And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Look at the Lord who did precisely what he commanded. After so many things … committed against him, repaying him evil for good, did he not say as he hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing”? … When he was praying as he hung on the cross, he could see and foresee. He could see all his enemies. He could foresee that many of them would become his friends. That is why he was interceding for them all. They were raging, but he was praying. They were saying to Pilate “Crucify,” but he was crying out, “Father, forgive.” He was hanging from the cruel nails, but he did not lose his gentleness. He was asking for pardon for those from whom he was receiving such hideous treatment.
—Augustine, Sermon 382.2