In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/03/13 at 9:11 AM

The first word our Lord spoke on the cross was a prayer for those who were crucifying him; thus he carried out what Saint Paul wrote: «In the days of his flesh he offered prayer and sacrifice» (Heb 5,7). It is true that those who were crucifying our divine Savior did not know him… for if they had known him they would not have crucified him (1Cor 2,8). Therefore our Lord, seeing the ignorance and weakness of those torturing him, began to make excuses for them and offer this sacrifice to his heavenly Father for them – for prayer is a sacrifice…: «Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do» (Lk 23,34). How great was the flame of love burning in our sweet Savior’s heart, since amidst the strongest of his pains, at the time when the strength of his sufferings seemed to take from him even the ability to pray for himself, he came, through the strength of charity, to forget himself but not those he had created…

By this he wanted to make us understand the love he bore for us, a love that could not be lessened by any kind of suffering, and to teach us, too, what our hearts ought to be with regard to our neighbor…

Now, since this divine Lord had been occupying himself in asking forgiveness for us, it is absolutely certain that his request was granted. For his divine Father honored him too much to refuse him anything he asked.

St. Francis de Sales


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