Rorate Caeli

Saint Alphonsus in Holy Week:
IV - Feria Quarta (Holy Wednesday): Christ speaks from the Cross

for Holy Wednesday

The Words spoken by Jesus upon the Cross


While Jesus upon the cross is being outraged by that barbarous populace, what is it that He is doing? He is praying for them, and saying, O My Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. O Eternal Father, hearken to this Thy Beloved Son, Who, in dying, prays Thee to forgive me too, who have outraged Thee so much. Then Jesus, turning to the good thief, who prays Him to have mercy upon him, replies: Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise. Oh, how true is that which the Lord spake by the mouth of Ezekiel, that when a sinner repents of his faults, He, as it were, blots out from His memory, all the offences of which he has been guilty: But if the wicked do penance…I will not remember all his iniquities.

O would that it were true, my Jesus, that I had never offended Thee! But, since the evil is done, remember no more, I pray Thee, the displeasures that I have given Thee; and, by that bitter death which Thou hast suffered for me, take me to Thy Kingdom after my death; and, while I live, let Thy love reign within my soul.


Jesus, in His agony upon the cross, with every part of His body full of torture, and deluged with affliction in His soul, seeks for someone to console Him. He looks toward Mary; but that sorrowing Mother only adds by her grief to His affliction. He casts His eyes around Him and there is no one that gives Him comfort. He asks His Father for consolation; but the Father, beholding Him covered with all the sins of men, even He too abandons Him; and then it was that Jesus cried out with a loud voice: Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? My God, My God, why has Thou also abandoned Me? This abandonment by the Eternal Father caused the death of Jesus Christ to be more bitter than any that has ever fallen the lot of either penitent or martyr; for it was a death of perfect desolation, and bereft of every kind of relief.

O my Jesus! How is it that I have been able to live so long a time in forgetfulness of Thee? I return Thee thanks that Thou has not been unmindful of me. Oh, I pray Thee ever to keep me in mind of the bitter death which Thou has embraced for love of me, that so I may never be unmindful of the love which Thou hast borne me!


Jesus then, knowing that His sacrifice was now completed, said that He was thirsty: He said, I thirst. And the executioners then reached up to His mouth a sponge, filled with vinegar and gall.

But, Lord, how is it that Thou does make no complaint of those many pains which are taking away Thy life, but complainst only of thirst?

Ah, I understand Thee, my Jesus; Thy thirst is a thirst of love; because Thou lovest us, Thou dost desire to be beloved by us. Oh, help me to drive away from my heart all affection which are not for Thee; make me to love none other but Thee, and to have no other desire save that of doing Thy will.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week

[Contributor Francesca Romana]