Nothing animates us so much to love of enemies—which is the perfection of fraternal charity—as grateful consideration of the Lord’s admirable patience. By it, the fairest of all the sons of men offered his comely face to the ungodly to be spit on. By it, he subjected to the veil of the iniquitous the eyes whose glance governs all creation. By it, he bared his back to scourges. By it, he bowed beneath the sharpness of thorns the head before which principalities and powers tremble. By it he delivered himself up to insults and outrage. By it, finally, he patiently endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, all the while remaining mild, meek, and calm.
As a sheep he was led to slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer he was silent and did not open his mouth. O human pride, O proud impatience, consider what he bore, who bore it, why he bore it, how he bore it! Let these things be pondered, I say, not written about!
Who, hearing …. [him] say Father, forgive them, would not instantly embrace his enemies with his entire attachment? Father, he said, forgive them. What mildness, what charity could be added to this prayer? And yet he did add (more). To pray for them was not enough, he also wanted to excuse them. Father, he said, forgive them for they know not what they are doing. They are indeed great sinners, but puny judges of value, and so, Father, forgive them. They crucify, but do not know who it is they crucify. Had they known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. Therefore, Father, forgive them. They think he is transgressing the Law, someone pretending to be God, someone leading the people astray. I hid my face from them, they did not recognize my majesty. And so, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
Aelred of Rievaulx, The Mirror of Charity, III.5.14-15 (CF 17, p. 231-232)