for Palm Sunday
Jesus Carries the Cross to Calvary
The sentence upon Our Saviour having been published, they straightway seize hold of Him in their fury: they strip Him anew of that purple rag, and put His own raiment upon Him, to lead Him away to be crucified on Calvary, - the place appropriated for the execution of criminals: They took off the cloak from Him, and put on Him His own garments, and led Him away to crucify Him.” (Matt. xxvii 31.) They then lay hold of two rough beams, and quickly make them into a cross, and order Him to carry it on His shoulders to the place of His punishment. What cruelty, to lay upon the criminal the gibbet on which he has to die!
But this is Thy lot, O my Jesus, because Thou has taken my sins upon Thyself.
Jesus refuse not the cross; with love He embraces it, as being the altar whereon is destined to be completed the sacrifice of His life for the salvation of men: And bearing His own Cross, He went forth to that place which is called Calvary. The condemned criminals now come forth from Pilate’s residence, and in the midst of them there goes also our condemned Lord. O that sight which filled both heaven and earth with amazement! To see the Son of God going to die for the sake of those very men from whose hands He is receiving His death! Behold the prophecy fulfilled: And I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim. The appearance that Jesus made on this journey was so pitiable that the Jewish women, on beholding Him, followed Him in tears: They bewailed and lamented Him.
O my Redeemer! By the merits of this sorrowful journey of Thine, give me strength to bear my cross with patience. I accept of all the sufferings and contempts which Thou dost destine for me to undergo. Thou hast rendered them lovely and sweet by embracing them for love of us: give me strength to endure them with calmness.
Behold, my soul, now that thy condemned Saviour is passing, behold how He moves along, dripping with blood that keeps flowing from His still fresh wounds, crowned with thorns, and laden with the cross. Alas, how at every motion is the pain of all His wounds renewed! The Cross, from the first moment, begins its torture, pressing heavily upon His wounded shoulders, and cruelly acting like a hammer upon the thorns of the crown. O God! At every step, how great are the sufferings! Let us meditate upon the sentiments of love wherewith Jesus, in this journey, is drawing nigh to Calvary, where death stands awaiting Him.
Ah, my Jesus, Thou art going to die for us. In time past I have turned my back upon Thee, I would that I could die of grief on this account! But for the future I have not the heart to leave Thee, O my Redeemer, my God, my love, my all! O Mary, my Mother, do thou obtain for me strength to bear my cross in peace.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week