Of the Death of Jesus
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
We have now to-Witness a New Kind-of Martyrdom - a Mother
Condemned to-See an Innocent Son, and
One Whom she Loves-with the Whole
Affection-of her Soul, Cruelly
Tormented and put-to Death, before her own Eyes:
"There stood-by the Cross-of Jesus, His Mother". Saint John believed-that in these Words, he had Said-enough of
Mary's Martyrdom. Consider
her at the Foot-of the Cross in the Presence-of her
Dying Son, and then see if there be
Sorrow like-unto her Sorrow. Let us Remain-for
awhile this Day on-Calvary, and consider the Fifth (5th)
Sword which, in the Death-of Jesus, Transfixed
the Heart-of Mary.
Raising of the Cross (detail) -
by RUBENS, Pieter Pauwel -
from O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp
As-soon-as our Agonized Redeemer had reached the
Mount-of-Calvary, the Executioners 'Stripped'
Him of His Clothes, and
Piercing His Hands and Feet
"not with Sharp, but with Blunt Nails", as Saint Bernard says, "to Torment Him
more", they Fastened Him on the Cross.
Having Crucified Him, they Planted the
Cross, and thus left Him to-Die.
The Executioners left Him; but not-so
Mary. She then drew nearer-to the Cross,
to be Present-at His Death: "I did
not leave Him" (thus the Blessed Virgin revealed-to Saint Bridget), "but
stood nearer-to the Cross". "But what did it avail thee, O Lady", says Saint Bonaventure,
"to go to Calvary, and see this Son Expire? Shame should have Prevented thee; for His Disgrace was thine, since thou wert His
Mother. At least, Horror-of Witnessing such a Crime, as the Crucifixion-of a God by His own Creatures, should have Prevented thee from going
there", But the same Saint answers, "Ah, thy Heart did not then Think-of its own Sorrows, but of the Sufferings and
Death of thy Dear Son", and therefore thou wouldst
thyself be-Present, at least to-'Compassionate' Him. "Ah, True
Mother", says the Abbot William, "most Loving Mother, whom not even the Fear-of Death, could Separate-from thy
But, O God, what a Cruel Sight was it, there to-Behold this
Son in Agony, on the
Cross; and at its Foot, this Mother in Agony,
Suffering all the Torments endured-by
her Son! Listen-to the Words in which
Mary revealed-to Saint Bridget, the Sorrowful State in-which
she saw her Dying
Son on the Cross: "My Dear Jesus was Breathless, Exhausted, and in
His Last Agony on the Cross; His Eyes were Sunk, Half-closed, and Lifeless; His Lips Hanging, and His Mouth Open; His Cheeks Hollow and Drawn-in; His Face
Elongated; His Nose Sharp; His Countenance Sad: His Head had Fallen-on His Breast, His Hair was Black with Blood, His Stomach Collapsed, His Arms and Legs
Stiff, and His Whole Body covered-with Wounds and Blood".
All these Sufferings-of Jesus, were also those-of
Mary: "Every Torture Inflicted-on the Body of Jesus", says Saint Jerome,
"was a Wound-in the Heart-of the Mother". "Whoever then was present on the
Mount-of-Calvary", says Saint John Chrysostom, "might see Two Altars, on which Two Great Sacrifices were Consummated;
the One in the Body-of Jesus, the Other in the Heart-of Mary". Nay, better still may we say with Saint Bonaventure, "there
was but One Altar - that of the Cross-of the Son, on which, together with this Divine Lamb, the Victim, the Mother was also Sacrificed";
therefore the Saint asks this Mother, "O Lady, where art thou? Near the Cross? Nay,
rather, thou art on the Cross, Crucified, Sacrificing thyself, with thy Son". Saint Augustine assures us of the same thing:
"The Cross and Nails of the Son, were also those of His Mother; with Christ Crucified, the Mother was also Crucified".
Yes; for, as Saint Bernard says, "Love, Inflicted-on the Heart-of Mary the Tortures caused-by the Nails in the Body of
Jesus". So-much-so that, as Saint Bernardine writes, "At the same-Time that the Son Sacrificed His Body, the Mother
Sacrificed her Soul".
Mothers ordinarily Fly-from the Presence-of their Dying Children; but when a Mother is Obliged-to Witness
such a Scene, she Procures all-possible Relief-for her Child; she Arranges his Bed, that he may be more-at-Ease; she Administers Refreshments to him; and
thus the Poor Mother, Soothes her own Grief. Ah, most
Afflicted-of all Mothers! O
Mary, thou hast to-Witness the Agony-of the
Dying Jesus; but thou
canst Administer Him no Relief. Mary heard
her Son 'Exclaim', "I Thirst",
but she could not even give-Him a Drop-of Water
to-Refresh Him, in that Great Thirst.
She could only say, as Saint Vincent Ferrer remarks, "My Son, I have only the Water-of Tears".
She saw that on that Bed-of-Torture
her Son, Suspended-by Three (3)
Nails, could find no Repose; she would have 'Clasped'
Him in her Arms, to-give Him Relief, or that
at-least He might-there, have Expired; but
she could not.
The Mystical Wine-Press - by Marco dal Pino (Marco da Siena) - from Vatican Museum
(Click to see entire Painting)
"I have Trodden the Winepress alone; I looked about, and there was None-to Help;
I Sought, and there was None-to give Aid".
"In Vain", says Saint Bernard, "did she Extend her Arms; they Sank-back Empty, on her
Breast". She beheld that Poor
Son, Who in His
Sea-of-Grief, sought Consolation, as it was Foretold-by the Prophet, but in Vain:
"I have Trodden the Winepress Alone; I looked about, and there was None to Help; I Sought, and there was None to give
Aid". But, who amongst Men would Console Him, since All were
Enemies? Even on the Cross, He was
Taunted and Blasphemed on all Sides: "and
they that passed-by, Blasphemed Him, wagging their Heads". Some said in His Face,
"If thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross". Others, "He Saved others, Himself He
cannot Save". Again, "If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the Cross".
Our Blessed Lady herself said-to Saint Bridget, "I heard some say that my Son was a
Thief; others, that He was an Impostor; others, that no one deserved Death more-than He did; and every Word was a new Sword-of-Grief, to my Heart".
But that which most-Increased the Sorrows which Mary Endured,
through Compassion-for her Son, was hearing
Him Complain-on the Cross, that even His Eternal
Father had Abandoned Him: "My
God, My God, why hast Thou Forsaken Me"? Words which the Divine Mother told the same Saint Bridget,
could never, during her Whole Life, depart-from her
Mind. So that the Afflicted
Mother saw her Jesus
Suffering on-every-side; she Desired-to 'Comfort'
Him, but could not. And that which Grieved
her the most, was to see that she herself, by her
Presence and Sorrow, Increased the Sufferings-of
her Son. "The Grief", says Saint Bernard,
"which filled Mary's Heart, as a Torrent Flowed-into and Embittered the Heart-of Jesus". "So
much so", says the same Saint, "that Jesus, on the Cross, Suffered-more from Compassion-for His Mother, than from His
own Torments". He thus speaks-in the Name-of our Blessed Lady: "I stood
with my eyes Fixed on-Him, and His on-me, and He Grieved more for-me, than for-Himself". And then, speaking-of
Mary beside her Dying
Son, he says, "that she lived Dying, without being able-to Die". "Near
the Cross-of Christ, His Mother stood half-Dead; she Spoke not; Dying she Lived, and Living she Died; nor could she Die, for Death was her very Life".
Passino writes that Jesus Christ Himself one-day, speaking-to Blessed Baptista-Varani-of-Camerino, assured her
that when on the Cross, so-Great was His
Affliction, at-Seeing His Mother at
His Feet, in such Bitter Anguish, that Compassion-for
her, caused-Him to Die, without
Consolation; so-much-so, that the Blessed Baptista, being Supernaturally Enlightened as-to the
Greatness-of this Suffering-of Jesus, 'Exclaimed',
"O Lord, tell me no more of this Thy Sorrow, for I can no-longer Bear it".
"Woman, Behold thy son"
(Click on Image to Enlarge, and see the Image-of-Christ
speaking to them, in both their Eyes)
"All", says Simon-of-Cassia, "who then saw this Mother silent, and not uttering a
Complaint in the midst of such Great Suffering, were Filled-with Astonishment". But, if Mary's
Lips were Silent, her Heart was not so, for
she Incessantly Offered the Life-of her
Son, to the Divine Justice, for our Salvation.
Therefore we know that by the Merits-of her
Dolors, she Cooperated-in our Birth-to the
Life-of-Grace; and hence we are the Children-of her
Sorrows. "Christ", says Lanspergius, "was pleased that she, the Cooperatress
in our Redemption, and whom He had determined to-give us for our Mother, should be-there Present; for it was at the Foot-of the Cross that she was to bring us,
her Children, forth". If any Consolation entered that Sea-of-Bitterness, the
Heart of Mary, the only One was this, that
she knew that by her Sorrows,
she was Leading us to Eternal (∞)
Salvation, as Jesus Himself revealed-to Saint Bridget: "My Mother Mary, on
account of her Compassion and Love, was made the Mother-of all in Heaven and on Earth". And indeed these were the Last Words with-which
Jesus bid her 'Farewell', before
His Death: this was His Last Recommendation,
leaving us to her for her Children, in the Person-of Saint John:
"Woman, Behold thy son". From that Time, Mary
began-to Perform this Good 'Office', of a Mother for us; for Saint-Peter-Damian attests,
"that by the Prayers of Mary, who stood between the Cross-of the Good Thief, and that of her Son, the Thief was Converted and
Saved, and thereby she Repaid a former Service". For, as other Authors also-Relate, this Thief (Dismas) had been Kind-to
Jesus and Mary on their Journey-to Egypt; and this same 'Office', the
Blessed Virgin has ever-Continued, and still-Continues, to-Perform.
- End of Liguori Sermon -
A Young Man in Perugia promised the Devil, that if he
would enable him to-Attain a Sinful Object, he had in-View, he would give
him his Soul; and he gave him a Written
Contract, to this Effect, Signed-in his Own Blood. When the Crime had been committed, the
Devil demanded the Performance-of the Promise; and for this Purpose, led him to the Brink-of a Well, at
the same-Time Threatening, that if he did not throw himself in, he
would Drag him, Body and Soul, to
Hell. The Wretched Youth, thinking that it would be Impossible-to Escape-from his hands,
got on the little Parapet, to Cast himself in; but Terrified at the Idea-of
Death, he told the Devil that he had not-Courage to-take the Leap, but that if
he was Determined-on his Death,
he must Push him in. The Young Man wore a Scapular-of the Dolors-of
Mary; the Devil therefore said, "Take off that Scapular, and then
I will Push thee in". But the Youth, discovering in the Scapular, the Protection 'still' Vouchsafed-to him by the
Divine Mother, Refused-to do so, and at-length, after much Altercation, the Devil, filled-with
Confusion, departed; and the Sinner, Grateful-to the Sorrowful
Mother, went to-Thank her, and,
Penitent-for his Sins, Presented as a Votive Offering to
her Altar, in the Church-of Santa-Maria-la-Nuova, in Perugia, a Picture-of what had taken place.
Ah, Mother, the most Sorrowful of all mothers, thy Son is, then, Dead; that Son so Amiable, and Who Loved thee
so much! Weep, then, for thou hast Reason to Weep. Who can ever Console thee? The Thought alone, that Jesus, by His Death, Conquered Hell, Opened Heaven,
until then closed-to Men, and Gained so-many Souls, can Console thee.
From that Throne-of the Cross He will Reign-in so, many Hearts, which, conquered-by His Love, will serve Him
with Love. Disdain not, in the meantime, O my Mother, to Keep me near thee, to Weep with thee, since I have so much Reason to-Weep, for the Crimes
by-which I have Offended Him. Ah, Mother-of-Mercy, I Hope, First, through the Death-of my Redeemer, and then through thy Sorrows, to obtain Pardon and
Many of us have taken the Passion and Crucifixion-of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, more-or-less, for-granted. We have Grown 'Callous' to its Absolute
Horror, Brutality and
Terror, via a too-easy Familiarity-with the Accounts-of the Four (4) Gospels,
which are Lacking-in Specific Detail, and Paint no-Definite Picture (Remember that the Writers of the Four (4)
Gospels, assumed-that Readers-of their Gospels, would be Intimately Familiar-with the Brutality-of-Crucifixion,
and that the Reader had probably 'Witnessed' one-or-more of these 'Public' Executions, in their Lifetime).
From the Public Secular Web Site, "Wikipedia", which gives Accurate and Unbiased Historical Information, on all Subjects:
Crucifixion was Performed-to Humiliate and
Punish the Victim; and to Terrorize and
Dissuade its Witnesses. Although Artists have depicted the Figure-on a Cross, with a Loin Cloth or a
covering-of the Genitals, writings by Seneca-the-Younger, suggest that Victims were
Crucified completely-Nude (i.e., to Humiliate). When the Victim had
to Urinate or Defecate, they had to do so in the Open, in view-of Passers-by, resulting in Discomfort and the
Attraction-of Insects. Enough!!! Even Mel Gibson's great "Passion-of-the-Christ", which is criticized-by the Secular Press as too-Graphic, stops
way-short-of these Accurate Considerations.
If a close Member-of our Family, had undergone such Terrible Treatment, we would be
Searching-out every Detail; therefore, it is only fitting that we Search-out every Detail-of the
Death-of the One Who Loves us more-than Life itself, so that we may more-Fully Appreciate
the Vast Extent and Depth-of His Love, and the Love of
His Mother. We may also see the
Horrific Damage, done-by our Sins. At this 'Culminating' Point-of Human History, the smallest-detail has
Infinite (∞) Value.
Although no Written-Record or Corpse, remains-for us to-examine, God Almighty
has given us Graphically-Detailed, Hard-Evidence-of the Horrors and
Brutality, which His Son Jesus 'Sustained', in-order-to Pay-the-
Price for our Redemption.
God has also separately-given Twentieth Century Mankind the Analytical Tools and
Empirical Data necessary-to Fully-examine this Multitude-of Evidence, regarding the Brutality-of
the Roman Scourging and Crucifixion, contained-in
the Holy Shroud; all of which God's
Holy Mother was Forced-to Endure, through Love-for her
Son. She would not 'Abandon' Him,
and Prayed that she be allowed-to go-to the
Grave with Him.