Father Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges

Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.

Perhaps we can understand Her action and what impelled her to so bold a deed (Mary Magdalen standing at the foot of the Cross).  She has been raised up from her unworthy life.  Her “seven devils” have fled, leaving her with the soul of a child, save that it is more ardent and filled with boundless understanding.  Through Jesus she has at last come to know true happiness.  Through Him she has learned not to desecrate love, and the love in her, now cleansed from defilement, wells up the stronger because it has so many mad follies to redeem.

After her blatant sins, must she not show a blatant sorrow?  Having in all else braved the eyes of the world, she will brave them now in humility, in greatness of soul, and in faith.  So magnificent will she be in her role that she will become a symbol of spiritual resurrection, a patroness of repentant sinners.  –Father A.G. Sertillanges ‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’


Intensity and propensity of prayer

All this is a dark mystery. The work is laborious, and the results, even where tangible, are so slow, so intermingled with checks and reverses that one is tempted to wonder what will be the eventual outcome. What a cruel vision for Him who is come “to cast fire upon the earth”!

Finally, multiply these sufferings by one another. Imagine this body in its sweat of blood, His soul a prey to weariness and to the presentiment of horrors to come, a heart stricken by His children’s refusal to love Him, His energy exhausted by the apparent futility of effort — and then say how far torment can go.  –Father A.G. Sertillanges ‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’




It is from here that comes the burning wind which parches the land of Judea, as the breath of evil sterilizes the soul. The ancient Jews saw in this desert the region of sin. The neighborhood of the Dead Sea evoked in their minds the thought of God’s avenging visitations, and this is the reason why every year they drove into this desert the scapegoat, laden with the sins of Israel. The beast was solemnly cursed before the altar, driven into the valley of Kedron, where it was cast down into the deep abyss as a sacrifice for the people.

Jesus, as He looks in this direction from the Cross, cannot fail to reflect that He is this beast accursed, driven this very day out of the city, shut out from the world, driven forth to die, humbly and silently allowing Himself to be counted among the goats.  –Father A.G. Sertillanges ‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’



Ultimate acts

The symbol (Jesus washing the Apostle’s feet) of love is mingled with the symbol of purity, so that we may learn that where true love is, there also is the assembly of saints. Jesus does not need to be purified, but He humbles Himself and He loves. He gives an example of every virtue. By this act, He affirms that the enemy of love is pride, and that the enemy of all good is the refusal to love. Humility and charity are the foundation and the crown respectively of the spiritual edifice which He intends to erect, both in the individual and in the human race. And the Cross, too, which supports this edifice, is as humiliating as it is painful; but when the work is accomplished it will be glorious as the instrument of union and the source of bliss. Every thing is there. All is in the Cross, because all is in humility and love, and the washing of the feet is the herald of the Cross. –-Father A. G. Sertillanges ‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’


View From the Cross

Such a transformation means death,
if you will,
but a glorious death,
a death which in reality is survival,
in which all those souls that freely submit,
all the authorities that accept the metamorphosis,
are crowned with the glory of a higher and nobler condition.

Father A.G. Sertillanges
‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’

James Tissot 'What Our Lord Saw From the Cross' ('Ce que voyait Notre-Seigneur sur la Croix')

James Tissot ‘What Our Lord Saw From the Cross’ (‘Ce que voyait Notre-Seigneur sur la Croix’)


A View From Perfection

The first spasms shake the body already mercilessly torn by the scourging and by a night of torment; the victim has been raised roughly upon His gibbet; the blood flows in thin streams from His hands and feet, oozes from His forehead, and stripes His breast and members along the marks of the lashes. The cruelly strained position allows no movement but the soul is unfettered, and the great shudders that rack the body leave the mind in full possession of its powers.

There is still a little more of this great life to be lived, a life which in the narrow confines of Judea embraces all the world: a cry or two more, a few more words of sovereign power, and one more lament that asks compassion of earth and Heaven: of earth, to recompense it with mercy to us, of Heaven, to grant us its blessings. And through it all is that glance which sees beyond all things, that glance which we shall follow as far as our sight can reach. But it goes infinitely beyond our vision, for it passes through the visible and invisible worlds and penetrates to their source, to the very depths of God. –Father Antonin Sertillanges ‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’