5. The Crucifixion
I pity you, oh my afflicted mother, on account of the fifth sword that pierced your heart, when on Mount Calvary you did behold your beloved son, Jesus, dying slowly before your eyes, amid so many insults, and in anguish, on that hard bed of the cross, without being able to give him even the least of those comforts which the greatest criminals receive at the hour of death. And I pray you by the anguish which you, oh my most loving mother, did suffer together with your dying Son, and by the tenderness you did feel, when, for the last time he spoke to you from the cross, and taking leave of you, left all of us to you in the person of St. John, as your children; and you, still constant, did behold him bow his head and expire; I pray you to obtain for me the grace, by your crucified love, to live and die crucified to everything in this world, in order to live only to God through my whole life, and thus to enter one day paradise, to enjoy him face to face.

On the Fifth Sorrow - The Death of Jesus

(Taken from ‘The Glories of Mary’ by Saint Alphonsus Liguori)

And now we have to admire a new sort of martyrdom, a mother condemned to see an innocent Son, whom She loved with all the affection of Her Heart, put to death before Her eyes, by the most barbarous tortures. There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother. "There is nothing more to be said," says St. John, "of the martyrdom of Mary." Behold Her at the foot of the cross, looking on Her dying Son, and then see if there is grief like Her grief.

Let us stop then also on Calvary, to consider this fifth sword that pierced the Heart of Mary, namely, the death of Jesus.

As soon as our afflicted Redeemer had ascended the hill of Calvary, the executioners stripped Him of His garments, and piercing His sacred hands and feet with nails, not sharp, but blunt, as St. Bernard says. And to torture Him more, they fastened Him to the cross. When they had crucified Him, they planted the cross, and thus left Him to die. The executioners abandon Him, but Mary does not abandon him.

She then draws closer to the cross, in order to assist at His death. "I did not leave him," the Blessed Virgin revealed to St. Bridget, "and stood nearer to His cross." "But what did it avail, oh Lady," says St. Bonaventure, "to go to Calvary to witness there the death of this Son? Shame should have prevented Thee, for His disgrace was also Thine, because Thou wast His Mother. Or, at least, the horror of such a crime as that of seeing a God crucified by His own creatures should have prevented Thee."

But the Saint himself answers: "Thy Heart did not consider the horror, but the suffering." Ah, Your Heart did not then care for its own sorrow, but for the suffering and death of Your dear Son. Therefore, You yourself wished to be near Him, at least to compassionate Him. "Ah, true Mother!" says William the Abbot, "loving mother! For not even the terror of death could separate Thee from Thy beloved Son."

But, what a spectacle of sorrow, to see this Son then in agony upon the cross, and under the cross this Mother in agony, who was suffering all the pain that Her Son was suffering! Behold the words in which Mary revealed to St. Bridget the pitiable state of Her dying Son, as She saw him on the cross:

"My dear Jesus was on the cross in grief and in agony. His eyes were sunken, half closed, and lifeless; the lips hanging, and the mouth open; the cheeks hollow, and attached to the teeth; the face lengthened, the nose sharp, the countenance sad; the head had fallen upon His chest, the hair black with blood, the stomach collapsed, the arms and legs stiff, and the whole body covered with wounds and blood."

Mary also suffered all these pains of Jesus. Every torture inflicted on the body of Jesus, says St. Jerome, was a wound in the Heart of the Mother. Any one of us who should then have been on Mount Calvary, would have seen two altars, says St. John Chrysostom, on which two great sacrifices were consummating, one in the body of Jesus, the other in the Heart of Mary. But rather would I see there, with St. Bonaventure, one altar only, namely, the cross alone of the Son, on which, with the victim, this divine Lamb, the Mother also was sacrificed.

Saint Bonaventure asks in these words: Oh Lady, where art Thou? Near the cross? No, on the cross, Thou art crucified with Thy Son. St. Augustine also says the same thing: The cross and nails of the Son were also the cross and nails of the Mother. Christ being crucified, the Mother was also crucified. As St. Bernard says, "Love inflicted on the Heart of Mary the same suffering that the nails caused in the body of Jesus." Therefore, at the same time that the Son was sacrificing His body, the Mother was sacrificing Her soul.

Prayers and Meditations
She only saw that poor Son in a sea of sorrow, seeking one who could console Him as He had predicted by the mouth of the prophet: "I have trodden the winepress alone; I looked about and there was none to help; I sought and there was none to give aid."

But who was there among men to console Him, if all were His enemies? Even on the cross they cursed and mocked Him on every side: "And they that passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads." Some said to Him: "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." Some exclaimed: "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." Others said: "If He be the King of Israel, let Him come down from the cross."

The Blessed Virgin Mary Herself said to St. Bridget: "I heard some call my Son a thief; I heard others call Him an impostor; others said that no one deserved death more than He; and every word was to me a new sword of sorrow."

But what increased most the sorrows which Mary suffered through compassion for Her Son, was to Hear Him complain on the cross that even the Eternal Father had abandoned Him: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" These words which, as the Divine Mother Herself said to St. Bridget, could never leave Her mind during Her whole life.

Thus the afflicted Mother saw Her Jesus suffering on every side. She desired to comfort Him, but could not. And what caused Her the greatest sorrow was to see that, by Her presence and Her grief, She increased the sufferings of Her Son. The sorrow that filled the Heart of Mary increased the bitterness of sorrow in the Heart of Jesus.

St. Bernard also says, that Jesus on the cross suffered more from compassion for His Mother than from His own pains. This Saint speaks in the name of the Virgin, "I stood and looked upon Him, and He looked upon me; and He suffered more for Me than for Himself." The same Saint also, speaking of Mary beside Her dying Son, says: "She lived dying without being able to die: Near the cross stood His Mother, speechless; living She died, dying She lived; neither could she die, because She was dead, being yet alive."

Passino writes that Jesus Christ Himself, speaking one day to the Blessed Baptista Varana, of Camerino, told her that He was so afflicted on the cross at the sight of His Mother in such anguish at His feet, that compassion for His Mother caused Him to die without consolation. The Blessed Baptista, being given to understand deeply this suffering of Jesus, exclaimed, "Oh my Lord, tell me no more of this Thy sorrow, for I cannot bear it."

Men were astonished when they saw this Mother then keep silence, without uttering a complaint in this great suffering. But if the lips of Mary were silent, Her Heart was not so. She did not cease offering to Divine Justice the life of Her Son for our salvation. Therefore by the merits of Her sorrows She aided Christ in bringing us forth to the life of grace, and we are therefore children of Her sorrows.

Christ wished Her, whom He had appointed for our Mother, to unite with Him in our redemption. For She Herself at the foot of the cross was to bring us forth as Her children! And if ever any consolation entered into that sea of bitterness, namely the Heart of Mary, it was this only one consolation: the knowledge that by Her sorrows, She was bringing us the opportunity of eternal salvation. Jesus Himself revealed to St. Bridget: "My Mother Mary, on account of Her compassion and charity, was made Mother of all in Heaven and on earth."

Truly, these were the last words with which Jesus left Her before His death. This was His last remembrance, leaving us to Her for Her children in the person of St. John, when He said to Her, "Woman, behold Thy Son." And from that time Mary began to perform for us this office of a good Mother. St. Peter Damian says that the penitent thief, through the prayers of Mary, was then converted and saved. Therefore, the good thief repented because the Blessed Virgin, standing between the cross of her Son and that of the thief, prayed to Her Son for Him; thus rewarding, by this favor, his former service. For as other authors also relate, this thief, during the flight into Egypt of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus, showed them kindness; and this same office the Blessed Virgin has ever continued, and still continues to perform.


Ah, Mother, the most afflicted of all Mothers, Thy Son, then, is dead. Thy Son so amiable, and who loved Thee so much! Weep, for Thou hast reason to weep. Who can ever console Thee? Nothing can console Thee but the thought that Jesus, by His death, has conquered Hell, has opened paradise which was closed to men, and has gained so many souls.

From that throne of the cross He was to reign over so many Hearts, which, conquered by His love, would serve Him with love. Do not disdain, oh my Mother, to keep me near to weep with Thee, for I have more reason than Thou to weep for the offenses that I have committed against Thy Son. Ah, Mother of Mercy, I hope for pardon and my eternal salvation, first through the death of my Redeemer, and then through the merits of Thy sorrows. Amen.

Mothers fly from the presence of their dying children; but if a mother is ever obliged to witness the death of a child, she procures for him all possible relief. She arranges the bed, that his posture may be more comfortable. She administers refreshments to him, and thus the poor mother relieves her own sorrows. Ah, Mother, the most afflicted of all Mothers! Oh Mary, it was decreed that Thou should be present at the death of Jesus, but it was not given to Thee to afford Him any relief.

Mary heard Her Son say, "I thirst." But it was not permitted Her to give Him a little water to quench His great thirst. St. Vincent Ferrer remarks that She would have only been able to say to Him; My Son, I have only the water of my tears.

She saw that Her Son, suspended by three nails to that bed of sorrow, could find no rest. She wished to clasp Him to Her Heart, that She might give Him relief, or at least that He might expire in Her arms, but She could not.

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