by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
O Sorrowful Mother, in these times wherein the immense majority of men flee from the sacrifice inherent to the perfect fulfillment of all the commandments and counsels of thy Divine Son, obtain for all those who meditate on this Way of the Cross the necessary strength for each to carry his cross to the heights of Calvary.
Jesus is Condemned to Death
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
The judge who committed the most monstrous professional crime in all history was not impelled to do so by the excitement of any burning passion. Nor was he blinded by ideological hatred, by craving for new riches or by the desire to please some great potentate. He was moved to condemn the Just One by fear—fear of losing his position for apparent lack of zeal for the prerogatives of Caesar; fear of causing himself political complications by having displeased the Jewish mob; and the instinctive fear of saying “no," of doing the opposite of what has been asked of one, of facing the crowd with attitudes and opinions different from those that prevail there.
For a long time, O Lord, Thou didst fix him with that look which in one instant worked the salvation of Peter. It was a look through which one could see Thy supreme moral perfection, Thine infinite innocence. But he condemned Thee anyway.
O Lord, how many times have I imitated Pilate! How many times, out of ambition for personal advancement, have I permitted orthodoxy to be persecuted in my presence without saying a word. How many times have I stood by with my arms crossed at the fight and martyrdom of those who defend the Church! I did not have the courage to give them even a word of support because of an abominable slothfulness to face those who surrounded me, to say “no" to those around me, for fear of being “different from the others." As if Thou hadst created me, Lord, not to imitate Thee, but to slavishly imitate my companions.
In that painful moment of condemnation, Thou didst suffer for all cowards, for all weaklings, for all the lukewarm . . . for me, Lord.
My Jesus, pardon and mercy. By the fortitude Thou didst show me in braving unpopularity and facing the sentence of the Roman magistrate, cure the weakness of my soul.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.