GuerricIt seems to me that during these days when we are solemnly observing the annual commemoration of our Lord’s passion and crucifixion, I cannot speak to you on a more appropriate subject than that of Jesus Christ himself, and him crucified.

Even at another season of the year it would be hard to find a worthier theme. Could you hear anything more salutary or occupy your minds with anything more profitable?

Surely nothing can so sweetly stir the hearts of the faithful or exert so wholesome an influence on their lives; nothing has such power to cut off their sins, root out their vices, nourish and strengthen their virtues, as the remembrance of Jesus crucified.

To those who have reached maturity Saint Paul may preach about the hidden wisdom of God; but to me, whose shortcomings are visible to all, let him speak of the crucified Christ, who indeed seems mere foolishness to those who are on the road to perdition, but is the power and the wisdom of God to those who are on the way to salvation.

For me this is the highest and noblest philosophy, in the light of which all worldly and human wisdom is of no account.

How perfect I might think myself, how advanced in wisdom, if only I could qualify as a true disciple of Jesus crucified, for God has made him not only our wisdom but also our righteousness, our holiness and our freedom!

If anyone is nailed to the Cross with Christ he is altogether wise, righteous, holy and free.

Wise, because he has been raised with Christ above the earth, and now seeks and understands the things of heaven;

righteous, because sin has been put to death in him and he is no longer enslaved to it;

holy, because he has offered himself to God as a living sacrifice, consecrated and acceptable to him;

free, because the Son of God has redeemed him, and in freedom of spirit he can now boldly repeat the Son’s confident words: The prince of this world is on his way, but he has no claim on me.

Truly there is mercy and fullness of redemption with our crucified Lord. So completely has he redeemed Israel from all its iniquity that it is now acquitted of any accusation that the prince of this world could make against it.

The Lord has redeemed his people from the land of the foe and gathered them from far-off lands. Let them be of one mind with their teacher, Saint Paul, in declaring: God forbid that 1 should boast of anything but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Guerric of Igny (c.1070/80-1157): Sermon 2, On the Palm Branches, 1 (PL 185:130-131); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday in Holy Week, Year 1.