MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: And Carrying His Cross, He Went Forth Into That Place Which Is Called Calvary
And carrying his Cross, he went forth into that place which is called Calvary, and in the Hebrew, Golgotha: There were also carried two wicked men with him, that they should be put to death.
Consider first, that in the whole City there was no man found to carry the Cross of our Lord to the place of punishment. The soldiers would not, & the Jews esteemed the very touching of it an execrable thing, because the Scripture saith, that accursed was every one, which should hang on the wood: therefore out Lord must needs take the wood of his punishment upon his own shoulders. Consider & weigh with thy self, whether thou dost not imitate them, when it is grievous unto thee to have one thought of the passion of our Lord, and a most hard thing, to suffer any little affliction for the love of thy spouse.
Consider secondly, with what insolence they lay that wood upon his tender shoulders, being wounded with many stripes. The world giveth this grievous and troublesome Cross, which thou must beare alone, without the help of any other but Christ: who imposeth a sweet yoke and a light burden, and he himself lifted it up with his grace, and exalteth it over the jaw bones. Pray our Lord to lay thy sins upon this Cross, carrying them from thee to his own body, and washing them away with his blood & death: For he is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.
Consider thirdly, whither our Lord went: to wit to a hill near the city, called Golgotha, which is, Calvaria, either by reason of the sepulture of our first parent, Adam & of his scull there found, ( of which opinion St. Chrysostome, and St. Jerome report some to have been ) or else of the sculls of dead persons, which had suffered death in this hill, being the place of execution. The place was filthy and infamous: but Christ sanctified it by his death, and with his blood washed away the sin of Adam.
Consider fourthly, that 2 Thieves were carried to execution with ChristL that according to the prophet of Isaias, He might be reputed with the wicked, and a rumor be spread abroad, that 3. Thieves the same day were judged to die. For it is likely, that about the most famous Feasts, when the whole people use to assemble themselves together their custom was, to condemn and execute some guilty malefactors, for example to the rest: and now at the request of the Jews (whose will Pilate intended to satisfy) there were certain of the most notorious malefactors chosen, of whom thy Lord should be accounted the captain & leader. So great was the devise of the Jews to obscure the name of Christ. But our Lord chose to be crucified with those thieves and malefactors to another purpose and intent. First, that thou shouldest know that he died for sinners, & that there is no offense so great, but it may be purged by the death of Christ. Secondly, that by this his disgrace and ignominy he might obtain eternal glory for thee, make thee of a thief to be a judge in the world to come. Pray then thy Lord to draw thee to the hill with him, and to communicate unto thee the merits of his Cross.
~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.