Ash Wednesday With the Saints

Compiled from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s greatest works on Christ’s Passion, The Road to Calvary is a daily Lenten pilgrimage that masterfully transports the reader to the foot of the Cross to meditate on Jesus’s suffering. With devout detail, St. Alphonsus inspires true contrition and sorrow as he shares endless insights on each pain Our Lord endured.

Lenten Encouragement from the Saints

Saint Bonaventure

“He who desires,” says Saint Bonaventure, “to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus.” And he adds that “there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.”

Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine also said that a single tear shed at the remembrance of the passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water. Yes, because it was for this end that our Savior suffered so much: in order that we should think of His sufferings; because if we think on them, it is impossible not to be inflamed with divine love:

Saint Paul

The charity of Christ presses us, says Saint Paul. Jesus is loved by few, because few consider the pains He has suffered for us, but he that frequently considers them cannot live without loving Jesus. “The charity of Christ presses us.” He will feel himself so constrained by His love that he will not find it possible to refrain from loving a God so full of love, who has suffered so much to make us love Him.

Therefore the Apostle said that he desired to know nothing but Jesus, and Jesus crucified—that is, the love that He has shown us on the cross: I judged not myself to know anything among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And, in truth, from what books can we better learn the science of the saints—that is, the science of loving God—than from Jesus crucified?

Brother Bernard of Corlione

That great servant of God, Brother Bernard of Corlione, the Capuchin, not being able to read, his brother religious wanted to teach him, upon which he went to consult his crucifix, but Jesus answered him from the cross, “What is reading? What are books? Behold, I am the book wherein you may continually read the love I have borne you.”

O great subject to be considered during our whole life and during all eternity! A God dead for the love of us! A God dead for the love of us! O wonderful subject!

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas was one day paying a visit to Saint Bonaventure and asked him from what book he had drawn all the beautiful lessons he had written. Saint Bonaventure showed him the image of the Crucified, which was completely blackened by all the kisses that he had given it, and said, “This is my book whence I receive everything that I write; and it has taught me whatever little I know.”

In short, all the saints have learned the art of loving God from the study of the crucifix. Brother John of Alvernia, every time that he beheld Jesus wounded, could not restrain his tears. Brother James of Tuderto, when he heard the passion of our Redeemer read, not only wept bitterly, but broke out into loud sobs, overcome with the love with which he was inflamed toward his beloved Lord.

This article is taken from a chapter in Road to Calvary by Saint Alphonsus Liguori which is available from TAN Books



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