out and wept bitterly. This gracious look of Jesus had the 
desired effect, because Peter co-operated with the grace extended to 
him. How must he not have felt when he remembered his promise: 
" If all shall be scandalized in thee, I shall never be scandalized," 
and how did not his former profession, " Thou art Christ the Son of 
the Living God: to whom shall we go: Thou hast the words of 
eternal life," appear, compared to his last expression : " I know not 
that man, I know not what you are saying." How much his denial 
must have grieved him . The Sacred Scripture relates the repentance of 
Peter in these few words : he went out and wept bitterly. But we are 



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not to understand that his weeping, sorrow and grief were confined to 
that moment; no, he bewailed that sin during all the days of his life, 
nothing being able to cause him to forget his offence or interrupt his 
pcn.tential tears. To his last hour he never heard a cock crow with- 
out weeping bitterly at the remembrance of his sin. The Holy 
Fathers relate that when preaching the Gospel, he frequently men- 
tioned his own fall, and expressly desired St. Mark to give a descrip- 
tion of his denial. He wished thus to humble himself and to do 
penance. His fall made him very cautious, hence, his life was 
marked with an unwavering faithfulness, which he finally sealed with 
ins blood. His repentauce was acceptable and pleasing to God, for 
Christ being risen from the dead, appeared first to St. Peter, before lie 
appeared to any other of his disciples. Poor Peter ! How must he 
liave trembled, with what shame and confusion must he have been 
filled when lie beheld Jesus whom three days before he had so shame- 
fully denied ; but we do not read that Jesus reproached him, no, he 
only appeared to him in order to console and comfort him, for he 
knew that the poor Apostle needed consolation. We wonder when 
we read that he appeared first to St. Peter, and that the angel at the 
sepulchre told the women, " You seek Jesus of Nazareth, he is risen, 
he is not here, go and tell his disciples, ami Peter, that he goes before 
you into Galilee, there you shall see him as he told vou." But it is 
easily explained : Peter denied Christ three times/consequently he 
might have considered himself unworthy of the apostlcship and 
might have refrained from going to the sepulchre with the other 
Apostles, if he had not been specially named. The Lord prayed for 
Peter: he was confirmed: and he strengthened his brethren, for lie 
gave testimony of Christ before the high council of Jerusalem : 
4t God is to be obeyed before man." Now let us learn to follow Peter 
in his repentance, since we have followed him in sin. But let us 
never forget that we cannot repent without the grace of God, for 
grace is the beginning of our conversion. We may resist this grace, 
we may pay no attention to it : the grace of God does not force us to 
be good, we have our own free will ; we may co-operate with the 
grace of God which is never wanting to us. We must look at Jesus 
when he looks at us ; we must go out like Peter and weep tears of 
sorrow and contrition. If our hand or foot scandalize us we must 
cut it off and cast it from us, for it is better for us with one foot 
or one hand to enter into life, than, having two hands or two feet 
to be") cast into hell-fire, and if the eye scandalize us, we must 
pluck it out, and cast it from us, for it is better for us havino- one eve 



to enter into life, than, having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire : this 
alone is true Gospel repentance. Peter went out and wept bitterly. 
Oh ! let us weep for our sins, we have often wept for our passions, 
for the world, and the things of this world; but alas! we have no 
tears for our God, though we have tears for everything else. How 
foolish ! Tears are nowhere else so just, nowhere else so profitable ; 
here they are necessary, here alone they ought to be indulged in. 
Christ shed his blood for us, and we, ungrateful beings that we are, 
will not shed a single tear for him who suffered and died for us. 
What can we look upon that does not revive the remembrance of 
our sins? Can we look up to heaven and not weep at the sight of 
that glorious kingdom which we so basely renounced ? Can we con- 
template the light, and not bewail our blindness ? Can we observe 
the regular movement of the stars, and the obedience of all creatures 
to their Creator's laws, and not weep for our disorders ? He that 
weeps for his sins cannot be lost ; the Good Shepherd will find him 
and carry him back to the flock. The angels in heaven rejoiced at 
the repentance of Peter when he went out and wept bitterly. O let 
your tears flow, weep for your sins, you have reason to weep, for you 
have denied Jesus more frequently than Peter. Oh ! the happy tears 
which dare not ask pardon, but nevertheless obtain it. Yes, we 
have sinned like Peter : like him, let us also do penance ; the angels 
will rejoice at our repentance. And if our penance be persevering to 
the end, if we be faithful followers of Jesus on earth, our penance 
will be rewarded with an immortal crown of glory. 



SERMON VI. 

THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR, THE CROWNING WITH THORNS, 

AND THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST. 

" They have dug my hands and feet, they have numbered all my bones" — Ps. 21 : /y. 

We have, in a previous lecture, meditated on the mental sufferings 
which our divine Saviour endured ; to-day we will let his corporal 
sufferings form the subject of our pious reflection. That w r e may 
obtain an adequate idea of the multitude and severity of his pains, 
let us consider for our edification the cruel scourging at the pillar, the 
crowning with thorns, and his crucifixion. Who of us, reflecting 



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attentively that the Sou of God suffered so much in his body in order 
to redeem and save us from sin and hell, will not feel himself 
strengthened and encouraged to suffer patiently that which God 
sends in his way, and to do some penance for his sins? When Pilate, 
hearing the cries of the populace that petitioned to release Barabbas 
and make away with Jesus, could not resolve to condemn an innocent 
man, he endeavored to extricate himself from the difficultv in another 
way. Although a heathen he understood very well that to condemn an 
innocent man is to act contrary to the light of reason, the laws of justice, 
and the dictates of conscience. He endeavored to release Christ. 
Hoping that the satanical rage of the excited populace would be 
softened if he would give them some satisfaction, he commanded the 
soldiers to scourge him. The Evangelists pass over the particular 
circumstances of this scourging, saying nothing but that Jesus was 
scourged. We may be sure, however, that this unjust order was exe- 
cuted with the greatest possible cruelty ; for when a common soldier 
was daring enough to strike him before the eyes of the high-priest 
who had asked concerning his doctrine and his disciples, and when 
the guards that watched him in the house of Caiphas took the liberty 
to treat him most cruelly, we may also imagine in what manner they 
gave vent to their rage, after they had obtained orders from the gov- 
ernor to scourge him. Have you ever observed how dogs act when 
the prey is held back for a while ? They make a thousand attempts to 
seize the victim, and when set at liberty by the hunter, they rush upon 
the prey with haste and rage, stupefy it by their barking, tear it with 
their teeth, and slowly kill it. Christ compared his enemies to a set 
of savage and blood-thirsty dogs, when he said by the mouth of the 
royal prophet, that many dogs had encompassed him. — Ps. 21. As 
long as they were held back by the governor and could not give full 
vent to their rage, they barked at him, ridiculed and mocked him. 
After Pilate had sentenced him to be scourged they had no mercy, 
no compassion for him. They seized him, stripped him of his clothes, 
tied him to a pillar, and heaped upon his innocent body a multitude 
of merciless strokes, by which stripes were formed which burst open, and 
the blood flowed from all parts of his body, without exciting the least 
feeling of compassion in the hearts of those monsters. Some writers 
are of the opinion that he was scourged by three sets of executioners ; 
the first had knotty rods, the second, big ropes, and the third, iron 
chains. The number of strokes was also not limited to forty, the usual 
number prescribed by law of Moses. To conceive some idea of the 
pains which Christ endured, when he was scourged, it suffices to take 



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into consideration the natural barbarity of the soldiers, the delicate 
sensibility of the tender body of Christ, and the multitude and heav- 
iness of the strokes. The heartless executioners were accustomed to 
maltreat those who were sentenced to death and to spill their blood ; 
their feelings did not revolt ; what heavy strokes then must they have 
heaped upon him, when there was a rivalry among them to please 
the Scribes and Pharisees, by whom they had probably been bribed. 
Jesus was of the most sensitive constitution, his body was the most 
perfect of all that were ever produced, being formed from the pure 
blood of Mary by the agency of the Holy Ghost. How painful must 
the punishment have been to Christ, under which even slaves wept ! 
And, as the punishment was to correspond to the guilt, according to 
what is written in Deuteronomy, chap. 25, " the number of strokes 
shall be according to the measure of sins/' we must suppose that 
the sufferings which Christ endured in that scourging, must have 
reached the highest degree, because the sins for which he rendered 
satisfaction to the divine Majesty were as great as they were numer- 
ous. The prophet Isaias compares him to a leper, and presents him 
to us so disfigured by strokes, that he was not like another man, and 
says that he was lacerated on account of our sins, wherefore, he calls 
himself the Man of Somows. He bore all this base treatment with 
indescribable patience ; his mouth remained shut but he said in his 
heart : " I am ready for scourges." — Ps. 37. He was fatigued and 
overcome by those heavy strokes, but at the same time he thought of 
us. He prayed for us to his Eternal Father, he offered for us, and 
for all sinful men, those heavy strokes as an expiation. Out of love 
for you, dear souls, he thought in his mind : It is for love of all souls 
that my hands are tied, my shoulders stricken without mercy, and 
my whole body covered with wounds. I am suffering the most excru- 
ciating pains and torments, in order that you, seeing what I am 
suffering for you, may make the resolution to correspond to my love ! 
Oh ! my brethren ! how much do we not owe to our divine Redeemer ! 
He has done penance for our sins, and submitted to the punishment 
of which we were deserving. We are the criminals and the lashes 
should have fallen on us ; but he has token them on his own shoul- 
ders that we might be free from the punishment which the divine 
justice had decreed against us. Who could be so heartless as not to 
weep bitter tears of compassion, and to feel himself filled with love 
and gratitude beholding that disfigured countenance, that lacerated 
back, that innocent lamb covered all over with wounds and blood 
But alas! how many there are among us who remain hard, callous 



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mid ungrateful ! Though we know that our God has deigned to do 
such great penance for us, we feel ourselves so little moved, that avc 
are even bold enough to continue our wicked life, and commit the 
same sins almost dail v. Oh ! would to God that none of us would cause 
such sorrow to our amiable Redeemer, but at the sight of his scourged 
body every one would repeat in his heart the sentiments of King David : 
It is I that have sinned. — II. Kings, ch. 24. I have sinned by 
calumniating my neighbor; I have sinned by persecuting and hating 
those who offend me ; I have sinned by intemperance and by blindly 
following my predominant passions; I am, therefore, to be punished. 
Oh! that each and every one of us, animated by the example of 
Christ, would begin to do penance for his sins, instead of enjoying the 
pleasures and amusements of this world ! Let us pursue the history of 
the Passion of Christ, and we shall find new and stronger proofs of 
our ingratitude and delinquencies. After the executioners had 
wearied of scourging him, they loosed him from the pillar, and 
though he was weakened and exhausted by the length and severity 
of the chastisement, there was no one to be found who would do him 
a favor, as they used to do on such occasions ; no one to dress his 
wounds or to offer him any refreshment. He complained hereof 
himself, by the prophet Isaias : " I looked about and there was none 
to help, and I sought and there was none to give aid." Ah ! had 
their rage only been soothed by this scourging ! but the pitiful state 
in svhich they beheld him inflamed their hatred instead of soft- 
ening it, as Pilate vainly hoped. The sight of the innocent blood 
which should have awakened feelings of compassion, only increased 
their rage to maltreat and abuse him still more. It occurred to* their 
minds that he had aspired to royal dignity, because he had said before 
Pilate, that he was the King of the Jews. They accordingly invented 
a new kind of torture. After conducting him into the hall of the 
court, they gathered together unto him the whole band, and having 
stripped him of his clothes they put a scarlet cloak about him, and 
platting a crown of thorns they put it upon his head, and a reed into 
his right hand, and bowing the knee before him they mocked him, 
saying : " Hail ! King of the Jews." And not contented with 
having mocked him in such a manner, they united cruelty with 
mockery, pressing the crown of thorns more deeply into his head, 
and thus making him the man of sorrows. I leave you to judge 
what great pains Christ must have endured, when the thorns 
pierced his adorable head, the most sensible part of his body. Every 
thorn left a wound ; some pierced* his veins, whence the blood ran 



down his forehead and disfigured his countenance ; others pene- 
trated his nerves and caused the most violent convulsions. A 
slight head-ache often appears to us intolerable ; what great pains 
must our Redeemer have endured from so many thorns ! If a 
single thorn in the hand or foot hurts us, what violent pains must 
not so many sharp thorns have caused ! And those heartless, cruel 
men mocked him yet in that pitiable state : " Hail ! " said they, bend- 
ing their knees in mockery, M Hail ! king of the Jews," and spitting 
upon him they took the reed out of his hand and struck his head 
so that the pains were renewed at every stroke and the thorns went 
more deeply into his head. When those wicked men had gratified their 
savage insolence, they presented him before Pilate, who, seeing him in 
such a pitiable state, was moved to compassion, and bringing him forth 
from the palace, showed him to the assembled populace, saying :: 
" Ecce homo" — "Behold the man," as if he would say, behold the 
miserable state to which your cruelty has reduced him ; behold a beings 
who has human nature in common with you ; behold how his face is 
swollen, his head pierced with thorns, and how the blood flows down 
from his forehead ! He is not like to another man, let this suffice now r 
do not demand his death. The imprudent judge hoped to release Christ,, 
but he was greatly deceived, for his language served only to heighten 
the fury and rage of the excited populace. The Scribes and Phari- 
sees cried out : Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said they might 
crucify him if they wished, but that he would' not condemn a man 
to death, in whom he could find no cause. The Jews answered r 
We have a law, and according to that law, he ought to die^ 
because he called himself the Son of God. When Pilate heard this 
he feared the more. He entered into the hall again, saying to Christ r 
Whence art thou? But he gave him no answer. Pilate, therefore,. 
said to him : Speakest thou not to me ? knowest thou not that I have 
power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee. Jesus 
answered : Thou wouldst not have power against me, unless it were 
given thee from above. He, therefore, who has delivered me to thee 
has the greater sin. From henceforth Pilate sought to release him„ 
but the Jews cried out saying : If thou release this man thou art not 
Caesar's friend ; for whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh 
against Csesar. When Pilate had heard this he feared for the friend- 
ship of Csesar, his self-love and human respect conquered his better- 
nature, and he yielded to their demands. Fearing to lose the 
favor of his earthly master, he sacrificed the precious life of a 
God-man. Woe to the man that suffers himself to be governed by 



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passion. Pie is capable of doing anything. Avarice that ruled Judas, 
enticed him to sell his Master ; envy and hatred that had taken pos- 
session of the hearts of the high-priest and the Pharisees made them 
petition for the death of Christ. Self-love, human fear, and worldly 
advantage were the predominant passions in the heart of Pilate, that 
urged him to pronounce sentence against Christ. These examples 
ought to teach us how necessarv if is to root out passions in time, lest 
we should, if they acquire too much strength, be plunged into a 
thousand difficulties. 

After the governor had pronounced the unjust sentence, the savages 
conducted Christ, without any further delay, to Mount Calvary, and 
in order to make the way more painful for him, they compelled him to 
carrv the cross on his own shoulders. Then it was fulfilled, what so many 
centuries before had been prefigured in the person of the innocent Isaac, 
who carried the wood for the holocaust, and in the ram, which, laden 
with all the sins and iniquities of the people, the high-priest sent into 
the wilderness. Has the world ever beheld a spectacle more calcu- 
lated to excite compassion than that of the Son of God in the midst 
of a troop of rough and savage soldiers, going between two malefac- 
tors who were sentenced to death with him, and carrying the instru- 
ment of his death on his own shoulders ! Weakened by the cruel 
treatment lie had received, his head crowned with thorns, his whole 
body full of wounds caused by the scourging at the pillar ; he walked, 
sighing under the heavy load of the cross, and overcome by the pains 
he endured; cold sweat ran down his face; he could endure it no 
longer, but fell with his face to the earth. When the women of Jeru- 
salem, who followed him, saw this they wept over him. But, turn- 
ing to them, he said : Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me, but 
weep for yourselves and your children. The soldiers, fearing that he 
would die under the load of the cross, took it from him, and com- 
pelled a man from Cyrene, named Simon, to carry it. When they 
had come to the place that is called Calvary, they stripped him, and 
told him to stretch himself on the cross. Christ considered it as the 
altar, on which he was going to offer to God the most perfect and accept- 
able sacrifice that had ever been offered to him. He laid himself upon 
it, and lifting up his eyes to heaven he adored the will of his Eternal 
Father, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the 
cross. And offering himself as an expiation for our sins, he volun- 
tarily laid his holy, innocent, and undefiled body upon the hard wood, 
saying : Sacrifices, oblations, and holocausts thou wouldst not, neither 
are they pleasing to thee, which are offered to thee, according to the 



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law ; behold, I come to do thy will, O God. — Heb. 10: 8, 9. Imme- 
diately they perforated his hands and feet with large nails, and by 
the repeated strokes of a heavy hammer nailed him to the cross. The 
painful convulsions which this cruel treatment produced in all parts 
of his body plunged him into a sea of sorrows, and thus was fulfilled 
what had been foretold by the raj al prophet of the Redeemer : 
"They have dug my hands and feet, they have numbered all my 
bones)'— Ps. 21 : 17*. 

What agony Jesus felt during this cruel torture may be better 
imagined than described. Present, however, to your mind a man 
sick of the palsy. He is tormented by such violent pains, that he 
wails like a man on the point of despair. And yet he is lying on a 
soft bed, and all that pains him is a few drops of biting substance 
that seize the nerves in the joints of the hands and feet with its itch- 
ing parts. Now reflect what great pains Jesus must have endured, 
who was lying on the hard bed of the cross, whilst not only a few drops 
of a biting substance touched his nerves, but big rough nails were 
driven through his hands and feet, which thrust the sinews asunder, 
dislocated the small joints, and injured his nerves, of which the ten- 
derest parts of the body are formed and composed. And how much 
did not these pains increase, when the soldiers lifted up the cross on 
which he was nailed, and planted it in the hole already prepared for 
it, thus exposing him to the gaze of all who were present. Oh ! God, 
what pain to sustain the whole weight of the body by the hands 
that were pierced through by nails ! What agony to hang upon that 
instrument of death in such a way, without a hope that the pains 
would cease. What dislocation of the bones, what extension of the 
wounds, what great convulsions. When he wished to rest his head, 
he was obliged to lay it against the cross, which increased his 
pains, because the thorns were hereby pressed in the deeper. When 
he wished to support the weight of his body on his hands, the wounds 
were expanded, and the pain became more violent; and when he 
wished to rest his hands, his feet were obliged to bear the whole 
weight of his body, and thus the pains increased from moment to mo- 
ment, and became almost unendurable, and yet he lived in this state 
for three hours. Let us pause a moment, and at the foot of the cross 
of our Redeemer, ask ourselves how many drops of blood we have 
forced from his body by our sins. Yes, my brethren, it was my sins, 
it was your sins, that made him fall under the weight of the cross, 
aud that nailed him to it. Our sins were the thorns and nails that 
<jaused him unspeakable pains. We read in the book of Josue that 



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when the wretched Achan was condemned to death, nine hundred thou- 
sand persons were engaged in executing the sentence, and of all that 
multitude of people, there was not one woman or child that did not go 
in turn, to cast stones at that miserable being, and overwhelm him at 
the same time with curses. It was not only nine hundred thousand 
persons, but the whole of Adam's posterity that overwhelmed Jesus 
with curses and insults, and we, we also, wretched beings, that we are, 
have nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, and have, if I may so express it, 
inflicted on him as many mortal blows, as we have committed sins dur- 
ing our life-time. Oh ! that it were the last time we would force blood 
from the veins of our Lord ! But we continue ever to renew and in- 
crease this suffering by our sins. Yes, sinners, you renew, as far as it 
is in your power, the grief and suffering of your compassionate 
Saviour, by the malice of the numberless sins which you daily commit. 
Oh, the blindness and ingratitude of man ! Where is our compassion ? 
Have we lost every feeling of humanity? We shed tears at the 
sight of the miseries of our fellow-men, and we make every effort to 
alleviate their sufferings ; but when we see our divine Saviour crowned 
with thorns, falling under the cross, and crucified, where is our com- 
passion ? Judge now whether his sufferings can be compared to 
the sufferings of another. From this you will also learn that those 
deceive themselves who flatter themselves that they will obtain life 
everlasting in any other way, than that of penance, which Jesus Christ 
has pointed out to us by his own example. 

We are called to sufferings and trials, says St. Peter, because Christ 
also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we might imitate it. 
He is the pattern of all that are predestined, says St, Paul, and ac- 
cording to his life and example we must regulate our life. If the 
Father find in us no resemblance to his crucified Son, he will not ad- 
mit us into the number of the blessed, for he will not acknowledge as 
children of election, those who are not in some respects like his Son ; 
and he will make partakers of his glory, only those who are formed 
according to the head of all the elect, for the disciple is no better than 
his master, and the servant cannot have a preference before his Lord. 
Does our life correspond to the life of Christ crucified ? The life of 
Christ was one continual series of sufferings ; the life of the generality 
of Christians is only a series of distractions and amusements. The 
innocent flesh of Christ was pierced by thorns, perforated by nails, 
but the criminal flesh of many Christians will relish nothing but pleas- 
ures, and will not endure the most trifling mortification. Undeceive 
yourselves for once. A life of excessive fondness for pleasures and 



amusements is not the proper life of a Christian. Read the Gospel, 
and then tell me, do you find anything else preached and inculcated in 
it, than self-denial, mortification, works of penance, and conforming 
ourselves to the will of God ? If any man will come after me, says 
Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 
If any man come to me, and not hate his father and mother, his wife 
and children, his brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life, he cannot 
be my disciple. Consider Jesus, in any condition of life you will, did 
he ever allow himself the least departure from this rule ? Poverty, 
nakedness, hunger, persecution, sorrows and desolation is all that was 
offered to him in this life. Look at Christ crucified. Could he suffer 
anything more painful ? Christ has suffered, so must we, if we wish 
to be counted among his followers, for those are Christ's, who have 
crucified their flesh with their vices and concupiscences. 

Let us, at the foot of the cross, make the promise to our crucified 
Redeemer, to offend him no more, and to amend our lives. He suf- 
fered so much for us, let us imitate his example, and bear with pa- 
tience and resignation to the will of God whatsoever afflictions he may 
send us, since it is for our good. The example of Jesus will con- 
sole us in the troubles and difficulties of this life, it will comfort us 
in the hour of trial, and will make penance sweet and light 



SERMON VII. 

THE LAST SEVEN WORDS OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS. 

" He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." — Matt. 1 1 : ij. 

We are assembled to-day, to hear repeated the oft-repeated narrative 
of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Redeem- 
er of the world. Represent to yourselves our Redeemer hanging on the 
cross, manifesting his ineffable love for mankind to the last moment 
of his existence. Great are the pains he suffers, yet he murmurs not 
against his Father in heaven, nor does he pronounce judgment on his 
murderers on earth. When he stood before Pilate, he opened not 
his mouth, and he is silent now on the cross, like a lamb in the hands 
of its butchers. But as a tender father, about to depart this life, 
seeing his children gathered around his death-bed, opens his eyes 
again and utters his last parting words, so our blessed Lord opens his 



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eyes and mouth and speaks his last words. We generally try to catch 
with the greatest eagerness the words of a dying friend, and a word 
that drops from the pale lips of a father or mother makes such a deep 
and lasting impression upon even thoughtless and frivolous children, 
that you can hear them say, long after their parent's death : My dying 
father, or, my dying mother, told me this or that on their death- 
bed. I shall never forget it. But is not our dying Redeemer more 
to us than father or mother ? To them we owe our corporal life, but 
to him, our spi ritual life. We should, therefore, receive nothing with 
greater love and veneration than his last words. There is something 
holy and majestic in them, that moves and softens the heart. Let us 
then listen to the last words of our Saviour and " he that hath ears to 
hear, let him hear." 

• 

1. We cannot look at the Redeemer hanging on the cross without 
reverence and awe, for before him there never was such a master 
of virtue, such a leader to heaven, such a man mighty in word and 
deed before God and men, and never will be after him. Was this 
acknowledged when he was hanging on the cross? No, he was 
treated with the utmost contempt. The people shook their heads 
and said to him : " Vah, thou who destroyest the temple of God and 
in three days buildest it up again, save thyself; if thou be the Son 
of God, come down from the cross. He saved others, himself he 
cannot save." If he be the king of Israel, let him come down from 
the cross and we will believe in him. He trusted in God, let him 
deliver him now, if he will have him, for he said : I am the Son of 
God. Even one of the Roman soldiers mocked him, saying: If thou 
be the king and Saviour of Israel, save thyself; and to make the 
measure full, one of the thieves who were crucified with him, said 
blasphemingly : " If thou be Christ save thyself and us." We must 
confess that the Redeemer could not be treated with greater contempt, 
nor offended and insulted in a more insolent manner. And what is 
his conduct under such humiliations? He looks down from the cross 
with eyes of mercy and compassion upon his enemies. He looks into 
the dark future where all the evils that will fall upon them are 
vividly before his eyes. These evils grieve him more than all his 
sufferings ; and he gathers his remaining strength and prays to his 
father — "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear" — he prays for his 
enemies. 

" Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" This doc- 
trine was : Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, pray 



for those who persecute and calumniate you, that you may be children 
of your Father who is in heaven. Here we see him put his doctrine 
into practice, and seal it with his own example. His enemies revile 
him, he blesses them ; they hate and persecute him, and he does good 
to them. Whilst they rage with the utmost fury, he prays : Father, 
forgive them ; he even excuses their blind zeal ; " for they know not 
what they do." What shame for us, if the example of Christ does 
not move us to forgive our enemies. You bear, perhaps, for years, 
hatred in your hearts, and your self-love is ingenious enough to excul- 
pate you by many shallow excuses. You say : he has grievously 
offended me, therefore I cannot forgive him. Are you more innocent 
than Jesus who challenged his enemies to convince him of sin, which 
they could not ? If the most innocent and holy One forgives his 
enemies, why will you not forgive yours. Examine your conscience; 
ask yourself impartially : Do I entertain hatred against any one of 
my fellow-men? If your conscience accuse you, lull it not to sleep 
by vain excuses, for you know not when God shall call you before his 
tribunal, and you would certainly not be willing, with hatred in your 
heart against your neighbor, to appear before him, who is love itself, and 
who has forgiven a world of enemies. You do not know at what 
time God will call you. You have time to forgive your enemies per- 
haps this year, perhaps this month, perhaps only this day; for you 
are like flowers which bloom in the morning and wither and decay in 
the evening. Therefore forgive now, and go not from the cross of 
your merciful Redeemer, before you have, like him, forgiven all your 
enemies from vour heart. 

2. When the Saviour was conducted to the place of execution, 
his disciples fled, for they feared for their own safety, and had not the 
courage to follow him to the place of execution. Yet there was one 
among them, who, in the face of every danger, had followed his Lord 
into the palace of the high-priest, and whom nothing could deter 
from following him to Calvary. He placed himself near the cross as 
if he would catch the Redeemer's last breath. This intrepid and 
fearless disciple was the faithful, noble-hearted John. Mary the 
Mother of Jesus stood near him. While Mary and John, plunged in 
the deepest grief, lift up their eyes to the cross, their Redeemer's half- 
closed eyes meet theirs, and glisten like the departing day in the 
western horizon; for these are his truly beloved friends whom he 
cannot forget even in the agony of death. He was fully aware, how 
deeply sorrow and grief, like a two-edged sword, was piercing his 
mother's heart ; he knew what she was suffering ; his heart was broken 



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1 :\1 



and in his last hour he provided for his dear mother, and at the same 
time consoled and blessed his beloved disciple. Opening his mouth, 
he publishes his last will and testament ; he speaks only a few words ; 
he will not increase the grief of his dear ones by a long farewell. 
Only a few holy words, which I will repeat, " he that hath ears to 
hear, let him hear," he says with a dying voice: "Woman, behold thy 
son." Whilst saying this, he looked at John. He was to be the friend 
and protector of his poor mother. And again he says : "Son, behold 
thy mother" pointing with his eyes to Mary. By this he called upon 
John to interest himself in behalf of his poor mother ; to console 
and comfort her, to assist her in every necessity, to be to her for the 
remainder of her life, what he himself had been to her. St. John 
provided for her, as if she was his own mother, until her assumption 
into heaven. 

Children, engrave deeply on your minds what Christ did for his 
mother. As, during life, he recompensed her tender love by the 
greatest gratitude, so he remained a good son to his last moment. In 
like manner, do not forget the obligations you are under to your 
parents. Children, look back. From whom have you your l>eing? 
Whose bread did you eat ? What would have become of you, if 
your parents had not taken so great care of you? Children, look 
back. You were helpless, insensible, imprudent, thoughtless, like 
all children \ Who watched over you with careful anxiety? You 
were exposed to a thousand dangers which threatened to destroy some- 
times your health, sometimes your life; who watched over you, who 
protected you, who prayed to God for your temporal and spiritual 
welfare? Children, took back. You were ignorant, you knew neither 
God nor your destiny ; who taught you to make the sign of the cross, 
who made you acquainted with the life and sufferings of Christ, who 
taught you to bend your knees, to lift up your hands and pray to 
God ? In later years, when wicked inclinations crept into your 
hearts, who took the first notice of them, who cheeked them, who 
wept over them, who kept you from doing wrong? Was it not your 
parents? And in your sickness, who watched by your side during 
sleepless nights? Did not your parents do all this? Andean you 
be so cruel as to be angry at the weakness and frailty of their age? 
Can you treat them roughly and unkindly when they want your 
assistance ? Can you have the hardness of heart to embitter their 
old age, which is undoubtedly bitter enough, and to draw tears from 
the very eyes which wept so often for you? If you can do this, 
then you, once good children, smiling cheerfully and merrily upon 



your parents, have become ingratitude itself, and I should be obliged 
to consider it the greatest audacity in you, if you would presume to 
place yourselves to-day with the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John 
at the cross of the Redeemer, who loved his mother so dearly, that 
she was the object of his care and solicitude in his dying hour. Our 
dying Redeemer provided for his mother, that after his death she 
might not suffer want, and can you, in the possession of tem- 
poral goods, see your parents suffer hunger? You eat and drink and 
enjoy yourselves, whilst the authors of your existence would be glad 
to have a morsel of bread to appease their hunger. Children, by such 
conduct vou commit an unnatural crime, which vour Father in Heaven 
will not allow to pass with impunity, for he has given the command- 
ment : " Honor thv father and thy mother." 

« • 

3. For greater ignominy, two malefactors were conducted with 
Christ to Calvary, to be crucified with him, one on his right hand, 
the other on his left. In the wicked heart of the wretch who was 
hanging on his left side, every feeling of humanity seemed to be ex- 
tinct, for in the hour of his death he was malicious enough to blas- 
pheme Jesus, with his sepulchral voice, saying : " If thou be Christ, 
help thyself and us." He that was hanging on his right side, be- 
haved differently. He had felt long before, with inexpressible grief, 
that he was going on the wrong road. Xow he stands at the door of 
eternity, he sees the precipice, to which his crimes have brought him. 
Remorse of conscience torments him more than his bodily pains, and 
the thought : what will become of me in the other world ; in a few 
moments I must appear before the judgment-seat of God, torments 
him beyond description. He looks at the dying Jesus, observes in 
his countenance a divine majesty, and in his patience a divine tran- 
quillity, and arrives at the conviction that Jesus is God, and that he 
suffers and dies innocentlv. He confesses his conviction immediately 
with a loud voice, saying : "We suffer indeed, justly, for we receive 
the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done no evil." After this 
he rebuked his companion for blaspheming Jesus, saying: " Neither 
dost thou fear God, because thou blasphemest this 'man." The for- 
giving love which Jesus had shown his enemies, and the tender care 
with which he had provided for his mother, inspire him with great confi- 
dence and courage to address Jesus, thus : " Lord, remember me, when 
thou shah come into thy kingdom." Jesus hears the prayer of the 
repenting sinner who had gone astray, but who had returned with an 
humble and contrite heart, looks at him compassionately and merci- 
fully, and forgetting his own pains, speakts to him the words of life : 

Amen, ] say to thee, this day thou shaft be with me in paradise." 



a 



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The poor sinner had certainly not expected .such an answer. He 
received a greater grace than lie could expect, and this answer sweet- 
ened his last hour. A multitude of sinners, encouraged by this 
promise of Jesus, to do penance, enjoy now the greatest felicity in 
heaven. Even to our own hearts, which are wounded by sin, these 
words by which Jesus promised grace and everlasting life, to the peni- 
tent thief, are a salutary balm. If you have not lived heretofore as 
you should have, think not that there is no remedy for you, but look 
up to your Saviour on the cross, who promises forgiveness and life 
everlasting to the repentant sinner. Rise from the sleep of sin, return 
to God, your Father, who in his boundless love and mercy, stretches 
out his arms to receive you. With God is mercy ; he says: "As I live, 
I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he turn from his evil ways 
and live." Knowing this consoling troth, heap not sin upon sin, 
otherwise you will be unworthy of his mercy. Do not linger on your 
return, do not delay your conversion until the moment God callsyou 
out of this world. The Scripture gives only one example of a death- 
bed conversion, and from it you cannot draw the conclusion that God 
will be merciful to every one who returns to him at his last hour. Is 
time in your power, that you can lengthen your days as you please ? 
Are you sure that you will not die without a moment's warning ? 
And suppose you will not die suddenly, but after a lingering disease, 
your conversion will be a great task, for, knowing that death is 
approaching, you will forsake sin, when you are no longer able to 
commit it. And do you call that a true conversion, if you forsake 
sin, only when sin has forsaken you ? Oil ! how seldom is a death- 
bed conversion a true conversion ? A true conversion must originate 
from a real detestation of sin, and from the love of God. The fear of 
death, and of the judgment to come, is the cause of the conversion of 
many a sinner. If you desert God in life, he will desert you in death. 
Lull not your conscience to sleep by vain and deceitful excuses, and 
delay not what alone can make you happy, namely: a true conversion, 
lest the proverb might be realized in you : " As a man lives so he, 
dies." 

4. Whilst Jesus was hanging on the cross his blood flowed in tor- 
rents from his open wounds, and by the loss of it his pains became 
more violent, and his lassitude more apparent. At length, feeling the 
bitterness of death, he lifted up his eyes to heaven in the anguish of 
his heart, and opening his mouth, he presented his affliction* to his 
eternal Father. " He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," for he 
says with a faltering voice: "My God, my God, why hast thou /br- 
sakm me " t 



Second Series. 



139 



These words teach us the greatness of his sufferings, and how vio- 
lently the terrors of death pressed on his soul. But he clings to his 
Father with a firm confidence, calls him his God in his bitterest hour, 
and suffers with the greatest conformity to his will. My brethren, 
our journey through this life is full of briars and thorns, and at the 
end of it, death is awaiting us. Blessed are we if we live in innocence 
and virtue, for then if we are obliged to suffer much, our conscience 
will not reprove us for being the cause of our sufferings, but we can 
rest assured, that God's fatherly hand, in which our fate lies, has des- 
tined them for us. If you have to suffer much in this world, believe 
firmly that you are a favorite of heaven, for God chastises whom he 
loves. These sufferings and crosses are proofs of his love for you, by 
which you ought to become better and more worthy of the heavenly 
felicity, for God says: " He that is just, let him be justified still, and he 
that is holy, let him be sanctified still." In prosperity you have, perhaps, 
forgotten your destiny : perhaps you have not seriously reflected that 
you are bound to aspire to perfection. But since God has sent you 
crosses and afflictions you cling to him more closely, and study to lead 
a good life. Punishment without doubt is painful ; but, if you bear 
it patiently you will reap sweet and imperishable fruits. Banish 
every useless grief from your soul, do not murmur and complain ot 
your sufferings, but consider and use them as means which God offers 
you to exercise you in patience and meekness. Say with your Lord 
and Saviour, in the hour of trial : Lord, thy will be done. 

But, if you have chosen the way of sin, if you have become misera- 
ble by it, you have just cause to grieve, for you suffer justly, and 
receive the due reward for your sins. You ought to feel that sorrow 
for your sins, which David felt, saying : " I know my iniquity, and 
my sin is always before me. Cast me not away from thy face; and take 
not thy holy spirit from me. A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit ; 
a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." If sin- 
ners feel the consequences of sin, let them not dare to say : I suffer 
innocently, but say to themselves, what the prophet said to the chil- 
dren of Israel : Thy own wickedness shall reprove thee, and thy own 
apostasy shall rebuke thee ; know thou and see, that it is an evil 
thing to have left the Lord. Reflect that you can remove many of 
your sufferings, by removing sin, the cause of them. To-day, then, 
hearing his voice, do not harden your hearts. 

5. Jesus is exhausted from his pains and the loss of blood, his lips 
are parched. One prophecy concerning him was yet to be fulfilled : 



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141 



k 



* 1 have labored with crying : my jaws are becoming hoarse : my eves 
have failed, whilst I hope in my God. They are multiplied above 
the hairs of my head, who hate me without cause. And I looked for 
one who would grieve together with me, and there was none, and for 
<>ne that would comfort mo, and I found none, and they gave me gall 
for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Jesus, 
tormented by a burning thirst, says : "/ Mr*." 

Jesus who had given food to thousands, had not wherewith to 
quench his thirst in his dying hour. While living, he was the com- 
fort of the unfortunate, and dying, he finds no refreshment; he never 
dismissed any one without his blessing, and he himself finds none to 
comfort lym in his agony. Would to God we had been present at 
the crucifixion of our Lord! How cheerfully we would have 
quenched his thirst. And if he now sojourned visibly among us and 
would say : I am hupgry, I am thirsty ; J am sure you would share 
the last morsel of bread with him. But he is no longer visibly 
among us, and therefore, we cannot give him anything to eat and 
drink, but he assures us that he will accept what we do for the least 
of our brethren, as done to himself, for he says: "He that shall 
receive one such little child in my name, receives me." And, after 
relating the parable of the generous and charitable Samaritan, he 
• added : « Go, and do thou in like manner."— Luke 10 : 37. Go, and 
do in like manner, I also say to you who have received from God the 
means to be useful to your fellow-men, in what manner soever it may 
be. Take the Samaritan for your pattern, and do as he did. Look 
at Jesus, and help your fellow-men in his name. Here you see a 
hungry man, give him to eat. There you sec a stranger, having 
no means to pay for his lodging, God places him before your eye** 
take him into your house in the name of Jesus, and you will receive 
Jesus in him. Again, their innocence is persecuted, asking your help ; 
it is the most precious moment of your life; use it well, deliver the 
innocent, before the poor person hastens to perdition. It may cause 
you some expense, but what of that ? Do it cheerfully, as if you 
were serving your Redeemer, who says: "By this shall all men 
know you are my disciples, if you love one toother." And suppose 
that those whom you help, return you no thanks, oh ! think of your 
Redeemer who forgave his murderers, for if you love only those who 
love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the publicans 
do the same? Therefore be merciful and charitable. Departing 
hence, you will knock at the door of eternity, and what a happiness 
for you, if the gate of heaven be opened to you, and if you be greeted 



in these words : Come, ye blessed of my father, take possession of the 
kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world ; for I 
was hungry, and you gave me to eat ; I was thirsty, and you gave 
me to drink ; I was naked, and you clothed me ; I was a stranger 
and you took me in ; sick, and you visited me. Amen, I say to you, 
as long as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, you did it 
to me. 

6. Jesus is hanging on the croas between heaven and earth ; nature 
itself revolts at such cruelty ; the sun refuses his light ; there is dark- 
ness all over the world for three hours. The end of his sufferings is 
at hand. He sees the work of the redemption of mankind accom- 
plished, and looking up to heaven, he says, with feelings of triumph 
and joy, " It is consummated" 

No one could say so but Jesus, for, from his first entrance into the 
world to his last hour, he did the will of his Father. His maxim 
was : " I must do the will of him, that sent me." No labor fatigued 
him, no humiliation lessened his courage. He had been sent by his 
Father, to free us from ignorance and sin, and he has done it abund- 
antly. Well for us, if we can say, with equal truth, in our dying 
hour : " it is consummated." If we have faithfully fulfilled our 
duties, we can appear before God with joy and confidence ; nothing 
will trouble us ; it is consummated. That we may be able to say so in 
our dying hour, let us follow the example of our Master, let us 
scrupulously fulfil our duties, let us not waste our precious time in 
idleness, for the night will come when no one can work. Married 
people, walk faithfully now in the ways of the Lord, comfort each 
other in afflictions, spend daily some time in prayer, that God may 
give you his grace, to fulfil faithfully what you promised with a 
solemn oath, at the altar of God : Then you may say in your dying 
hour : " It is consummated." Parents, be careful of the salvation of 
your children, teajh them by word and example, have them instructed 
in religion in early youth ; see that they learn something by which 
they can earn their bread in honesty : then, if departing hence you 
see that your children are beloved by God and men, you can say with 
a good conscience : " It is consummated." Children, obey the com- 
mandment of God : honor thy father and thy mother, that thou 
mayest live long on earth ; be never wiser than your parents, do not 
slight them nor their commands. Be thankful to them for all they 
have done and suffered for you. Then, whether you die young or 
old you can say : " It is consummated." Suffering friends, imitate 



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your Lord and Master, suffer with patience it* you eannot with joy. 
Sufferings last only a little while ; they open for you a pathway into 
heaven. If you bear with patience what little afflictions you are 
obliged to suffer in this world, under the hand of God's mercy, you 
will escape those much greater ones which the souls detained in the 
prison of purgatory are suffering under the hands of his justice, and 
vou can sav in vour dying hour : " It is consummated. " 

v • ■ v CD 

7. Patience has covered the Redeemer's face. He seems to have 
expired, but no ; once more he opens his eyes, and looking up to 
heaven with confidence, he raises his voice for the last time : " He that 
hath ears to hear, let him hear 131 the dying words of the Redeemer : 
u Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit" 

The hour of separation of the soul from the body will also come 
for us. That hour will be decisive for all eternity, and the end we* 
shall make, will be of the greatest importance. If we ponder scri- 
ouslv on the termination of our life, a torturing; anguish gets the 
mastery over us. What anguish would seize us if the moment were 
really now at hand in which we would be obliged to give up our 
spirit into the hands of the living God. All the good we have 
neglected, all the evil we have done, and have been the cause of, will 
then come to our recollection, and stare us in the face. Proud men, 
who think a great deal of the clothes you wear, the temporal goods 
you possess, the honors that attend you ; who think yourselves better 
than otheis, who despise your poor neighbors, what anguish will befall 
you, when you shall be obliged to surrender your souls into the hands 
of God, who resists the proud and gives his grace to the humble. You, 
who are unjust in your dealings with others, who destroy the prosper- 
ity of your fellow-men, and build on the ruins of their fortune, your 
own, what anguish will seize you, when you must surrender your 
souls into the hands of him who has said : " The unjust and cov- 
etous shall not possess the kingdom of God" You, unmerciful men, 
who shut your ears to the entreaties of the poor, and ridicule the tears 
of the afflicted and oppressed, what anguish will l>efall you, when you 
surrender your souls into the hands of him, who will pass judgment 
without mercy, on all those that show no mercy. You, sensual and 
effeminate men, who seduce innocence by sweet flattery and shallow 
promises, who heap crimes upon crimes, scandals upon scandals, who 
have no perception of what is right and good, how will you feel when 
you surrender your souls into the hands of him who has said, that : 
" Neither fornicators nor adulterers shall possess the kingdom of God." 



Second Series. 



143 



Parents, who make your children acquainted with the follies and 
crimes of the world before they have power and understanding to 
resist them, who for want of watching over them, give them to perdi- 
tion, what anguish will befall you, when you surrender your souls 
into the hands of him who has said : "If a man have not care of his 
own, and esjjecially of those of his own house, he has denied the faith, 
and is worse than an infidel." Children, who disobey and dishonor 
your parents, what shame and confusion will cover you, when you 
must approach the judgment-seat of God, who has said : " Honor 
thy father and thy mother." 

These are the seven words of our Lord, spoken on the cross for 
our instruction. The first word: "Father forgive them for they 
know not what they do," teaches us to forgive our enemies from our 
hearts. The second word: " Woman, behold thy son, Son, behold 
thy mother," teaches us to love, honor, and obey our parents. The 
third word : " This day thou shaft be with me in paradise," exhorts 
us to do penance for our sins. The fourth : " My God, my God, why 
hast thou forsaken me," admonishes us to cling to God in times of 
adversity. The fifth : " / thirst," teaches us that in the persons of 
the poor we help and assist Christ himself. The sixth : " It is con- 
summated," encourages us to be zealous and faithful in the perform- 
ance of our duties; and the seventh : " Father into thy hands I com- 
mend my spirit," teaches us that we should walk in the presence of 
God, and commend our souls now, and at all times, into his hands. 
Let us at the foot of the cross, promise to God, henceforth to comply 
with all this. Let us be manful and fulfil what we have promised. And 
when our final hour conies, in which we are about to depart this life, 
let us turn our last look to Jesus and in the moment of dissolution, 
when the film of death makes everything appear dark before our 
eyes, and the world fades away, let us remember that Jesus is our 
light and our exceedingly great reward. May we always be mindful 
of the good resolutions which we have made to-day. 



I 



• • f^£(?>•• 



¥> 




« 



> i 



yfe&~e$5^- 



Lenten Sermons 



THIRD SERIES 



HOMILIES 



&%F*WP*g$8F- 




HOMILY^ 



THE WASHING OF THE FEET, PETER, JUDAS, AND THE QUESTIONS 

OF THE DISCIPLES. 

u all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow ; 

for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the 

day of his fierce anger" — Lam. i : 12. 

These words clearly indicate what subject I have chosen for our 
Lenten meditations. It is the Passion and death of Jesus Christ who 
has redeemed us from sin and hell. We will consider not so much 
sin in itself as the Victim for sin. What atonement does sin demand? 
You know that sin is an infinite evil, and for its atonement an infi- 
nite sacrifice is required. Hence God himself is and must be the 
victim. The question is: Has God made this sacrifice? Did lie in 
his love go to such an excess, as to offer himself in expiation for 
those who offended him by their crimes ? Our holy faith answers 
this important question : Yes, ye poor miserable sinners, God himself 
became the sacrifice for your sins. The omnipotent Father spared not 
his only-begotten Son, but sacrificed him for the sins of the world. 
Look up to Calvary and behold the Lamb of God who taketh away 
the sins of the world crying out : " It is consummated." 

The victim dies. Who is it that dies ? The holy, the spotless 
Son of God. But oh ! eternal Father ; he is thy only-begotten Son ! 
He is the light and life of the world — and he dies ! Must he die ? 
And the Father replies : He dies, and die he must. But why must he 
die ? On account of sin. And whose work is sin ? It is the work 
of man. And for it, thy Son must die ? How, my brethren, is it 
for me, for you, for all the sinners of the world, the Son of God 
must die? The innocent Jesus for guilty sinners, the Creator for the 
creature, the God of holiness for fallen sinful man ? Ah ! who could 
believe this, if our holy faith did not assure us, saying : The infinite 
God alone can make an infinite sacrifice ; without this sacrifice, sin 
remains — without this sacrifice, there is no redemption. Truly, sin 
must be something terrible, something awful, since it demands so great 
a sacrifice. If we bestow due consideration and attention on this 
great sacrifice, fte will be forced to exclaim with St. Thomas of 
Villanova : " My Lord and my God, you carried your love to too 

147 



■ 



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Lenten Sermons. 



great an extent. With fear and trembling I must confess that you 
transgressed the limits of justice, and whilst wishing to be just, you 
were overjust. Your love of justice renders you unjust; for what 
kind of justice is it, that requires your Son to die for a servant ; the 
innocent for the guilty ? Is not the reparation you demand greater 
than the loss sustained ? " Indeed, a single drop of the precious 
blood of Christ would have been sufficient to accomplish the redemp- 
tion of mankind, but the justice of God demanded even the last drop. 

The manner of the offering should also correspond with the great- 
ness of the sacrifice. It was to be offered in the most painful, igno- 
minious, and cruel manner. Whatever the martyrs suffered, they 
suffered in body, but Christ suffered in body and soul, for this reason 
he is called the Man of Sorrows. The martyrs in the midst of their 
tortures could rejoice, because they knew that they would possess him 
for whom they died, but Christ knew that he would not possess all for 
whom he was shedding his blood ; he knew that the greater part of 
mankind would be lost, notwithstanding his passion and death, as 
Isaias had foretold : " In vain have I labored, in vain have I ex- 
hausted my strength." Whatever the martyrs suffered, they suf- 
fered from men, their equals, but the Son of God was smitten and 
wounded by his creatures and by the hand of God, as the prophet 
says : "We hold him for a leper, whom the Lord has stricken and 
humbled." The cause of his death is as astonishing as the manner 
in which it was inflicted. Jesus is innocent before his Father in 
heaven, the devil has no part in him. Jesus, therefore, paid what he 
did not owe. The Father himself acknowledged him as innocent, 
speaking from heaven : " This is my beloved Son, in whom I 
am well pleased." His enemies confessed his innocence, for no one 
could convince him of sin. The wife of Pilate affirmed his inno- 
cence, saying to Pilate : " Have thou nothing to do with this just 
man." Pilate himself declared : "I find no cause in him." The 
traitor Judas confessed : "I have betrayed innocent blood," and at the 
foot of the cross, the Roman centurion, striking his breast, cried out : 
" Truly this man is just and the Son of God." All the witnesses say : 
" The victim is innocent," but the justice of God demanded that the 
innocent should die for the guilty. — Venerable Bede remarks that the 
stone, on which our Saviour prayed to his heavenly Father in the 
garden of Gethsemane, became so soft that the impression of hi& . 
knees remained thereon. Are our hearts harder than a rock ? The 
sun was darkened, the earth trembled, the rocks were rent, the heart 
of Mary was pierced by a two-edged sword, when sin demanded this 



Third Series. 



149 



sacrifice. Can we remain hard, cold, and insensible, when it is for us 
this sacrifice is offered? Ah no! I know that the suffering and 
dying Redeemer is your hope, your refuge, your love. I know that 
Christ crucified is neither folly nor a stumbling block to you, but 
an adorable Redeemer. I know, that you look up with a heart full 
of love and hope to the Lamb on the altar of the cross, and for this 
reason our suffering and dying Redeemer shall be the subject of our 
meditations during the holy season of Lent. 

The bitter Passion of our Lord was preluded by a sign of love so 
unheard of that it astonished heaven and earth. When Christ had 
eaten with his Apostles the Paschal lamb, he arose, laid aside his 
garments, and having taken a towel, he girded himself, poured water 
into a basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples. Of all the 
Evangelists, St. John alone mentions this wonderful action of Jesus, 
and he describes it in a remarkable manner, in order to arouse our 
admiration. He begins his description by an introduction, in which 
he points out to us the Omniscience, Love, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. 
His words are : " Before the festival of the pasch, Jesus, knowing 
that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the 
Father, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. These 
words ; " knowing that his hour was come," signify his omniscience ; 
"that he should pass to the Father," signify his Divinity; and "he 
loved his own to the end," signify his Love. Jesus, the only-begotten 
of the Father, and co-equal to him in all things, prostrates himself 
like a menial at the feet of poor fishermen. Abigail washed the feet 
of the servants of David. Abraham washed those of the three 
angels who went to Sodom. Mary Magdalene washed those of 
Jesus with her tears, but what were all these compared with the act 
performed by our divine Saviour. The Apostles were astonished 
when they saw their Master pour water into the basin and perform 
before their eyes a work of such great love and self-abasement. 
They had frequently witnessed the greatest miracles wrought by their 
Master, but never had they seen anything like this. The Lord of 
heaven and earth to wash the feet of his disciples ! In the Red Sea, 
the Lord performed wonderful works, for there he showed the 
omnipotence of his arm, when he drowned the proud and obdurate 
Pharoah with his whole army in the depth of the sea, but he appears 
more wonderful with the basin of water at the feet of his disciples, 
for therein he drowns the pride and haughtiness of the whole world. 
Truly, as long as the world exists men will never be able to compre- 
hend what the Son of God in his profound humility accomplished at 



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the feet of his disciples. What a picture ! Jesus kneels at the 
feet of the Apostles, the maker of the universe kneels in the 
dust, the Creator kneels before the work of his hands to do the 
work of a servant, to wash the feet of his disciples! Admire 
your humble Jesus, who, kneeling in the dust, cries out: "Learn 
of me, because I am meek and humble of heart." When the Lord 
approached Peter to wash his feet, Peter said: Lord, dost thou 
wash my feetf St. Augustine, explaining this passage, says: 
When Peter saw the Son of God kneel before him, he grew pale, 
trembled, and in his astonishment cried out: Lord, dost thou wash 
my feetf No, thou shalt never wash my feet Peter was terrified by 
the incomprehensible self-abasement of his Master, and full of as- 
tonishment asked him : Lord, dost thou wash my feet ? As if he 
would say: Lord, thou wilt not wash my hands, my head, but my 
feet, the lowest and meanest part of my body, with those hands 
which have made heaven and earth, fed the hungry, cleansed the 
lepers, and raised the dead to life. When St. John the Baptist, 
who, according to thy own testimony, was the greatest among 
these born of womeu, did not consider himself worthy to loose 
the latchet of thy shoe, how can I, without making myself guilty of 
culpable pride, suffer thy adorable hands to wash my unclean feet ! 
How can I suffer thee to humble thyself so far as to kneel before me. 
No, sweet Lord, Son of the living God, thou shalt never wash them ; 
it is my duty, sinner that I am, to prostrate myself before thee in the 
dust and to serve thee. O Christians, who call this humble Jesus 
your God, your Master, your Teacher, fix your eyes upon this divine 
marvel, aud contemplate it with tenderness and affection ; then look 
into your own heart which is puffed up with intolerable pride and 
ambition. Where is your conformity to your divine Master ? The 
God of glory was not ashamed to wash the feet of sinful men, that 
he might destroy your vanity, confound your pride, and teach you 
humility. 

Jesus, seeing Peter pertinaciously resist his love and humility, said : 
" Peter, if I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me." The 
Apostle, hearing this, exclaimed : " Lord, wash not only my feet, but 
also my hands and head." These words of our Lord : " If I wash 
thee not, thou shalt not have part in me," concern us also. We, too, 
must be washed by Christ, otherwise we can have no part with him, 
for who can cleanse us who have been conceived and born in sin, but 
he who washed the feet of his disciples? But, indeed, we all have 
been washed by Jesus Christ, it being Christ, not man, that baptizes. 



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We have been cleansed, but who has preserved the garment of inno- 
cence with which he was clothed at his baptism ? Alas ! if we look 
around and examine all the stages and conditions of life from youth 
to old age, we can scarcely go beyond the limits of childhood and find 
one who has preserved his nuptial garment pure and undefiled. We 
need a second purification, a new bath, to restore the primitive 
brightness, with which Christ adorned our hearts. Behold, the Lord 
himself goes to prepare for us a new bath in his precious blood, 
wherein alone our purification can be accomplished, and it is Christ 
only that can cause it. To him we must cry with the prophet: 
" Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 
Wash, O Lord, the garment which thou gavest us in Baptism, for 
we have defiled it by sin ; wash it in thy blood. In the blood of thy 
head wash our pride; in the blood of thy adorable heart wash our 
envy ; in the blood of thy hands wash our wicked and sinful deeds ; 
in the blood of thy feet wash our sloth and negligence in the affair 
of salvation. Wash us, O Jesus, in thy blood, that we may appear 
before thy judgment-seat clothed in the nuptial garment of inno- 
cence." It is the opinion of St. John Chrysostom that the Lord com- 
menced the washing of the feet with Judas. He says : " I think 
Jesus washed first the feet of the traitor," and St. Thomas of Aquin 
asserts that the washing of the feet was done by the Lord principally 
for the sake of Judas, in order to humble him and to cause him to 
desist from his diabolical design. 

St. John was struck with amazement when in his revelations, 
he saw a woman girded with the sun, having the moon under her 
feet, and he exclaimed : " A great sign appeared in heaven" But 
oh ! beloved disciple of Jesus, why are you silent when you see 
your Lord and God kneel at the feet of this wretched, miserable 
Judas ? Why do you not now exclaim : " A great sign appeared on 
earth" Behold the eternal Son of God at the feet of a man who is 
surrounded not by light but by infernal darkness ! Behold, holiness 
kneels before crime; justice, before iniquity; love, before malice; 
God himself kneeling in the dust before a servant of the devil. 
When Simon the Pharisee saw Mary Magdalene fall down at the 
feet of Jesus and wet them with her tears, he could not comprehend 
why the Lord suffered himself lo be touched by a woman who was 
known by all to be a public sinner, therefore he presumed to pass a 
rash judgment: "If he were a prophet he would certainly know 
what kind of woman that is, who touches him," he would know that 



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she is a public sinner. O sinner, if you could but see the Lord him- 
self at'the feet of Judas, you could say with greater justice : " If he 
were a prophet he would certainly know who he is, before whom he 
kneels, and whose feet he washes ; he would know that he kneels 
before his own betrayer. And yet he is prophet and more than a 
prophet, being king of the prophets, whose all-seeing eye perceived 
what was passing in the heart of Judas, who knew that he was kneel- 
ing before a devil, as St. John says : Tlie devil liad given it into the 
heart of Judas to betray Jesus. 

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert and showed him all the 
kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof, and promised to give 
him all these if, falling down, he would adore him, Jesus, full of 
indignation, said to him : Begone, Satan ! and here he kneels before 
him. And why ? In the first instance there was no danger of a soul 
being lost, but in the latter case the Lord sees the soul of Judas in 
imminent danger. Christ hereby teaches us, that a soul is worth 
more than all the kingdoms of the world, as he afterwards said : 
What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his 
own soul? In order to save this unhappy, deeply fallen soul, Jesus 
refuses not to kneel before Judas. But neither his humility nor his 
love and tears could soften the hardened heart of Judas. 

Seeing this, Jesus decreed to wash him in his most precious blood. 
For shortly after washing the feet of his disciples, he instituted the 
most holy Sacrament of the Altar. Under the appearance of bread 
and wine he gave to his Apostles his body and blood, to Judas, too, 
whom he placed near himself that he might keep him far from evil. 
But as the humility of the kneeling Jesus could not soften the heart 
of the traitor, so his love in the Blessed Sacrament produced no 
effect on him. Judas was the first that received Communion unwor- 
thily. Jesus became afflicted in spirit, and said : "Amen, amen, I 
say to you, one of you sliall betray me." Seeing that all his exertions 
to save Judas were fruitless and unavailing, and that he persevered in 
his diabolical project, profound sorrow and sadness seized the sacred 
heart of our Lord. He trembled for the soul of Judas, which he 
wished to save, and he made one more effort to move the wretched 
Apostle to repentance, by warning him publicly. All the other Apos- 
tles were touched, only one remained unmoved — Judas — for spiritual 
blindness is the sad consequence of an unworthy Communion. The 
Apostles in the sadness of their hearts asked their Master : Is it I, 
Lord, am I the traitor, Peter taking the lead ; whereupon St. John 



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Chrysostom addresses him in these words : O great Apostle, your con- 
science bears you testimony that you have never offended your divine 
Master, that you always loved him, why, then, do you ask : Is it I ? 
Oh Lord ! No, you never can betray him whom you confessed to be 
the Son of the living God. And you, St. John, beloved disciple of 
the Lord, your soul is so pure, your heart without guile, your love so 
great, why do you ask : Is it I ? Oh Lord ! Am I the traitor ? Why 
do all the other Apostles ask this question ? This is a mark and sign 
of pious souls ; they always live in holy fear. Those who love God sin- 
cerely always fear lest they may lose him, and, although their conscience 
does not reproach them, they are aware and convinced of their weak- 
ness, and in holy humility fear lest they commit sin. This also proves 
that, without a special revelation from above, no one knows whether 
he is worthy of love or hatred. 

At length, Judas also approaches the Lord, and in the sweetest man- 
ner possible, as if he had compassion on his afflicted Lord, asks : 
Master, is it I, am I the traitor ? Full of indignation, St. Augustine 
exclaims : " Judas, whom do you ask : Is it I ? Master! do you not 
know that he is omniscient ? He knows and sees that you are the 
unfortunate wretch, of whom the Scripture says : He that eats bread 
with me raises his heel against me. Give heed then, Judas, your Mas- 
ter answers your question in plain and simple words : Yes, it is you 
that will betray me." O Judas, how is it possible that you are not 
moved, and that you do not change your resolve. When Saul perse- 
cuted David, Jonathan said to the king : Sin not, my lord, against 
thy servant David, for he has not sinned against thee. His works to 
thee are good, and he has placed his soul in thy hands, he has slain 
the Philistines and has saved Israel. Why will you shed innocent 
blood? Why will you kill David, who has done no evil? When 
Saul heard these words of his son, he was pacified and said: "As the 
Lord liveth, he shall not die." With the words of Jonathan, I will 
address Judas : Sin not against your God, for he has not offended 
you, he has done great things for you, he has placed his body and soul 
in your hands. Why will you betray innocent blood ? Oh, say with 
Saul : As the Lord liveth, he shall not die, I will not betray him. 
Ask no longer : Is it I ? O Lord ! but cast yourself at the feet of your 
Lord, confess your guilt and say with an humble heart : Yes, O Lord, 
it is I. 

Oh, what joy Christ would have experienced if Judas had acknowl- 
edged his fault, if he had humbly said : " Lord, I have sinned against 



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thee, but behold, here I am at thy feet. Pardon rae, O Lord, thou 
vvert gracious and merciful towards Magdalene, when she cast herself 
at thy feet, be also a God of mercy to me. With tears of bitterness 
and compunction, I will bewail my sin. Thy mercy is greater than 
my sin. Pardon me." Had Judas done this, he would have been 
saved, for Christ came into the world to seek and to save that which 
was lost. He is gracious and full of mercy, and receives all who re- 
turn to him from their evil ways. If Judas had struck his breast, 
Christ would not have rejected him, he would have received him, em- 
braced* him, and pressed him to his heart ; he would have rejoiced, be- 
cause a lost soul was snatched from perdition ; like the good shepherd, 
he would have brought the lost sheep back to the fold ; like that 
tender father mentioned in the Gospel, he would have exclaimed : 
Let us make merry : Because this my son was dead, and is come to 
life again: he was lost, and is found. But, alas! Judas remained 
hardened, obdurate, and persevered in sin. O, the hardness of heart, 
God kneels before Judas, and Judas remains hardened, Jesus trashes 
and kisses his feet, and Judas remains hardened, Jesus gives him his 
body and blood, and Judas remains hardened, Jesus is troubled and 
trembles, and Judas remains hardened, Jesus lats open the secrets of his 
heart, and Judas remains hardened, the Apostles in their turn ask: Is 
it I ? O Lord, and Judas remains hardened, he himself asks this ques- 
tion, and his Lord and God says, yes, it is you, still Judas remains 
hardened. Jesus seems to forget his own pains, his Passion and death, 
he, the betrayed, mourns over the traitor, but in vain, for Judas re- 
mains hardened and perseveres in sin. Oh, how terrible are the effects 
of an unworthv Communion! 

Let us profit by this unfortunate example. Truly, Jesus embraces 
us with the same love, he enriches us with the same graces, and invites 
us with the same tenderness to return from the way of sin, he has 
cleansed us in the bath of regeneration, received us into the number of 
his friends and disciples, he nourishes our souls with his own flesh and 
blood, he evinces nothing but love towards us. But if we look into 
our hearts, if we examine ourselves, can we say with the other Apos- 
tles, Lord, is it I ? without fearing to hear the answer : Yes, it is 
you, thai have betrayed me. My brethren, what testimony does your 
conscience give you ? How is it in regard to your profession of faith, 
your fervor and fidelity in the observance of the commandments of 
God ? AVhat is the object of your care and anxiety upon earth ? To 
what does your soul cling ? What does your heart love ? Is it your 
God, your Saviour? Is it he alone, or have you become traitors and 



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again enlisted under the banner of sin ? Ah, our life, our conscience 
bears testimony against us, that we are traitors to Christ and of his 
holy cause. But although our sins are great and numerous, let us be 
convinced that the mercy of God is still greater. The sacred heart of 
Jesus ought to inspire us with love, courage, and confidence. Judas 
did not acknowledge his guilt; oh, let us not follow his example. 
Christ trembles not only for the soul of Judas, but also for yours and 
mine. Without asking, Lord, is it I ? let us at once confess : Lord, it 
is I. I acknowledge my injustice, and my sins are continually before 
my eyes. Against thee, I have sinned and done evil before thee. It 
is I, O Lord, that betrayed thee for the miserable price of sin. It is 
I that slighted thy warnings, abused thy mercy, transgressed thy com- 
mandments. Lord, I know and acknowledge my guilt ; I am sorry 
for it from the bottom of my heart. Pardon my sin, rescue me from 
perdition, wash my soul in thy blood. O, sacred heart of Jesus, I be- 
seech thee, not only for myself, but for all sinners, for all hardened 
hearts. For the love thou has wasted in vain to soften the heart of 
Judas and to save his soul, I humbly beg thee, to infuse thy love into 
the hearts of all assembled here, that in holy repentance, they may 
seek pardon from thee who goest forth to death, that sinners may 
live. Suffer not, O merciful Jesus, one of these to become a second 
Judas. 



HOMILY II. 



THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, THE PRAYER, THE AGONY AND THE 
BI^ODY SWEAT OF CHRIST, AND THE COMING OF THE ANGEL. 

« 

" O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sor- 

r<nv ; for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the day 

of his fierce anger."— Lam. i : 12. 

" My soul is sorrowful even unto death :" (Matt. 26 : 28,) thus 
the Lord said to his disciples. Jesus is not sorrowful on account of 
death, but unto death. If you ask the reason why he was sorrowful 
unto death, I answer : The Eternal Father wished his only-begotten 
Son to atone not only for original sin, but also for all actual sins, 
mortal and venial, which have been and will be committed from the 
beginning of the world until time shall be no more. For this reason 
Christ's holy soul was filled with pain and sorrow. According to the 



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law of God, no adult that has sinned, can be saved without penance, 
for Christ says : " Unless you do penance you shall all likewise per- 
lsn «" — Luke 13 : 5. Penance, therefore, is absolutely necessary for 
the pardon of sin. 

Not every kind of penance, however, effaces sin. King Saul wept 
and did penance, and yet he was rejected by the Lord. Antiochus 
was sorry for the sacrilege he had committed — yet he was not par- 
doned. The unfortunate Judas repented. Oh, how deep was his 
sorrow ! The Scripture tells us : He brought back the pieces of 
silver, and cried aloud to the chief priests and all who were present : 
u I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." — Matt. 27 : 4. They 
replied : " What is that to us? Look you to it." St. Matthew tells 
us that casting down the pieces of silver in the temple he departed 
and went and hanged himself with a halter. In order to efface sin, 
a repentance corresponding with the greatness of the guilt is required, 
which will lead the soul — not to despair like Judas, but to the love 
of God. Man being unable to excite such a sorrow, the soul of Jesus 
became sorrowful in order to give to the Sacrament of Penance the 
power and efficacy which are necessary for the forgiveness of sin ; 
therefore, Christ supplied by his God-like sorrow what was wanting 
to our sorrow. 

Behold, O Christian, the soul of our Redeemer is sorrowful unto 
death, because he no longer sees in your soul, the image . and likeness 
of God. Christ's holy soul is filled with sorrow because your soul 
is not afflicted at having lost God by sin. His holy soul is sorrow- 
ful even unto death, because your soul is defiled by sin unto death. If 
you lose a child, a father, a mother, a wife, or husband, nay, even an 
unimportant law-suit, you exclaim': "My soul is sorrowful unto 
death." But when you lose the grace of God, innocence, heaven, even 
your immortal soul, you can laugh, be merry, and enjoy the pleasures 
of life. My soul is sorrowful, says our divine Redeemer, for whilst 
I pledge my soul for you, you turn from me, lest the sight of my 
anguish compel you to forsake those sins which are the cause of my 
sorrow. The number of sinners is great, yet how few, how very 
few, have a heart-felt sorrow for sin ! If the forgiveness of sin 
depended on man alone, very few would obtain it; for this reason 
Christ took upon himself our sins, that the merit and efficacy of his 
sorrow might supply the deficiency of ours; his sorrow extended to all 
sin, hence : u My sold is sorrowful even unto death." 



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157 



What is the cause of this great sorrow ? Jesus sees himself con- 
demned to death by the Holy Ghost who is Charity; he turns to 
his heavenly Father and his Father apparently rejects him ; the 
sins of the whole world are laid upon him ; he foresees all the tor- 
tures that await him ; and that he will be delivered to his enemies by 
one of his chosen twelve. Truly, his sorrow must have been great, 
knowing, as he did, by his omniscience that the Holy Ghost pro- 
nounced the sentence of death on him. The Holy Spirit is Charity 
and knows not how to punish, but gives life to all, only in regard to 
Christ who is at the same time God with him, he seems to forget his 
attribute, prophesying by the mouth tof Caiphas, the high-priest: "It 
is expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the 
whole nation perish not." — John 11: 50. The words: "for the 
people," signify the love and mercy of the Holy Ghost who con- 
demned the innocent Jesus to death in order to show mercy to sinners. 
To be punished by the hand which in its very essence is charity, 
which in its infinite mercy leaves sinners unpunished, this was the 
source of Christ's sorrow on Mount Olivet, and for this reason he 
exclaimed : " My soul is sorrowful even unto death." As if appeal- 
ing from this sentence of the Holy Ghost, he turns to his heavenly 
Father, and prays : " Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass 
from me." The hope of being heard seems to strengthen him 
for the loving Father must hear the prayer of his innocent, well- 
beloved Son. The Son turns to the Father, he knows him to be 
the Father of mercy and the God of consolation. To him he makes 
known not only his anguish and innocence, but also the punishments 
and sufferings which he has not deserved, but which are in store for 
him. Surely his Father will hear him. In this hope, he says : 
Father, let this chalice pass from me, have compassion on me. 
Behold, I have announced thy holy will to the children of men. I 
have always done thy holy will, oh, let this bitter chalice pass from 
me. But his heavenly Father hears him not, for although he is the 
Father of mercy and God of consolation, he is also the God of 
justice, and, as an offended Judge, insists that the sentence of the Holy 
Ghost be executed. God spared not his only-begotten Son, but gave 
him for us all. Not to be heard by his Father, but to be condemned 
to death, notwithstanding his innocence, this was the cause of the 
sorrow of Christ on Mount Olivet, and it was this that made him 
exclaim: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death." 

The prophet Isaiah (53 : 61) says : " The Lord hath laid on him 
the iniquity of us all" We also read, that when Achan was stoned 



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at the command of Josue, all Israel participated. " Every one cast 
a stone at him*" — Josue 7 : 2. What was done to Achan by the 
Jews was done to Christ in the garden of Gethsemane by all men of 
whole world. All Israel stoned him, i. e., all men who lived from 
the beginning of the world and who shall live to the end of time 
cast the stones of their sins upon the innocent Jesus, and he took 
those sins upon himself in order to satisfy his offended Father. Oh, 
how great must have been the confusion of our divine Saviour when 
he saw himself covered with the sins of the world, he could cry out 
with Esdras: "My God,- 1 am confounded and ashamed to lift up 
my face to thee, for iniquities ha\je gone over my head, and sins have 
grownup even into heaven." — Esdras 9 : 6. One sin is more abom- 
inable in the sight of God than the rottenness of all wounds, more 
abominable than the putridness of all carcasses. What confusion 
then must have covered his face to see himself loaded with the sins of 
the whole world. This is what made Jesus exclaim : " Mv soul is 
sorrowful even unto death." 

Indeed, his sorrow and confusion on account of the sins that were 
laid on him, was so great that he dared not lift up his face, as St. 
Matthew says, but, "fell on his face " (26 : 39). St. John Chrysostom 
remarks : u Ah, he who is higher than the heavens is bowed to the 
ground, and lies on his face." But why is he prostrate on his face? 
Why is he ashamed ? We are the sinners, not he ; we are the culprits, 
not he. We are bold enough to raise our eyes, and thou, O divine 
Eedeemer, why dost thou cast thy eyes on the ground ? His infinite 
love gives answer. He falls on his face in order to raise our eves to 
heaven, and to fill us with shame and confusion on account of our 
sins. Our iniquities are gone over his head, and as a heavy burden 
have weighed him to the earth. O Christians, I no longer wonder 
that sin was the cause of precipitating the third part of the angels 
from the joys of heaven into the abyss of hell, since it pressed the 
Lord of heaven into the dust of the earth. I no longer wonder that 
sin casts a soul into perdition, since the spotless Lamb of God is 
thrown on his face by the sins of others. No, I do not wonder at 
that, but I admire the love of Christ, because by its success he lies in 
the dust and voluntarily bears the infinite load, the guilt of mankind. 
I admire and adore the loving heart of Jesus, which is sorrowful 
even unto death on account of my sins, yours, and those of the whole 
world. There, in the garden of Olives my sins, yours, and the sins 
of all men, have cried out to our Lord : " Bow down, that we may go 
over, lay thy body on the ground as a way for us to go over." 



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159 



There in the garden of Olives the concupiscence of the flesh, with 
all its train of wicked thoughts, carnal desires, immodest language 
and songs, imprudent looks, criminal and shameless touches, im- 
purities, adulteries, incests, sacrileges, all these cry out : Bow down, 
spotless Lamb of God, that we may go over. The concupiscence of 
the eyes, theft, fraud, usury, bribery, envy, avarice, and every kind of 
injustice, cry out: Lay thy body on the ground as a way for us to go 
over. The pride of life, anger, revenge, vanity, ambition, pride, and 
cruelty, cry out : Bow down, O Jesus, that we may go over. And 
what did Jesus do ? He bowed down his head, prostrated himself on 
the ground, and buried his face in the dust, that our sins might go 
over. O Christians, give heed, and never forget that our sins cast 
Christ to the ground, on account of their weight he lies in the dust. 
Let your hearts be touched by this spectacle of love, and make the 
solemn promise to your sorrowful Saviour never to offend him again. 

Whilst our Saviour was lying on his face, the justice of the Father 
vividly represented before his soul the tortures he was to endure 
during the coming night and the following day, in consequence of 
which, his soul was tormented with such anguish that his sweat be- 
came blood and in great drops rolled down upon the ground. Drops 
of blood? What is this? Who sheds his blood in the garden? 
I see no scourges that tear his body, no thorns that wound his head, 
no nails that pierced his hands and ket But woe ! woe ! I see there 
my sins, your sins, and the sins of the whole world. These are the 
scourges that tear his body, these are the thorns that wound his head, 
these are the heavy burden which he cannot bear without sweating 
blood. How could it be otherwise than that he should sweat blood, he 
thought of the sins of all, he was pierced with sorrow and sadness for 
all sins, as if he had committed them himself, and his sorrow and con- 
trition was of infinite strength, because being an infinite God, he com- 
prehended the infinite malice of sin. On account of this infinite 
sorrow, he is called the Man of Sorrows. Being filled'with bitterness 
and grief, he exclaimed : My soul is sorrowful even unto death. 
Jesus wept when he stood at the grave of Lazarus whom he loved, 
he wept over the inhabitants, of Jerusalem, because in the blindness 
and hardness of their hearts they had rejected his love, mercy, and 
grace; how, then, can we wonder that he shed tears of blood seeing 
that thousands upon thousands of souls created for eternal life, live 
and die in sin, and are buried in hell ? How can we wonder that the 
anguish of his soul was so great that his sweat fell in drops of blood 
from his whole body. 



i 



\ 






r 



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Lenten Sermons. 



When God punished Egypt for the sins she had committed against 
Israel, the chastisements commenced and ended with the death of the 
* first-born. Will, then, the bloody sweat of Christ l>e the beginning 
and his death the end, since he is the first-born of ihe Father, and 
since in him all the sons of mankind will be punished ? Indeed, all 
signs prognosticate this terrible conclusion. It is a law of nature that 
the blood suddenly flows to the heart when it is seized with anguish 
and perturbation. But in the Redeemer, the contrary takes place, his 
heart is oppressed, his soul is sorrowful unto death, but his blood flows 
not from the members of his body to the heart, but, contrary to the 
law of nature, it forces its way in thick, frequent drops out of all his 
members, that his heart, deprived of consolation, might feel greater 
anguish and pain for our sins. Nature has given man only two eyes 
to shed tears of joy or sorrow ; this seemed too little to our Saviour, 
for he shed bloody tears from all the pores of his body. Does it not 
seem as if the innocent Jesus had sinned more grievously than Adam, 
since he is punished more severely than our progenitor? I grant that 
the great disobedience of Adam has been severely punished by the 
offended majesty of God, but the chastisement was tempered by mercy 
and by the circumstance of its being divided between Adam and Eve. 
God said to Adam : " In the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy 
bread," and to Eve : " In labor, thou shalt bring forth children." 
Both punishments, however, are inflicted on Christ, namely : labor and 
sweat ; labor, when his soul began to be troubled ; and sweat, when, in 
the garden of Olives, the perspiration flowed like blood to the ground, 
and when, bathed in tears of blood, he exclaimed : " Oh all ye that 
pass by the way, attend and see if there is any grief like to my grief. 
My soul is sorrowful, even unto death." But what was the cause of this 
bloody sweat ! Alas ! my brethren, as in all other tortures which the 
Lord endures, we hear, when we ask the reason, the horrible echo : 
sin, sin. Yes, Christians, seek no other reason than this, and learn 
from this the grievousness of sin and the ineffable love of Jesus, 
which, with the bloody sweat of Jesus, will blot out the guilt of 
our souls and inflame our hearts with love. Oh, because of the 
sadness of Jesus, open your eyes and hearts to know the evil you 
have done in committing sin, and for the love of Christ, who falls on 
his face, fall down upon your knees and bewail your sins with tears of 



sorrow. 



The prophet Isaias says: (49: 1, 4) " Give ear, ye islands, and 
hearken, ye people from afar. I said: I have labored in vain, in vain 
have I exhausted my strength" When I represent to my mind the Son 



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of God on Mount Olivet, when I see his soul sorrowful unto death r 
his trembling lips pray for sinners, and his blood flow to the ground,, 
and when from this awe-inspiring spectacle I turn my eyes upon 
the world and behold the hearts of men so cold, so hardened, and insen- 
sible, it is to me as if I heard the Son of God call heaven and earth 
to be witnesses of his love and his blood. " Give ear, ye islands, and 
hearken, ye people from afar. I said : I have labored in vain, in 
vain have I exhausted my strength. Of what use is the blood 1 ana 
going to shed, when men will not wash the stains of their souls there- 
in, when at the sight of it they will not renounce Satan, when they 
will not forsake their evil ways, but continue to sin? Of what use is 
my blood, when they abuse my Sacraments, my doctrine, my grace 
and love ; when, notwithstanding my labor to rescue their souls from 
perdition, they rush headlong into it?" The thought that, notwith- 
standing his infinite love, so many souls would perish, was one of the 
chief tortures of the Lord in the garden of Olives. My brethren, do- 
not merely say : Yes, it is true, there are many hardened sinners, 
many who go on the broad road of perdition. This would be an idle, 
useless reflection ; on the contrary, do what I now tell you. The Son 
of God speaks to each one of you individually : Of what use will my 
blood be to you, if you rise not from your sin, if you delay your 
conversion from day to day, from year to year, if you do not avoid 
the occasions of sin ? At the sight of your obdurate heart, the Lord 
must exclaim : " I have labored for you in vain, in vain have I ex- 
hausted my strength." I wished to cleanse and purify you, I wished 
to save your soul, but you resisted my grace and inspirations. O, all ye 
who call yourselves disciples of Jesus, if the benefits of God seem to you 
too insignificant, if the omnipotence of God appears to you too weak 
to arouse you from the sleep of sin, and if heaven appears to you tco 
contemptible to strive to obtain it, if hell appears to you so amiable 
that you walk the ways that lead thereto, if the curse of God on» 
sin has no power to move you to renounce it, and if nothing else is- 
able to touch and move you, Oh ! I beseech you, let your hearts be 
softened by the blood of the Son of God. Through love for the 
blood which Christ shed renounce sin; for love of that precious 
blood, give up your evil habits, that your merciful Redeemer may 
not be compelled to say : Woe ! woe ! for you, also, I have shed my 
blood in vain, in vain have I labored, in vain have I exhausted my 
strength. 

An angel descended from heaven to comfort Jesus in his agony 
He was comforted and strengthened by the angel, but his sorrow was, 

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not thereby diminished, rather increased. VV r hat astonishment must 
have seized the angel of the Lord, when he saw the Son of God in 
.such an agony, approaching even to death, his body covered with 
bloody perspiration. When pious Job, stricken by the hand of the 
Lord, and sitting on a dunghill, broke out into bitter complaints in 
consequence of his pains and misfortunes, his friends came to comfort 
him ; but w T heu they saw him, they covered their faces and dared 
not address the sufferer, but mourned with him for seven days and 
seven nights. Why should not the angel grow dumb, seeing the Son 
of God in agony, covered with blood, and lying on the ground ? The 
prophet Jeremiah wept when he saw the women of Jerusalem pale with 
hunger, but what should the angel say to the Son of God, whose face 
he saw covered with blood ? When Jacob saw the bloodv, stained coat 
of Joseph, full of grief and sadness, he exclaimed : " This is my son's 
coat, grief will kill me, and I will go down into the grave." The 
angel came to comfort Jesus, a creature to comfort the Creator ! With 
what comfort could he strengthen and console the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus? Pious souls, who have made the Passion of Christ their 
study, suppose the angel to have said : " O divine Redeemer of the 
world, I adore thee as my Lord and God. Thy heavenly Father 
wishes to see all the types and figures of the Old Law fulfilled on the 
day before Easter. This day the Church shall be formed of the tree 
of life of the New Testament, on the cross, out of thy opened side, as 
under the tree of paradise the motlier of all tlie living was formed out 
of Adam's side. As innocent Abel was slain by his brother Cain out 
in the field, so thou shalt be slaughtered by the Jewish people, thy 
brethren, and chosen nation, outside of Jerusalem; like the Patriarch 
Isaac, thou shalt be loaded with the wood of the Q'oss, be led to 
Mount Moria and offeied to thy Father as a victim; thou be sold, 
like Joseph, and like a highway robber be declared guilty of death. 
As water came forth from the rock which Moses struck with his rod, 
so water and blood will come forth from thy opened side, with the 
blood thou shalt redeem mankind, and with the water cleanse them 
from everv stain ; thou wilt be exalted on the cross like the brazen 
serpent of Moses, and thou wilt restore to all who have been bitten by 
the serpent life and health, if they look up to thee. Like Samson, 
thou wilt lose thy life, but dying, thou wilt conquer more enemies 
than during thy life. Like David, thou wilt wound unto deith the 
giant on his forehead, and at the same time deliver mankind from the 
power of its greatest enemy. Thou shalt raise thy cross as formerly 
thou didst set thy rainbow, as a sign of reconciliation and peace 



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between heaven and earth, and, like the dove of JS r oe, bring to 
the true ark of the Church, that olive branch which loudly pro- 
claims that there is peace, a holy, happy, heavenly, and eternal 
peace, established between God and man, between the Father and 
his children. Such is the will of thy heavenly Father. O Redeemer 
of mankind, the heavenly spirits long for this hour of fulfillment, the 
fathers in Limbo sigh for it, the whole world expects it with an im- 
patient desire, for no longer does it wish to groan under the slavery of 
Satan and sin. Go, therefore, whither thy love leads thee, whither thy 
Father calls thee, whither the salvation of the world invites thee, accept 
the chalice, the sentence is irrevocable, the means painful, the end glori- 
ous, the price, thy blood, the recompense the redemption of mankind, 
and thy eternal victory. Thou must die on the cross, but dying thou 
wilt give life. Accept, then, the chalice which thy Father offers 
thee ; it is expedient that thou drink it, for thereby thou reconeilest 
thy Father, redeemest the world, and sweetenest all the bitterness of 
this life." To this Jesus answered : " O Eternal Father, not my will, 
but thine be done. I am ready to do thy holy will, to drink the 
chalice ; I am ready to die, that thy children may live." 

And he rises to enter on the bloody way of his Passion, to tread 
the way of the cross, to consummate the sacrifice. What sacrifice ? 
The sacrifice for the sins of the world. Look again at the Victim, 
and learn what sin is ; learn the infinite love of your Redeemer, who, 
to save you from perdition, paid for your sins the price of his blood ; 
learn and comprehend the appalling hardness of man, who, after all 
these sufferings, can yet offend so good and merciful a God. Pene- 
trated with a lively faith, and full of sorrow and contrition for your 
past sins, with a resolution not to sin any more, cast yourselves 
at his feet and pray : Lord Jesus, Son of God, " have mercy on us, 
according to thy great mercy, and according to the multitude of thy 
tender mercies, blot out my iniquities." Amen. 



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HOMILY III. 

JUDAS IN THE GARDEN, THE APPREHENSION OF CHRIST, ANNA8, 

THE BLOW, CAIPHAS. 

" O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow; 

for he hath made a vintage of me y as the Lord spoke in the 

day oj his fierce anger" — Lam. i : 12. 

The angel of light who descended to comfort Jesns in his agony \\\d 
scarce returned to heaven, when the angel of darkness came to do the 
work of darkness. Judas, one of the twelve, who sold his Master 
now shows the wav to those whom the Scribes and Pharisees had sent 
to apprehend Christ; he had promised to give them a sign, namely, 
to kiss the victim of his treason. " Whomsoever I shall kiss, that 
is the man." What must have been the feelings of our Lord, when 
he saw his disciple the leader of his mortal enemies. What sorrow 
and sadness must have filled his soul, when one of his chosen ones, 
one of tho.^e whom he loved, whom he had endowed with the power 
of working miracles, whom he had made bishops of his Church, and 
princes of his kingdom, when one of these sold him for the paltry sum 
of thirty pieces of silver, about eighteen dollars of our money ! What 
pain must the heart of our Saviour have experienced when he saw his 
Apostle fall so deeply. Truly, this was a new sorrow for his soul. 
The earth had been bedewed with his bloody sweat, and heaven was 
witness that the Son of God, of his own free will, had resolved to drink 
the bitter chalice which the world had prepared and his Father offered 
him. He was bound and dragged to death by a troop of ruffians, as if he 
wished to escape. To prove that he was dying voluntarily, and out of 
love for us, he had foretold his Passion and death, and now he flees 
not before his enemies, but approaches them with courage, dignity, 
and majesty, first of all addressing Judas: " Friend, whereto art thou 
come."— Malt. 26: 50. As if he would say, was it necessary to 
come in such a manner, with such instruments, with ropes, swords, 
and clubs. All this is unnecessary, for I am willing to die. No 
other cords are needed than those by which I am already bound, the 
cords of love. Judas, approaching the Lord, saluted him : " Hail, 
Master/' and kissed him. The Lord replied : " Friend, why art 
thou come hither? Judas, why dost thou betray the Son of Man 
with a kiss?" Oh, the mild, meek Jesus rejects not that wolf in 



sheep's clothing, that hypocrite who approaches him with a kiss, but 
offers his mouth in which no deceit is found, to the lips overflowing 
with malice. But even this is an effect of his love and mercy. He 
would exhaust all means to soften the hardened heart of Judas. 
" Friend, why art thou come hither ? Judas, why dost thou betray 
the Son of Man with a kiss ?" Who can behold Jesus, without sym- 
pathy and admiration ? He, the omniscient God, sees with his all- 
piercing eye to the very bottom of that wicked, godless heart, and 
yet he calls him friend. He sees the hypocrisy, ingratitude and 
malice of Judas, and yet he calls him friend. He is the holy, spot- 
Jess Lamb of God, who cannot bear the sight of iniquity, yet he 
speaks not to that black heart the well-merited words of reproach, 
he threatens him not with his anger ; he hurls not at him the destroy- 
ing thunderbolt of his justice, no, for this day is not a day of justice 
and wrath, but of rnwey and love ; for this reason he asks him : 
4i Friend, why art thou come hither?' As if he would say : Judas, 
my friend, behold, how unjustly you act in making yourself the 
instrument of so heinous a crime? Have you forgotten my friend- 
ship, my love, and the benefits I lavished upon you? Have you 
forgotten that I am the Son of God ? Judas, dost thou betray the 
Son of Man with a kiss? How cruelly you act in betraying the 
Son of Man with that sacred sign of friendship and love. 

In vain the Lord bestows his love, in vain he calls him by the 
sweet name of friend, in vain he reminds him of his sin, in vain he 
calls him familarly by his own name, Judas ; Satan has already taken 
possession of his soul, the prince of darkness dwells in his heart and 
exercises such tyranny over it, that the gracious voice of mercy and 
love cannot pierce the coat of mail that surrounds it. St. Chrysos- 
tom says : The Lord called Judas by his name because he mourned 
over him and wished not to punish him, but to recall him from his 
evil way, for he did not say : Why dost thou betray thy Lord and 
Master, thy God ? but, why dost thou betray the Son of Man, namely, 
him who is meek and humble of heart, him who did not deserve to 
be betrayed were he even not your Lord and God. You betray the 
Son of Man who for the salvation of men and your own descended 
from heaven upon earth. O Judas, if you come as my enemy, why 
do you salute me ? why do you kiss me ? and if you come as my 
friend, why do you betray me ? 

Judas was the first that touched the blood of Jesus Christ ; the 
bloody sweat which trickled down his face, was rtot yet dried when 



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Judas, with his sacrilegious lips, kissed him. But even the blood of 
Christ did not soften that sinner's heart. So great is the blindness of a 
soul 5 so great the hardness of a heart which is under the influence of 
the evil one. Judas is a terrible example in this regard. He forgot 
the love and benefits of his Master, the sinner likewise has neither 
feeling nor gratitude for the love and benefits of God. Judas forgot 
the holy doctrines and the glorious miracles ot his Master, the sinner 
shuts his ears to the word of God. Judas forgot his dignity, vocation 
and election, and where is the sinner who rememtars his dignity, 
that God had received him into the number of his friends, that his 
soul is destined for salvation, for a happy eternity. Ah ! when the 
prince of darkness dwells in a man's heart he becomes another Judas, 
a betrayer of his God and Redeemer, a l)etrayer of the sacred blood 
of Jesus, of his own soul and salvation. The more grace is offered 
the less he perceives it, the nigher Christ is to him, the less he knows 
him. Behold in Judas the blindness of the sinner! To commit a 
mortal sin is to betray God. Friend, why art thou come hither ? is 
the question which Christ asks Judas, and which he asks every one 
of us. Behold, Christian, you are his friend, he has imprinted on 
your soul the seal of his friendship, in the Sacrament of Baptism, he 
has received you into the number of his elect, he has destined you 
to participate in his happiness, he has enriched you with his graces 
and nourished you with the heavenly manna, behold, what your God 
has done for you ! and he asks you : Friend, why art thou come hither? 
Have you come to commit sin ? Will you betray your soul? Will 
you cast off my sweet yoke and enlist again under the banner of 
Satan ? O Christians, answer these questions. Blessed are you if 
you can say : Lord, I have never deserted thy standard, never 
betrayed thee, and I shall never betray thee. But if you cannot say 
this, fall at least on your knees and say, full of repentance : Many 
times have I deserted thee and betrayed thee to sin, but O Lord, I 
return to thee, I bewail my sins, my infidelity, my treason from the 
bottom of my heart, and I firmly promise, with thy holy grace never 
more to desert and betray thee. 

After Christ had been singled out by the kiss of Judas, as the one 
to be apprehended he moved towards the troop of soldiers, for he 
wished to show that he was delivering himself voluntarily and that 
nothing on earth could have power over him if he did not so will it. 
He asked the soldiers : "Whom seek ve ? " They answered : " Jesus 
of Nazareth." He said: "I am he," and immediately "they went 
backward and fell to the ground. " — John 18 : 6. The Lord said : 



" I am he," and his worS strikes the wicked crowd to the ground. 
Jesus had, as it were, only breathed upon them, and the breath of his 
Divinity would have blasted them had he not immediately concealed 
it. What will he do when he shall come in the full splendor of his 
power and majesty to judge, if he does such things when he goes to 
be judged ! What will he do when reigning in heaven, if he does 
such things when about to die on earth f With what weapon does 
the Lord strike his enemies? With his word only; he speaks and 
the mountains tremble. What power is there in these little words : 
/ am he. They are stronger than an army. Gaze upon the majestic 
countenance of the speaker aud learn the power of these words, / am 
he. I am he whose garment is omnipotence, I am he who is eternal, 
who has neither beginning nor end, the only-begotten of the Father, 
and equal to him. I am he, your Lord and your God. "I am who 
I am." Omnipotence speaks, dust trembles ; the Creator speaks, the 
creature recoils; God speaks, his enemies are confounded. 

What will he do when he shall come to judge, if he does such 
things when he goes to be judged ? Let us be candid and sincere. 
Let us reason like men of common sense. Either there is an eternity, 
or there is not. If there is an eternity, there is a God, and if there 
is a God, there will be a retribution. But if there is no eternity, no 
God, no retribution, then it is time to cease preaching, then we are all 
liars, we may leave the Church, we need no longer confine ourselves 
within such narrow limits in order to enjoy all possible pleasures, 
every moment that is not enjoyed is an irreparable loss, for the hours 
to the grave are numbered. We live only once, and after this life we 
shall be as if we had not been. But if there is an eternity, a God, 
and a retribution, what will take place when the Almighty with fire 
in his eyes and anger in his countenance shall say to his enemies : I 
am he. Impiety in our days treads the way of darkness, uses the 
weapons of darkness, and the arrows of sin, in order to extinguish the 
light of faith upon earth, but what will take place when the Lord 
shall rise in judgment and say : I am the Lord, your God ? He will 
send all the lovers of darkness to hell. What way do you walk? 
Whom do von seek? Is it Jesus of Nazareth, and him alone? If 
so, why do you stand on the side of his enemies ? Hear what Christ 
says : / am the Lord, your God, why do you persecute me ? I am 
your Lawgiver, why do you rebel against me? I am your Creator 9 
Benefadoi; and Redeemer, why are you my enemy, for " he that is not 
with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with pie scattereth." 
If you Avish to be a friend and disciple of Christ, come forth from 



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the enemies' camp, return from your evil ways, for woe, eternal woe, 
when he shall say to his enemies on the day of judgment : I am he. 
They shall fall to the ground, never to rise again ! 

When the soldiers recovered from the shock, he asked them again : 
" Whom seek ye," and having received the same answer, he said to 
them : " If you seek me, let these go their way." By these words, he 
saved the life and liberty of his disciples. Then he said : " You are 
come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to apprehend me. 
I sat daily with you teaching in the temple : and you laid not hands 
on me."— Matt. 26 : 55. Then he delivered himself into their hands : 
" They took Jesus, and bound him."— John 18 : 12. He makes no 
resistance, he says no more : I am he ; he keeps silence and patiently 
endures all as if all strength had left him like Samson when 
Delilahad cut his hair and cried out: Samson, the Philistines are 
upon thee. The work of darkness is done, the victim is bound and 
in safe custody. Judas, thou fallen apostle, betrayer of thy Lord and 
God, behold, he stands before thee like a criminal. Judas* thou hast 
given the advice to apprehend him, to bind him, and to conduct him 
safely, behold, thy work is accomplished. Judas, rejoice at thy suc- 
cess, rejoice at thy treason, count thy money, the price of blood, the 
noble captive is well worth thirty pieces of silver. But let us leave 
that child of perdition to his master, the devil, at whose instigation 
he committed that wicked deed, for "the devil gave it into his heart 
to betray Jesus." 

The Sou of God is brought into the city handcuffed. What mali- 
cious joy must have been depicted on the face of his enemies? Oh 
what must have been his sufferings on this painful journey, when, 
like a highwayman, he was conducted through the principal streets of 
Jerusalem ! They stopped at the house of Annas who had been high- 
priest the year before. He asked Jesus of his doctrines and disciples, 
but our divine Lord made no answer concerning his disciples for they 
had fled. In regard to his doctrines, be said ; "I have spoken openly 
to the world: I have always taught in the synagogue, and in the 
temple, whither all the Jews resort, and in private I have spoken 
nothing. Why askest thou me ? ask them who have heard what I have 
spoken to them; behold, they know what things I have said."— John 
18 : 20. And one of the soldiers standing by gave Jesus a blow, say- 
ing: "Answerest thou thou the high-priest so?". I tremble with 
indignation when I consider that the Creator receives a blow from his 
creature. No more sensible insult can l>e offered to a respectable man 



than to strike him in the face, and one thus offended will resent the 
insult with the sword, his blood, and his life. How great, therefore, 
is not the insult here offered to Jesus ? Should a subject treat his 
sovereign in such a manner, he would pay the penalty with his life. 
What then is due him who strikes the King of kings in the face ? 
Jeremiah exclaims : Be astonished, O ye heavens, for the majesty of 
your God is violated, innocence is struck in the face. Oh ! my 
Redeemer, why do you suffer this ignominy ? Why does not that arm 
wither which raises itself against you, and strikes your holy face? 
Oh the incomprehensible magnanimity of Christ has no other chas- 
tisement for this cruel treatment than the question of love : " Why 
strikest thou me." 

Perusing the whole history of the Passion, we do not find that. 
Christ ever complained. He was scourged and he complained not ; 
the thorns wounded his head {tnd he said nothing ; the nails perforated 
his hands and feet and he kept silence ; but when he received that 
blow he complained, saying : "Why do you strike me ?" And why 
did he complain on this occasion ? Because in this blow was contained 
an infinity of malice. Which must astonish us more the wickedness 
of the soldier, or the love of Jesus? I believe he asked not in vain : 
Why strikest thou me ? He questioned thus in order to confound and 
move the wretch to repentance, yes, to confound and move to repentance 
also those who, like that wicked soldier, strike their Redeemer in the face 
for Christ is struck in the face bv every Christian who commits a 
grievous sin. Oh Christians, hear the Son of God complain : Son, 
daughter, behold, I teach daily from the pulpits, that you should lead 
a Christian life, that you should not love the world and the things of 
the world, that you should mortify your flesh, resist your inordinate 
desires; and you obey me not, but your sinful passions and inclinations, 
you strike me in the face and reject my holy doctrines. Behold, 1 
teach : he that wishes to be my disciple let him deny himself, take up 
his cross and follow me, but you say : " Come let us enjoy the things 
that are present," — Wisd. 2:6. O Christian, answerest thou the 
high-priest so? Behold, I teach openly to the world : " Blessed arc 
the clean of heart for they shall see God," but you say : Life is fleet- 
ing, time is short, man must enjoy of it as much as he can. Answer- 
est thou the high-priest so? Behold, I teach openly to the world : 
" Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish." But you 
say : " Let us crown ourselves with roses before they are withered, let 
none of us go without his part in luxury, let us everywhere leave 
tokens of joy, for this is our portion, this is our lot. — Wisd. 2: 8, 9. 



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Answerest thou the high-priest so? You hear my voice, you know my 
doctrine, but you raise your hand against me, like that cruel soldier. 
Why do you strike me ? What evil have I done to you ? Have I 
offended you ? Behold, I have given my life for you, I have created 
you for heaven, I have sought you during my whole life upon earth, 
I have redeemed you with my blood and opened for you the gates of 
heaven.^ What evil have I done ? If I have done no evil, why do 
you strike me? We are justly enraged at the cruelty of this wicked 
soldier who struck the Redeemer in the face, but let us rather turn 
our indignation against ourselves who strike Jesus in the face by our 



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sins. 



When Annas had derided Jesus to his heart's content and found no 
fault in him, he sent him to Caiphas, his son-in-law, who was high- 
priest that year. The Saviour was led into the inner court. Here 
the high-priest was sitting on a throne surrounded by the ancients of 
the people, the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus stands handcuffed before 
him. Witnesses are brought in to bear testimony against him. They 
say: " He cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he vio- 
lated the Sabbath, he broke the fast, he does not allow his disciples to 
wash their hands before meals, he calls the Pharisees wolves in sheep's 
clothing, associates with sinners and publicans, introduces a new doc- 
trine, says that his flesh is meat and his blood drink, that no one, 
unless he eat his flesh, and drink his blood, shall be saved, he asserts 
that he is older than Abraham, and that he is one with the Father." 
But the witnesses contradicted one another and could allege nothing 
against him worthy of death. And last of all there came in two 
false witnesses and they said : This man said : I am able to destroy 
the. temple of God, and in three days to rebuild it. And the high- 
priest rising up, said to him : Answerest thou nothing to the things 
which these witness against thee? Jesus held his peace.— Matt. 26. 
It is a natural right to defend one's self. Why does he not assert and 
prove his innocence? He needs no defense, the witnesses have con- 
tradicted one another. Full of indignation the high-priest rises 
from his seat, the witnesses move back, the eyes of all are turned upon 
him, profound silence reigns throughout the hall. All are in sus- 
pense and expectation. And Caiphas, vested in his high-priestly vest- 
ments, raises his right hand to heaven, and says with aloud voice: 
" I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the 
Christ, the Son of God." That is, I the high-priest, am the voice of 
God on earth. By virtue of this office with which I am invested by 
God, whom T call to witness what you say, I command and adjure 



you, that you tell us if you be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus 
answered : " Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you : Here- 
after you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the 
power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven." The high-priest 
rent his garments, saying : He has blasphemed ; what further need 
have we of witnesses? The trial is over, the crime proved, what 
think you, what is your opinion, O ancients of Israel. And they an- 
swering, said : " He is guilty of death." Oh heavenly Father, Eternal 
God, thou hast been called as witness, and hast confirmed the truth 
that Jesus Christ is truly thy Son. Hear it, Caiphas, the living God 
bears testimony against you, he declares to you from Mount Thabor : 
" This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Lazarus, 
the widow's son, and the ruler's daughter, bear testimony against you. 
He made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk — all bear testi- 
mony against you. Wicked judge, the wind and storm, land and sea, 
men and beasts, heaven and earth, angels and devils, bear testimony 
against you. Call these as witnesses, and with a unanimous voice 
they will proclaim his Divinity and say : Jesus of Nazareth is truly 
the Son of God. Wicked judge, you have blasphemed and not 
Christ, you are guilty of death not Christ, because you have sinned 
against the Son of the Most High God and against the Holy Ghost. 

Oh adorable Jesus, we confess and are ready to seal our confession 
with our blood, that thou art Christ, the Son of the living God, 
What contumely and disgrace for the Son of God to stand before 
judges who are at the same time his accusers, who, contrary to law 
and justice say : He is guilty of death! What is his crime? Why 
must he die ? Ah, it is the judgment of the Father. He must die 
that sinners may live. It is for our sins that Jesus dies. Ah, cry 
out from the bottom of your heart, with sorrow and contrition for 
your sins, Oh Jesus, Lord and Saviour, thou art innocent, thou shalt 
not die, but live, sin shall die in us, yes sin shall and must die, that 
Jesus may live and reign in our hearts now and for ever. Amen. 






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HOMILY IV. 

THE INTERIOR SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, THE DENIAL OF PETER, 
PILATE, THE DESPAIR OF JUDAS, HEROD, BARABBAS. 

| O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow ; 

for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the 

day of his fierce anger." — Lam. i ; 12. 

The high-priest and the judges had retired to rest in order to be 
able to complete their bloody work on the following morning. Christ 
remained in the hands of the soldiers. The Evangelists do not relate 
all he suffered during that terrible night, they mention only a few 
incidents : they spat in his face and buffeted him; others struck his 
face with the jialms of their hands, saying: " Prophesy unto us, O 
Christ, who it is that struck tliee f " Of what value our souls must be 
in the sight of God, who, to save them endured such disgrace ! Where 
is our gratitude, where our love toward our suffering Redeemer? 
Christ felt nothing more sensibly than the denial of Peter. Peter had 
solemnly promised and sworn : " Though I should die with'thee, I will 
not deny thee." When Christ was apprehended in the garden, his disci- 
ples all fled ; Peter alone followed, but from afar. Oh, that he had 
fled with the rest, then surely he would not have denied his Lord. 
While he was standing with the soldiers at the fire, a servant said to 
him: "Art thou not also one of this man's disciples." And he 
answered : I am not. O Peter, are you ashamed of your Lord ? 
Are you afraid to profess Jesus before a menial? What is this? 
You tremble before a servant, at a maid's question you deny that you 
are a disciple of Christ? Have you not left all to follow him? 
Have you not confessed him to be the Son of the living God ? Have 
you not said : " Lord, I shall never leave thee, for to whom shall we go, 
thou alone hast the words of eternal life. And now, chosen disciple, 
Prince of the Apostles, you are afraid to confess your Lord and Master 
before a menial? you tell a lie, saying: " I am not." Perhaps that 
servant addressed him too harshly? I think not. She said not: 
art thou not also one of that blasphemous teacher's disciples, but said : 
" of this man," as if she were commiserating him. She speaks of 
Christ not with bitterness and contempt, but with a feeling of com- 
passion, as if she would say : Ah, how much does this man, whom 
they call Christ suffer, how they abuse and maltreat him ! Art thou 
not also one of his disciples? She says: Art thou not also one f 



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because St. John was standing by, whom she knew to be one of his 
disciples, and at whose request, she had let Peter in. Art thou not 
also one of this man's disciples, as St. John is ? Peter tells a lie the 
second time to another servant, and a third time before soldiers, who 
asked him the same question. His confusion is so much increased by 
these successive questions, that cursing and swearing he says : I know 
not this man, I know not what you say. 

Christ heard these curses, lies and imprecations, sought Peter with 
his eyes, as if he would say : Peter, where is the promise you 
made in so solemn a manner at the last supper. I have made you 
the rock, the foundation of my Church, I have given you the keys 
of the kingdom of heaven, I have made you my vicar on earth, and 
behold, you are ashamed of me, you deny me ? You say that you 
do not know me ? How will you profess my name before the princes 
of the earth, when you deny me before a menial, when before soldiers 
you affirm upon an oath : " I know not the man." Christians permit 
me to ask you one question : Are you not also one of this man's disci- 
ples f I am sure you will not say with Peter : " I am not," for by 
Baptism you have been received into the number of his disciples. 
But tell me, why do you forget the covenant which you have made 
with your Redeemer ? You have solemnly promised to renounce the 
devil and all his works and pomps, but look into your conscience 
which reminds you of your sins and upbraids you with your infidel- 
ity. Do you know what you have done ? You have said with Peter : 
I know not the man. Are you not also one of this man's disciples f 
Yes, but tell me, why do you listen rather to the voice of the tempter 
than to the voice of your conscience? Behold, you say with Peter : 
" I know not the man." Are you not also one of this man's disciples f 
Yes, but why do you forget the love of your Redeemer, who became 
man for you, who prayed, suffered, and died for your salvation? 
Why do you seek your happiness in creatures, and not in the 
Creator ? How is it possible that believing what you believe, you 
can forget the love of Jesus and afflict his heart by sin ? By every 
sin you commit you say with Peter : "I know not the man." Not 
to know him is not to know your /Wend, not to know your benefac- 
tor, not to know your Lord and God. Oh, let us renew our promise, 
let us again renounce the devil with all his works and pomps, let us 
say to them : Begone, Satan, and let us always and everywhere confess 
by word and deed, that we know this man, Christ Jesus. 



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The cock crows, the Lord turns round and looks at Peter. Now 
he remembers the word of his Master: "Amen, I sav to thee, that in 
this night before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice." And 
going, out he wept bitterly. Let us learn from Peter to bewail our 
sins. Peter sinned, but out of weakness and by surprise ; he did not per- 
severe in sin, but speedily returned to the way of salvation, he fled 
from the place of sin, separated himself from the wicked company 
into which he had come, sought retirement, in order to give vent to 
the grief of his soul, to wash away his sins by tears of love : going 
out he wept bitterly. Behold, O Christian, your soul is perhaps for 
years, perhaps from the time of childhood, defiled by sin, sin has 
become to you a second nature, perhaps not a day passes on which you 
do not deny your Lord and God. But where is your repentance ? 
Where is your flight from sinful company and the proximate occasions 
of sin ? Where is your sorrow ? Where are your tears? Alas, you 
scarcely understand and feel what sin means, you act as if it were 
nothing, you continue to associate with your companions of sin, to fre- 
quent the place of your fall, and you go so far as to commit new sins 
instead of bewailing those of your past life. O unfortunate sinner, 
what will become of you ? Peter obtained pardon, because he wept 
bitter tears of repentauce, how will you obtain pardon when you will 
not shed one penitential tear ? Your state is truly deplorable. 

Day had scarce begun to dawn, when the members of the council reas- 
sembled and asked Jesus if he was Christ the Son of God. Receiving 
the same answer the same sentence is pronounced : " He is gulty of 
death." Then he is conducted to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor 
of Judea, that he might ratify the sentence of death, in order that Jesus 
might be executed. Pilate begins the trial by asking the accusers : "What 
accusation bring you against this man ? " They answer : u If he were 
not a malefactor we would not have delivered him up to thee." As 
judge, Pilate could pronounce no sentence upon this general accusa- 
tion. He wished to know what crime Christ had committed. As the 
Jews had told falsehoods before the spiritual court of Caiphas, so they 
do now before the temporal court of Pilate. Being however con- 
vinced that before this tribunal they could not gain their point by 
accusations concerning religion, for Pilate was a pagan and cared little 
for religion, they changed their accusation and made Christ a political 
culprit, a demagogue, a rebel, saying : " We have found this man per- 
verting our nation and forbidding to give tribute Caesar and saying 
that he is Christ, the king." Pilate was astonished that to all these 
accusations, Christ answered not a word and did not defend himself. 



Christians, behold what contumelies are uttered against your Saviour. 
He makes no reply, but bears all with patience. Jesus, to whom all 
honor is due in heaven and on earth, endures all for your sake, and 
you who deserve all for your sins, get angry at the least appearance 
of neglect, your blood boils and you meditate revenge when others 
speak ill of you. 

While the trial was going on, the heart of Jesus received a new 
wound. St. Matthew relates : Judas, who had betrayed him, seeing 
that he was condemned, repenting himself brought back the thirty 
ieces of silver to the chief-priests and ancients, saying: I have 
sinned in betraying innocent blood. The Evangelist says well : 
Then Judas seeing. Was he blind before? Not in body, but in 
spirit, like unto those of whom Sophonias says : " They who sin 
against the Lord walk like the blind." The eyes of Judas were 
opened and he saw his crime. When the devil tempts man to sin he 
blinds him, that, like one deprived of sight, he may not perceive the 
enormity of sin, but when the sin is committed he opens the sinner's 
eyes, that he may despair. This was the case with Judas ; he despaired, 
went out, and hanged himself with a halter. When Christ at his 
last supper said : " One of you shall betray," the Evangelist adds : 
" He was troubled in spirit," he was troubled in spirit not for his own 
sake, but for the near perdition of Judas. When David was told 
that his son Absalom suspended by his hair on a tree had been killed 
by three lances he was troubled and wept, and in the bitterness of his 
soul wandered about mourning and saying : " My son, Absalom, Absa- 
lom, my son, who would grant me, that I might die for thee." When he 
heard that Saul had taken his own life on Mount Gelboe, he wept bit- 
terly and bewailed his death. But why did David weep over his criminal 
son Absalom whom the just punishment of God had overtaken? 
Why did he grieve for the suicide of Saul ? He wept and mourned 
for both because they had died in their dns. How much greater 
must have been the grief of the Holy of Holies at the despair of 
Judas! for whose salvation he had done so much? Indeed the 
wicked end of Judas grieved him more than all his other sufferings. 

Let us pause for a moment beneath that tree on which Judas hangs, 
and let us ask: who is it that hangs here dead by suicide? One of 
the twelve, one of the chosen ones. There is no security on earth, 
since Judas was lost in the school of Jesus Christ. Oh that his sad 
ate might inspire us with a holy fear. Oh, that it may not be said of 
us : one of them, a traitor and damned. But shall we all be saved ? 






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shall none perish ? will there not be a child of perdition among us ? 
I know not, God alone knows. But I know this much : if we do 
not do penance for our sins, if we do not abandon our sinful ways, if 
we persevere in lukewannness, and indifference, more than one out of 
twelve will perish. 

Pilate, perceiving that the Jews had delivered Jesus up out of envy 
and that he was perfectly innocent, sent him to Herod who was a 
Galilean. Herod who had for a long time been desirous of seeing 
Jesus, was very glad of this first opportunity, for he'had heard many 
things concerning him, and he hoped on this occasion to see some 
miracle wrought by him. Herod considered him to be a sort of 
juggler, and overwhelmed him with questions : Are you not the same 
one that deceived my father when he ordered the children of Bethle- 
hem to be slain ? How did you make your escape ? Are you not he 
of whom it is related that wise men from the East visited and made 
you presents? Are you not he of whom John the Baptist spoke so 
much ? Are you not he of whom it is related that he made the 
blind see, the lame walk, and raised Lazarus and the widow's son to 
life ? If so, show your power, work some miracles, change water into 
wine, or stones into bread that I may see them. Suppose Jesus had 
performed miracles before the very eyes of Herod, would he have 
believed in him? No, Christ, therefore, remained silent, answering 
not a single question. This silence provoked Herod, he and his 
soldiers despised and mocked our Saviour, and putting on him a white 
garment, sent him back, declaring him to be a fool ! 

Our divine Redeemer suffered himself to be treated by Herod as a 
fool, that he might confound the folly of men who for the love of 
earth, lose heaven. The white garment which was put on him, how 
many mysteries does it not contain ! Adam had lost two garments in 
paradise, the garment of innocence which is white, and the garment 
of immortality which is purple. That both might be restored to 
man, the love of the heavenly Father wished that his beloved Son 
should put on the white garment in the court of Herod, and the 
purple garment in the court of Pilate — pause a moment and reflect. 
Behold, Herod was glad when he saw Jesus, in whom he did not 
believe ; and you offend him in whom you believe. You also have 
heard much of Christ and his holy doctrine, but have you imitated his 
holy example ? With what eagerness do you not seek the pleasures 
of the world, with what carelessness do you not exchange the treasures 
of heavenly wisdom for the wretchedness of worldly wisdom. But 



my brethren, there is an hour in our life, when all illusion vanishes,, 
when the world no longer dazzles, when gold no longer glitters, when 
the tempting cup no longer invites, when beauty and youth lose their 
charms, and this is our dying hour. Then repentance or innocence will 
alone be of value, then that wisdom which the world rejects will be 
of worth. Therefore let us learn of our Redeemer to be fools among, 
men, that in our dying hour we may be found truly wise in Christ. 

Pilate believed that Christ was innocent, and that the Jews had 
delivered him up out of envy. A feeling of sympathy seizes him and 
he thinks of setting him free. To accomplish his design he makes 
use of a means which was an ordinary custom among the Jews. It 
is your custom, said he to the Jews, on the festival of the pasch to 
liberate one prisoner. You know we have in prison the notorious 
Barabbas whose name alone spreads fear and terror throughout the 
land. Whom will you that I release unto you, Barabbas or Jesus 
who is called Christ ? Pilate put a malefactor, a murderer in the 
same category with Jesus, thinking that they would ask for Jesus ; 
for he could not believe that in their malice, they would go so far as 
to prefer Barabbas to Jesus, but he was greatly mistaken, for in their 
rage and blindness, they would have set free all the malefactors of 
the world rather than Jesus. How painful must have been this com- 
parison to the Lord ? but he was not only compared to a malefactor, 
but set below him. My brethren, if it was painful to Christ to be 
set below Barabbas by the Jews, it must be more painful to him to 
be despised by those who pretend to be his disciples, to such a degree 
that they set him not only below Barabbas but below the very devil 
himself. There is a war between Christ and the devil. Each wishes 
to possess you. The devil is planning the ruin and damnation of 
your souls, for he goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he 
may devour ; Christ wishes to possess your souls, to save them for 
eternal life. Now, to whom do you wish to belong? To the devil 
or to Christ ? I hear you say : We give ourselves to Christ, we will 
follow and serve him. But do you not prefer Barabbas to Jesus 
when you commit a mortal sin ? As much as is in your power you 
wish the life of the creature and the death of Christ in your heart, 
Christ recommends to you humility, meekness, love, peace, and every 
virtue. Satan, on the contrary, pride, anger, revenge, hatred, and 
every vice, and as often as you sin you cty with the Jews : Give us 
Barabbas. Which prevails? the spirit, or the flesh ; concupiscence or 
reason; heaven or earth; Christ, or the devil. Examine your con- 
science and you will find that you frequently say : Give us Barabbas, 
crucify Jesus, crucify him. l 



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Oh, bend your knees before that Jesus whom you have so often 
crucified by your sins, and cry out : It is I, Lord, who have despised 
thee, I am the miserable and ungrateful sinner who have listened to 
the suggestions of the devil, I have chosen to be his servant rather 
than a child of God. Merciful Redeemer, look down upon us with 
eyes of mercy, pardon our past offences. We choose thee for our 
leader and guide, thou shalt be our portion and inheritance for time 
and eternity. Amen. 



HOMILY V. 

THE SCOURGING, THE CROWNING WITH THORNS, AND THE DERI- 
SION. 

" O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my 

sorrow ; for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in 

the day of his fierce anger" — Lam, i : 12. 

Barabbas had been released at the request of the populace. Pilate 
had repeatedly declared aloud that Jesus was innocent of the crimes 
alleged against him. He says again : " You have brought this man 
to me, as one that perverteth the people : and behold, I, having exam- 
ined him before you, find no cause in this man touching those things 
wherein you accuse him ; no, nor yet Herod," {Luke 23 : 14, 15) ; 
yet the fury of the Jews gained the upper hand. Pilate was not 
resolute enough to refuse their unjust demands, but sentenced Christ 
to an ignominious punishment, as if he had really found him guilty. 
u Then, therefore, Pilate took Jesus and scourged him." — John 19:1. 
" I will chastise him, therefore, and release him." — Luke 23 : 16. 

Scourging was a punishment inflicted by the Romans on none but 
slaves ; it was, in fact, the severest punishment that could be inflicted 
upon a malefactor; being almost equal to capital punishment, for 
many who were sentenced to be scourged, expired in the hands of the 
torturers. Perhaps our Saviour, whose innocence Pilate had solemnly 
declared, will protest against such an unjust and cruel punishment. 
Perhaps he will not recognize this unjust court but appeal to a higher 
one in which he may find justice. To whom can he appeal ? Is not 
Pilate the representative of the Roman emperor, the highest judi- 
ciary in the land? But Pilate, forgetful of the duties of a judge, 



commanded him to be scourged, of whose innocence he was con- 
vinced and in whom he could find no cause. Is Christ to appeal, as 
St. Paul did, from the governor to the Roman emperor himself in 
Rome? He has no right to do this not being a Roman citizen. 
Why does he not appeal to the highest spiritual court in the land, the 
high-priest ? The high-priest, on the testimony of false witnesses, 
had already judged him guilty of death. Can he not appeal to his 
own people, on whom he had conferred so many benefits, and who 
had been witnesses of his miracles and of his innocence ? His own 
people had rejected him and preferred Barabbas to him. Why does 
he not appeal to his heavenly Father, the God of justice, who rewards 
the good and punishes the wicked. He assuredly will rise to protect 
his innocent Son and ward off the tortures decreed for him ? No, the 
Father had ordained that he should drink the bitter chalice ; his love 
and mercy for sinners had decreed that the body of his Son should be 
torn by scourges. Barabbas finds protectors, but Jesus finds none, 
neither in heaven nor on earth. What will he do ? Will he make 
use of his omnipotence, will he tear the cords with which he is bound, 
like another Samson, to make of them a scourge to drive away his 
executioners, as he formerly drove out of the temple the buyers and 
.sellers, because they had made the house of prayer a den of thieves? 
No, Jesus is the obedient Son of God, who does the will of the 
Father, saying : " Father, not my will but thine be done." And 
thus humbly and without a murmur he submits to the order of divine 
justice saying with meek obedience : O my Father, I am ready to 
receive the scourge from whatever hand thou art pleased to ordain. 

Scarce had the soldiers heard the command of Pilate, when they 
stripped Jesus of his clothes to begin the cruel scourging. Jacob, the 
Patriarch, gave Joseph a coat of many colors, because he loved him 
but his. brothers, envying him, took his coat and sold him to the 
Ismaelites. It pained Joseph to see himself deprived of the coat 
which his loving father had given him, but what grief must it have 
caused the Son of God, to see himself stripped of his garments and 
exposed to the gaze of these rude men. But his denudation contains 
a profound mystery of wisdom, love, and mercy of the Lord towards 
us sinners. True the God of all justice and purity could have 
stricken those blasphemers with blindness, as he formerly did the 
licentious inhabitants of Sodom, who were given to uncleanness and 
were about to abuse the guests of Lot ; but our Saviour submitted to 
this confusion, because Adam had stripped himself and his posterity 
of the garment of innocence ; the Lord submitted to this confusion, 



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because so many Christians strip themselves of the garment of 
grace and pass years and frequently their whole lives in this 
nakedness ; the Lord submitted to this confusion, because he wished 
to atone for those unspeakable sins of shamelessness by which 
his children lose the garment of innocence. Ah, how many 
could we address with these words of the Sacred Scripture : " Thou 
sayest : I am rich and made wealthy and I have need of nothing, 
but thou knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, 
and poor, and naked, and blind," for with the fine clothes you 
wear, you cover a soul and body that are stripped of all virtue. 
When Adam by sin had lost the garment of sanctity and justice, 
of innocence and grace, he was so much ashamed, that he hid 
himself, and when God called him, he said : " I heard thy voice in 
paradise, and I was afraid, because I was naked," as if he would say : 
O, God of holiness and justice, I fear to appear befoire thee, because 
I possess no longer that garment of sanctity and grace, which would 
make me worthy of appearing before thy eyes for I have become 
naked by sin : but Christians who have been adorned bv him in 
Baptism with the garment of innocence are not ashamed to soil it 
and appear before the all-seeing eye of their divine Judge in the 
miserable nakedness of their souls. O, lift up your eyes to your Re- 
deemer and behold how he suffers, being thus exposed naked to the 
gaze of a rude soldiery, and tell me : Are you still clothed with that 
precious garment which the love of your Saviour gave you, or have 
you laid it away by sin. If you are naked, that is, in the state of 
sin, oh, clothe yourself at least with the garment of penance, bewail 
your misfortune and your sins, otherwise the eye of Jesus oifended by 
your nakedness, will turn away from you. If you cannot appear 
before the Lord in the garment of innocence, appear before him in 
the garment of penance, that you may find mercy. 

When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, 
he bound him, before he laid him on the altar. Isaac bound is a 
figure of Christ, who was bound not so much by the soldiers as by 
his Eternal Father, who not sparing his Son, but delivering him up 
for us, held, as it were, the hands of Jesus, that he might be tied to 
the pillar, for if the Father had not previously bound him, and if 
Jesus had not given his consent, neither Jews nor Gentiles nor the 
powers of darkness could have tied the Almighty Son of God to that 
pillar. There Christ said with the prophet : " I am ready for 
scourges," thy offended majesty, O Father, demands for the injuries, 
by which it was blasphemed, a corresponding atonement, thy justice 



demands a perfect satisfaction, behold, here I stand as a victim for 
all mankind, I have taken upon myself the whole guilt, I will pay 
for it, let justice have its sway, O Father, I am ready for scourges. 

Pilate ordered Christ to be scourged as if he had really found him 
guilty. The whole band of guards gathered around him and the 
barbarous sentence was executed on him with the most merciless 
and unfeeling cruelty, his whole body becomes one wound, and the 
blood flows in torrents from all his members, so livid and dis- 
figured by the frightful stripes he has received that he appears 
as a leper and as a man stricken by God in the excess of his wrath. 
Truly, he has borne our infirmities, and has carried our sorrows. 
Behold, then, how your Saviour is stricken, how his wounds gape, 
how his flesh is torn even to the very bones, how his blood reddens 
the ground, how he trembles and writhes under the tortures, consider 
all this, and read in his gaping wounds his boundless mercy to sinners, 
read in his blood, the barbarous cruelty of sin for which it is shed, 
read in the sweet heart of your suffering Saviour, the fervor of his love, 
in which he embraced all sinners. To thoroughly convince you of the 
greatness and cruelty of sin, I will turn your attention no more to 
the immensity, omnipotence, and greatness of God, I will not say : 
sin is a rebellion against the infinite majesty of God, I will remind 
you no more of our first parents who, laden with a curse, were driven 
out of paradise ; I will no longer call to your mind the deluge, by 
which the God of justice drowned a wicked generation, I will remind 
you no more of the sad fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were des- 
troyed by a fire from heaven on account of their sins, I will lead you 
no longer in spirit to the abyss of hell, to show you those angels and 
men to whom God said : Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire ; no, no, I will conduct you to the suffering Jesus at the pillar 
and show you the mangled, bleeding, dying Lamb of God and tell 
you : Behold, sinner, the work of sin, sin has done this ! O sinners 
who in your blindness never reflect upon the crime which you commit 
when, transgressing the law of your God, you throw yourself into 
the arms of sin, behold your Bedeenier in his blood ! 

We find in the Sacred Scripture many examples of people who 
had to suffer much, but even the most unfortunate had some consola- 
tion in the midst of their sufferings. Job fell from the pinnacle of 
happiness into the deepest misery, and suffered the most excruciating 
pains in his whole body, so that, in the bitterness of his soul he ex- 
claimed : he has torn me with wound upon wound; but sympathizing 



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friends came to console him. St. Paul and Silas his companion were 
scourged and cast into prison, but the keeper had compassion on them 
and washed their wounds. That unfortunate man, who, in his wav 
from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell among robbers, was stripped of all 
he had and left half dead on the road, but a merciful Samaritan, coming 
the same way had compassion on him, washed his wounds, poured 
wine and oil into them and carried him to an inn. The Son of God 
who, for us sinners, went from Jerusalem to Calvary, has also fallen 
among robbers/ is stripped of his clothes, is wounded to his very 
hones and is at the point of death ; but no friend approaches him 
to sympathize with him or to console him, no merciful Samaritan 
comes to wash his wounds, his executioners rage with diabolical 
malice and cruelty against the divine Victim. Yet, one of them was 
moved by the cruelty of the tortures, to cut the cords with which he 
was tied to the pillar, who cried out to the rest : Will you kill 
him who is not condemned to death ? The cords are cut, the victim 
can no longer stand on his feet, his strength is exhausted, he faints, 
falls, and lies in his blood. Yet those monsters cease not to maltreat 
him, they strike him with their scourges, and kick him with their 
sacrilegious feet. Then it was that the Son of God prayed in these 
words: "Have mercy on them, O God, for man hath trodden me 
under foot; my enemies have trodden on me all day long; for they 
are many who make war against me." — Ps. 55 : 2, 3. O all ye that 
pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my 
sorrow. The Father in heaven hears him not, for he hath made a 
vintage of him, as he spoke in the day of his fierce anger; he hears 
him not for he punishes in him the sins of the whole world, which 
are laid upon him. 

Mourn, O ye heavens, and divest yourselves of your beauty and 
glory, for he is without beauty and form, who called you out of noth- 
ing; behold the Lamb of God in his blood. Mourn, oh earth, laden 
with a curse for thou hast drunk in the blood of thy God. Mourn, 
O ye Angels, and cover your face with your wings; at the birth of 
Jesus you chanted canticles of joy and announced happy tidings 
to the world because the Saviour was born ; Oh come now, and weep 
bitter tears of sorrow, for the world has wounded the Saviour and 
bathed him in his blood. O sinners, come also and gaze on your 
Saviour on the ground in his blood. Does not this sight move you ? 
do not these wounds soften your callous, stony hearts ? does not the 
cry of his blood pierce your soul ? Hear what Isaiah says to you : 
"He has been wounded for our sins." Behold, the unjust have 



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sinned and the just one is punished ; the guilty have erred and the 
guiltless is stricken, the good man endures what the wicked have de- 
served, and God expiates the sins man has committed, God is 
scourged that he might save us from the scourges of hell, behold 
your suffering Redeemer, and recognize his ineffable love towards 
you, consider the greatuess and cruelty of sin and the inestimable 
vaiue of your soul. If you are Christians iu reality and not so 
only in name, if you believe that the Son of God suffered all this for 
you, that he submitted to this barbarous treatment to pay your debt; 
if you believe all this why do you not cast yourselves at his feet, ask 
forgiveness for your sins, and offer him a heart full of love and 
gratitude, crying out : O Jesus, eternal love, I love thee above all 
things. 

When the patriarch Jacob saw the coat of his beloved son dipped 
in blood, he rent his garments, girded himself with a rope, bewail- 
ing the fate of his son and sighing continually : "A wild beast has 
devoured him." — Gen. 37. But you, sinners, seeing not only man 
but the Son of God without a garment, covered with wounds and 
lying at the foot of the pillar in his blood, rend the garment of sin, 
and cry with Jacob: A wild beast, sin, has torn my Saviour. 
When the high-priest Mathathias saw the temple of God demolished 
by the enemy he wept and moaned, saying : Behold our sanctuary, 
our beauty and glory is laid waste, and the Gentiles have defiled it ; 
to what end then should we live any longer? But you, sinners, seeing 
not only the Sanctuary of the Lord, but the Holy of Holies in his 
blood, can you turn away your eyes and say : My Saviour may bleed 
if I only can live according to my passions ? Will you have the 
temerity to inflict new wounds on Jesus by your sins ? No, I do not 
think you capable of this, your hearts are not of rock but of flesh, 
they feel the infinite love of Jesus, and pierced with sorrow and grief, 
they must cry out : O amiable Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Pilate intended to scourge Christ and then release him. But his 
enemies thirst, like wild beasts, for more blood, and meditate new tor- 
tures. "Platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head." — 
John 19 : 2. This was a new punishment, one never heard of before, 
of which no tyrant had ever made use. Behold your Saviour, 
lying on the earth, bathed in his blood, and crowned with thorns. 
Now are fulfilled the words of the Prophet : " From the crown of 
the head to the sole of the foot, there is no sound part in him," the 
blood gushed forth from his ears, nose and eyes, that he might shed 



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bloody tears for our sins. But that you may the better understand 
the love of God in the crowning with thorns, meditate on the words 
of the Apostle : " What man sows he shall also reap." This is the 
rule, but quite the reverse is the case with Christ ; he has sown wheat, 
and lie reaps thorns. He has strewn the good seed of the doctrine of 
his heavenly Father, he has strengthened the hearts of his hearers 
with truth and enlightened them with wisdom, he has left his bless- 
ings everywhere, and yet from his labors he reaps but thorns. What 
have we sown? What do men sow ? Sin ; murder, impurity, fornica- 
tion, adultery, incest, sacrilege, theft, robbery, usury, oppression of 
the orphans, the widows, and the poor, pride, envy, revenge, hatred, 
wickedness, and iniquity of every description. This is what men sow, 
and the fruit thereof they must reap, namely : sorrow, for he that 
sows sorrow shall reap the same. We deserve the thorns of sorrow, 
yet our merciful Redeemer wished to reap our thorns that we might 
be spared them, he wished to be crowned with thorns that we might 
be crowned with glory. 

• 

After the crowning with thorns, they put about him a } urple cloak, 
and a reed in his right hand, and bending their knees, said : " Hail," 
King of the Jews." They struck his head with the reed, spat upon 
him and gave him blows. What royal insignia? crown, sceptre, 
purple, what sublime homage, Hail King, but also what contumely 
for the King of kings ! They put on him purple, not to do him 
honor, but to ridicule him. Iu heaven the Seraphim tremble before 
him and adore him, the ancients prostrate themselves and lay their 
crowns at his feet acknowledging him King of eternity, and here, by 
way of derision, he is called king, as if he had usurped the title, and 
yet in heaven he is adored King of Kings and Lord of Hosts. 

Job, that admirable pattern of patience, endured all losses and afflic- 
tions without a murmur or complaint, but when his acquaintances 
came and ridiculed him, he complained, saying : " Now they, younger 
in time, scorn me."— Job. 30 : 1. Samson bore hard labor and the 
plucking out of his eyes with fortitude, but when the Philistines 
mocked him he tore up the pillars of the house, preferring to be 
buried alive, than to be the object of derision. David said, if an 
enemy had done this I would verily have borne with it, but thou, 
my friend and my companion. Saul, having lost a battle, said to his 
armor-bearer: "Draw thy sword and kill me, lest these uncircum- 
cised come and slay and mock me." Yet Jesus was silent and did 
not open his mouth, although he was overwhelmed with contumely 
and derision. 



Dear Christians, you also acknowledge the Son of God as your 
King and your Lord, you also bend your knees before him to adore 
him, but tell me, why do you rebel so often against his law? If 
he is your king then you are his subjects, if he is your Lord and 
Master then you are his servants, and it is your duty to do his holy 
will. But how great is the number of Christians who profess Jesus 
with their lips, but deny him by their works, who pray to him as 
their God, but treat him as their enemy. Are you of this class of 
Christians? Do you treat your Saviour in so contemptible a man- 
ner ? No, I cannot believe it, for , I know you love your Saviour. 
Therefore, bend your knees to adore him, to honor him, who stands 
before you with purple, sceptre, and crown, and cry out: Hail, 
Jesus, King of our souls, rule, thou, over us for time and eternity. 



HOMILY VI. 

ECCE HOMO, THE CONDEMNATION, THE WAY OF THE CROSS FROM 

JERUSALEM TO MOUNT CALVARY. . 

* O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrcnu like to my 

sorro-v ; for he hath made a vintage of WU t as the Lord spoke in 

the day of his fierce anger.'" — Lam. i : 12. 

The soldiers had accomplished their nefarious designs in such a 
manner that even Pilate was moved to compassion when he came out 
and saw Jesus so unmercifully abused, covered with wounds, and 
lacerated, that he had no longer the appearance of a man. This 
frightful spectacle made him believe the pitiable form of Jesus would 
certainly move to compassion the Jews who demanded his death, and 
he hoped he might in consequence, have an opportunity to set him 
free. Accordingly he brought him out before the populace, and said : 
" Behold the man," " Ecce homo," that is, behold the remnant of a 
man whom your rage, madness, and cruelty, have almost destroyed. 
Tell me, has he not suffered enough ? What more do you desire ? 
Have pity on him who is no longer a man, but has only the appear- 
ance of a man, release him now, do not demand his death, he cannot 
recover from his wounds, death is inevitable. Behold the man ! He 
has restored sight to many of your blind, has healed your sick, has 
lavished on many of you his love and benefits, and now like a leper 



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from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot there is no form 
nor beauty in him therefore have pity, and do not demand his death. 
Behold the man I Ah, lie no longer appears to be that great, prophet, 
whom you yourselves have acknowledged, nor that severe zealot for 
the temple, before whose scourges you have fled ; nor like that 
Omnipotence, whose miracles struck you dumb ; nor like that Son of 
God whom some of you proclaimed him to be, but like a lamb pre- 
pared for sacrifice; like a culp-it who bleeds to death from the 
wounds inflicted by wild beasts; like one who will shortly breathe his 
last; have pity on him and do not demand his death/ Your rage 
should be satiated ; for suppose he has erred, " he has been punished 
above measure." Ah !- the ^sufferings and pains of the divine Re- 
deemer moved the heart of heathen, but the hearts of the chosen 
people of God were harder than adamant, colder than ice, for the air 
rang with the wild cry of this ungratetul degenerate people : " Away 
with him, away with him; crucify him."— John 19: 15. 

I have frequently remarked and I repeat it, that in the Passion of 
our amiable Jesus, there is not a single circumstance that does not 
contain profound mysteries. Thus in this public presentation, or 
rather exhibition of our Lord by Pilate before the Jews and Gentiles, 
l>efore the highest temporal and spiritual authorities, before the priests 
and the people, in fact, before all mankind there represented, there is 
a great mystery. Pilate exhibited the suffering Son of God before 
the people. Now it appears to me, that it is not so much Pilate, as 
the heavenly Father himself, who exhibited his only-begotten Son 
before all mankind in their representatives, in these words : JEcce 
homo, behold the man. As if he would say : this is my beloved Son 
in whom I am well pleased; he is God and man, your Creator and 
Redeemer. He created you out of love and his love now completes 
the work of your redemption, behold the man, and in him, the price 
with which he ransoms you from your captivity. He is truly both 
God and man, but he might be more appropriately called neither God 
nor man, for his humility is so great that no one judges him rightly, 
that .scarcely one considers him God ; behold the man, who is my 
beloved Son, he has become a frightful spectacle to the world, to men, 
and to angels; behold the man who bears within him the likeness of 
the invisible God, but here it is disfigured and dishonored, the first- 
born of all creation has become the outcast of men, and the reproach 
of the people ; behold the man, in whom the fullness of the God-head 
dwells corporally, treated as a malefactor; he has committed no sin, 
no guilt has been found in his mouth, but behold he is stricken and 



wounded for the sins and iniquities of my people. This is my only- 
begotten Son, whom I have not spared, but given up for the salvation 
of mankind. Behold the man, behold your Redeemer, behold the 
price he pays for you ! Whilst Pilate exhibits Jesus before the popu- 
lace I seem to hear the Son of God say to his Father: Oh Eternal 
Father, thou hast said once by the moiith of the prophet Ezechiel : " I 
have sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge and stand 
in the gap before me in favor of the land, that I might not destroy it, and 
I found none," behold I am the man that will set up a hedge between 
thee and the land, between thee and fallen mankind, that thou mayest 
not destroy them, behold I will deliver man from thy just anger, and 
for this reason wear a crown of thorns on my head ; behold I will 
restore man, disfigured by sin, to his former beauty and sanctity, and 
for this reason I am so disfigured that I look no longer like a man. 
Behold, O just Father, behold a man who suffers innocently for the 
guilty. I have become a living leper, that thou mayest not pour out 
thy indignation upon those who maltreat me thus. Behold, O Father, 
a man who is ready to suffer, ready to die, to redeem sinners, to recon- 
* cile them with thee, and to conduct them to the kingdom of glory. 
And now I would exhibit him before heaven and earth, but not with 
the words of Pilate: "Behold the man," but with the words that 
correspond to his nature: Behold God! Oh ye Angels, lift up your 
eyes to this Jesus, for he is your God, before whom you prostrate 
yourselves and whom you adore ; he is your God, whose commands 
you execute. What do you say of your God, thus covered with 
wounds and blood ? What do you think of him ? Ah ! the Angels 
answer with the Prophets: "We have seen him without figure, 
without form, without beauty." All the celestial spirits mourn and 
lament at the sight of their God thus abused, and exclaim : " Woe, 
woe, they have blasphemed the Holy of Israel." You also my brethren, 
behold your suffering God whom Pilate exhibits with the words : 
behold the man, and whom I exhibit before you with the words : 
behold God ! Behold God, who for love of you left heaven and the 
glory he shared with the Father, who for love of you descended from 
his throne of majesty to a bed of straw in the crib, Avho labored for 
thirty-three years in the sweat of his brow for your salvation ; behold > 
this amiable God suffered all the shame and confusion of this exhibi- 
tion for your sake. Behold God, who offers himself as an expiation 
for your sins, who with his holy blood will redeem your soul, who in 
his blood and wounds reveals the excess of his love for you. Oh I 
consider him from the top of his head to the sole of his foot and see 



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if he is not worthy of all your love, compassion, and tears. Behold 
those gaping, bleeding wounds; behold the crown of thorns; behold 
the purple garment ; that disgraceful reed in his hand ; behold those 
instruments of torture ; all these pains he chooses for himself because 
lie loves you, because he wishes to save you from perdition ; behold, 
he chooses a crown of thorns that he might crown you with a crown of 
glory ; he suffers those frightful scourges to free you from the scourge 
of damnation ; he suffers himself to be spit upon and mocked that 
he may restore beauty and holiness to your souls and prepare them 
for the joys of heaven. Jesus does all this for you, reflect upon it, 
and tell me: does not this merciful, amiable, suffering, and bleeding 
God deserve all your love, all your compassion, all your tears ? O 
Christians, O Sinners, behold your Jesus who is exhibited before you 
with the words: behold the man; behold God, and tell me: do you 
really and firmly believe that this suffering Jesus is your Lord and 
God ? Do you really and firmly believe that he suffers all this for 
four sake? Do you really and firmly believe that he bleeds for 
your sins ? You answer, yes, I believe that Jesus is my Lord and 
my God, his sufferings, his pains, his blood, are the price he pays for ' 
my soul. Believing this, how can you behold him without being 
filled with sorrow and contrition/tor your sins, which renew his 
sufferings? How can you see yo/r merciful Jesus suffer all this and 
yet turn your back upon him, and return to your sins ? Can your 
heart be really so hard ? Ah, if I speak in vain to your heart and 
soul, if I labor in vain to excite in you reciprocal love for your 
Redeemer, and to excite in your heart contrition for your sins, I will 
turn to those who do not yet know their God, who have never heard 
anything of Christ, of his love and sufferings, the Gentiles shall be 
the judges between you and your amiable Redeemer. 

" Hear, then, ye isles, and hearken, ye people from afar, ye, who 
inhabit the uttermost parts of the world, come, see, and judge." 
Behold a man. Behold your God. Know then, he who suffers is 
not only man, but also God. He is the Lord of heaven and earth, 
legions of Angels and all creatures obey his commands. Do you 
know why the omnipotent God suffers, and for whom he suffers all 
those tortures ? Hear ! he suffers for those who are here assembled, 
he suffers for their brothers and sisters, he suffers for all men, in 
order to deliver them from eternal sufferings, he suffers to pay their 
penalty, he suffers to show them in his wounds his ineffable love. 
What, O Gentiles, do you think of this God of love and of man- 
kind for whom he suffers ! Tell me, is it not the dutv of all to love 



that God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their 
strength ? But be astonished, they love him but little, they forget 
his love, even despise him, alas ! they do the very thing for which he 
suffers. And what is worse, O Gentiles, this God is entirely exhausted 
on account of his sufferings and fatigued on account of his pains, but 
those who call themselves his followers turn their backs upon him 
and think of nothing but pleasure. This God has shed all his blood 
for them, and they will not shed a tear, this God is meek, patient, and 
humble of lieart; they suffer themselves to be carried away by anger, 
they are puffed up with pride, and burn for days with impatience, anger 
and madness. Tell me, O Gentiles, what think you of this amiable 
God, and these hard-hearted people, who call themselves Christians? 
Ah ! they must say : these people, whom you call Christians have no 
faith, for if they did believe this sufferer is their God, that he suffers 
for them and their sins, that he suffers to redeem their souls for 
heaven, they would shed tears for their sins, they would be filled with 
gratitude and love for this good God ; they would sacrifice all they 
possess, even their life rather than offend by a single sin this God 
who has manifested such love towards them. 

And now, I turn to you and appeal to your own hearts, O Chris- 
tians. Behold the man whom God exhibits to you as his only-begotten, 
well-beloved Son, behold the man, who offers himself to pay the 
penalty of your sins, behold the man at the sight of whom the 
heavenly spirits mourn, behold your God who moves even the 
Gentiles to compassion, will you alone remain hard, cold, and insensi- 
ble at such a spectacle ; will you alone turn your eyes from this God 
and Redeemer, will you alone refuse to acknowledge the love of this 
God and the enormity of sin ? Oh, say, who has inflicted on the 
Son of God these deep and mortal wounds, if not sin of which you have 
contributed your share. Who has torn and mangled his body, who 
has crowned his head with thorns, if not sin, in which you have par- 
ticipated. Judge yourselves ; is not this God worthy of all your 
love, compassion, and tears? Or will you with the Jews fill the 
measure to overflowing? Will you also say with them, away with 
him, away with him, crucify him, crucify him ? If there be such a 
one amongst you, I will ask him : Oh hard heart, destitute of feeling 
and love, what evil has Jesus done? Why should he be crucified ? 
Is it because he is innocent, because he is holy ? Is it because he 
has done so much good to you ? Hear, then, his judge declares : 
I find no cause in him. Great God, if in this congregation one soul 
should be found godless enough to pronounce the- words : " crucify 



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him," I am innocent of the blood of this just man, which will be 
lost on that soul. But no, O Lord, the hearts of thy children are 
not so wicked, so diabolical ; they indeed suffer themselves to be 
carried away by surprise, by inadvertence, by temptations and passions, 
to offend thee, but even the most obdurate will tremble and will 
never say : his blood be upon us and upon our children. Oh ! hea- 
venly Father, behold, we all are moved and penetrated with sorrow, 
we all with a contrite heart look up to thy Son who is exhibited 
before our eyes. O most amiable Jesus, I address thee with the most 
humble petition, not however in the sense of the Jews : Lord, thy 
blood be upon us and upon our children. Our souls have been 
bought by the price of thy blood, in thy blood alone is our strength, 
our hope, confidence, and salvation. O Jesus let thy blood come 
upon us, let it cleanse our hearts and inflame them with the fire of 
thy love. 

Pilate, seeing the fruitlessness of his efforts to release Jesus, and 
that his enemies, more enraged, persisted in their demand; cru- 
cify him ; and hearing their threat : if you set him free you are not 
Ccesar's friend, delivered him to them to be crucified. Pilate, the 
representative of the Emperor, the highest guardian of right and 
justice, fears the wrath of a populace and has not the courage to de- 
fend right and to oppose injustice, but suffers himself to become guilty 
of injustice in order to flatter that wicked rabble. He is convinced 
of the innocence of the accused, he himself had confessed Christ's 
innocence, he knows they have delivered him up out of envy, he 
knows that all the accusations are groundless and false, he has 
already heard that Judas confessed his crime of treason, and in despair 
hanged himself; his wife has warned him to have nothing to do with 
that just man ; he knows all this and yet he condemns him to death, 
he condemns him to be crucified like a malefactor between two 
thieves. You may wash your hands a hundred times and say: "I 
am innocent of the blood of this just man," the water will neither 
wash your hands nor cleanse your soul, they are defiled and stained 
with the blood of God. 

To the ocean of torments in which he suffers, is to be added the 
bitter and ignominious death on the cross. He is to be crucified. 
But, Oh, heavenly Father, will you forsake the eternal Word, will 
you permit your only-begotten, well-beloved Son to be crucified? 
The Father answers: he is to be crucified. But why? Christ is 
innocent. The Father answers : So much I have loved the world 



as to give my only-begotten Son for its redemption. But Oh Angels, 
what do you say to this new unheard-of condemnation of your God ? 
They answer : he is to be crucified. But why, what evil has he done? 
He has done no evil, but he must die, that the mansions of heaven 
which once those angels occupied who are now burning in hell, may 
be peopled with redeemed men. And you, Oh Adam, what do you 
say to this sentence? He is to be crucified, he must die on the wood 
that he may redeem thereon my children whom I lost by the wood. 
And you, weeping and most afflicted Mother of Jesus, will you not 
raise your hands to heaven, will not your powerful prayers penetrate 
the clouds. You have found grace with God, will you not pray that 
he be delivered from this ignominy and death ? But no, she prays 
not, but says : Knowing it is the will of God, that my Son 
should die for the sins of the world, his will be done, he is to be cru- 
cified. And what judgment do you pronounce, Christian, who have 
frequently defiled your soul by sin? Oh, I hear you also cry out: 
he is to be crucified, if he die not, I must be lost. But for you I 
have only one word : Say : he is to be wucified, but he shall be 
crucified in jmy heart, he shall be fastened therein with three nails, 
that I may never lose him again, and these three nails are : Faith, 
Hope and Charity. 

The sentence is passed, everything is ready, the vast crowd moves 
from the house of Pilate, out of the city, up to Calvary's heights. 
What a sight ! All Israel is assembled, they follow him who carries 
the cross, as they followed him once before, when in a fiery column 
he went before them. A gaping multitude accompany him; a crowd 
of wicked boys surround him, mocking and blaspheming him ; sol- 
diers walk in front and on both sides, as if a criminal were beintr 
led to the place of execution; behind him two thieves, who are 
also condemned to death. St. Augustine, representing to his mind 
the Son of God walking through the streets of Jerusalem with the 
heavy load of the cross on his shoulders, says : " If faith beholds 
him what a magnificent spectacle, but if impiety, what mockery ; 
what a great mystery to piety, what horrible contumely to impiety. 
To see the Holy of Holies, like the chief of a band of robbers, led 
to death, what contumely ; but to see the Sou of God carrying the 
cross that on it he might conquer the invisible enemy who once con- 
quered mankind on the wood, what a profound mystery." 

But behold, his strength fails, his tortures have already brought 
him nigh to death, he can scarcely move beneath the heavy load, 






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he is exhausted, he falls. They raise him up and compel him 
to continue his journey. No one pities him, no one feels for him, 
his enemies are jubilant, his friends have fled. O yes, there are tears 
flowing, but they are no consolation. " Weep not for me," said he 
to the women of Jerusalem, u but for yourselves, and for your chil- 
dren." He meets at least one soul that loves him, one heart that feels 
for him, his holy mother. What a meeting ! What pains for these 
two loving souls ! Ah it was no consolation, but a bitter pain, and 
this mutual pain was as great as their mutual love. 

Jesus falls again beneath the cross, he can carry it no longer. For 
this reason, and not through compassion, but for fear that he might 
die before reaching Calvary, they compelled Simon of Cyrene to help 
him to carry his cross. Time does not allow me to lead you more deeply 
into the mystery of these sufferings. I will briefly point to you your 
Redeemer carrying his cross. Behold, with what joy he embraces the 
cross and lays it on his shoulders, to redeem you, whereas you wish 
to have the cross rather beneath your feet than on your shoulders ; 
behold, your Redeemer faints under the heavy load and no friend 
approaches to console him or to help him to carry it, he is surrounded 
by enemies on all sides, and you sigh and murmur when God sends 
you little trial. Your Redeemer carries the cross and cries out to 
you : H If any man wishes to follow me, let him deny himself, take 
up his cross and follow me," again, "he that will not carry his cross, 
cannot be my disciple and is not worthy of me." Place yourselves 
no longer by the side of those who carry crosses, even great ones, not 
for Jesus' sake, but for the world. 

They have arrived on Calvary's heights. All necessary prepara- 
tions are made to execute the sentence. They tear off his garments. 
At the scourging, Jesus was exposed naked to the soldiers, here on 
Calvary, to the whole world. What shame and confusion must our 
Saviour have experienced, what pains he must have suffered, when 
his clothes were torn off whereby his wounds began to bleed afresh. 
Thus he is exposed to the gaze of a gaping multitude. I represent 
him to my mind as crying out in the words which the Church 
makes use of in these days : u O my people, what have I done whereby 
have I offended you. Out of love for you, I struck Egypt with many 
plagues, but you have stricken me from the crown of my head to the 
sole of my foot. I delivered you from the oppression of Egypt, 
but you have delivered me to my enemies ; I brought you out 
of the land of bondage, but you have dragged me out of Jerusalem 



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to crucify me ; I slew the first-born of Egypt, and you are going 
to kill the only-begotten Son of God. To save you from the 
fury of Pharaoh, I divided the red sea for you to pass through, 
but you have torn my body with scourges ; I fed you with manna, 
in the desert, and you give me vinegar and gall. On Mount 
Sinai I gave you the law of life and you pronounce the sentence of 
death upon me. I gave you Moses and Aaron as leaders, and you 
give me two malefactors as companions." Would to God that our 
Saviour were not obliged to renew the complaints ! I hear them 
renewed. From Calvary's mount, Jesus cries out : Christian people, 
that the perfidious Jews should treat me thus was to be expected, but 
that you, you who by so many titles are my people, that you should 
turn your back upon me, that you should prefer Barabbas to me, that 
you should betray me, that you should crucify me; Oh, this is the excess 
of ingratitude. O ye Christian people, whom I love above all the rest, 
that inhabit the earth, whom I have redeemed with my blood, enriched 
with my graces, nourished with my flesh and blood, in what have I of- 
fended you ? Answer if you can. Because I sweat blood in the garden 
out of love for you, you daily betray me like Judas and crucify me with 
the Jews. Hear, the Jews preferred Barabbas to me, and he was a man, 
but you prefer sin to me ; Judas betrayed me to the Jews, and they 
were men, you betray me to the devil. W r hat have I done to you, in 
what have I offended you, that you love me so little ? Oh, love me, 
as I love you. But if you wish .to love me, hate sin, love virtue, keep 
my commandments. Ah, for the love of Jesus remember and repeat 
daily to the end of your lives those sweet and beautiful words of St. 
Theresa : "Oh, Jesus, my love, I will love thee for ever, Oh Jesus, 
from this moment I will sin no more, no never, never. 



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HOMILY VII. 

THE CRUCIFIXION, THE SEVEN WORDS AND THE DEATH OF CHRIST. 

" O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sor- 
row ; for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the day 
of his fierce anger."— Lam. i : 12. 

In narrating the other sufferings of Christ the Evangelists give 
either a detailed account of them, or the one supplies what the other 
omits. But here they all declare as with one voice : They crucified him. 
In the contemplation of the incomprehensible depth of this mystery 
• revealed to them from the cross, in contemplating the numberless 
pains and the great ignominy which Jesus suffered, and in dwelling 
on the ineffable love, with which the divine God-man offered his 
hands and feet to be pierced through with great nails — the pen falls 
powerless, as it were, from their hands, as if unable to find words to 
express in suitable terms the unheard-of cruelty on the one hand, and 
the unspeakable love, with which, on the other, such great blessings 
have accrued to poor fallen man at this stage of our Blessed Redeemer's 
sacred Passion. The Evangelists say : " they crucified him ;" they seem 
not to have the courage to mention his adorable name, they merely 
say : they crucified him. 

If you wish to understand the manner of this cruel and painful 
crucifixion, represent to yourselves by the help of the imagination 
Mount Calvary as the great theatre of the inexorable justice of God, 
•represent to your mind the Eternal Father addressing his Son in the 
following words : My well-beloved Son, whom I have begotteu 
before the morning star from eternity, you have out of infinite love 
and mercy offered yourself as the Redeemer of fallen man. Be- 
hold the time, the hour is at hand, to pay the promised debt, behold 
the place where the sacrifice is to be consummated, behold the altar, on 
which the victim is to be immolated. This is the cross on which you 
are to die, you have carried it to Calvary's heights, but this carrying 
alone will not be sufficient, you must be nailed to it and die on it. 
Jesus replies: "Father, thou hast prepared a body for me, behold, I 
am ready, I come to die, that I may satisfy thy justice, and reconcile 
mankind with thee, that those may live whom my soul loves. O cross 
on thee I will lay my lacerated, pierced head and wearied limbs, on 



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thee I will keep my second Sabbath rest from work which will be 
completed to-day. Thou, O cross, will be that wonderful rod, which 
kills the poisonous serpent of sin, thou art that mysterious rod, with 
which the Red Sea of my blood will be divided, through which my 
people will be conducted into the Land of Promise; thou art the 
scales, on which the price of my blood will be weighed ; thou art 
the bank, to which I will pay the last farthing of my people's debt ; 
thou art the ladder; on which men will ascend with me to the man- 
sions of bliss ; thou art the holy tree, from which the Redeemer will 
pluck the fruits of immortality ; thou art the invincible sword stronger 
than that of David, which slew Goliah, with which I will slay the giant 
of hell ; thou art the golden key which will open the gates of para- 
dise, that had been barred against fallen man ; thou, O cross, will be 
the weapon of my Apostles, the shield of my confessors, the consola- 
tion of the afflicted, the refuge of sinners, the skiff of the poor, the 
glory of the rich, the teacher of the ignorant, the hope of the dying, 
the terror of hell, the redeemer of the world, the delight of heaven, 
and the sign of the last judgment. Therefore I take possession of 
thee, O glorious cross, I embrace thee, I salute thee, I kiss thee with 
the lips of my soul. On thee I will rest and die, and dying I will 
conquer hell, gain heaven and redeem man. 

Such were the thoughts of Jesus. He stretched out his hands on 
the cross to satisfy for wicked deeds, murders, adultery, fornication, and 
injustice ; in like manner he offered his feet to satisfy the criminal 
ways of mankind. The soldiers apply the nails to the hands and feet, 
stroke follows stroke, the doleful tones resound across the blood- 
stained mountain, reach to the highest heavens, aud ascend to the 
throne of the Almighty. O God, what a spectacle ! Murderous iron 
pierces those hands which laid the foundation of the world, barbar- 
ous nails fasten him to the stake of ignominy, the blood flows in tor- 
rents from his pierced hands and feet to saturate and wash the curse- 
laden earth thirsting after redemption. There he hangs between 
heaven and earth. Look up to the cross, those nails and hammer 
will speak to you, they will cry out to you better and louder than I 
can : O man, perceive the malice of sin, which cries to heaven for 
vengeance, which is punished in the innocent, those pierced hands 
and feet announce to you more eloquently than I can, the punish- 
ment due to sin. The sacred blood which reddens the cross and the 
earth speak louder and more eloquently than I can of that love 
with which the suffering Jesus embraces you. Look into those wounds 
and read therein that which the Son of God has inscribed in them : 
O man, I love thee, and for love of thee I die. 



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At what time was Christ crucified? On the day of preparation 
before Easter. About the sixth hour. A great mystery again. 
About the sixth hour the first Adam sinned by the tree of knowledge 
in paradise when he ate the forbidden fruit ; about the sixth hour the 
second Adam satisfied for this sin of disobedience by his death on 
the cross. The first Adam contracted the debt about the sixth hour, 
and the second Adam to pay that debt shed his blood about the sixth 
hour. Thus the time of redemption corresponded to the time of sin, 
as the wood of sin corresponded to the wood of redemption. But 
the Jews were not satisfied to have crucified Jesus. They crucified 
with him two thieves, one on the right and the other on the left 
with Jesus in the middle. What shame and confusion for our 
Lord ! no tongue can express it, no pen can describe it. The Jews 
did this to show their great hatred and contempt for Jesus, that 
punished with thieves and robbers he might be regarded by all as a 
malefactor. What is more like than these three crosses, and what 
more unlike than those who hang upon them ! Truly the Just 
Holy, and Innocent hangs between thieves, as if he were the head 
and leader of robbers. A great mystery again. The Son of God is 
everywhere in the middle, he worked out our redemption in the 
middle of the earth. On Mount Thabor he was between Moses and 
EliaSj between the law and the prophets, announced by both, adored 
by both ; in the crib he lay on straw between angels and men ; in the 
temple he was found in the midst of doctors ; in the midst of the 
Apostles he gave the divine revelations ; on Calvary he hangs as medi- 
ator between heaven and earth, between two robbers. The Lord 
hanging, between two robbers, rejected the one and saved the other. 
Raise up your eyes to your Mediator, for he has fallen among robbers. 
As I must be brief, I have but one word to say, remember it and 
engrave it indelibly upon your hearts : When this same Jesus comes 
into your hearts may he never find a place among robbers, when in 
the Blessed Sacrament he descends from Jerusalem to Jericho, when 
he comes to dwell in you, may he never fall among robbers, namely, 
sins. 

Pilate in the meantime had written the inscription and ordered it 
to be put on the cross. It reads : Jesus of Nazareth, King of the 
Jews. The Jews were displeased with it. That people might not 
think that the crucified was really king and that they were guilty of 
regicide, they said to Pilate : Write not king of the Jews, but that 
he said : I am king of the Jews. But Pilate answered : u What I 
have written, I have written." What moved the governor to place 



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the glorious title on the cross of Jesus whom he had suffered to be 
crucified between two malefactors. This was not his work so much 
as an ordinance of God. Those hands which had been nailed to the 
cross, directed the hand of Pilate to write the truth. The title was 
to remain unchanged because the word of God is unchangeable. 
While Jesus hangs on the cross and the glorious inscription glitters 
above his head raise up your eyes and consider the image and inscrip- 
tion. 

Whose image and inscription is it? I hear you answer : the image 
is that of a poor, suffering, and dying man, but the inscription is that 
of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world ; the image is that of a 
wounded, lacerated man, who has become the reproach of men 
and the outcast of the people, but the inscription is that of the Son 
of God; the image is that of a sinner, of a criminal, but the inscrip- 
tion is that of a just man; the image is that of an abused slave, but 
the inscription is that of a mighty prince ; the image is that of a 
punished blasphemer, of a scoffer and transgressor of the command- 
ments of the Most High, but the inscription is that of a confessor 
and defender of divine truth. Here is the image of sufferings and the 
title of salvation, the image of death and the title of life and tri- 
umph ; the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ for Christ needed 
both to conquer hell. Oh that this glorious title might be written 
in your hearts : " Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Give 
heed. O Christians, in you also there is an image and an inscription. 
The image is that of God, for you are created according to the image 
of God, but the inscription, which not Pilate but the Church has 
written on your forehead with indelible characters, reads: this is 
a Christian, a follower of Christ. From the image a'nd inscription on 
the cross, look at the image and inscription within you and see if they 
correspond. Examine your* conscience and ask yourselves whose 
image is this ? Must you not acknowledge the image is that of a 
vile sinner, of a violator of the commandments of God, but the 
inscription is that of a Christian called to sanctify. Must you not 
say : the image is that of a man who has forgotten his Redeemer and 
denied him by his works, but the inscription is that of a Christian 
who ought to live and die with his crucified God. Oh take courage, 
make the resolution that henceforth your works shall correspond to 
the glorious title of a disciple of Christ. 

Jesus is nailed to the cross, the cross is raised, there he hangs 
between heaven and earth praying to his heavenly Father: "Father, 



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forgive them, for they know not what they do J' Oh that word of sweet- 
ness and love, of patience and forbearance. As he once said : " a new 
commandment I give yon," so he can now say : a new example I give 
yon. Scourged and crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross, a 
frightful spectacle to the whole world he forgets his own pains and 
prays : Father, forgive them. He once gave the precept : pray for 
those that persecute and calumniate you ; he is the first to teach the 
observance of this precept by his own example. I)avid had prophe- 
sied : * Instead of loving me, they calumniated me but I prayed." 
Here you see the fulfillment of the prophecy. The Lord thinks it 
not sufficient to bear the sins of the world and to die for men, no, he 
even prays for his murderers; he demands no revenge but asks 
mercy for them : Father, forgive them. The blood of Abel cried to 
God from the earth for vengeance against his brother Cain, but my 
blood cries to thee, Oh God, for mercy and pardon : Father, forgive 
them. The thorns on my head, the nails in my hands and feet, the 
wounds of my body, the pains of my soul cry out : Father, forgive 
them. Offering to thee my tears, my blood, and my life, I pray, 
Father, forgive them. Let my blood, which these people have called 
upon themselves and their children, be more efficacious than that 
with which the Israelites sprinkled their door-posts, let it cause their 
purification, I ask no vengeance but mercy, I suffer all those things 
out of love for them. To-day is the day of pardon, the hour of 
superabundant redemption : Father, forgive them. 

Who can fully comprehend this mercy, grace, and ineffable love ? 
Jesus forgets their hard-heartedness, their obstinacy and cruelty ; he 
forgets their denial and ingratitude ; he displays nothing but love 
and mercy towards them. O crucified Jesus, how adorable art thou 
in this love. O praying Jesus, behold, around thy cross are assem- 
bled not only those who pierced thy hands and feet, but also those 
who love thee, who confess and adore thee as their Lord and God. 
O Jesus ! I recommend them and myself to thy prayer, Oh, pray for 
us to thy heavenly Father; Father forgive them. I know sweet 
Jesus that, not the Jews, but the sins of the world have crucified 
thee, I know that of thy own free will through love for us, thou hast 
offered thyself to death, I know that thou hast shed thy blood for 
me and for all those who hear me ; O Jesus, I recommend myself and 
them to thy prayer, Oh pray for us: Father, forgive them. Open, 
O sinners ! your hearts and ears, and hear the voice of your dying 
Redeemer praying for you : Father, forgive them. 



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If the suffering, bleeding, crucified, and dying Son of God does 
not move you, if you can look into his languid eyes without exclaim- 
ing: O Jesus, my love, I will show you the praying Jesus, who, 
lifting his pierced hands to heaven, prays for you with the voice of 
his lips, his heart, his wounds, and blood : Father, forgive them. 
Oh, for the sake of this love, love your Saviour, he is deserving of 
all your love, he has exhausted his love for you. Oh, that this 
divine prayer might exercise its holy influence over your hearts, that 
it might conquer and compel them to love ; Oh ! that in the conver- 
sion of your hearts it might celebrate a triumph as on Calvary, for 
there it saved one of the thieves, to whom the Lord said : " This 
day thou shaU be with me in paradise:' There it saved the Centurion 
and many of the Jews, who, with humility and contrition, struck 
their breasts and acknowledged him whom they had crucified to be 
their Redeemer, their Lord, and God, crying out : " Truly, this man 
was just, and the Son of God." There on Calvary, it prepared the 
hearts of thousands, who shortly after, by the Sacrament of Baptism, 
from children of darkness became children of God. O Christians, 
your Redeemer offers you from the cross the forgiveness of your sins ; 
were they even so great as to reach to the clouds, your Saviour has 
mercy on you ; were they even so abominable as to cry to heaven 
for vengeance, he will pardon them. Therefore do not harden your 
hearts this day, which is the day of mercy, but pray with the thief: 
Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. 

There were some women present at the crucifixion. Mary Magda- 
lene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, who witnessed the 
crucifixion from afar. Beneath the cross I see the mother of Jesus, 
and the disciple whom he loved, to his mother he said : " Woman, 
behold thy son," and to the disciple : " Son, behold thy mother." 
Christ prayed first, for his enemies ; then he spoke to the penitent 
thief and assured him of redemption, the fruit of his sufferings, and 
his admission into heaven ; only then had he a word for his afflicted 
mother, who, with a bleeding heart, stood beneath the cross. The lot 
of his enemies seems more enviable than that of his friends ; the 
heart of the Redeems is quicker and more deeply moved by the 
humble confession of the sinner than the heart of the Son by the 
unutterable sorrow of his most afflicted mother. St. Augustine 
remarks : he indeed preferred his mother to all others, but he wished 
to show the world how solicitous he was for the salvation of sinners, 
for this reason he addressed them fiist and then his mother. What 
did he say to her? " Woman, behold thy son." O word, sharper 



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thau a two-ejlged sword which wounded her heart. Her Son calls her 
no more by that sweet name of mother, which belongs to her by nature. 
He calls her no more as the angel had called her, mother of God, but 
simply woman. Why does our Saviour use this expression ? What 
had she done that she should forfeit the title of mother? Is Jesus 
ashamed of his mother? Ah, no, but it was done, that by the sweet name 
of mother he might not increase her grief. Another reason why he 
addressed her by the name of woman was : because he had declared 
with a solemn oath, " I am Christ, the Son of the living God." His 
enemies cried out to him : " If thou be the Son of God, come down 
from the cross." To prove that he was the Son of God he said to 
his mother : " woman, behold thy Son." This was the moment in 
in which the prophecy of the venerable Simeon was fulfilled: "a 
sword shall pierce thy soul." But oh! mother of God what an 
exchange, John is given to you in place of Jesus ; the disciple, for 
the master, the servant, for the Lord ; a mere man, for the true God. 
This was a great affliction for her maternal heart, for although John 
was holy and innocent, he was only a creature, whom she was to take 
in place of her Son who was born of her and who was God. 

" Son-, behold thy mother;" these words concern not onl v John, but us 
all, for she is given to us all as our mother, as much as if the Lord 
had said: up to this time thou wert my mother exclusively, but 
henceforth thou shalt be the mother of all ; as I die for all, so do you 
live for all. O Holy Virgin, happy the hour in which your Son gave 
you to us for our mother, so that we can say, we are children of your 
pains. Your Son called you woman, that you might become our 
mother, and whilst he has become our father of mercv and the God 
of consolation, you become our mother of mercy, our hope and our 
consolation. But where do you see her? She stands beneath the 
cross. The world has never seen holier persons than Jesus and Mary. 
He, the King of Kings, the Lord of Hosts ; she, the Queen of heaven ; 
he the Son of God, she the mother of God; he on the cross, she 
beneath the cross, but both not without the cross. And why? To 
teach us that in the cross alone, there is salvation. Jesus suffered to 
enter into his glory ; Mary the Immaculate, suffered to enter into the 
kingdom of God, and both, without guilt and sin, and you who are con- 
ceived and born in sin, who yourselves have sinned and spent the 
the greater part of your life in sin, you wish to be without a cross? 
Or will you, who are enemies of the cross, who do not look up to 
your suffering and dying Redeemer— but to sin— will you be able to 
ascend from earth to heaven without the cross? Do you think you 



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can obtain salvation without the cross of self-denial and penance? 
Have you forgotten what the Law says : " the measure of punish- 
ment will be according to the measure of sin." Therefore, O man, 
O sinner, here on Calvary where your Redeemer hangs on the cross, 
and the divine mother, the mother of mercy stands beneath the cross, 
but one choice is left to you, a choice on which depends your salva- 
tion or your damnation. Choose either with Jesus to carry the cross 
and enter into life eternal, or without the cross to be cast into hell. 

A great darkness covered the earth which lasted from the sixth to 
the ninth hour, and about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud ^ 
voice : " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me f" Knowing 
that all was fulfilled, he said : " I thirst" One of the soldiers, 
taking a sponge, filled it with vinegar and gall, and gave him to 
drink. What father seeing his son suffering and appealing to him 
for help, does not succor him ? That father mentioned in the Gospel, 
went to meet his prodigal son who had wasted his paternal substance, 
he kissed him and was rejoiced at his return. And the heavenly 
Father forsakes his Son, who, in his sufferings on the cross, struggles 
with death. Well, could he say with the Psalmist: "O my God, I 
shall cry by day and thou wilt not hear, and by night, and it shall be 
reputed as folly in me." In the garden I called at night, and thou 
heardest me not, now I cry by day, and thou forsakest me. Joseph 
prayed in the well, and God moved the hearts of his brethren to 
release him. Daniel prayed in the lions' den and God delivered him ; 
the three young men prayed in the fiery furnace of Babylon, and 
God made the fire a cooling wind. Jesus prays and God hears him 
not, his enemies surround him like lions, he is devoured by pains, he 
is rejected by his people, sold by his brethren, killed by those whom 
he loved, aud is also forsaken by his Father. " My God, my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me ? " 

The great pain of desolation was increased by a burning thirst. 
He had patiently endured everything and now he complains of thirst. 
He suffered dreadfully from a double thirst, a spiritual and a natural 
thirst. The natural thirst has its cause in the great loss of blood. 
Consider how much blood he lost in the garden of Olives, at his 
scourging, at the crowning with thorns, and by the crucifixion. His 
word, " I thirst" signifies also his interior spiritual thirst. O heavenly 
Father, when the Israelites thirsted in the desert, thou didst open a 
rock and give them water, thou didst send an angel to Hagar to show 
her a fountain, thou madest water come forth from the tooth of an 



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animal for Samson, thou hast given David to drink out of a cistern 
at Beth lehem, and behold, thy Son thirsts for more than three hours. 
Uh Jet his mother dip the tip of her finger in water to quench his 
burning thirst, for he suffers the most terrible pains. But the Father 
ictuses his Son this refreshment, he is refused a drink of water, gall 
and vinegar are given to him. Do you wish to know the true cause 
of our Redeemer's thirst? Hear, then, St. Augustine, who says in 
the person of the Lord : "My thirst is your salvation, my thirst is 
your redemption, I thirst for your faith and for your souls. The 
thirst for your souls torments me more than the thirst of my body." 

' These words of St. Augustine ought to sink deeply into our souls 
since they reveal to us the ineffable love of our Saviour. We should 
tiiink that Christians would quench that thirst of their Redeemer by 
dedicating themselves to his service, by thirsting for his justice, but 
with the Psalmist I will and must complain : " They thirst, but do 
Hot thirst for God." One thirsts for money; another for honors ; 
another for power, and scarcely one can be found who can truly .say • 
my soul thirsts for God. 

Having taken the vinegar and gall he .said : It is consummated, and 
once more cried out with a loud voice : Father, into thy hands I com- 
mend my spirit, and bowing down his head *e gave up the ghost.— 
Luke 23 : 46. When the priest at the altar offers to God the same 
sacrifice which the Son of God offered on the cross of Calvary 
namely, the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he says at the offertory : 
Accept, O holy Father, this unspotted Host, which I, thy unworthy 
servant offer thee, my living and true God, for my numberless sins, 
offences, and negligences, for all here present and for all faithful 
Christians, living and dead, that it may avail me and them to life . 
everlasting." Having offered this sacrifice, he turns to the people 
and .says : « Ite missa est," go, the sacrifice is offered, it is consumma- 
ted. Jesus said this offertory in the sacrifice which he celebrated on 
the cross, when he prayed to his Father : " Father, forgive them, 
accept this sacrifice as an expiation for the sins of the world," and the 
' He missa est," he sang when he said, " it is consummated." 

O the great and consoling words : It is consummated. But what 
is consummated ? The sacrifice of atonement, the sacrifice of salva- 
tion, the sacrifice of redemption. Mankind is saved, the heavens are 
opened, hell closed, sin atoned for. It is consummated, hear it, O ye 
heavens, and give ear, O earth. Heavenly Father, the holy sacrifice 
is consummated which appeases thy anger, satisfies thy justice, and 



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completes thy plan with the world. Thy creatures are ransomed, thy 
honor restored, peace established between heaven and earth. The 
angels may now chant on Calvary as formerly on the plains of Beth- 
lehem : Gloria in excelsis. It is consummated. From henceforth 
the mansions of bliss rendered vacant by the fall of the apostate 
angels, will be occupied by redeemed men. It is consummated, hear 
it, O man, your debt is cancelled, the curse is wiped out, God is again 
your father and friend, heaven your inheritance, the devil has no 
more ["power over you, you are delivered from eternal death. It is 
consummated, namely the work which the Prophets had foretold, 
which the Patriarchs had foreshadowed, for behold here the true 
Abel, who by his brethren is led out to the field and slain ; behold here 
the true Noe, who is mocked by his sons in his nakedness ; behold 
here the true Joseph with his coat dipped in the blood of his humanity; 
behold here the true Isaac, who not only carried on his shoulders the 
wood for the sacrifice, but who is also the victim on the wood ; behold 
the brazen serpent of Moses, by whom every one that looks up is 
saved ; behold here the true Moses, the Mediator between God and 
his people ; the true High-priest Aaron, who offers himself ; behold 
the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. It is 
consummated, what thy eternal wisdom had decreed, what thy divine 
justice had demanded ; what the mercy of Jesus had promised ; the 
Angels rejoice, the Patriarchs exult in their prison house, and hell 
trembles, the prince of this world is defeated, he skulks back to his 
dismal abode, and ransomed humanity triumphs. 

But scarce has the world received these joyful tidings : It is con- 
summated, when a heart-rending voice is heard from the cross ; 
Father, into thy hand& I commend my spirit But why? Oh may 
the darkened sun tell you why. May the rocks that are rent, as it 
were, out of compassion, may the earth that trembles, may the dead 
that rise from their graves, may the veil of the temple which is rent 
from the top to the bottom, may the most afflicted Virgin Mother 
tell you the reason. Oh mother of God, why has thy Son cried out 
in so doleful a manner. Ah, she says he has died the bitter death of 
the cross, died for all, bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost. 
Thus our Lord died on the cross. Mourn, O sun, for the Sun of 
Justice has died, be extinguished O light of heaven, for the divine 
Light is extinguished, tremble O earth, for thy Lord and God has 
returned his soul into the hands of his Father. You know why he 
died? He died for the sins of the world. Do you not yet under- 
stand the enormity and grievousness of sin ? When, if not at present, 



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will you learn to hate and detest your sins which have crucified Jesus. 
When our Saviour died, rocks were rent and the people returned to 
Jerusalem striking their breasts. Will you alone remain unmoved? 
Look at the wounded body of Jesus, the Lord has made a vintage of 
him, as he said in the day of his fierce anger. What more could the 
Son of God do for you, that he has not done ? You deserved death, 
but he died for you, that you may live. Does he not deserve your 
undivided love and affection ? Oh love this sweet Jesus with your 
whole heart and soul, renounce sin, fall on your knees and pray : Sweet 
Jesus from the depth of our misery we sinners cry to thee, Lord hear 
our supplication for mercy and grace. We hate and* detest, bewail 
and lament our sins. In thee, O crucified Jesus, we put all our hope 
and confidence, for with thee is redemption ; thou hast redeemed 
Jacob, and Israel is glorified. Lord Jesus, save us, strengthen our 
faith, and inflame us with the fire of charity, that we may live and 
die in thy love. Amen. 



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