1. It was not really Pilate who condemned Jesus to death, says St. Bernard, it was His love "for us. He had been longing all His life through for that moment when He was to carry out His Fathers will and redeem the world by dying for us. He knew that the divine mandate had gone forth that without shedding of blood there would be no remission. The voice of Pilate, sentencing Him to death, was but the expression of His own love for sinners, and of His joyful acceptance of the cross for their sake. O Jesus, may I love Thee in return for such love for me !
2. The cross has been prepared beforehand, and as soon as the sentence has been passed they bring it forward to be laid upon the shoulders of their Victim. Jesus takes the cross, and kisses the instrument of His Agony as a welcome friend. He did this not merely because He loved us and therefore loved the cross, but to teach us to love our crosses, to accept them as gifts from God to be welcomed, not to be rejected or regarded with aversion and dislike. How can we dislike them when they make us like to Jesus, and must be borne after Him if we are ever to share His joy in heaven?
3. On the shoulder of Jesus was a large, open wound, scarcely covered by the garments thrown upon Him. The weight of the cross rested on this wound, causing Him the most exquisite agony. It was by this that He was earning for us patience under our bodily sufferings. However keen, they are nothing to what the Son of God endured on His road to Calvary. Jesus, grant me patience under my sufferings.
Source: The Sacred Passion of Jesus Christ - Short Meditations for Everyday in Lent,
by Richard F. Clarke, S.J. Imprimatur 1889