for Holy Monday
Jesus is placed on the Cross
No sooner had the Redeemer arrived, all suffering and wearied out, at Calvary, than they strip Him of His clothes, - that now stick to His wounded flesh, - and then cast Him down upon the cross. Jesus stretches forth His holy hands, and at the same time offers His life to the Eternal Father, and prays of Him to accept it for the salvation of mankind. In the nest place, the executioners savagely lay hold of the nails and hammers, and, nailing His hands and His feet, they fasten Him to the cross.
O ye Sacred Hands, which by a mere touch have so often healed the sick, wherefore are they now nailing you upon the cross? O Holy Feet, which have encountered so much fatigue in your search after us lost sheep, wherefore do they now transfix you with so much pain? When a nerve is wounded in the human body, so great is the suffering, that it occasions convulsions and fits of fainting: what, then, must not the suffering of Jesus have been, in having nails driven through His hands and feet, parts which are most full of nerves and muscles!
O my sweet Saviour! So much did the desire of seeing me saved and of gaining my love cost Thee! And I have so often ungratefully despised Thy love for nothing; but now I prize it above every good.
The Cross is now raised up together with the Crucified, and they let it fall down with a shock into the hole that had been made for it in the rock. It is then made firm by stones and pieces of wood; and Jesus remains hanging upon it, to leave His life thereon. The afflicted Saviour, now about to die upon that bed of pain, and finding Himself in such desolation and misery, seeks for someone to console Him, but finds none.
Surely, my Lord, those men will at least compassionate Thee, now that Thou are dying! But no; I hear some outraging Thee, some ridiculing Thee, and others blaspheming Thee, saying to Thee, “Come down from the cross if Thou art the Son of God. He has saved others, and now He cannot save Himself.”
Alas, you barbarians, He is now about to die, according as you desire; at least torment Him not with your reviling.
See how much thy dying Redeemer is suffering upon that gibbet! Each member suffers its own pain, and the one cannot come to the help of the other. Alas, how does He experience in every moment the pains of death! Well may it be said that in those three hours during which Jesus was suffering His agony upon the cross, He suffered as many deaths as were the moments that He remained there. He find not there even the slightest relief or repose, whether He lean His weight upon His hands or upon His feet; wheresoever He leans the pain is increased, His most holy body hanging suspended, as it does, from His very wounds themselves. Go, my soul, and tenderly draw nigh to theat cross, and kiss that altar, whereon thy Lord is dying a victim of love for thee. Place thyself beneath His feet, and let that Divine Blood trickle down upon thee.
Yes, my dear Jesus, let this Blood wash me from all my sins, and set me all on fire with love towards Thee, my God, Who hast been willing to die for love of me. Do thou, O suffering Mother, who dost stand at the foot of the cross, pray to Jesus for me.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week