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They made a cross of heavy beams, and laying it upon His shoulders, forced Him to carry it to Calvary--the place of execution, just outside the city; for it was not allowed to execute anyone in the city. Our Lord had not eaten anything from Thursday evening, and then with all He suffered and the loss of blood, He must have been very weak at eleven o'clock on Friday morning.
He was weak, and fell many times under the Cross.
His suffering was increased by seeing His Blessed Mother looking at Him. When He arrived at Calvary they tore off His garments and nailed Him to the Cross, driving the rough nails through His hands and feet.
Our Wicked Lady
It was then about twelve o'clock. From twelve to three in the afternoon Our Blessed Saviour was hanging on the Cross, with a great multitude of His enemies about Him mocking and saying cruel things. Even the two thieves that were crucified with Him reviled Him, though one of them repented and was pardoned before death. Our Lord's poor Mother and His few friends stood at a little distance witnessing all that was going on. When Our Lord was thirsty His executioners gave Him gall to drink. At three o'clock He died, and there was an earthquake and darkness, and the people were sorely afraid.
But you will ask, how could these soldiers be so cruel? They were Romans; and in those days men called gladiators used to fight with swords before the Roman Emperor and all the people--just as actors play now for the amusement of their audience. People who could enjoy such scenes as men slaying one another in deadly conflict would scarcely be moved to pity by seeing a man scourged. Again, in the early ages of the Church, during the persecutions, the Emperors used to order the Christians to be thrown to wild beasts to be torn to pieces in the presence of the people--who applauded these horrible sights.
They who could see so many put to death would not mind putting one to death, even in the most terrible manner.
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On what day did Christ die? Christ died on Good Friday. Why do you call that day "good" on which Christ suffered so sorrowful a death? We call that day good on which Christ died, because by His death He showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing. Where did Christ die? Christ died on Mount Calvary. For every city they have a special prison or place where all their criminals are executed. The Temple was divided into two parts: one part, something like the body of our churches, called the Holy, and the other part, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, called the Holy of Holies.
It had about the same relation to the Temple as our altar and sanctuary have to our churches. The Ark of the Covenant was a box about four feet long, two and a half feet high, and two and a half feet wide, made of the finest wood, and ornamented with gold in the most beautiful manner. In it were the tables of stone, on which were written the Commandments of God; also the rod that Aaron--Moses' brother--changed into a serpent before King Pharaoh; also some of the manna with which the people were miraculously fed during their forty years' journey in the desert when they fled out of Egypt.
All these things were figures of the true religion. The Ark itself was a figure of the tabernacle, and the manna of the Holy Eucharist. The Holy of Holies was hidden from the people by a veil. Only the Chief Priest was allowed into that sacred place, and but once a year. The veil--called the veil of the Temple--hiding that Holy of Holies, though the things mentioned above were no longer in it, was torn asunder when Our Lord died on the Cross Matt. The veil was rent to show also that God would not remain any longer in the Temple, but would be for the future only in the Christian Church.
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On account of all these things, therefore, Jerusalem was called the Holy City, and no criminals were put to death in it, but were conducted to Calvary--which means the place of skulls--and were there put to death. I now call your attention to one thing. If the Jews showed such great respect and reverence for the Ark containing only figures of the Blessed Sacrament, how should we behave in the presence of the tabernacle on the altar containing the Blessed Sacrament itself!
How did Christ die? Christ was nailed to a cross and died on it, between two thieves. One of these thieves, called the penitent thief, repented of his sins and received Our Lord's pardon before his death. The other thief died in his sins. Holy writers tell us that one of these thieves was saved to give poor sinners hope, and to teach them that they may save their souls at the very last moment of their lives if only they are heartily sorry for their sins and implore God's pardon for them.
The other thief remained and died impenitent, that sinners may fear to put off their conversion to the hour of death, thus rashly presuming on God's mercy. Persons who willfully delay their conversion and put off their repentance to the last moment, living bad lives with the hope of dying well, may not accept the grace to repent at the last moment, but may, like the unfortunate, impenitent thief, die as they lived, in a state of sin.
Why did Christ suffer and die? Christ suffered and died for our sins. It was not necessary for Our Lord to suffer so much, but He did it to show how much He loved us and valued our souls, and how much He was willing to give for them. We, alas! How sinful! What lessons do we learn from the sufferings and death of Christ?
From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn the great evil of sin, the hatred God bears to it, and the necessity of satisfying for it.
We learn "the great evil of sin" also from the misery it brought into the world; the "hatred God bears to it," from the punishment He inflicted on the wicked angels and on our first parents for it; and lastly, the "necessity of satisfying for it," from the fact that God allowed His dear and only Son to suffer death itself for the sins even of others. Whither did Christ's soul go after His death? After Christ's death His soul descended into hell.
Did Christ's soul descend into the hell of the damned? The hell into which Christ's soul descended was not the hell of the damned, but a place or state of rest called Limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him. Hell had many meanings in olden times. The grave was sometimes called hell. Jacob, when he heard that wild beasts had devoured his son Joseph, said: "I will go down with sorrow into hell. Limbo is not the same as Purgatory.
It does not exist now, or, if it does, is only for little children who have never committed actual sin and who have died without Baptism. They will never get into Heaven or see God, but they will not have to suffer pains as they who are in Purgatory or Hell endure. Why did Christ descend into Limbo? Christ descended into Limbo to preach to the souls who were in prison--that is, to announce to them the joyful tidings of their redemption. Where was Christ's body while His soul was in Limbo?
It is like a little room. Remember also that this fire was prepared for spirit beings, and is something we have never seen or know anything about, except what is revealed in the Bible. To, therefore, argue that this same fire can't be literal because fire emanates light and the opposite, that is, blackest darkness has been reserved for the unsaved 2 Pet.
Isn't it possible that the fire that will eternally torment the wicked forever can emanate darkness? Notice also the word vengeance in Jude's account. Remember Nahum when pondering it. Here it is again:. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire Mt. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire Mt.
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, "Raca! But whoever says, "You fool! Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire Mt. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire , so it will be at the end of this age Mt. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire.
There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth Mt. If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you.
It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.