Jesus Nailed to the Cross

Source: THE SCHOOL OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus,
TAN BOOKS, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1895



     JESUS having reached the top of Mount Calvary, the Jews will not allow a moment's delay, but most barbarously and cruelly fasten Him with nails to the Cross.

1. The sufferings of Jesus before His Crucifixion.

   Jesus has arrived at the end of His journeys on reaching the summit of Calvary, but He has not attained the termination of His sufferings, which henceforward become truly unmeasured. His enemies throng around, while each and all freely insult and curse Him as a malefactor, who now at last is to suffer the penalty of His crimes. The Divine and patient Victim remains perfectly silent, and fixing His eyes and thoughts upon the Cross, contemplates the scaffold upon which He is soon to yield up His last breath, and joyfully offers up His life as a sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. Jesus suffers in every part of His agonizing frame, save in His tongue, but He permits not this member to continue longer without its share of torment. It is the custom to give all condemned criminals about to be executed some refreshing and comforting beverage. But even this last office of humanity and compassion is not fulfilled towards Jesus Christ in His state of utter exhaustion and suffering, and the soldiers barbarously offer Him wine mingled with bitter gall, to torture His palate and stomach. Such is the beverage which you have presented to Jesus by your evil habits, censorious and pretended piety, sensual pleasures, and innumerable sins. They are the bitter gall which you have offered to your Lord, even when He was quenching your thirst with the sweet waters of His love and goodness. Now, at least, offer your suffering Redeemer the refreshment of your tears---tears of sincere sorrow and tender compassion. No sooner has Jesus tasted the bitter and disgusting liquid than the executioners strip off His garment with cruel violence. My soul, look on thy Saviour, and compassionate Him in these new sufferings. Owing to the quantity of blood and the countless wounds which cover His sacred Body, the garments had again adhered to His lacerated flesh, so that on their being torn off, all His wounds are re-opened, and His sufferings become quite indescribable, while the Blood flows to the ground in streams. Oh, see how Jesus sheds every drop of His Blood for your salvation! And thou, my soul thou for whom thy Saviour sheds such torrents of blood, thou for whom this Man of Sorrows endures so much, wilt thou not shed one tear, nor breathe one sigh for all His sufferings? Wilt thou be hardhearted toward thy Crucified Jesus alone?

2. The obedience of Jesus in placing Himself upon the Cross.

   The Cross is already lying on the ground, the altar is prepared on which the adorable Victim is to ascend to be sacrificed. The executioners command Jesus to lie down upon the Cross, and the instant He receives the order, in deference to His Divine Father, He bends His knees, reverently bows down His Head, and wishing to be obedient even to the most ignominious of deaths, lies down on that hard bed of suffering and infamy. By this great act of obedience does Jesus make satisfaction for the disobedience with which we have so often violated the commands of God. See, my soul, see how Jesus manifests no repugnance to obey the cruel order. There is no need of employing force to make Him obey it. He willingly, and of His own accord, stretches Himself out upon the Cross, places His lacerated and bleeding Body in the proper position, presents His hands and His feet to be nailed, and raising His eyes to Heaven offers Himself in sacrifice to His Eternal Father for the salvation of the whole world, and even of my poor soul, fervently beseeching Him to pardon our sins through the merits of His obedience. You who are so willing to obey the commands of the world, of the flesh, and of your own concupiscence, and on the other hand so stubborn and rebellious to the law of God, what can you say on beholding this most wonderful example of obedience in the Son of the Most High? How many excuses, difficulties, and pretexts do you bring forward by way of exempting yourselves from the observance of the law? You are creatures, why then refuse to subject yourselves to the commands of the Creator? You are servants, why then disobey the ordinances of your celestial Master? To teach you the important virtue of obedience, Jesus has subjected Himself even to the ignominious death of the Cross. Can it cost you as much to obey God as it has cost Jesus to obey His Divine Father for the salvation of your soul?

3. The sufferings of Jesus in His Crucifixion.

   Jesus having stretched forth His hands on the Cross, as though to fold all sinners in His embraces, and reconcile them with God, the executioners fasten them to the wood with large nails, by dint of violent and repeated blows of a heavy hammer. These nails pierce entirely through, tearing and crushing flesh, nerves, veins, arteries, and all that make any resistance. Inexpressible are the sufferings of our blessed Jesus, and so great is His agony that He is all but ready to expire from utter exhaustion and intense anguish. In the meantime, the Blood of our sweet Redeemer, that Blood which He is offering to His Eternal Father for me, flows forth in copious streams. Harder than a rock must your heart be, if you are not moved to tears at so mournful a spectacle. Draw nigh to Jesus and reverently ask Him what are those wounds in His hands and feet, and He will answer that they are the work of your sins and the pledges of His love. He will tell you that, to cancel your sinful deeds, He has allowed His most sacred hands to be pierced through with nails. Read then in these wounds the history of your sinfulness, and detest it, read in them the history of His love, and be grateful for it. The hands of our dying Redeemer being nailed to the Cross, the same torture is inflicted on His feet. By reason of the violence with which the executioners stretch His Body, and the cruel manner in which they strike and hammer the large nail that is to transfix both feet, Jesus endures unspeakable torture, and asks you to afford Him some consolation by shedding at least one tear of compassion, or breathing one sigh of affection, at the sight of His sufferings. Will you refuse that much to Jesus, who asks for it from His Cross? See with what patience, meekness, and silence He endures the most excruciating tortures, without uttering one word of complaint, either of the nails which so painfully tear His flesh, or of the executioners who treat Him as inhumanly as though He were the worst of malefactors. He is your Leader whom you must seek to resemble, if you desire to save your soul. What resemblance do you bear to Jesus, you who lead a delicate, sensual life---you who are passionate and impatient under the slightest suffering? Ah, my sweet Jesus! I adore thy precious wounds, and through their merits do I implore grace to imitate Thee.

The Fruit

    Renew this day your determination of obeying God at any cost, and of ever preferring His Divine Will before all else. Whenever you feel any repugnance to obey man for the love of God, remember the obedience with which Jesus Christ submitted to the commands of His executioners themselves. Make it a rule to dwell frequently each day in the wounds of Jesus often paying them homage by acts of adoration and love, and taking refuge within them in all dangers and temptations.


    The remembrance of the most painful Crucifixion of Jesus inspires the heart of a Christian with love for God and desire to suffer for His sake. Blessed Christina of Spoleto was one day meditating upon the sufferings of Jesus, and the point she was considering happened to be the dreadful wound made by the nail in the feet of Jesus. "Oh, ungrateful wretch that thou art!" she said to herself, "behold how much Blood He has shed for love of thee; and what has thou done to prove thy love and gratitude for such infinite goodness?" So saying, being filled with holy fervor, she took a large nail from the wall, and pierced her feet entirely through with it, too happy thus to return Jesus blood for blood, and wound for wound. Jesus asks not so much of you, but at least you may inflict some penance for love of Him upon your hands, which have committed so many sins, and upon your feet, which have taken so many steps in the paths of iniquity. (Bollandists, 14th Feb.). That you may frequently call to mind the wounds of Jesus Christ, imitate the example of the venerable Father Alphonsus of Orosco, an Augustinian monk, who was accustomed, whenever he heard the clock strike, to remember the blows of the hammer nailing down the feet and hands of Jesus.