The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Tenth Mystery: The Crucifixion
The Fruit: Zeal for the Salvation of Souls;
Horror of Sin


1. One of the executioners seized the hand of Jesus Our Savior and placed it upon an auger hole that been bored, while another hammered a large and rough nail through the palm. The veins and sinews were torn and the bones of the Sacred Hand, which made the heavens and all that exists, were forced apart. When they stretched out the other hand, they found that it did not reach up to the auger hole; for the sinews of the other arm had been shortened and the executioners had maliciously set the holes too far apart, as I have mentioned above. In order to overcome the difficulty, they took the chain, with which the Savior had been bound in the garden, and looping one end through a ring around His wrist, they, with unheard of cruelty, pulled the hand over the hole and fastened it with another nail. Thereupon they seized His feet, one above the other, stretching them with barbarous ferocity down to the third hole. Then they drove through both feet a large nail into the Cross. Thus the Sacred Body, in which dwelled the Divinity, was nailed motionless to the Holy Cross, and the handiwork of His deified members, formed by the Holy Ghost, was so stretched and torn asunder, that the bones of His body, dislocated and forced from their natural position, could all be counted. The bones of His breast, of His shoulders and arms, and of His whole body yielded to the cruel violence torn from their sinews.

After the Savior was nailed to the Cross, the executioners judged it necessary to bend the points of the nails which projected through the back of the wood, in order that they might not be loosened and drawn out by the weight of the body. For this purpose they raised up the Cross in order to turn it over, so that The Body of The Lord would rest face downward. [Eleventh Station of the Cross.]

2. As the Wood of the Cross was the Throne of His Majesty and the Chair of the Doctrine of Life, and as He was now raised upon it, confirming His Doctrine by His example, Christ now uttered those words of highest charity and perfection: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" (Luke 23:34.) Such was the difference between the behavior of ungrateful men favored with so great enlightenment, instruction and blessing; and the behavior of Jesus in His most burning charity while suffering the Crown of Thorns, the Nails, and the Cross and unheard of blasphemy at the hands of men. [First of the Last Words from the Cross.]

3. Now two thieves were being crucified with Jesus, one on each side.
Moved by true sorrow and contrition for his sins, one turned to his companion and said: "Neither dost thou fear God, seeing that thou art under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man hath done no evil." And thereupon speaking to Jesus, he said: "Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom!" (Luke 23:40.)

In this happiest of thieves, in the centurion, and in the others who confessed Jesus Christ on the Cross, began to appear the results of the Redemption. But the one most favored was this Dismas, who merited to hear: "Amen, I say to thee, this day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." [Second of the Last Words from the Cross.]

4. Having thus justified the good thief, Jesus turned His loving gaze upon His afflicted Mother, who with Saint John was standing at the Foot of the Cross. Speaking to both, he first addressed His Mother, saying: "Woman, behold thy son!" and then to the Apostle: "Behold thy Mother!" (John 19:26.) The Lord called Her Woman and not Mother, because this name of Mother had in it something of sweetness and consolation, the very pronouncing of which would have been a sensible relief. During His Passion He would admit of no exterior consolation, having renounced for that time all exterior alleviation and easement. By this word "woman" he tacitly and by implication wished to say: Woman blessed among all women, the most prudent among all the daughters of Adam, Woman, strong and constant, unconquered by any fault of Thy own, unfailing in My service and most faithful in Thy love toward Me, which even the mighty waters of My Passion could not extinguish or resist (Cant. 8:7), I am going to My Father and cannot accompany Thee further; My Beloved Apostle will attend upon Thee and serve Thee as his Mother, and he will be thy son. All this the Heavenly Queen understood. The Holy Apostle on his part received Her as his own from that hour on; for he was enlightened anew in order to understand and appreciate the greatest treasure of the Divinity in the whole creation next to the humanity of Christ Our Savior. In this light He reverenced and served Her for the rest of Her life. Our Lady also accepted him as Her son in humble subjection and obedience. [Third of the Last Words from the Cross.]

Already the ninth hour of the day was approaching, although the darkness and confusion of nature made it appear to be rather a chaotic night. Our Savior spoke again from the Cross in a loud and strong voice, so that all the bystanders could hear it: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matth. 27:46.) Although the Lord had uttered these words in His own Hebrew language, they were not understood by all. Since they began with: "Eli, eli," some of them thought He was calling upon Elias, and a number of them mocked Him saying: "Let us see whether Elias shall come to free Him from our hands?" He grieved that his copious and superabundant Redemption, offered for the whole human race, should not be efficacious in the reprobate and that He should find Himself deprived of them in the Eternal happiness, for which He had created and redeemed them. [Fourth of the Last Words from the Cross.]

6.  In confirmation of this sorrow the Lord added: "I thirst!" The sufferings of the Lord and His anguish could easily cause a natural thirst. But for Him this was not a time to complain of this thirst or to quench it; and therefore Jesus would not have spoken of it so near to its expiration, unless in order to give expression to a most exalted mystery. He was thirsting to see the captive children of Adam make use of the liberty, which He merited for them and offered to them, and which so many were abusing. He was athirst with the anxious desire that all should correspond with Him in the faith and love due to Him, that they profit by His merits and sufferings, accept His friendship and grace now acquired for them, and that they should not lose the Eternal happiness which He was to leave as an inheritance to those that wished to merit and accept it. This was the thirst of our Savior and Master; and the Most Blessed Mary alone understood it perfectly and began, with ardent affection and charity, to invite and interiorly to call upon all the poor, the afflicted, the humble, the despised and downtrodden to approach their Savior and thus quench, at least in part, His thirst which they could not quench entirely. But the perfidious Jews and the executioners, evidencing their unhappy hard-heartedness, fastened a sponge soaked in gall and vinegar to a reed and mockingly raised it to His mouth, in order that He might drink of it. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of David: "In My thirst they gave me vinegar to drink" (John 16:28; Ps. 68:22).
[Fifth of the Last Words from the Cross.]

7. The Savior then pronounced: "Consummatum est," "It is consummated" (John 19:29). Now is consummated this work of My coming from Heaven and I have obeyed the command of My Eternal Father, Who sent Me to suffer and die for the salvation of mankind. Now are fulfilled the Holy Scriptures, the prophecies and figures of the Old Testament, and the course of My earthly and mortal life assumed in the womb of My Mother. Now are established on earth My example, My doctrines, My Sacraments and My remedies for the sickness of sin. Now is appeased the justice of My Eternal Father in regard to the debt of the children of Adam. [Sixth of the Last Words from the Cross.]

Having finished and established the work of Redemption in all its perfection, it was becoming that the Incarnate Word, just as He came forth from the Father to enter mortal life (John 16:8), should enter into immortal life of the Father through death. Therefore Christ Our Savior added the last words uttered by Him: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." The Lord spoke these words in a loud and strong voice, so that the bystanders heard them. In pronouncing them He raised His eyes to Heaven, as one speaking with the Eternal Father, and with the last accent He gave up His spirit and inclined His head. By the Divine force of these words Lucifer with all his demons were hurled into the deepest caverns of Hell, there they lay motionless. [Last of the Words from the Cross and Twelfth Station.]

9. The Evangelist Saint John tells us that near the Cross stood Mary, the Most Holy Mother of Jesus, with Mary Cleophas and Mary Magdalen. Although this is said of the time before Jesus expired, it must be understood, that the Unconquerable Queen remained also afterwards, always standing beneath the Cross and adoring Her Dead Jesus and His Divinity inseparably united to his Sacred Body. But now She was especially solicitous for the burial of the Sacred Body of Her Divine Son and how to procure some one to take It down from the Cross.

She soon saw an armed band approaching Calvary; and in Her dread of some new outrage against the Deceased Savior, She spoke to Saint John and the pious women: "Alas, now shall My affliction reach its utmost and transfix My heart! Is it not possible, that the executioners and the Jews are not yet satisfied with having put to death My Son and Lord? Shall they now heap more injury upon His Dead body?" It was the evening of the great Sabbath of the Jews, and in order to celebrate it with unburdened minds, they had asked Pilate for permission to shatter the limbs of the three men sentenced, so that, their death being hastened, they might be taken from the crosses and not be left on them for the following day. With this intent the company of soldiers, which Mary now saw, had come to Mount Calvary. As they perceived the two thieves still alive, they broke their limbs and so hastened their end (John 19:31). But when they examined Jesus they found Him already dead, and therefore did not break His bones, thus fulfilling the mysterious prophecy in Exodus (Ex. 12:46), commanding that no bones be broken in the Figurative Lamb to be eaten for the Pasch. But a soldier, by the name of Longinus, approaching the Cross of Christ, thrust his lance through the side of the Savior. Immediately water and blood flowed from the wound, as Saint John, who saw it and who gives testimony of the truth, assures us (John 19:34). The Most Prudent Queen then perceived the Mystery of this lance-thrust, namely that in this last pouring forth of the Blood and Water issued forth the New Church, cleansed and washed by the Passion and Death of Jesus, and that from His Sacred side, as from the roots, should now spread out through the whole World the fruits of Life Eternal. (And He was taken down at last from the Cross.) [Thirteenth Station of the Cross.]

10. The evening of that day of the parasceve was already approaching, and The Loving Mother had as yet no solution of the difficulty of the burial of Her Dead Son, which She desired so much; but the Lord ordained, that the tribulations should be relieved by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, whom He had inspired with the thought of caring for the burial of Their Master. They were both just men and disciples of The Lord, although not of the seventy-two; for they had not as yet openly confessed themselves as disciples for fear of the Jews, who suspected and hated as enemies all those that followed Christ. A procession of Heavenly Spirits was formed and another of men, and the Sacred Body was borne along by Saint John, Joseph, Nicodemus and the centurion, who had confessed the Lord and now assisted at His burial. They were followed by the Blessed Mother, by Mary Magdalen and the rest of the women disciples. Besides these a large number of the faithful assisted, for many had been moved by the Divine Light and had come to Calvary after the lance-thrust. All of them, in silence and in tears, joined the procession. They proceeded toward a nearby garden, where Joseph had hewn into the rock a new grave, in which nobody had as yet been buried or deposited (John 19:41). In this Most Blessed Sepulcher they placed the Sacred Body of Jesus. Before they closed it up with the heavy stone, the Devout and Prudent Mother adored Christ anew, causing the admiration of men and Angels. They imitated Her, all of them adoring the crucified Savior now resting in His Grave; thereupon they closed the sepulcher with the stone, which, according to the Evangelist was very heavy (Matth. 27:60). The Jews, confused and disturbed by the events, went to Pilate on the morning of the Sabbath and asked him for soldiers to guard the Sepulcher; for Christ, this seducer, they said, had openly announced, that after three days He would arise; hence His disciples might steal the body and then say that He had arisen. Pilate yielded to this malicious measure and gave them the guard they desired, which they stationed at the Sepulcher r (Matth. 28:12). [Fourteenth Station of the Cross.]


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