And they sat and
watched him. And they put over his head his cause written: THIS IS
JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were crucified with him two thieves:
one on the right hand, and one on the left. And they that passed by,
blasphemed him, wagging their heads, And saying: Vah, thou that
destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save
thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In
like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients,
mocking, said: He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the
king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will
believe him. He trusted in God; let him now deliver him if he will have
him; for he said: I am the Son of God. And the selfsame thing the
thieves also, that were crucified with him, reproached him with.
Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 2, Chapter 12
Of the King's High Way of the Holy Cross
Unto many this
seemeth an hard saying, "Deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow
Jesus" (Matt. 16:24). But much harder will it be to hear that last
word, "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire" (Matt. 25:41).
For they who now willingly hear and follow the word of the Cross, shall
not then fear (Psalm 112:7) to hear the sentence of everlasting
damnation. This sign of the Cross shall be in the heaven, when the Lord
shall come to judgment (Matt. 24:30). Then all the servants of the
Cross, who in their life-time conformed themselves unto Christ
crucified, shall draw near unto Christ the Judge with great confidence.
Why therefore fearest thou to take up the Cross which leadeth thee to a
kingdom? In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross
is protection against our enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly
sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross joy of
spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross the perfection
Take up therefore thy Cross and follow Jesus (Luke 14:27), and thou
shalt go into life everlasting.
Prayers for the Third Week