"Pray that you may not enter into temptation". —And Peter fell asleep. —And the other apostles. —And you, little friend, fell asleep…, and I too was another sleepyheaded Peter.
Jesus, alone and sad, suffers and soaks the earth with His blood.
Kneeling on the hard ground, He perseveres in prayer… He weeps for you… and for me: the weight of the sins of men overwhelms Him.
Pater, si vis, transfer calicem istum a me. —Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me… Yet not my will, sed tua fiat, but Thine be done (Luke 22:42).
An Angel from Heaven comforts Him. —Jesus is in agony. —He continues prolixius, praying more intensely… —He approaches us, who are asleep: Arise, pray —He says again—, lest you enter into temptation (Luke 22:46).
Judas the traitor: a kiss. —Peter's sword gleams in the night. —Jesus speaks: Are you come, as to a robber, to apprehend Me? (Mark 14:48)
We are cowards: we follow Him from afar, but awake and praying. —Prayer… Prayer…
Pilate speaks: It is your custom that I release one prisoner to you on the Pasch. Whom shall I set free, Barabbas —a thief jailed with others for a murder —or Jesus? (Matt 27:17) —Put this man to death and release unto us Barabbas, cries the multitude, incited by their chief priests (Luke 23:18).
Pilate speaks again: What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ? (Matt 27:22) —Crucifige eum! Crucify Him!
Pilate, for the third time, says to them: Why, what evil has He done? I find no fault in Him that deserves death (Luke 23:22).
The clamour of the mob grows louder: Crucify Him, crucify Him! (Mark 15:14)
And Pilate, wishing to please the populace, releases Barabbas to them and orders Jesus to be scourged.
Bound to the pillar. Covered with wounds.
The blows of the lash sound upon His torn flesh, upon His undefiled flesh, that suffers for your sinful flesh. —More blows. More fury. Still more… It is the last extreme of human cruelty.
Finally, exhausted, they unbind Jesus. —And the body of Christ yields to pain and falls limp, broken and half dead.
You and I are unable to speak. —Words are not needed. —Look at Him, look at Him… slowly. After this… can you ever fear penance?
Our King's eagerness for suffering has been fully satisfied! —They lead Our Lord to the courtyard of the palace, and there they call together their whole band (Mark 15:16). —The brutal soldiers strip His most pure body. —They drape a dirty purple rag about Jesus. —A reed, as a sceptre, in His right hand…
The crown of thorns, driven in by blows, makes Him a mock king… Ave Rex Judeorum! —Hail, King of the Jews (Mark 15:18). And with their blows they wound His head. And they strike Him… and they spit on Him.
Crowned with thorns and clothed in rags of purple, Jesus is shown to the Jewish mob: Ecce Homo! —Behold the Man! And again the chief priests and the ministers raise the cry, saying: Crucify Him, crucify Him (John 19:5-6).
—You and I…, haven't we crowned Him anew with thorns, and struck Him and spit on Him?
Never more, Jesus, never more… And a firm and concrete resolution marks the end of these ten Hail Marys.
Carrying His Cross, Jesus goes out toward Calvary, a place that in Hebrew is called Golgotha (John 19:17). —And they lay hold of a certain Simon of Cyrene, who is coming from a farm; and they make him take the Cross and carry it after Jesus (Luke 23:26).
The prophesy of Isaiah (53:12) has been fulfilled: cum sceleratis reputatus est, He was counted among the wicked: for two others, who were robbers, were led with Him to be put to death (Luke 23:32).
If anyone would follow me… Little friend: we are sad, living the Passion of Our Lord Jesus. —See how lovingly He embraces the Cross. —Learn from Him. —Jesus carries the Cross for you: you… carry it for Jesus.
But don't drag the Cross… Carry it squarely on your shoulder, because your Cross, if you carry it so, will not be just any Cross: it will be… the Holy Cross. Don't bear your Cross with resignation: resignation is not a generous word. Love the Cross. When you really love it, your Cross will be… a Cross, without a Cross.
And surely you, like Him, will find Mary on the way.
For Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, the throne of triumph is ready. You and I do not see Him writhe on being nailed: suffering all that can be suffered, He spreads His arms with the gesture of an Eternal Priest…
The soldiers take His holy garments and divide them into four parts. —In order not to tear the tunic, they cast lots to decide whose it shall be. —And so, once more, the words of the Scripture are fulfilled: They have parted my garments among them and for my robe they have cast lots (John 19:23-24).
Now He is on high… And close to her Son, at the foot of the Cross, stand Mary… and Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. And John, the disciple whom He loved. Ecce mater tua! —Behold thy mother! —He gives us His Mother for our own.
Earlier they had offered Him wine mingled with gall, and when He had tasted it, He would not drink (Matt 27:34).
Now He thirsts… for love, for souls.
Consummatum est. —It is consummated (John 19:30).
Foolish child, look: all this… He has suffered it all for you… and for me. —Can you keep from crying?