Evening Meditations for the Third Saturday in Lent ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation



From the Scriptures alone it clearly appears how barbarous and inhuman was the scourging of Jesus Christ. For why was it that Pilate should, after the scourging, ever have shown Him to the people, saying, Behold the man! were it not that our Saviour was reduced to so pitiable a condition that Pilate believed the very sight of Him would have moved His enemies themselves to compassion, and hindered them from any longer demanding His death? Why was it that in the journey which Jesus, after this, made to Calvary, the Jewish women followed Him with tears and lamentations? But there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. (Luke xxiii. 27). Was it, perhaps, because those women loved Him and believed Him to be innocent? No, the women, for the most part, agree with their husbands in opinion; so that they, too, esteemed Him guilty; but the appearance of Jesus after His scourging was so shocking and pitiable, as to move even those who hated Him to tears; and therefore it was that the women gave vent to their tears and sighs. Why, again, was it that in this journey the Jews took the Cross from off His shoulders, and gave it the Cyrenean to carry? According to the most probable opinion, and as the words of St. Matthew clearly show: They compelled him to bear his cross. (Matt. xxvii. 32); or as St. Luke says: And on him they laid the cross, that he might carry it after Jesus. (Luke xxiii. 26). Was it, perhaps, that they felt pity for Him, and wished to lessen His pains? No, those guilty men hated Him, and sought to afflict Him to their uttermost. But as the Blessed Denis the Carthusian says, “They feared lest He should die upon the way “; seeing that Our Lord after the scourging was so drained of Blood and so exhausted of strength as to be scarcely able any longer to stand, falling down as He did on His road under the Cross, and faltering as He went at every step, as if at the point of death. Therefore, in order to take Him alive to Calvary, and see Him die upon the Cross, according to their desire, that His name might ever after be one of infamy: Let us cut him off, said they (as the Prophet had foretold), from the land of the living, and let his name be remembered no more (Jer. xi. 19), — this was the end for which they constrained the Cyrenean to bear the Cross.

Ah, my Lord, great is my happiness in understanding how much Thou hast loved me, and that Thou dost even now preserve for me the same love which Thou didst bear me then, in the time of Thy Passion! But how great is my sorrow at the thought of having offended so good a God! By the merit of Thy scourging, O my Jesus, I ask Thy pardon. I repent, above every other evil, of having offended Thee; and I purpose rather to die than offend Thee again. Pardon me all the wrongs that I have done Thee, and give me the grace ever to love Thee for the time to come.


The Prophet Isaias has described more clearly than all the pitiable state to which He foresaw our Redeemer reduced. He said that His most holy Flesh would have to be not merely wounded, but altogether bruised and crushed to pieces: But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins. (Isaias liii. 3). For (as the Prophet goes on to say) the Eternal Father, the more perfectly to satisfy His justice, and to make mankind understand the deformity of sin, was not content without beholding His Son pounded piecemeal, as it were, and torn to shreds by the scourges: And the Lord willed to bruise him in infirmity (Is. liii.); so that the Blessed Body of Jesus had to become like the body of a leper, all wounds from head to foot: And we esteemed him as a leper, and one smitten of God. (Is. liii.).

Behold, then, O my lacerated Lord, the condition to which our iniquities have reduced Thee: “O good Jesus, it is ourselves who sinned, and dost Thou bear the penalty of it?” Blessed for evermore be Thy exceeding charity; and mayest Thou be beloved as Thou dost deserve by all sinners; and, above all, by me, who have done Thee more injury than others.

Jesus one day manifested Himself under His scourging to Sister Victoria Angelini; and, showing her His body one mass of wounds, said to her: “These Wounds, Victoria, every one of them ask thee for love.” “Let us love the Bridegroom,” said the loving St. Augustine, “and the more He is presented to us veiled under deformity, the more precious and sweet is He made to the bride.” Yes, my sweet Saviour, I see Thee all covered with wounds; I look into Thy beautiful Face; but, O my God, it no longer wears its beautiful appearance, but is disfigured and blackened with blood and bruises, and shameful spittings: There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we beheld him, and esteemed him not. (Is. liii.). But the more I see Thee so disfigured, O my Lord, the more beautiful and lovely dost Thou appear to me. And what are these disfigurements that I behold but signs of the tenderness of that love which Thou dost bear towards me?

I love Thee, my Jesus, thus wounded and torn to pieces for me; would that I could see myself, too, torn to pieces for Thee, like so many Martyrs whose portion this has been. But if I cannot offer Thee wounds and blood, I offer Thee at least all the pains which it will be my lot to suffer. I offer Thee my heart; with this I desire to love Thee more tenderly even than I am able. And who is there that my soul should love more tenderly than a God Who has endured scourging and been drained of His Blood for me? I love Thee, O God of love! I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness! I love Thee, O my Love, my All! I love Thee, and I would never cease from saying, both in this life and in the other: I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee. Amen.

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