Rorate Caeli

The Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Passion meditated at the feet of the Blessed Sacrament

Fr. A.-Joseph Chauvin S.S.S.

Alejo de Vahía
Cristo Crucificado (c. 1500)
Church of Saint Francis, Palencia

They crucified Him…Jesus has reached Calvary. The cross is driven into the ground, the hammers, the nails are prepared; the ladders are straightened, the ropes stretched… The executioners are at the point of beginning the death sentence… The soldiers brutally seize Jesus, loosen the chains, tear off His garments and leave almost naked Him, “Who clothed the sky with stars and the earth with flowers.” They tie the Saviour to the ropes which are thrown over the two arms of the Cross and raise Him up. They then stretch the arms and tie them to the horizontal crossbar, then each of them taking a nail and a hammer, the barbarians nail His hands and feet to the wood of the Cross. The meek Lamb offers Himself to the executioners of this unjust sentence, without putting up any resistance!

They want to tie His arms – He gives them; they want to pierce His hands, He opens them; they want to nail His feet, He presents them; they want to replace the crown of thorns upon Him , He offers His Head, already wounded so much… From the heights of the cross He is ready to bear everything for our well-being.

He has placed Himself in the hands of the evil ones, that they may do what they want… And not one complaint, nor a cry of indignation! If the mark of the Divinity is found in the Gospel, here it shines with greater splendor!

The prophecy announced for more than a thousand years has today been fulfilled: “They have pierced my hands and my feet and they have numbered all my bones.” Jesus had often announced this cruel death: some days before He had said to the Apostles very clearly that He was about to be placed in the hands of the Gentiles in order to be mocked, scourged and crucified.

It cannot be mistaken therefore: it is not an ordinary man that mounts the gibbet of the Cross; no; it is God, because only God can predict in the most minute details, the type and circumstances of His own Death.

The hour of the Sacrifice marked by the Father has arrived. The executioners have no need to use violence: the Victim presents His hands and feet spontaneously, that they may be nailed to the Cross. His face, though tormented by thorns, now allows a ray of almost infinite joy to shine through, which floods His Soul… With what satisfaction Jesus sees the earth drink the Blood which must purify and redeem it.

Who would not feel his heart full of gratitude in the face of so much love!

For me, for my well-being, the Son of God is suspended, in the midst of atrocious sufferings, to the gibbet of the Cross. To expiate the bad use that I have made of my hands and my feet, His hands and feet are nailed to the wood of ignominy. To expiate all the sins of touch, all the confusion of my actions, all my guilty steps, He allowed His hands and feet to be pierced… To spare my members from the eternal fire of Hell, He submitted His to intolerable sufferings… Love obliges Him to keep His arms open in order to embrace me, Love obliges Him to keep His feet nailed to await me.

Who will give me the power to read on this Divine Book - on the crucified Body of Jesus - in which as many letters as wounds which teach and command love are read?

“They crucified Him…” Those who asked Pilate to have Jesus crucified wanted to inflict upon Him a cruel death and at the same time an ignominious one. Crucifixion was the most painful torture invented by human barbarism. In fact those condemned to death had their hands and feet pierced, parts which, composed of nerves and veins, are extremely sensitive to pain. The weight of the hanging body, caused the pain to be continuous and increase until death; the loss of blood brought fire into the veins and caused an ardent thirst; the tortures that finished with the life of the victim, all made this death fearsome… We add, with the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, that the Body of Christ, being perfect and in full vigour, was much more sensitive to pain.

Crucifixion was also the most infamous torture which could be inflicted on criminals and it was habitually reserved for abject delinquents and especially for slaves. What a humiliation! To increase the opprobrium, Jesus is crucified along with two well-known brigands. He was placed in the middle: “In similar circumstances – writes the Seraphic Doctor St. Bonaventure – was not the place of honour the height of humiliation?”

And on the infamous gibbet He is exposed, almost naked, to the eyes of the multitude who jeer at Him and consider Him to be cursed!

Who are the executioners who have dared to inflict such cruelty on Jesus? The people He had loved and lavished with benefits during their lives. They crucified those hands which were raised to comfort and bless; those hands which, so recently, the day before, had left them the most Sacred pledge of His Love: the Holy Eucharist.

Ungrateful ones!

But why should I be so indignant against the cruelty of the people? Are not all sinners the executioners of Jesus? The Gospel mentions no name of the executioners who crucified Him, to make us understand that we, sinners more than the soldiers, who were simple instruments, have crucified the Saviour of the world…

Thus, Jesus has seen each one of us distinctly, strike the nails which pierced His hands and feet with the deicide hammer.

[Text selected, translated and adapted by Contributor Francesca Romana.]


  1. The verdict is that both Jew and Gentile are found culpable of this act of deicide. Both are implicated in such an act of "human barbarism". In many respects, His Precious Blood is upon us all either as a saving grace cleansing our souls from sin or leaving a mark of eternal guilt and condemnation. Let us pray for the lost souls.

  2. He came by the power of the Holy Spirit, that he might be crucified for the forgiveness of "All Sins". I probably have the interpretation incorrect, I myself am an imperfect vessel. As we go thru this World, let us remember to do God's Will, not ours, I pray in Jesus name.

  3. It's a moving meditation, Thank you.

  4. Here's my attempt at capturing poetically (couplets in rhymed iambic pentameter)the beauty of the Holy Trinity and, on the occasion of Holy Week,the sacrificial ransoming of man by Christ. (More on the five epistles which make up 1000 or so lines of the whole poem @

    The Articles of Faith―The Creed 76.

    In God, Almighty Father I believe, 77.
    Creator Heaven and the earth I cleave. 78.
    And Jesus Christ, His only Son, Logos, 79.
    Became incarnate by the Holy Ghost. 80.
    To blessed Virgin Mary He was born. 81.
    And under Pontius Pilate crown’d with thorn. 82.
    Was crucified, died, and then laid away. 83.
    Descend’d into Hell and on the third day, 84.
    Rose from the dead according to Scripture; 85.
    To heaven soar’d He, Prince, our blest Savior, 86.
    Where sitteth He at God the Father’s right 87.
    Among the saints and angels starry bright. 88.
    Thence He shall judge both the quick and the
    dead. 89.
    And in the Holy Ghost, dove overspread. 90.
    And I believe in the Church genuine, 91.
    Communion of saints, and reprieve of sin. 92.
    The resurrection of the body then 93.
    And the life of the world to come―Amen. 94

    [Christ's Mission 125.

    IHESUS our expiation, our ransom; 126.
    God sent God-man for bloody Martyrdom, 127.
    God’s own atonement for the sins of Man, 128.
    Who tabl’d with sinners and publicans! 129.
    “Sin no more” the adultress He forgave! 130.
    For true to his name, “Jesus” is “God saves”! 131.
    And temple from, The Lamb! drove fleecers fro! 132.
    And chairs and tables, He did overthrow! 133.
    Lamb of God and Good Shepard both at once! 134.
    And Pharisees and Scribes He did affront, 135.
    This Lion, the Messiah, Prince of Peace, 136.
    The Blessed carpenter, man’s battlepiece. 137.
    Anoited and anoiter each be He, 138.
    Christ, mankind’s only true felicity. 139.
    Kyrie Eleison, the Lord had mercy, 140.
    Christe Eleison, Christ was His mercy. 141.
    Then, now, and evermore our Advocate, 142.
    Redeemer foretold, He does manumit 143.
    Us from the fomes, slavery of sin. 144.
    Bliss ours if we abide His discipline: 145.
    “Take up my yoke upon you, learn of me” 146.
    For I am meekness and humility 147.
    In me you’ll find calm to your soul’s delight 148.
    “For my yoke is sweet and my burden light” 149.


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