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Full text of "Meditations on the life and passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ"

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MEDITATIONS ON 

THE LIFE AND PASSION OF 
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST 

Attributed to JOHN TAULER 
Dominican Friar. Translated from 
the Latin by the late A, P, J. Crui/^ 
shank^ D.D. Fourth Edition, with 
Preface by the Revd F?^ Bert?^a7id 
JVilherforce^ O.P» 




ART &" BOOK COMPANY L^ 
CATHEDRAL PRECINCTS 
WESTMINSTER SW-MCMVI 



Nihil obstat: 

Bertrandus Wilberforce, O.P. 

Re'imprimatur: 

»J< EDUARDUS 

Epus Birm inghamiensis 

Die 15° Februarii, 1904. 



DEC 19 1955 



Tauler's Meditations on the 
Life and Passion of our Lord 



The H^ESTMINSTER BOOKS 

Crortn 8vo, is. 6d. net ; by post, i^d. extra 
Tauler. ^Meditations on the Life and Passion of our 

Lord. Translated from the Latin by a Secular Priest. 
Third edition. With Preface by Fr Wilberforce, O.P. 

Blosius. Comfort for the Faint-Hearted (Consolatio 

Pusillanimium). Third edition. Translated from the 
Latin by Fr Wilberforce, O.P. 

Blosius. Book of Spiritual Instruction (Institutio Spi- 

ritualis). Translated from the Latin by Fr Wilber- 
force, O.P. Second Edition. 

Lacordaire. Letters to Toung £Men. Translated 

from the French. Second edition. 

Ullathorne (Archbishop). The Immaculate Con- 
ception of the <^f other of God. New edition. Revised 
by the Very Rev. Canon Iles. [In the Press. 

B. Angela of Foligno. Book of the Visions and 

Instructions, as taken dozvn from her Lips by Brother yirnold, 
of the Friars Minor. Translated by a Secular Priest. 
Second edition. 



PREFACE 

All holy men agree in teaching that devout 
meditation on the sacred Passion of our Lord 
Jesus Christ is one of the most efficacious ways 
of kindling the fire of divine love in our hearts. 
"Very often," writes the holy abbot Blosius, 
"hath our Lord revealed to His beloved spouses 
Gertrude, Bridget, Mectilde and Catherine, 
how pleasing it is to Him and how fruitful 
to the soul, when the Passion of Jesus Christ 
is recalled to mind with loving and humble 
attention and sincere devotion. These holy 
women meditated on the Passion with un- 
flagging diligence. The sacred Passion, though 
so sharp and bitter in itself, is full to the brim 
of the sweetest essence of charity. These holy 
women, therefore, so fixed the thought of it in 
the very centre of their souls, and contem- 
plated it with such burning love and with such 
sweet affections of charity, that it became to 
them like honey in the mouth, melody in the 
ear and joy in the heart." 

In these words the holy Benedictine abbot 
does but sum up and emphasize the unani- 
mous teaching of all the saints and spiritual 
writers of the whole Church from the earliest 
ages. 

In fact frequent and loving meditation on 
the Passion of our blessed Lord is a most se- 
cure road to holiness. For holiness consists 
in the love of Jesus Christ, and what can make 
us understand better His unfathomable love 



vi Preface 

or more attract us to love Him in return than 
to reflect upon what He has suffered for our 
salvation: "That the world may know that 
I love the Father: and as the Father hath 
given me commandment, so do I: arise, let us 
go hence."* This taught the world His love 
to His Father, and no less does it shew His 
love for us, the sinners whose salvation He has 
wrought by His suffering. At least then let 
us show gratitude by remembering those many 
and various pains He willingly endured for each 
one of us. 

Therefore all who desire to love our Lord 
Jesus Christ with sincerity should diligently 
meditate on the sacred Passion according to 
the grace bestowed on each one by God. In 
this we can always find delight. By this prac- 
tice, within the reach of every one, can we 
always increase our love and go on apace to 
God. In this exercise shall we find rest in the 
midst of labour, comfort in the darkest anxiety, 
support in the most dangerous temptations and 
joy amidst humiliation and contempt. 

The thought of the Passion can teach us by 
example every virtue, and we ought to cherish 
it in our hearts as a most valuable spiritual 
jewel. Surely of the various sufferings of His 
Passion would our Lord say to us as to the 
children of Israel : Let these things " be in thy 
heart: and thou shalt tell them to thy child- 
ren, and thou shalt meditate upon them, sitting 
in thy house, walking on thy journey, sleeping 
and rising." t 

In speaking of the way to prepare for 
a holy death, the golden gate of eternal life, 
Blosius writes : " Remember the Passion of 

* John xiv, 31. t Deut. vi, 5. 



Preface vii 

thy most loving Redeemer. Embrace in spirit 
His most blessed cross, and lovingly kiss His 
rosy wounds."* 

Each scene of the sacred Passion should be 
dwelt upon with diligent care, as if we saw 
it with our own eyes. Particularly should we 
attend to the feelings of the Sacred Heart of our 
Lord in that particular suffering. The very best 
of all possible books to help us in this is the 
New Testament. The four Evangelists put be- 
fore us the sufferings of our Lord with a sublime 
simplicity that nothing can approach. In a 
few short words they bring home to us what 
others, not inspired, would take pages to de- 
scribe, and in trying to increase the pathos 
they often only succeed in weakening the 
spiritual effect on the soul. No book ever 
written on the Passion can approach the story 
of the Gospels in dignity, pathos and deep 
spiritual power. I would, therefore, above all, 
recommend every one to study each sentence 
and word of the inspired writers about the 
Passion of our Lord and to lay them to heart. 
No other book, however devout, written by the 
holiest man, is inspired by the Ploly Ghost. 

Still many souls are helped in their con- 
templation of the Passion by the thoughts and 
prayers of other servants of Cxod, and so from 
early times we hav^e books giving devout 
meditations on the different parts of that 
sacred drama which shows the love of God 
for man. 

The present volume is one of these. It is 
a book of the fourteenth century, and no doubt 
has helped countless holy souls, both men and 
women, to realize the Passion of their Lord 

• " Rule of the Spiritual Life," chap, xxxvi. 



viii Preface 

and Saviour, and to love Him more gene- 
rously. It is supposed to have been written 
by the celebrated theologian and mystic, 
Doctor John Tauler, of the Order of St Do- 
minic. He was a native of Strasburg, in 
which city his father seems to have been a 
burgher of wealth and importance. The date 
of his birth was about the year 1300, and he 
died probably in 136 1. At a very early age 
lie entered the Order of Friars Preachers in 
the priory of his native city, was sent after 
his profession to study at the celebrated Do- 
minican school at Cologne, and, according to 
some authorities, afterwards to Paris; and 
having taken his degree as Doctor or Master 
of Theology,* he returned to his own priory at 
Strasburg. In his early religious life he had 
been the pupil of the celebrated "Meister 
Eckhart," who taught theology at Strasburg 
in the Dominican school from 13 12 to 1320. 
The events of Tauler's life are very obscure, 
but it seems certain that during the terrible 
visitation of the "Black Death" in the middle 
of the fourteenth century he devoted himself 
with self-denying charity to the service of his 
fellow-citizens, and did all he was able to help 
their souls and bodies in their dire distress. 
He was a man of eminent piety, strong in 
faith and good works. Blessed Henry Suso, 
also a German, was his contemporary, born 
also in 1300. They were both writers of mys- 
tical theology, that is, they wrote about the 
hidden (mystical) relation of the soul with God. 
The most certainly authentic of all the 

* Father Denifle maintains that Tauler was not a Doctor, 
(Denifle, Taulers Bekehrung, Strasburg, 1879). Popularly, 
however, he was called "the Illuminated Doctor." 



Preface ix 

works that bear the name of Tauler are eighty 
Sermons, which, with two others. Father 
Denifle, O.P., considers the only works that 
can with any certainty be pronounced as the 
production of his pen. 

One work, some years ago translated into 
English and published under his name, is 
most certainly spurious. This is "The Imi- 
tation of the Poor Life of Christ," or ''Spiri- 
tual Poverty," which is full of heresy and 
nonsense, abhorrent to the soul of holy John 
Tauler. In an edition of this book, published 
by Father Denifle as a specimen of mediaeval 
German, he proves conclusively that it could 
not possibly be the work of Tauler. 

Denifle would not consider this treatise to 
be the work of Tauler, nor does the priest who 
translated it (and who is now dead) tell us 
from what work he took it.* In any case it 
is very loving and devout, and even if not 
actually writter by Tauler, is an ancient series 
of meditations on the Passion that will help 
mental prayer. 

Blosius, in the sixteenth century had a 
deep veneration for John Tauler, and fre- 
quently quotes him. In a work called "Mar- 
garitum Spirituale," "The Spiritual Pearl," 
one part is a treatise on the Passion "taken," 
says Blosius, "almost entirely from the Most 

* Dr Cruikshank appears to have translated the Medi- 
tations from the Colog^ne edition of 1857 (Bibhotheca Mys- 
tica et Ascetica: D. Joannis Thauleri de Vita et Passione 
Jesu Christ i Piissima Excrcitia). The first edition of this 
translation was issued anonymously by Richardson, of 
Derby, in 1875 {Meditations on the Life and Passion 0/ our 
Lord Jes'is Christ, by Dr John Tauler, Dominican Friar. 
Translated from the Latin by a Secular Priest, author of a 
translation of "The Book of the Visions and Instructions of 
Blessed Angela of Foligno," etc.) 



X Preface 

Pious Exercises of Doctor John Tauler," of 
which the present volume contains a trans- 
lation. 

Whether this book was actually written by 
Tauler or not, it is a highly devout work, and 
we may be certain represents his loving spirit. 
One feature of it is that it teaches its readers 
to pray about the Passion. It does not con- 
sist merely of thoughts and reflections, but of 
prayers. We may call it a book of mental 
prayer suggested by the Passion of our Lord. 

Dr Cruikshank, the translator, has passed 
away, and is, we hope, in that kingdom 
purchased by the Precious Blood shed in 
the Passion. But I ask a prayer for his soul 
from the readers of this book. It has already 
passed through two editions, and now the Art 
and Book Company is reprinting it a third 
time. 

In his clear and succinct way, St Thomas 
gives us four reasons for meditating on the 
Passion: 

1 . By it we learn how much God loves man. 

2. From it we learn humility, obedience, 
self-sacrifice and all virtues. 

3. By means of this exercise the soul is 
moved to hate sin. 

4. We become convinced that no kind ot 
death should be feared by a man living a good 
life, since the Son of God embraced the cross. 

Bertrand Wilberforce, O.P. 

Hawkesyard Priory, 

Fehi'iLary, 1904. 



CONTENTS. 



CAaS 

The First Ck^pler — A Confession on bended kners to implore 
God's goodness ... ... ... ... ... i 

Tlie Second Chapter. — A devout Meditation and Thanksgiv- 
ing on the Incarnation and Life of [esus ... ... 7 

Tlie Third Chapter. — Of the washing of the disciples' feet ... j^ 
The Fourth Chapter. — Of the Institution of the VVorsliipful 
and most August Sacrament ... ... ... 29 

The Fifth Chapter. — A devout Prayer to the Worshipful 
Sacrament ... ... ... .-• ••• 44 

The Sixth Chapter. — A devout Exercise on the Passion of our 
Lord ... ... ... ... ... ■•• so 

The Seventh Chapter. — Of the great Sorrow and Anguish 
which Christ underwent in the Garden, at the thought of 
His Passion hanging over Him ... ... ... 56 

The Eif^hlh Chapter. — A Prayer and Offering for Sins ... 66 

The Ninth Chapter. — A Prayer to the Son for Pardon, and 
the grace of Self-denial ... ... ... ... 81 

The Tenth Chapter. — Jesus goeth to meet His Enemies ... 84 
The Eleventh Chapter. — A Prayer for perfect Self-denial and 
Love ... ... ... ... ... ... 91 

The Twelfth Chapter. — Jesus is taken and bound ... 94 

The Thirteenth Chapter. — A very humble Confession of Sins, 
and a Prayer to the Father for Forgiveness ... ... 10.^ 

The Fourteenth Chapter. — Jesus is forsaken by His Disciples 1 1 1 
The Ftjteentk Chapter. — Jesus is led to Annas ... ... 114 



Contents. 

PACK. 

Tht Si-rteenth Chnf,ler. — A Prayer that we may follow Christ 129 

The Seventeenth Chapter. — Jesus is led to Caiaphas ... 134 

The Eighteenth Chapter. — Mary followeth Jesus her Son ... 151 
The Nineteenth Chapter. — Of the Compassion of the Virgin 

Mother for her Son ... ... ... ... 150 

The Twentieth Chapter. — Jesus is delivered to Pilate ... 164 
The Twenty-first Chapter. — A Prayer that we may perfectly 

follow and love Jesus ... ... ... ... i63 

The Twenty-second Chapter. — Jesus is led to Herod ... 172 
The Twenty-third Chapter. — Christ, after having been set at 

nought by Herod, is led back to Pilate ... ... 179 

The Twenty.Jnurlh Chapter. — Jesus is fearfully scourged ... 183 
The Twenty -fifth Chapter. — A devout Prayer for the forgive- 

ness of sins, and for resignation, and the love of Jesus ... 199 

The Twenty-sixth Chapter. — Jesus is crowned with thorns ... 204 

The Twenty-seventh Chapter. — A Prayer for enlightenment 213 
The Twenty-eighth Chapter. — Christ is shown to the people 

by the Governor, with the words : " Behold the Man !" ... 219 
The Twenty-ninth Chapter. — The burden of the Cross is laid 

on Jesus ... ... ... ... ... 237 

The Thirtieth Chapter. — Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, fol- 

loweth her sorrowing Son ... ... ... ... 248 

The Tliirty-first Chapter. — A Prayer to the Father of Heaven 253 

The Thirty. second Chapter. — Jesus is given vinegar to drink 258 
The Thirty-third Chapter. — Jesus is again stripped of His 

garments ... ... ... ... ... 262 

The Thirty -fourth Chapter. — Jesus is fastened on the Cross 270 

The Thirty.fifth Chapter. — A Prayer to Jesus Crucified ... 286 
The Thirty-sixth Chapter. — Jesus with the Cross is lifted up 

on high ... ... ... ... ... 289 

The Thirty-seventh Chapter. — Jesus was numbered with 

thieves ... ... ... ... ... ... 300 

The Thirty-eighth Chapter. — Of the glorious title of Christ's 

Cross ... ... ... ... ... ... 301 

The Thirl y-jiinth Chapter. — Jesus clotheth those who had 

crucified Him ... ... ... ... ... 307 

The Fortieth Chapter. — Jesus is attacked with blasphemies ... 313 
The Forty-first Chapter — A devout confession and prayer for 

sins ... ... ... ... 12c 



Contents. 

PAGE 

The Forty-second Chapter. — To stir up the soul to praise God 330 
The Forty-third Chapter. — Jesus saveth the thief ... 335 

The Forty-Jvurth Chapter. — jcsus addrcsseth His sorrow- 
stricken Mother ... ... ... ... ••• 345 

The Forty-fifth Chapter. — The Sun is darkened ... ... 361 

The Forty. Sixth Chapter.— "My God, My God, why hast 

Thou forsaken Me ?" ... ... ... ...366 

The Forty-seventh Chapter. — jcsus complaineth of His tliirst 376 
The Forty-eighth Chapter. — Jesus drinketh vinegar and gall 

upon the Cross ... ... ... ... ... 386 

The Forly-nmlh Chapter. — " It is finished" ... ... 393 

The Fiftieth Chapter. — "Father, into Thy hands I commend 

My S|>irit" ... ... ... ... ... 398 

The Fijiy-Jirst Chapter — Jesus giveth u<) the Ghost ... 406 

The Fifty-second Chapter. — The veil of the temple is rent in 

twain ... ... ... ... ... ... 409 

The Fifty-third Chapter. — Jesus is pierced with the lance ... 416 
The Fijty-fourth Chapter — Jesus is taken down from the 

Cross ... ... ... ... ... 429 

The Fijty-fijth Chapter. — A devout prayer for conformity to 

llic sacred life and crucified image of Jesus Christ ... 434 



MEDITATIONS 



ON THE 



LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR 
LORD JESUS CHRIST. 



The First Chapter. 

A Confession on bended knees to implore 
God's goodness. 

OMOS r gracious Jesus, my Love, Sal- 
vation, and Cointort ! O most faithful 
Lover of men, my Maker and Redeemer ! 
Ligiit of my heart, Solace of my spirit, and 
Medicine of my soul, how much do I owe 
Thee, O my God ! Of wjiat worth hast 
Thou esteemed me, O my Creator, Who 
hast formed me out of nothing to Thine 
own image and hkeness ? For a price l)e- 
yond all reckoning hast Thou bought me ; 
with exceeding great labour hast Thou 
redeemed me ; for how many years in 
long-suffermg hast Thou borne with me; 
while I still persevered in my iniquities 



Meditations on the Life and Passion 



hast Thou spared me. Many are the good 
gifts, and great is the loving-kindness, by 
which Thou hast drawn me, and followed 
after me ; and countless are the times 
when in Thy mercy, and by Thy divine 
grace. Thou hast come to my help, al- 
though as many times I turned my back 
upon Thee, nor obeyed Thy holy inspira- 
tions, — but neglected Thy most holy will ; 
— nay, when I even gave myself up, in- 
stead, to my own corrupt and wicked will. 

O most gracious God, how ungrateful 
have I been for all Thy bountiful gifts, 
even to this hour ! O merciful God, be- 
hold I confess to Thee my manifold and 
great iniquity. Lord, open Thou my lips, 
and my mouth shall show forth Thy 
praise ; for, see. Lord, to Thee have I 
lifted up my soul. O unseen Sanctifier ! 
do Thou purify my spirit, and make ready 
my heart to praise Thee, and give thanks 
unto Thee. Enlighten my understanding. 
Gather all my memory into one point. 
Kindle my desires. Purify my intention. 
Purge my affections. Raise up the powers 
of my soul to Thyself, and water its drought 
with the dew of Thy heavenly grace. O 
most loving God ! vouchsafe, now, I be- 
seech Thee, to bow down Thine ears from 
Thy throne in heaven to me. Thy wretched 
and sinful creature, and hear my prayers, 
whereby in lowly fear I knock at the breast 
of Thy divine grace. Behold ! I turn me 



c/our Lord yesiis Christ. 3 

wholly to Thee. Lo ! I lift up all the 
powers of my soul to praise Thee, and 
bless Thee, and with my whole strength I 
open my heart unto Thee. Oh ! cause 
this heart of mine, I beseech Thee, to be 
pierced by tiie rays of Tiiy divine love, to 
be enlightened by the splendours of Thy 
divine brightness, so that inwardly I may 
look into the lowest deptli of my soul, and 
may see and acknowledge how far I am 
from Thee, my God ! — that I may behold, 
too, the faults and vices which keep me 
from Thy love and service, and make me 
unworthy to receive into my soul the in- 
pouring of Thy divine grace. For so long 
a time, O Lord my God, hast Thou em- 
braced and girt me round about with Thy 
immeasurable gifts, and benerits, and 
graces, but, above all, with Thine incom- 
prehensible charity, that I cannot hide me 
from the glow ot Thy love, or keep back 
my spirit from Thy praise. Yea ! my 
heart desireth to praise Thee, and give 
thanks unto Thee, so far as I am able, 
with every power of my soul ; and my 
spirit exulteth earnestly in Thy praise, 
and my soul doth magnify Thee, for over 
me Th)' grace is exceeding great. But 
who am 1, O most high and Almighty 
Maker, that I should dare to praise Thee ? 
Moreover, how shall I dare to open my 
mouih, full, as it is, of all uncleanness, and 
covered with the vile hlth of so many 



4 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

vices, to tell of Thy power and might ? 
Nay, what can I ever think, or understand, 
or speak of Thee, Who art immense, in- 
visible, incomprehensible, inscrutable, so 
as to be able to praise, extol, and magnify 
Thee, since I am powerless to form any 
thought of Thee, or take in, or scrutinize 
Thy Being ? Yet, although I, who am 
but a poor, little, worthless man, — an 
empty straw, — am not sufficient of myself 
to praise Thee, O high, and terrible, and 
incomprehensible Majesty, since neither 
Thyself nor Thy works can I comprehend; 
nevertheless, for this very reason ought I 
to laud and extol Thee, O my God, and 
give thanks unto Thee ; because Thou art 
so wonderful, and high, and incomprehen- 
sible and inscrutable, that neither by un- 
derstanding, nor keenness of mind, nor 
reason, can any of Thy creatures reach un- 
to Thee, save only in the way and in the 
measure that Thou givest them to under- 
stand concerning Thee by Thy grace. 

For if, of old, profane and heathen men 
made such loud exultation, and boasted 
themselves so mightily of their great, and 
powerful, and immortal gods, in that they 
were made at great cost, and with cunning 
art, of gold, and other- precious things, — 
and, indeed, in one sense they were not 
mortal, for never had they any share in 
mortal life — how much more just is it that 
1 should exult in Thee, my Almighty 



of our Lord yesus Christ 



Lord, Whose power is so exceeding great, 
that Thou fillest the heavens and the earth 
with the glory of Thy Majesty ; Whose 
beauty is so exceeding fair, that the sun 
and the moon and all the elements marvel 
thereat, while the angelic spirits rejoice 
beyond all measure in contemplating Thee; 
Whose strength is so exceeding terrible, 
that by one look of Thine Thou makest 
the earth to tremble ; Whose might is so 
exceeding marvellous, that by a word 
Thou didst brino- forth the heavens and 
the earth, and all creatures are subject to 
Thy will ; Whose riches are so exceeding 
vast, that whatsoever is contained within 
the boundary of heaven and earth belong- 
eth to Thee alone, and is ruled by Thee 
without care or anxiousness; Whose good- 
ness and loving kindness, last of all, are 
so exceeding tender, that Tliy mercy is 
over all Thy works. For there is not 
even a little worm, however utterly vile, 
nor any creature, however abject, that doth 
not share Thy favour, or which Thou for- 
gettest to uphold, and give it its food in 
due season. 

If, then, from Thy marvellous works, O 
Almighty and most gracious God, we are 
able to discover and gather, that Thou art 
so powerful, and wise, and good, because 
Thou createst all things of such wonderful 
workmanship without any labour, and gov- 
crnest them so wisely without any care, 



6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



and upholdest them so tenderly without 
any lessening of Thy riches ; — how power- 
ful, and wise, and good, and admirable, 
must Thou be in Thyself, since, of a surety, 
the workman is higher, and nobler, and 
worthier, than the work of his hands ! For 
with the same ease couldst Thou create, 
rule, and uphold a thousand heavens and 
a thousand worlds, as one heaven and one 
world. How then, O Almighty One, shall 
I tell of Thy praise, when this is above 
the understanding of all Thy creatures, 
even of the spirits in heaven ? O most 
merciful God, I know that Thou standest 
in no need of any works or praise of ours, 
since in Thyself Thou ever aboundest in 
all praise. Simple art Thou in Thyself 
and perfect God, Whom no creature can 
add to, or take from by any of its works, 
nevertheless Thou vouchsafest to be 
praised by Thy frail and worthless crea- 
tures. Therefore, although my praise, O 
loving God, is far too lukewarm and vile, 
and unworthy of Thy lofty power, and in- 
comprehensible wisdom, and unutterable 
goodness; yet do Thou vouchsafe gra- 
ciously to accept it, and let Thy goodness 
make up for my weakness. O most ten- 
der Lord ! although unworthy, it is still 
my chief duty to praise Thee. For how 
can I be ungrateful for Thy manifold gifts 
and benefits ? Can I ever cease from 
praising Thee, when Thou ceasest not to 



i 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 7 

do me good ? O most merciful Jesus, I 
would indeed wish to gather together, 
and heap up in the ark of my heart, all 
Thy good gifts and all Thy loving-kind- 
ness which Thou hast poured out upon 
me, and to laud Thee and give Thee spe- 
cial thanks for each one of Thy benefits. 
But who is able, O Lord, to look into or 
sound the depth of Thy goodness, or to 
measure the breadth of Thy love ? Yet, 
although this is impossible for all Thy 
creatures, still may this, the chief work 
of our salvation, wherein Thy mighty love 
is chiefly reflected, never depart from my 
heart I 



The Second Chapter. 

A devout Meditation and Thanksgiving on 
the Incarnation and Life of Jesus. 

T ADORE Thee, O Jesus Christ, Thou 
i King of Israel, Light of the people, 
Lord of lords. Prince of peace, Power of 
God Almighty, Wisdom of the Father. I 
adore Thee, O Reconciler of men, most 
tender Advocate of sinners, the refresh- 
ment of them who labour, the comfort of 
them who are oppressed, the reward of all 
the just. I adore Thee, O Bread of Life, 



8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



Medicine of the soul, Peace-maker of the 
people, Redeemer of the world, Joy of 
heaven, grateful Peace-offering and Sacri- 
fice, peace-giving Victim, Who by the 
sweet smell of Thy vestments hast gra- 
ciously bowed down and moved Thy Father, 
Who dwelleth on high, to look upon our 
weakness and wretchedness, and to hear 
our groans and lamentations, and to take 
us back into His favour. O most merci- 
ful Jesus ! behold, I confess Thy exceed- 
ing tenderness and grace, which out of 
Thine own essential goodness, and for no 
merits of ours, Thou hast poured out upon 
us ; and I offer Thee the sacrifice of praise 
and thanksgiving for all Thy benefits, 
which Thou hast bestowed upon us, who 
are but an evil seed, vessels of wrath, 
reprobate children, useless servants, and 
sinners worthy of damnation and death. 
Behold ! I praise, and exalt, and bless 
Thee, and give thanks unto Thee with my 
whole soul and heart, and all the powers 
and faculties of my mind. Of a truth, Thy 
mercy over us is exceeding great ! For 
when we were all children of damnation 
and wrath, and enemies to Thee, spotted 
with the stain of original sin, destroyers of 
Thine image in our souls, violators of Thy 
temple ; when, I say, the old serpent had 
infected us with his poison, then it was 
tliat Thou wert mindful of Thy mercy, 
and lookedst down from Thy dwelling- 



of our Lord JesiLS Christ. 



place in heaven upon this valley of tears, 
and didst have compassion on our tears, 
and didst hear our groans, touched in Thy 
bowels with sorrow of heart, and moved 
by pity for the wretchedness of Thy peo- 
ple ; — yea, at the same time, Thy heart 
was kindled with love. And althouo-h 

O 

Thou wert the very Son of God, dwelling 
in light inaccessil)le, and upholding all 
things by Thy divine power, and govern- 
ing and ruling all things by Thy divine 
wisdom, in Whose si^rht the ano:els trem- 
ble, at Whose name every knee is bent ; 
yet in no way didst Thou disdain to bow 
down Thy lofty power to the dark prison- 
house of this wicked world, and to be 
made partaker of our weakness and 
misery, and to be clothed with the sack- 
cloth of our mortality ; and all this, that 
Thou mightest swallow up our wretched- 
ness and weakness in Thine own divine 
power, and enrich our poverty, and cause 
our mortality to rise unto life eternal, and 
wash away and blot out our sins, and re- 
store our nature to its first innocence, and 
lead us out of captivity into freedom of 
spirit, and make good again our ruin by 
bestowing on us glory everlasting. Nor 
to accomplish the work of our redemption 
didst Thou send any of Thine angels, no, 
not even from the Cherubim, or Seraphim, 
but Thou Thyself didst come at the bid- 
ding and by the will of Thy Father. — of 



lo Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 



Whose unutterable goodness we have had 
experience in Thee, His Eternal Word, — 
not, indeed, for change of place, but that 
Thou mightest show us Thy Presence by 
taking upon Thee our humanity. From 
the bosom of the Father Thou earnest 
down into the most pure, and virgin, 
and integral body of the chaste and 
sweet Virgin Mary ; in whose most sacred 
womb the power of the Holy Ghost alone 
caused Thee to be conceived and born in 
the nature of man ; — yet, in such a way, 
that this birth of Thine in no way de- 
tracted from Thy Majesty, nor lessened 
the chaste integrity of that most blessed 
Virgin. 

O wonderful and incomprehensible ex- 
change ! The Lord of glory, for our poor 
human weakness, gave His own most high 
Godhead ! The Maker of all creatures 
did not abhor to take upon Him the form 
of a servant ! Nor was it, alone, the form 
of a servant that He took upon Him, but 
He was even humbled, like an abject 
worm, and held of no account, and con- 
demned as a transgressor, and a wicked 
man, to the shameful death of the cross, — 
He, Who is one day to judge the living 
and the dead ! O most loving Jesus, how, 
from the very beginning, hast Thou loved 
us ! It was not enough for Thee to be 
our Lord, and Maker, and Guardian, but 
Thou wouldst also become our Redeemer, 



of our Lord Jesus Christ 11 



fellow-worker, brother, — our own flesh and 
blood ! Thou wouldst have a share m 
our weakness, and poverty, and mortality, 
— Thou who stoodest in no need of aught 
whatsoever ! And so poor wert Thou 
made, and so deeply didst Thou taste of the 
bitterness of our wretchedness, that at the 
very time of Thy birth, Thou hadst not 
even any litde thing belonging to Thee by 
inheritance, wherein Thy tender and infant 
limbs mieht have been laid and sheltered 
— Thou Who art the Lord of heaven and 
earth ! In a stable wert Thou born, and 
the rough manger and coarse little cloths 
were all that Thou didst suffer to be a 
resting-place and a covering for Thy ten- 
der members ! Nay, even Thy poor un- 
worthy resting-place was borrowed by Thy 
blessed and truly-loving Mother of the 
beasts of the field that cannot reason. O 
good Jesus ! whose heart would not be 
softened and kindled with love, and stirred 
up to devotion, and moved to compas- 
sion, when he beholdeth such exceeding 
poverty, and marvellous lowliness, and 
burning love towards man ? O how 
quickly didst Thou begin to work at our 
salvation ! How zealously didst Thou ac- 
complish it ! Not even one moment of 
time didst Thou lose, for not a moment 
was there which was not perfectly spent 
by Thee in saving us according to Thy 
Father's Will. Straightway, from the very 



12 Meditahoiis on the Life and Passion 

first moment of Thy birth, Thou didst be- 
gin to give Thyself up to pain and suffer- 
ing. 

But why, O sweet Jesus, was it Thy 
Will to become so lowly, and poor, and 
helpless, and abject, except to teach us 
lowliness, and to commend to us holy 
poverty ? Thou didst take our human 
nature, that we might be made partakers 
of Thy Godhead. Thou wert made the 
Son of Man, that we might be made the 
sons of God, that we might become, I say, 
by adoption and grace, what Thou wert 
from all eternity by nature. Thou wert 
born in a stable, that Thou mightest pre- 
serve not men only, but beasts, (for men 
had become beasts.) Thou wert placed in 
a manger, and Thyself wert made grass, 
that Thou mightest become the food of 
poor beasts. Yes, O Lord, it must needs 
have been, that Thou shouldst be made 
grass, when men themselves had become 
beasts. For a certain prophet saith: "The 
beasts have become rotten in their own 
dung," that is, in the filth of their sins. 
In order, then, that these animal men 
might feed, the Word was made grass, 
(that is, flesh.) For all flesh is grass ; 
and that they might be led out of the 
stable of their filthy sins, Christ was born 
in a stable. 

Now, then, O man given up to thy 
senses, adore Him lying in a stable, Whom 



of our Lord ^esus Christ. \ 3 

ill ■—■■■■■■ ' ■ ■ ' ' ' --— ■ — — ■■- — ■ ■■-.■-■ —— .■■ 

*hou hast despised as the Ruler of heaven ; 
adore as a beast, and as one of the cattle 
of the field, Him Whom, in thy character 
as man, thou vvouldst not recognize. Turn 
now to Him, in the wretchedness and ban- 
ishment of this world, from Whom thou 
didst turn away in the paradise of delights. 
Honour now His manger, Whose com- 
mandment thou hast broken. Feed, now, 
upon the grass, who hast turned aside from, 
and left the Bread of angels. O Almighty 
King of glory, what love hath overcome 
Thee, that Thou sliouldst make Thyself so 
poor, so lowly, so abject, for me, who am 
but a sinner and a poor worm ; that Thou 
shouldst be placed in a filthy stable among 
brute beasts, Who art adored by the angels 
in heaven ; that Tliou sliouldst be nour- 
ished with milk. Who art Thyself the 
Bread of angels, that Thou shouldst be 
wrapped in coarse swaddling clothes. Who 
adornest the heaven with stars, and clothest 
Thy holy ones in stoles of gold ? 

Nay, even in Thy very harmless in- 
fancy Thine enemies kept not back their 
cruel hands from Thy tender members. 
Scarcely wert Thou born, and while as yet 
Thou layest in the chaste arms of Thy 
sweet Mother, taking pleasant rest on her 
maternal bosom, as in Thy hunger she 
g^ave to Thee her virgin milk ; when not 
is yet hadst Tiiou spoken a word to any- 
one, even then did cruel and wicked uier 



14 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

seek after Thy life to destroy it. O sweet 
Jesus, how quickly did they rise up against 
Thee, those wicked enemies of Thine ! 
How young didst Thou begin to suffer ! 
As Thou grewest in age, so, too, grew Thy 
suffering. Eight days had barely passed 
away, when Thou didst shed Thine infant 
and innocent Blood for me, and as if under 
sin and the law, wert circumcised accord- 
ing to the law, that Thou mightest up- 
hold, and build up, and sanctify the law. 
So, too, that Thine infancy and boyhood 
might be an ensample of religion and the 
mirror of virtues. Thou didst not follow the 
vain ways of this world. Thou soughtest 
no comfort or relaxation of mind in boyish 
games, or in the company and meeting- 
places of talkative men, where nothing but 
temporal and vain things are spoken of. 
But in the temple, and worship, and service 
of Thy Father, wert Thou found amidst the 
doctors, hearing them, and asking them 
questions, — Thou Who art the very Wis- 
dom of the Father, the Lord of knowledge, 
the Eternal Truth, and the Word of God, 
which was in the beginning. And that 
Thou mightest deliver unto us a certain 
form of obedience. Thou placedst Thyself 
under Thy parents, being made subject 
unto them. Thou to Whom all the ele- 
ments are subject, to Whom all power is 
given in heaven and in earth, and Who 
hast the keys of death and hell. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 5 

Then, when the fulness of age had come 
to Thee, and the time was at hand when 
Thou wert to put out Thy hand to strong 
things, Thou didst go forth in the morn- 
ing for the salvation of Thy people, and 
didst rejoice as a strong giant to run the \ 
course of our poverty. And that, first of 
all, Thou mightest teach us the virtue of 
blessed humility, which is the beginning 
and ground-work of all virtues. Thou 
wentest forth, an innocent lamb, to Thy 
servant John the Baptist, who was admin- 
istering the baptism of penance unto sin- 
ners, just as if Thou Thyself wert a sinner; 
and Thou didst ask of him to be baptized, 
Thou Who hadst never felt the least stain 
of sin — not that Thou hadst need to be 
sprinkled, and washed with water, but that 
Thou, in Thine own Person, mightest bless 
the water as with sacred chrism, and might- 
est consecrate baptism for us, wliereby we 
were to be cleansed from all stain of sin, 
and that thus Thou mightest point out, 
that Thou wert the true Messias, promised 
to the fathers, and the Christ, that is, the 
anointed One, and the spotless Lamb of 
God, Who takest away the sins of the 
world. 

Thence Thou wentest forth in the power 
of the spirit into the wilderness, and that, 
as our strong standard-bearer and leader. 
Thou mightest give us courage lor the 
fight, Thou Thyself, first of all, didst enter 



1 6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

into battle, and begin a single-handed 
combat with our cruel enemy, whom 
straightway, with his whole power, at the 
first meeting Thou didst lay low, that 
being conquered by a man, he might be 
confounded, and cease henceforth to boast 
tl.'cit of old he had conquered and deceived 
man. O unvanquished Lion, how ear- 
nestly, and with what toil hast Thou 
wrought out our salvation, in order to stir 
us up, Thy weak members, and give us 
courage for toil and for battle. Thou didst 
not fear the loneliness of the wilderness, 
nor grow pale at the temptation of the 
devil — no gnawing of hunger, no rough- 
ness of penance held Thee back, nor wert 
Thou ever weary of the labour of prayer, 
or of meditation, or of watching. For the 
salvation of us, Thy suffering members, 
was ever in Thy Heart, and for these, like 
a most faithful father, Thou wert ever 
careful, and didst earnestly labour to en- 
rich them with eternal goods, and lay up 
for us the unfailing treasure of virtue and 
merit, from which we might draw in all 
abundance whatever might be wanting to 
us. Then, too, because the light of Thy 
Godhead, which lay hidden within Thee, 
under the bushel of Thy Manhood, could 
not be concealed, Thou didst suilter the 
light of Thy heavenly doctrine and wisdom 
to shine out in the face of day, that Thou 
mightest enlig^hten all men as to the faith. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 7 



For to all who dwelt in those parts Thou 
didst announce the kingdom of God, con- 
firming Thy words by marvellous works 
and miracles ; while to all who were weak, 
or in evil state. Thou didst declare Thy 
divine power, nor to anyone didst Thou 
refuse Thy tender loving-kindness, that 
Thou mightest gain all, and heal them. 
But the understanding of men was dark- 
ened, for not with love did they receive 
Thee as their Saviour, but rather turned 
away their hearts far from Thee, as if from 
some seducer and impostor of evil will. 
At the same time, they despised Thy 
teaching ; they spoke ill of Thy works ; 
they made light of Thy miracles. Not 
only were they ungrateful for all these 
Thy benefits, but even for the very rea- 
sons for which they ought to have loved 
and worshipped Thee, for these same rea- 
sons they wickedly accused, and hated, 
and persecuted, and blaspliemed Thee, 
saying: "This man is not from God: He 
seduceth the multitude: He is a winebib- 
ber and a friend of publicans." Yet all 
the while, O most meek Lamb, Thou 
openedst not Thy sacred mouth to utter 
words that might have grieved them, but 
Thou didst bear all with gentleness. Why, 
then, art thou so impatient, and so faint- 
hearted, O my soul, when any adversity 
cometli upon thee, or some pain or annoy- 
ance is inflicted on thee on the part of 



[8 Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 



men ? Dost thou not perceive how great 
was the wrong, and the slight, and the 
contempt, and the shame which the Lord 
of glory suffered for thee ? Dost thou 
make more account of thyself than of 
Him ? If they called the master of the 
house Beelzebub, how much more them 
of His household, and His ministers ? 

O Jesus, Wisdom of God, Eternal Truth, 
how brightly hath Thy divine light shone 
down on the sons of Adam ! How hath 
all Thy life, and every action of Thine, 
been to us, as it were, a light leading us 
on to the truth ! How clearly hath the 
light of Thy heavenly teaching lit up the 
darkness ! How full were all Thy works 
of lowliness, and long-suffering, and love, 
and self-denial ; in a word, of every grace 
and virtue, so that in these were reflected 
the most perfect examples of all holiness ! 
Therefore, whatever is wanting to me, 
from these sources will I draw it. If in 
anything I shall happen to doubt, in Thy 
iioly life as in a clear mirror will I look. 
For here I find rigorous self-denial, true 
obedience, profound humility, voluntary 
poverty, unutterable purity, marvellous 
patience, unchanging long-suffering, con- 
stant perseverance, and incomprehensible 
charity. Here, also, I find in all abund- 
ance, that of which we chiefly stand in 
need, infinite loving-kindness and mercy, 
— yea, and all the virtues that I can pos- 



of onr Lord Jesus Christ. 19 

sibly think of in my heart, all these I 
clearly discover written down as on a tab- 
let. Of a truth, Thou art that book which 
the prophet saw written within and with- 
out, for all Thy life, both outward and in- 
ward, is full of spiritual teaching, and all 
virtue. Truly, whosoever, with the pro- 
phet eateth this book, and masticateth it 
well, shall find it sweet in his mouth, like 
honey. O most pitiful Jesus, what labours 
didst Thou undergo, in seeking after and 
gathering together the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel ! With what friendship 
and sweetness didst Thou recall them from 
their error to Thyself; how gently didst 
Thou smile upon them, and win them by 
Thy good deeds, and draw them by Thy 
love to Thy Father, now by the promise 
of heavenly gifts, now by the threats of 
the torments of hell, at one time by smiles, 
at another by upbraiding. What more 
couldst Thou have done unto this vine, 
that Thou hast not done ? Oh ! how ear- 
nestly didst Thou endeavour to plant Thy 
Father's vineyard, without ever sparing 
Thyself in heat or cold, or in thirst or 
hunger, or in watchings or labours .<* For 
Thy Heart was ever glowing within Thee 
witli an exceeding burning longing, as in 
a fiery furnace, to gain for Thy Father, 
and save the whole of Israel. 

What shall I pay unto Thee, O sweet 
Jesus, for all these immense benefits o^ 



20 Mcditatio7is on the Life and Passion 



Thine ? What is man, that Thou shouldst 
so thirst after his salvation, and suffer so 
much for his redemption, and labour so 
earnestly to draw him to Thy love ? What 
is there in lost man in which Thou canst 
take delight ? Of what use to Thee is 
the sinner in his uncleanness ? Or what 
gain dost Thou look for from a vile and 
wretched worm of earth, that Thou placest 
Thy Heart so near him ? O gentlest 
Lover of men, why have I begun so late 
to love Thee ? Why have I left Thee, the 
well-spring of virtue, and the vein of liv- 
ing waters ? Why have I turned away 
from Thee, Who art the stream of spiri- 
tual favours, the abyss of graces, the high- 
est good, and the mirror of all perfection ? 
What madness hath overcome me, that I 
should not blush to offend so faithful a 
father, to anger so powerful a Lord ? 
Alas ! wretched man tiiat I am, I have 
forsaken Thee, the Bread of angels, and 
in my exceeding want have filled myself 
with the husks of vicious pleasure, in order 
that I might satisfy my beastly appetites. 
O, Restorer of nature, how glorious and 
beautiful didst Thou create me, and how 
full of corruption and foul have I made 
myself! For beliold, my heart is turned 
aside, it is hard like adamant. Mv 
memory is scattered abroad, my under- 
standing is darkened, my will is corrupted, 
my love is cold, my soul hath become a 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 

filthy thing, my spirit is relaxed and lan- 
guisheth. I am wholly given up to my 
senses, I have become hateful and abomin- 
able. When Thou leavest me, I grieve 
not ; I have fallen into the devils' snare, 
and I see it not ; they have struck me, and 
wounded me to death, and I feel it not ; I 
have fallen to the gates of hell, and I 
mourn not. Yet not even in this state, O 
most merciful God, dost Thou turn away 
from me Thy great and manifold mercy. 
Thou callest me to Thyself, who have gone 
far from Thee. Thou drawest me to Thee, 
who still refuse to come. Tiiou openest 
Thine arms to receive me, before I reach 
Thee. Thou bowest down Thy Head to 
give me the kiss of peace, who am still all 
unworthy and unclean. Thou preventest 
me, and meetest me witli Thy grace, be- 
fore I am reconciled to Thee. Thou pour- 
est out Thy grace upon nie, more quickly 
than I dare to ask it. Lastly, Thou feed- 
est me with the most sweet bread of Thy 
chosen children, who am not worthy to be 
the last of Thy slaves. What more shall 
I ask of Thee ? For all these things my 
soul doth magnify Thee, and my spirit 
doth rejoice in Thee, O God, my Saviour. 
All my inward parts praise, and bless, and 
give thanks to Thee, O Lord, for Thy 
mercy over me is great. Oh ! if Thou 
showest Thyself so loving to Thine ene- 



22 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



mies, my tender Jesus, what then art 
Thou to the friends of Thy Heart ? 

Moved, then, by the contemplation of 
this Thy immense mercy and goodness, I, 
a wretched and vile sinner, weighed down 
with the heavy burden of my numberless 
sins, come to Thee, O good Jesus ! Very 
humbly do I cast myself at Thy feet, for 
Thou art full of grace, and exceedingly 
kind towards sinners, and it is, indeed, Tiiine 
own natural property ever to have mercy, 
and to spare, nay, even to show favour 
and kindness. Grant, I beseech Thee, 
that I may find the same grace which 
blessed Magdalen, Thy most fervent lover, 
obtained from Thee. Say unto my soul 
that word full of comfort which Thou 
spakest unto her : " Thy sins are forgiven 
thee." For although my sins are beyond 
measure great, yet are they small when 
compared with Thy mercy. O, sweet 
Jesus, help me, for indeed Thou canst ; 
give me the desire of my heart, for in my 
deep lowliness and wretchedness I cry 
unto Thee ! Forgive me much, that I may 
love Thee xnuch, and may magnify and 
bless Thee. Heal me wholly, that I may 
wholly cleave unto Thee. Unburden me 
of my heavy load of sins, that I may freely 
and cheerfully follow Thee. Cast away 
all my sins into the abyss of Thy divine 
mercy, and then so grind them into dust, 
and bring them to nothing, that all remem- 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 23 

brance of them may pass away from 
before Thee. For now I have determined 
with myself, from this time forward, never 
more to offend Thee, O my God. Most 
tender Jesus, since I confess to Thee my 
wretchedness, show unto me, I beseech 
Thee, Thy goodness. All my wretchedness 
and poverty have I shown unto Thee, do 
Thou then open unto me the ample trea- 
sures of Thy grace, and at the same time 
apply to my sins and negligences all Thy 
toil, and labours, and all Thy good works, 
and all the merits of Thy most sacred 
Passion. Reconcile unto me Thy Father 
who is in heaven, and with whom Thou 
livest and reignest, Co-eternal God, world 
without end. Amen. 



The Third Chapter. 
Of the washing of the disciples feet. 

WHEN the time of grace and mercy 
was at hand, in which He had 
decreed from everlasting to accomplish 
our salvation, and to redeem us, not with 
corruptible gold and silver, but with His 
own precious Blood, out of true love, 
Christ Jesus, as a most bountiful Master 
of the household, desired to eat supper 
with His disciples before He departed from 



24 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

them by a cruel death, and as a sign of the 
mighty love with which He loved them. 
And in this supper it was His will to 
establish His testament, declaring openly, 
that even to the end He had loved them 
as His true children, and had pressed them 
to His fatherly heart from everlasting. 
For, when the supper was over, and He 
had pointed out to His disciples that 
His death and Passion was very near 
at hand, and had beheld how griev- 
ously they were afflicted thereat, at the 
thought, namely, that they were to be 
torn asunder from so faithful a Father 
and loving a Teacher — out of His exceed- 
ing great compassion He gently comforted 
them, and said : " My little children, be 
not sad, nor let your heart be troubled, I 
will not leave you orphans. It is expe- 
dient for you that I go away. I shall go 
away, therefore, but I will come again to 
you." But when He saw that they had 
lost all heart, and were sore stricken, some 
of them, indeed, with tears running down 
their cheeks, and others heaving deep 
sighs from their inmost heart, and others, 
again, showing by their pale and changing 
countenances the anguish of their spirit, 
all the bowels of His compassion were 
moved, for He is full of mercy, and, at the 
same time. He spake unto them words of 
comfort, and said : " My little children, 
fear not, neither be ye troubled. Lo, I 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 25 

am with you, even unto the end of the 
world." See, with what burning love He 
embraced them. Again, when the Paschal 
Lamb was made ready in tlie place where 
He had eaten, He entered the upper- 
chamber, and His disciples followed Him. 
Come, then, and let us also follow Him, 
for our tender-hearted Lord will not suffer 
anyone to go out of that chamber hunger- 
ing. When, therefore, the Paschal Lamb 
had been eaten, according to the rites and 
law of the Jews, He summed up, as it 
were, in one, but, at the same time, a two- 
fold virtue, all the virtues which Pie had 
practised His whole life long in divers 
and marvellous ways, that they who can- 
not follow the works and virtues of Christ, 
may, with all earnestness, endeavour to 
acquire, at least, these two, which He 
taught us so carefully at the end of His 
life. For, indeed, without these virtues 
no man can obtain salvation, or the bliss 
of heaven. He rose, therefore, from the 
table, and, girt about with a linen cloth, 
began very diligently to wash Plis disci- 
ples' feet. Now, the reason why He per- 
formed this orrand work of strikinof humi- 
lity at the end of His life was this : — 
namely, that He might deeply impress 
upon His dear disciples, and upon all of 
us, the virtue of profound humility. For^ 
without this, we cannot persevere in the 
other virtues, nor make progress, nor 



26 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

please God, nor obtain His grace, since, 
according to the Scripture, God resisteth 
the proud, and giveth grace unto the hum- 
ble. And as pride is the beginning and 
source of all evil, so humility is the ground- 
work of all virtues. This blessed virtue 
uniteth us with God : and by humility we, 
as it were, force God to sink down into 
our souls. For no man can use force over 
the exceeding mighty power of God, save 
by deep self-contempt, and utter self- 
deprivation. And as water ever seeketh 
the lower places, so doth God, by His 
grace, flow down with greater readiness 
into a lowly heart. By humility the 
Blessed Virgin, our Lady, overcame Him 
Who is unconquerable, reconciled Him 
Who had been offended, gave pleasure to 
the King most High, and drew Him down 
to rest in her pure body, as she herself 
confesseth : " For He hath regarded the 
lowliness of His hand-maiden." By pride 
we have been cast out of Paradise, by 
humility we are raised again to glory. 
But if pride was so damnable in the angels, 
that justice required that they should be 
driven out of the everlasting heaven, al- 
though, by reason of their great glory and 
brightness, they had many more reasons 
for exalting themselves than man; how 
doth the latter dare to lift himself up, as 
if he himself were somewhat, when, of a 
truth, both his substance, and state, and 



of our Lord yestis Christ. 27 

nature, and dwelling-place, and all belong- 
ing to him, drag him down, and render 
him vile ? For, if he will only observe 
what he hath been, what he is, what he 
undergoeth, where he dwelleth, and what 
he will be, he will, of a surety, perceive 
how his one condition lowereth and hum- 
bleth him, and casteth reproach upon the 
depth of his lowness in these words : 
"Why art thou proud, O dust and ashes?" 
But, although our Lord Jesus taught us 
this virtue His whole life long, both by 
word and deed, yet, when He was now 
nigh unto death, He desired more deeply 
to impress it both upon His disciples and 
all of us, and more expressly to teach it 
us by His own lowly actions, so that it 
might never be blotted out of our hearts. 
And, of a truth, could our sweet Lord have 
shown us deeper humih'ty than by washing 
His own creatures' feet ? He bowed 
Himself down to the earth, and was made 
the servant of all His disciples. Who, I 
ask, without compunction and devotion, 
can behold the King of glory, at Whose 
marvellous power the angelic spirits are 
lost in wonder and trembling adoration, — 
girt round the loins with a linen cloth, and 
washing so carefully the dust-covered feet 
of His own servants ? His disciples sat, 
and He, the Power of God Almighty, 
threw Himself down upon the ground. 
He, the Lord of lords, knelt down at the 



28 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

feet of His own disciples, although at His 
Name every knee is bent. Oh ! how hum- 
bly, how devoutly, how lovingly He passed 
from one to the other, and, placing His 
sacred knees upon the ground, touched the 
dirt of their feet with those fair, clean 
hands of His, — nay, so carefully washed 
them, and dried them, and kissed them. 
Nor was it only the feet of His friends, 
but even of him who betrayed Him, that 
He desired to wash and kiss, since He 
knew that he had been sold by the latter 
for thirty pieces of silver ; yet, not less 
kindness did He show to him than to the 
others, this truly tender-hearted Jesus. 
Now this great work of humility He 
wrought for our instruction. Hear Him 
speaking Himself to His disciples: "Know 
ye what I have done to you. If I, your 
Lord and Master, have washed your feet, 
so ought you also to wash one another's 
feet. For, behold, I have given you an 
example, that as I have done, so you 
should do also, that you, in like manner, 
may perform one to the other the works 
of mutual love, and mutually help one 
another, and this, too, not only to your 
friends, but to your enemies." Where- 
fore, whosoever refuseth to follow the 
profound humility of the Son of God on 
earth, will never be exalted with Plim. at 
the right hand of His Father in heaven. 
For, nothing doth God love so much, as a 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 29 

pure, and lowly, and peaceful heart, as He 
saith Himself : " On whom shall My Spirit 
rest, save on him who is of a lowly and 
peaceful heart, and who trembleth at My 
words ?" 



The Fourth Chapt£r. 

Of the histitution of the Worshipful and 
most August SacraiJieut. 

WHEN, therefore, our Lord Jesus had 
instructed His disciples in true hu- 
mility, both by word and example, and the 
time of His Passion was close at hand. He 
desired to teach both them and all of us 
another of His virtues, not less necessary 
for our salvation than the one already 
spoken of ; that is to say, perfect love. 
These two virtues He left us as His testa- 
ment for an everlasting remembrance, de- 
siring to impress them on our inmost 
hearts, for in them lies our whole salva- 
tion, and witliout them we cannot be saved. 
Nay, even had we nothing else, these 
alone would suffice. Hear, now, what our 
most gracious Lord said to His disciples : 
" My little children, a new commandment 
I give unto you ;" as if He would say * 
" Many lessons, and divers and numercu:* 



30 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

commandments have you from Me. But 
now, a new commandment I give unto 
you, the highest, indeed, of all command- 
ments, and the compendium of all My 
teachings ; and this is, that you love one 
another as I have loved you ; that as I lay 
down My life for you, so also you should 
love one another unto death, and help one 
another ; that, as I have loved him who 
betrayed Me, and have prayed for them 
who have brought Me to the cross, so also 
you should love your enemies, and do 
good to them, by lending loving help to 
all who persecute you, and bring evil upon 
you." This new commandment of love 
our Lord Jesus taught, not only by word, 
but also by deed. And when He desired 
to make known to us that we were His 
true sons, and that out of His eternal love 
He bore us in His bosom, and that from 
everlasting we had been in Him, and, as it 
were, in our origin, had rested in Him 
from all eternity ; and that no earthly 
father had ever embraced us with such 
exceeding love as that with which He had 
embraced us. Then it was that, as a most 
faithful father, He left us His most august 
testament, and bequeathed to us that ex- 
cellent good, which is nobler and better 
than heaven and earth, even His own most 
sacred Body for food, and for our drink 
His most precious Blood. O wonderful 
mystery ! O most high Sacrament ! Oh, 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 3 1 

all ye, as many as love God, come, make 
ready, behold, wonder, marvel, praise, an- 
nounce and magnify the Name of the 
Lord. For so great, so marvellous a work 
hath our Lord wrought in us, that whoso- 
ever desireth to look into it with his in- 
ward understanding, can only shrivel up in 
spirit, and faint away in mind, and lose all 
power for exceeding great astonishment. 
And even if a man desire, according to 
the poor little measure of his human 
frailty, and by the help of God's grace, to 
look through and search the depth of this 
love by means of his reason and under- 
standing, as far, namely, as God vouch- 
safeth out of love to allow him to do this, 
yet will his heart melt away, and burn, 
and glow with the flame and fire of love. 
For, although it was a great and wonder- 
ful work that God Almighty vouchsafed to 
take upon Himself the nature of man, and 
to clothe Himself with the sackcloth of 
our mortality, yet doth this work leave all 
His other works far behind. For, in the 
former work. He took upon Himself, in- 
deed, our manhood, but in this work, joined 
and united with His Manhood, He poureth 
out upon us His own Godhead, so that we 
receive It within ourselves. In the former 
He took on Him our manhood, in the lat- 
ter, we are clothed with His Godhead. 

For, as the food taken by man passeth 
into his substance, and becometh of onr 



3 2 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

nature with man, so whosoever worthily 
receiveth this Food, is made one thing 
with our Lord by grace. And as our Lord 
saith by Aug^ustine, we change not this 
divine Food into our substance, but rather 
are transmuted and transformed by it into 
Himself, and thus are made deiform, and 
of one nature with Him. Now this is the 
way by which we put on Christ, as the 
apostle admonisheth. Oh ! who can ever 
reach, by any act of the understanding, 
unto this infinite abyss of deepest love, 
which God hath willed to make known to 
us in this sublime and wonderful Sacra- 
ment ? And this, indeed, He did at the 
end of His life, that it might be, as it 
were, the sum, and compendium, and ever- 
lasting remembrance of all His works. 
Moreover, although it was at the last sup- 
per that He first instituted this Sacrament, 
and gave It to man to take, yet It in- 
cluded within Itself the whole Clirist, God 
Incarnate. For in this Sacrament He had 
His true Body, and His living soul, and 
He was Very God ; and these three we 
receive in this Sacrament. Where, now, 
is the heart that will not glow with burn- 
ing love, and be stirred and moved to 
devotion, when it considereth with what 
exceeding love He, the King of glory, the 
Lord of majesty, was consumed for us vile 
creatures, who are but dust and ashes, in 
whom, besides, He found nothing but 



of our Lord Jestis Christ. 33 



frailty, and sin, and want ? Yet of sucli 
He can say : " My delights are to be 
with the children of men." Can He lift 
us hiqherthan by setting up His own tem- 
ple within us ? Can Wo: love us more 
tlian by vouchsafing to become the food of 
His own creatures ? He is the hifrhest 
and most perfect Good, with which no 
other good can be compared, and which 
can never fail ; and because His fatherly 
and loving Heart could think of nothing 
better, nothing higher, He gave us Him- 
self, so as to prove to us His bountiful 
goodness, and the deep love of His Heart. 
Bountiful altogether is the bestowal, when 
He giveth Himself, but how much more 
bountiful when He giveth Himself in this 
way ! For He gave Himself to be our 
father, and brother, and companion, and 
food, and ransom, and mediator, and advo- 
cate. Lastly, He will give us Himself for 
our everlasting reward, and will so satiate 
us in Himself, that He will be to us all 
that we can desire. 

Nor is this all, for over and above all 
this bountitul goodness, He is ever ready 
to come into our hearts, and to bestow 
upon us all the merits of His Incarnation, 
and Life and Passion. He saith by His 
prophet : " Thou shalt call and the Lord 
will hear thee. Thou shalt cry aloud, and 
He shall say, * Lo, here I am.' " And He 
Himself saith : " if any man love Me, My 



34 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Fatlier will love him, and We will come 
and make our dwelling with him," Look, 
O my soul ! to thy dignity, and rejoice 
exceedingly in thy God, Who hath lifted 
thee up from the dung-hill of thy sins, 
that thou mayest be the dwelling-place of 
the Adorable Trinity, thou wiio wert for- 
merly the devil's slave. 

Nor was it enough for this most ardent 
Lover to show us such exceeding love. 
More deeply still must He lower and sub- 
mit Himself unto us. He will not wait 
until He be invited and desired by us : 
He cometh Himself first, and knocketh, 
and prayeth us to let Him in. Hear what 
He saith in the Apocalypse : " Behold, I 
stand at the door and knock. If any man 
open unto Me, I will enter in, and sup 
with him, and he with Me." O blessed 
and happy soul, that listeneth to his Lord's 
knock, that watcheth, and with longing 
waiteth for His coming, so as not onl\' 
straightway lo open to her Lord and 
Bridegroom, but even with her lamp burn- 
ing, and full oi oil, to go out to meet Him, 
and to take Him back with her, saying: 
" Let my Beloved come into His gar- 
den !" 

Oh ! how great the happiness to receive 
Him, as He cometh back from the hea- 
venly marriage-feast, drunk with wine, full 
ot grace and truth, coming forth from His 
Father's most pleasant Bosom, all delight- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 35 

ful and full of comfort, flowing with spiri- 
tual delights, ready to give His loving 
bride the kiss of peace which He Himself 
had received from His Father. Oh ! what 
a happiness to eat with Him, Who thus 
giveth Himself for food ! Who, I ask, 
could ever have so cast himself down, or 
so raised us up ? Heaven and earth are 
tilled with the glory of His divine Majesty, 
and yet He refuseth not to be handled, 
and taken and eaten by us worthless 
worms of earth. The heaven of heavens 
is not large enough to contain His great- 
ness, and He telleth us that it is His 
delight to be with us, who lie hidden in 
the filthy homes of earth. 

Oh ! whose is the spirit that will not 
marvel with exceeding wonder? Whose 
is the heart that will not melt away at the 
burning fire of this unutterable love ? 
How could He have given us surer proof 
of this His burning love for us? It is a 
small thing to Him to send His holy angels 
to honour and visit us, but that He, the 
King of angels, should come to His own 
servants, that He should visit the sick, 
and comfort the weak, and lift up the 
fallen, and console the desolate, and give 
heart to them who despair, and instruct 
them who doubt, and call back them that 
wander, and refresh them that hunger, 
and give warmth to them that are luke 
warm ; in a word, that He should heal al! 



36 hleditations on the Life and Passion 

our languor, and all our sins, and this not 
by any strange medicine, but by His own 
precious Body and Blood ! O wonderful 
mystery, O most high Sacrament, O un- 
utterable love, O unheard of bounty, in 
which the Giver is Himself the Gift, the 
servant eateth his Lord, the creature re- 
ceiveth his Maker, the minister is com- 
manded to sit at the table of the most 
high King, and is filled to overflowing with 
divine food ; in wdiich man is fed with the 
Bread of angels, the Father distributeth 
the Body of His only Begotten, and giveth 
His friends to drink, in all abundance, of 
the precious Blood of His dear Son ! Who 
hath ever heard of greater or more lavish 
bounty ? Where is the understanding that 
can look into and grasp the mysteries of 
this wonderful Sacrament ? What more 
could God have done for us ? How could 
He have more closely joined to us His 
most high Godhead, than to become our 
food, and to incorporate us wholly into 
Himself ? For as bodily food, when taken 
by man, falleth down softly into his inward 
parts, and nourisheth all his members, and 
at length passeth into his substance, so, in 
like manner, Christ letteth Hmiself sink 
down into our souls, in order to fill us 
wholly with Himself, and He draweth all 
our powers into Himself. And if He 
meeteth our souls thus worthily made 
ready, so as to enable Him freely to ac- 



of ottr Lord Jesus Christ. 37 

complish within us His own pleasant work, 
then, too, according to the Scriptures, He 
buiideth up and destroyeth. He killethand 
giveth life, He teareth up and planteth, 
He darkeneth and giveth light. For He 
is tiiat Lamb Whom St. John saw sitting 
on the throne of heaven, and making all 
things new. Even as He once made our 
souls, when before they had no being, to 
His own image and likeness, so also He 
reneweth and marvellously reformeth them 
according to the same likeness, which in 
us hath become defiled and broken. Thus, 
too, thou mayest hear Him say by the 
mouth of one of His prophets: " I Myself 
will feed My sheep, and I will make them 
to lie down. That which iiath perished 1 
will seek ; that which hath been cast away 
I will bring back ; that which is broken \ 
will bind together ; that which is weak I 
will strengthen." 

Oh ! who can grasp in mind, or who is 
able to discover in thought, all the marvels, 
and all the iiappiness, whicli this divine 
Food worketh in the soul that worthily re- 
ceiveth It .<* Oh ! how pure, how holy, 
and, above all, how divine doth such a 
man straightway become by means of this 
Food ? For if the nature of the elements 
is such as, after the manner of their author, 
to consume all things, and make them like 
themselves, and transmute them into their 
own substance, iiow much more will this 



38 Aleditations on the Life and Passion 

most noble Food, which is God Himself, 
consume whatever in man is vicious, or 
carnal, or sensual, and cause to spring up 
and encourage all virtue and all good ; 
and, chief of all, will at last transform the 
whole man into Itself, and unite him with 
Itself, and, so far as is possible for a crea- 
ture, make him of one essence with God, 
and like to Him. While this is being 
done, that is to say, while man is being- 
conformed and made like unto this Food, 
lie also becometh wholly quickened in 
spirit, for he receiveth the Bread of Life, 
so that now he may say with the apostle: 
"I li\e, yet not I, but Christ liveth in 
me." He is made, in like manner, wholly 
angelic and heavenly, for he hath eaten of 
the Bread of angels, and of their food. 
Lastly, he is made all divine, inasmuch as 
he hath received God Himself, Who hath 
so tilled him, and, so to speak, deified his 
powers, that he can no longer seek, or 
desire, or meditate upon, or love anything, 
save only God, while to do God's will, 
and whatever God's love requireth, is for 
him enough. What, then, can be wanting 
to us, when we have partaken of this most 
noble Food ? O merciful God ! what more 
couldst Thou have done for us, or what 
hast Thou done ? Even hadst Thou 
brooded with all Thy power and all Thy 
wisdom upon this one thing, namely, how 
to bestow upon man some great gift, and 



of our Lord testis Christ. 39 

to show to him some striking proof of Thy 
exceeding love, yet so far as my under- 
standing can grasp, no nobler, or higlier, 
or more useful, or more saving gitt couldst 
Thou have lavished upon us. For Thou 
hast poured out upon us the whole trea- 
sure of Thy grace. Thou hast opened to 
us Thy fatherly Heart, and allowed the 
veins of Thy exceeding love to flow in all 
abundance over us. Openly hast Thou 
made known to us with what great love 
for us Thou burnest and art wounded. 
And because Thou couldst no longer hide 
this blessed wound, and burning hre, the 
llame broke forth, and Thou sufferedst 
man to feel the force of Thy love, giving 
to him Thy most sacred Body for food, 
and Thy precious Blood for drink, that so 
man, looking upon the immensity of this 
love, might, in his turn, be inflamed and 
wounded by love, and, at the same time, 
by its sublimity, might be inwardly forced 
and admonished to repay it in some way, 
and satisfy its longings. 

See here, how marvellous and unheard 
of hath been the meeting and the union of 
the Divine Wisdom with our nature. It 
took from us our weakness, and our mor- 
tal manhood, and bestowed upon us Its 
own adorable Godhead. And the better 
to do this, It could And no more suitable 
or pleasant way, than to leave Itselt to us 
under the appearance ol food and drink. 



40 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



O power of God, to be ever praised, that 
under the appearance of a httle bread 
could give His own high Godhead, could 
give His own perfect Body and holy Soul 
unto all men, equally and wholly to be 
their food, which, while wholly received by 
every man, yet remaineth in Itself whole 
and incorrupt ! O marvellous wisdom of 
God, that instituted this subtle and saving 
means of salvation for us, and decreed it ! 
O incomprehensible goodness of God, that 
for the sake of our salvation hath periect- 
ed such sublime works of love ! O sav- 
ing Food, whereby the children of men 
pass into the children of God, and hu- 
manity is absorbed that God may remain ! 
O longed-for, sacred, and adorable Bread, 
that refreshest the mind, not the belly ; 
that strengthenest the heart, nor weighest 
down the body ; that gladdenest the spirit, 
nor darkenest the understanding; whereby 
sensuality is killed, and our own will 
brought down to nothing, that God's Will 
may have place, and God's Spirit may 
have rule, and God's working may come 
across no hinderance ! Of a truth, it was 
needful for man, who had swallowed the 
serpent's poisonous morsel, to drink the 
heavenly draught of Christ's precious 
Blood, in order to recover the salvation he 
had lost. Clearly it was fitting that he 
who had fallen through food that brought 
him death should be raised up again by 




of our Lord y esus Christ. 41 



the Bread of life ; that he who had died 
through the fruit of the tree, should come 
to hfe again in like manner, by the fruit 
of the Tree, and that he who, through the 
tree of disobedience, had been sentenced 
to everlasting death, should, by the Tree 
of obedience, be restored to everlastin<j 
glory. On that former tree hung the food 
of death, on this latter the medicine of 
life. In that ran the sap of concupiscence, 
on this hung the grape-clusters of salva- 
tion, which, pressed out in the vine-press 
of Christ's Passion, gave us that new wine, 
by which the heart of man is gladdened. 
Clearly, this is that chosen grape-cluster, 
sweet to the taste, which they who were 
said to spy out the earth, that is, the holy 
apostles, carried on a staff, as they ex- 
plored with interior eye the kingdom of 
heaven ; as, for example, St. John, who 
saw in the Apocalypse the Lamb, as it 
were slain, and St. Paul, who himself also 
went forth to look at the Land of Promise, 
when he was rapt into the third heaven, 
and who, when he had returned to himself, 
confessed that he knew no other sign, save 
the grape upon the vine, that is, Jesus 
Christ, and Him crucified. This is that 
true grape-cluster which hath no sourness 
mingled with it; this is that sweet-tasting^ 
Bread, or heavenly manna, full of spiritual 
deliglits, wherem there is nothing rough 
or coarse, for it is not made of the grain 



42 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

of the Old Testament, administered by 
Moses, but it is the flour of wheat, that is, 
of the grace shown through Christ Jesus ; 
no mere figure, but the truth. 

Wherefore, let no man forget to eat this 
Bread, lest his heart should wither. For 
as we fell into ruin through food, so by 
food we must be quickened again to life. 
Of that former food it was said: "In what- 
soever day thou shalt eat thereof, thou 
siialt surely die." But of this is it said: 
" If any man shall eat of this Bread, he 
shall live for ever." As often, therefore, 
as, through the cheating of Satan, that 
wicked serpent, we have fallen into sins, 
and have drunk the cup of death when 
held out to us by the enemy's temptation, 
so often ought we to make ourselves ready 
to partake of this heavenly medicine, with 
sorrow, and penance, and devotion, and 
burning longing. Never let us cease at 
all to succour our sick and suffering souls, 
since to no man doth our tender-hearted 
Lord refuse His grace, nor is there any- 
thing He is more ready to give than Him- 
self. And, of a surety, whatever favours, 
whatever grace our Lord Jesus brought 
into this world, and eave to man when He 
took his nature, all this He bringeth with 
Him, and bestoweth upon every man who 
worthily partaketh of this worshipful Sa- 
crament. Moreover, whatever virtues 
Christ performed during His Life, — all 



of our Lord yestis Christ. 43 

the fruit of His Death, Resurrection and 
Ascension, tlie blessedness of His gracious 
Body, the virtue of His precious Blood, 
and lasdy, the merits of His most noble 
Soul, — all this He bringeth with Him into 
the soul diat worthily receiveth Him. 
What more desirest thou ? In this most 
august Sacrament, whatever can be thought 
of, or desired, is received. For herein is 
received the true Son of God, Jesus Christ, 
very God and very Man, ever one God 
with the Father and the Holy Ghost. 
Truly, then, it was right to say, that what- 
ever virtues or merit Christ performed, 
and obtained in His Life and Passion, all 
this is received in this Sacrament by the 
soul that is worthily prepared. Nay, our 
sweet Jesus is ready to give us all these 
virtues through His tender and bountiful 
goodness, just as if we had performed 
them ourselves. Let us hasten, therefore, 
zealously to cleanse our hearts from every 
stain of sin, and to adorn them with vir- 
tues and good works, tiiat we may be 
always fit and worthy to receive this sav- 
ing food, to the everlasting glory ot our 
most gracious Maker. Amen. 



44 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Fii' rii Chapter. 

A devout Prayer to the Worshipful 
Sacrament. 

A LMIGHTY God, and Lord Jesus 
-t\. Christ, Word of the Father, Eternal 
Truth, most merciful Redeemer, most just 
Judge, how incompreliensible are Thy 
judgments over the children of men ! how 
terrible art Thou to the wicked, how ten- 
der and loving to the good ! Behold I, 
Thy poor, vile, and sinful creature, trem- 
bling and groaning, come before Thee, the 
Eternal Truth, from Whom no secrets are 
hid. Whose eyes search out, in all clear- 
ness, not only the works, but the very in- 
most depth of man, as to the intention of 
liis heart, wherewith all his works are 
done. O my God, Tliou art very good, 
yet Thine infinite Justice, all piercing Truth, 
awful Wisdom, and terrible judgments, 
press sore upon me even unto death, and 
make me fear to come into Thy presence ; 
for I am stained with many sins, whereby 
I have grievously stirred Thee to anger. 
But Thine infinite loving-kindness, and 
great tenderness and goodness, which are 
over all Thy works, these make mc 



of 07ir Lord J esus Christ. 45 

breathe again, and hope for salvation and 
pardon. 

Behold, tliat deceitful and envious ser- 
pent hath held out to me the food of death 
under a pleasing shape, and I, a stranger 
to the light of Thy grace, discerning not 
good from evil, have given consent to tlie 
wicked one: I have eaten, and am poisoned. 
To whom now shall I fly, O most tender 
God, save to Thee } Thou art the salva- 
tion of man, the Lamb without stain, that 
takest awav all the stains of sin, and wash- 
est and healest in Thine own most pure 
Blood, all the corruption and infection of 
the poisonous serpent. Wherefore, with 
tender trust I fly beneath the wings of Thy 
gentle loving-kindness. Before Thee I 
throw myself in all lowliness, not presum- 
ing on any virtue of mine, but laden with 
the heavy burden of my sins, that by 
groans, and tears, and prayer, I may move 
Thee to pity, O my God, Whom I have 
offended by my lusts, and pleasures, and 
pride, and vanity, and, alas ! too much by 
my own evil will. All unclean I come 
unto Thee, but Thou art the source of 
mercy and grace; if Thou wilt. Thou canst 
make me clean. Wounded unto death I 
come to Thee, but Thou art my God, 
Thou art the medicine of life. Behold ! I 
confess to Thee my sins. Lord ! if Thou 
wilt, Thou canst help me ; and, indeed, 
Thou alone canst help me. 



46 Meditations on tJie Life and Passion 

Oh ! of a truth, it is but little for Thee 
to give what to me is most profitable to 
receive. Remember, I beseech Thee, O 
tender Jesus, that comforting word of 
Thine, which Thou, the Eternal Truth, 
hast spoken ; that " Thou desirest not the 
deatli of a sinner, but rather that he should 
turn from his wickedness and live." O 
faithful Lover of men, lo, with my whole 
heart, and with every power of my soul, I 
turn to Thee. Help me, before my soul 
die I For without Thee I cannot but die, 
since Thou hast said: " Except ye eat the 
Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His 
Blood, ye shall have no life in you." Be- 
hold ! I am nigh unto death, for I have 
turned away from Thee, the medicine of 
my soul, and the Bread of Life ! My 
heart hath withered within me, so that I 
am forced to beg my bread upon the 
earth, that is to say, to go after earthly 
and temporal consolation, for I have gone 
far away from 1 hee, the food and nourish- 
ment of heaven. Wherefore it is, that, 
hungry, and sick, and crippled, I now come 
to Thee, the Father of mercy, the well of 
loving-kindness. With lowly prayer I 
knock at the door of Thy divine grace 
and mercy, and at Thy fatherly Heart. 
Oh ! hear my pra)er: grant unto me the 
desire of my heart, fill the hungry one 
with good things, refresh the thirbty one, 



of our Lord yesiis Christ. 47 

quicken my languor, heal my sickness, for 
Thou alone canst heal me. 

O most merciful Samaritan, pass not by 
on the other side oi Thy poor weak ser- 
vant, but take pity upon me, and pour into 
my wounds Thy wine and oil. It was love 
that drew Thee down from heaven, that 
Thou mightest redeem Adam our father ; 
let that same love move Thee now to heal 
me, the weakest of his children. Nor is 
it only, O kind Jesus, because Thou art so 
very necessary unto me in my weakness, 
that I desire to receive Thee, but it is also 
by reason of the great love and longing 
which I feel for Thee, O my Lord and 
Saviour, the only love of my heart. For 
Thy grace preventing me, and Tliy love 
first shown unto me, have so strengtiiened 
my heart in faith, and hope, and love to- 
wards Thee, that I cannot fear Thee or fly 
from Thee, as if Thou wert a terrible 
judge that can never be appeased. But I 
am forced to go and meet Thee, that I 
may take Thee, and embrace Thee with 
inmost love, as my tender-hearted Father 
and sweet Lover. In power Thou art 
most mighty, in wisdom most glorious, in 
goodness most perfect, in gifts most boun- 
tiful, in nature most beautiful, in conversa- 
tion most holy, in fruit most delightful, in 
taste most sweet. Thou art full of com- 
fort and grace. Thou art all-desirable. O 
sweetest Lord, although the heavens can- 



48 Meditations 07t the Life and Passion 

not contain Thy greatness, and I am such 
a poor, httle, vile worni of earth, that I am 
not worthy to receive from Thee even the 
least of Thy good gitts, yet not even by 
all Thy gifts canst Thou fulfil the longing 
of my heart, unless Thou givest me Thy- 
self ! Nay, the viler I am, the more Thy 
goodness will be praised, and the more 
will all men marvel thereat, that Thou, the 
Lord of glory, shoukist vouchsafe to come 
unto me, a poor, wretched, and weak man. 
O most merciful Jesus, Who didst not 
shrink from the feasts of publicans and 
sinners, nor didst abhor the touch of the 
woman who was a sinner, do Thou visit 
my soul in its desolation ! Come, and say 
unto my soul: "I am thy salvation." O 
out- flowing abyss of divine goodness, that 
iillest the heavens and the earth, and all 
that in them is, out of Whose plenitude all 
the saints flow over with delights, and are 
satisfied in all abundance, till me wholly 
with Thyself! To do this, belongeth to 
Thy power ; but how to do this, and by 
what means, belongeth to Thy wisdom, 
while the perfecting of the work belongeth 
to Thy goodness. Vouchsafe, also, so to 
adorn my heart with the riches of Thy 
grace, that I may seek for no curious 
adornment beneath Thyself, but that all 
things temporal may be to me vile as 
dung. O heavenly Sweetness, I long to 
eat Thee all ; and to be all eaten by Thee. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 49 



I desire, O my Lord, to be all consumed 
by Thee, and in myself to be brought 
down to nothinor, I wish to die in myself, 
and to live in Thee, to be likewise trans- 
formed and incorporated by Thee, and to 
rest for everlasting in Thee, my blessed 
origin. Thou art the source and origin of 
all things that are, and by Thee, and in 
Thee, according to Thine eternal thought of 
us, we live and are. Of a truth, our heart 
is restless, unless it find rest in Ihee, its 
origin. 

O Almighty upholder of my being, draw 
me into 1 hyself, and do Thou Thyself 
come down in mercy to me. Form again 
in Thee, according to its first purity and 
integrity, that fair likeness of Thee, which 
I have corrupted within me. O purest 
principle of my essence, wliich is created, 
indeed, within me, but increate in Thee 
according to Thine eternal idea, I beseech 
Thee, by tliat burning love of Thine, 
whereby Thou didst suffer Thy pure Heart 
to be pierced, that through its pierced open- 
ing '1 hou mightest lead me back into the 
uncreated Heart of God, come down, 
come down, quickly to me, and bring to 
gether with Thee Thy most gracious 
Father, for in grace Thou knovvest it is 
His Will, nut to send Thee out of Him- 
self, but to be Himself together with Thee ! 
O sweet Jesus, I beseech Thee, baptize 
me many times, purify and cleanse me in 
4 



50 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Thy pierced and wounded Heart, that I 
may be made worthy to be broug^ht into 
the loving Heart of Tliy Eternal Father, 
where He may vouchsafe to receive me 
as His adopted son, throuorh Thee His 
own Son, co-eternal and co-equal. Amen. 



The Sixth Chapter. 

A devout Exercise on the Passion of 
our Lord. 

NOW, when the time drew nigh that 
our Lord Jesus was to pass out of 
this world to the Father, having Himself 
made His testament as a most faithful 
father, and left it to His beloved disciples, 
that is to say, the best and most excellent 
good that His fatherly Heart could think 
of, even His own most sacred Body to be 
their food, and His precious Blood to be 
their drink : — and this He did to give 
them a most sure proof of His burning 
love, to leave behind Him an everlasting 
memorial or monument of His Passion and 
Death, and of all His works, and to deliver 
to them a signal, and certain and precious 
pledge of their future glory — when this, I 
say, had been actually accomplished and 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 51 



ended, and when He liad sung a hymn to 
God the Father, He went forth with His 
disciples to the Mount of Olives, across 
tlie brook Cedron, wliere was a certain 
garden, to which often for the sake of 
prayer He was wont to go with His disci- 
ples. And He said to them, "Sit here, 
watch and pray, lest ye enter into tempta- 
tion." But He took with Him Peter, and 
the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, 
the three most secret, faithful, and best 
loved of His friends, that to those to 
whom He had shown the glory of His 
Godhead in His Transfiguration, He might 
now show the bitterness of His sorrow m 
His Passion. 

Stand here, then, as many as love God, 
and observe and see all that our Lord 
hath done for our souls. Come here, all 
ye who have been redeemed by the sin- 
less blood of the innocent Lamb, Christ 
Jesus, that ye may see and understand all 
that He hath suffered for our iniquities. 
Behold ! now the Book of Life is opened, 
and its seven seals are broken ; the book 
in which truth shineth forth, and all the 
mysteries of wisdom and knowledge are 
hidden, which is full of doctrine, and over- 
flowetli with mysteries. Now is the mir- 
ror of all virtues clearly shown to the eyes 
of all. Now is the old veil rent, and all 
the wrappings and coverings of figures are 
taken away. Now is the Holy of Holies 



C2 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



thrown wide open by Jesus the High 
Priest ; for He hath offered His own Blood 
in sacrifice, and revealed all hidden holi- 
ness, and all secret sacraments and mys- 
teries. 

Now is shown the deep well of the 
patriarch Jacob, out of which flow rivers of 
living water, whereof not only the Israel- 
ires, but even the Samaritans can draw, 
and refresh their many flocks and herds, 
and wash away all filth and uncleanness. 
Here also is seen the bitter and troubled 
sea of affliction, which, although it was 
formerly so terrible, that at its very name 
man stood aghast, yet, now the true Jonas, 
after that He hath bidden Himself be 
thrown therein, hath so turned into sweet- 
ness, and so quieted and soothed its every 
tempest, that men can place themselves 
therein as in a delicious bath, and cleanse 
themselves therein, nor tear any more, but 
even glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. And so it is that in our ov^^n day 
we see very many gladly take His cross 
to themselves, and with great cheerfulness 
follow their Lord Jesus Christ. 

Here also is Jacob's ladder placed be- 
fore our eyes, the top of which reacheth 
net only to heaven, but even to the bosom 
of God the F"ather, and by which not the 
angels only, but the Lord of the angels 
mounteth up, followed by publicans and 
sinners. At the top of this ladder sits the 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 53 



Father of Mercies, with His bosom wide 
open, lovingly to receive as many as love 
His Son. 

Now also is brought back to our re- 
membrance that marvellous pool at Jeru- 
salem, which be)'ond measure is moved 
and troubled by the descent of the great 
Angel, Christ Jesus, so that not only one 
sick man, but as many as are ill, and all 
who are unclean, and whosoever wash in 
this saving water of sorrow, that is, of 
His Passion, are healed therein, and 
cleansed. 

Now, too, is opened the immense trea- 
sury of the rich Master of the household, 
whereby the poor, and the weak, and all 
who are heavy laden, may be gladdened 
with most generous gifts, so tliat every 
man may have leave to draw from the 
sacred bowels of Jesus Christ whatever he 
knoweth he is without. For plentiful grace 
floweth therefrom ; and that it may flow 
still more plentifully, they have been torn 
and opened in many places. 

Now also is celebrated the glorious vic- 
tory of Christians, because the true David, 
Christ Jesus, iiumble indeed, and small in 
stature, but mighty in strength, armed not 
with the armour of Saul, but with a staff, 
that is, His own Cross, and five pebbles,* 
hath fearlessly attacked and battled down 

* i. c. His five Wounds. 



54 Meditations on the Lije ti.nd Passion 

the cruel Goliath, the enemy of the people 
of Israel. 

Moreover, here is made known to us a 
wonderful sacrament, and most high mys- 
tery, in that the Lord of the ano^els hath 
vouchsafed to be made an outcast of men ; 
the Most High hath become the lowest ; 
the only-begotten of God the Father hath 
freely offered Himself for guilty sinners to 
die upon the cross, that He may nail sin 
to the cross, and destroy death, and blot 
out the hand-writing of our debts in His 
own precious Blood. 

Lastly, the fire which our Father Who is 
in heaven hath sent upon the earth, is so 
mightily kindled, that the flame thereof 
reacheth unto heaven, and melteth by its 
intemperate heat the frost-bound earth, 
and breaketh through the hard and stony 
places. Of a trutli, whosoever cometh 
nigh to this fire by devout meditation, will 
not be able to escape its heat. For whose 
is the heart, however stony, that will not 
melt, when it perceiveth the immense 
goodness of Christ Jesus, how greatly He 
longeth after us poor worms of earth, how 
eagerly He hath thirsted after our salva- 
tion, how gladly He hath offered Himself 
to death, how generously He hath given 
His precious Blood, and His young and 
beautiful Body, and all that He had. that 
He might redeem us, sinners though we 
were, from damnation ? For it was by no 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 55 



compulsion or force, but by His own free 
will, that He came to the place known to 
him who betrayed Him, tliat He might 
the more easily be found by him. 

Behold, then, O faithful soul, and look 
upon this bold-hearted David, thy God 
and Lord, how He burneth with exceed- 
ing great desire to begin the combat, and 
to lay down His life for His people and 
the house of Israel. Behold, I pray thee, 
how, quickened by love. He cometh the 
first of all to the place of battle to fight 
for thee. Of a truth, before His enemies 
had come. He had already exercised His 
limbs for the fight. And although only 
by lowliness, and love, and prayer, and 
long-suffering. He had determined to do 
battle, before those envious ones had laid 
their cruel hands upon Him, yet gladly 
did He take suffering upon Himself when 
it did come, so that no pain can be likened 
to His pain. 



56 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Seventei Chapter. 

Of the great Sorrow and Angnish which 
Christ underwent in the Garden, at the 
thought of His Passion hanging over 
Him. 

WHEN Christ had now come into the 
garden, He began to be sorrowful 
and afraid, and very heavy ; and by reason 
of the vehemence of His inward pain. He 
trembled outwardly in all His members, 
nor was He ashamed to confess to His 
disciples this sorrow, and weakness, and 
trouble of His Body, for He said: "My 
Soul is sorrowful even unto death." 

Let us also s^o and see what is the cause 
of so great a sorrow. And, indeed, for 
many reasons was Christ so sad ; but we 
will here only touch on two reasons, which 
may the more forcibly stir us up to com- 
passion and love. 

The first reason was, because of our 
many and grievous sins, and obstinate 
malice, and great ingratitude, and because 
we were so utterly devoid of all holy fear. 
For on account of these things was Jesus 
sorrowful. For we both read, and know 
by experience, that if God were to permit 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 / 

a man to see his own sins, as He Himself 
seeth them, straightway his heart would 
break for exceeding great sorrow ; or he 
would lose his senses, when he beheld 
how he had wronged, and despised, and 
thought lightly of his Maker and Re- 
deemer, his God and Lord, and how basely 
and unworthily he had deformed his own 
beautiful and noble soul. Now, of a truth, 
Christ took all the sins of the world upon 
Himself, and of His own will He allowed 
sorrow of heart for these sins to come 
upon Him, even as if He Himself had 
committed them. And because of His 
divine wisdom, which saw all things. He 
beheld all sins, especially those that were 
most hateful, that ever have been, or ever 
will be ; and, at the same time, He beheld 
the contempt and wrong which they in- 
flicted on His Father. Who then can, in 
any way, understand how great must have 
been His grief and sorrow ? For He was 
ever urged on to promote His Father's 
honour with His whole strength ; nor did 
He thirst after anything, save His Father's 
glory and the salvation of souls. 

Amongst the Jews, indeed, it was a cus- 
tom, that if they heard God blasphemed 
or wronged, they rent their garments as a 
sign of grief, in order to show thereby that 
they sought after God's honour. Now, if 
the Jews, false hypocrites as they were, 
did this, how much must Christ, the true 



58 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Son of God, have sorrowed, when He saw 
all the wrong and contempt which were 
daily inflicted on His Father Who is in 
heaven ? For, alas ! even now it is easy- 
enough to see, how, day by day, men 
think nothing at all about offending God 
by deadly sin. For this reason, therefore, 
Christ took upon Himself grief and sor- 
row, even so far as He could, still remain- 
ing alive. Yet, not as the Jews did He 
rend His garments as a proof of His bit- 
ter sorrow, but He rent asunder His own 
Body, so that a sweat of blood broke fortli 
from all His members, by reason of His 
exceeding great anguish and dread, even 
as the juice of the grape when in the wine- 
press. And that He might show us how 
this sorrow was consuming the very inward 
marrow of His Soul, when He was straight- 
ened by this deadly anguish, He said : 
" My Soul is sorrowful even unto death." 
Of Phinees, the son of Eleazar, we read in 
the Bible, that he avenged a wrong done 
to God. For when he saw a certain Is 
raelite sinning with a Moabitish woman, 
he burned with anger, and thrust both of 
them through, and for this was beloved by 
God. In like manner Moses avenged a 
wrong done to God, thousands being put 
to death for adoring the golden calf, after 
which the Lord was appeased. What, 
then, was the vengeance taken by the Son 
of God, Jesus Christ, Who was ever con. 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 59 



sumed by a burning thirst after justice, 
and Who placed all Mis zeal in this one 
thing-, namely, that He might increase His 
Father's glory, and turn aside, and prevent 
whatever was contrary to His Will, — when 
He beheld not merely a single sin, but the 
crimes of the whole world ? Who can 
understand how all His inward parts were 
shaken with grief, how all His limbs trem- 
bled by reason of His burning thirst for 
justice, how His whole man was moved to 
avenge the wrong done to His Father ? 
Yet in this His anger He remembered 
mercy, for He was full, not of truth only, 
but of grace and loving-kindness. There- 
fore said He unto His Father : " O My 
Father, Thou knowest that I have ever 
loved Thee, and done Thy most gracious 
will ; Thou seest also that My Heart is 
just, and how exceedingly I thirv.t to do 
Thy will, and to avenge the wrong done to 
Thee by Adam and his posterity. Yer, as 
mercy is Mine, and My nature is good- 
ness, and I have come, not to take ven- 
geance, but to reconcile ; not to strike, but 
to heal; not to kill, but to redeem; and as 
Adam's sin cannot pass unavenged, I be- 
seech Thee, Father in heaven, to take 
vengeance upon Me. I take all the sins 
of man upon Myself If this tempest of 
anger hath risen up because of Me, cast 
Me into the red and bitter sea of My Pas- 
sion, let Me be swallowed up, and over- 



6o Meditations on the Life and Passion 



whelmed in the abyss of a shameful death, 
if only Thy wrath may pass away, and 
man's debt may be justly cancelled." 

Thus it was that this innocent Lamb 
took upon Himself all the sins of the 
world, and allowed such great vengeance 
to come upon Him, — yea, so great was the 
agony which He took upon Him in the 
q^arden, that had it been greater, His 
natural life must have given way. O un- 
utterable goodness of Christ Jesus I O 
love beyond our poor understanding ! All 
our sins did He desire to bear, Who alone 
was without sin. He, Who is the joy of 
heaven, for our sakes is made sorrowful 
even unto death ; and for our sinful plea- 
sures it was His will to suffer Himself this 
deadly agony. And because He is the 
brightness of His Father's glory, and the 
Wisdom of God, in Whom the Father's 
will is ever reflected as in a most pure mir- 
ror, therefore it was that He clearly knew 
by what works and actions His Father was 
to be appeased, and by what ransom our 
debt was to be paid ; namely, by bitter 
sorrow, and humble prayer, and rough 
penance, and by patient bearing of suffer- 
ing and affliction. And, at the same time, 
He left to all men, as His teaching and 
doctrine, that they also should strive to 
appease His Father by their works, when- 
ever they may have fallen into sin. For 
this reason. He wished to be Himself the 



of our Lord J esus Christ. 6i 



first of all to appease Him. And, indeed, 
so great was the sorrow and grief that He 
took upon Him, that they out-balance the 
sins of the whole world, and were not only 
more than the strength of His Body could 
bear, but pressed down His Soul even into 
the straits of death. 

Then, falling flat on His Face upon the 
earth, humbi), and fervently, and with 
long-suffciing. He prayed, and wept bit- 
terly, not tears of water only, but tears of 
blood ; and this in such abundance, that 
great drops of His Blood fell down upon the 
ground. Nay, they fell from His whole 
Body, and from every limb, that thus all 
His members mij^ht share in one common 
sorrow, and celebrate, as it were, the sad 
funeral rites for the sms and damnation of 
the human race, and mi^ht show, in very 
deed, the compassion by which they had 
been moved, and the love with which they 
were burning, and how ready they ail were 
to suffer for cmr sakes; since not even for 
a little while were they able to put off 
their affliction, even before tiiey were tor- 
tured by the enemy. Burning with love 
they were beforehand with the enemy, 
and they began to contend among them- 
selves, and to tremble, and to shed blood, 
as if they suffered from the enemy's de- 
lay. 

Oh ! who hath such a heart of stone as 
not to turn at the thought of this fiery love 



62 M edit at mis on the Life and Passion 



of Christ ? Who is so ungrateful as not 
to turn with all his members to his Saviour, 
Whom he seeth engaged in such eager 
toil, and suffering such cruel agony in the 
work of our salvation ? Who hath a heart 
so perverse, who can be so cold in love as 
not to strive, according to the poor little 
measure of his strength, to repay love for 
love, and sorrow for sorrow, and prayer for 
prayer, and tears for tears, and resignation 
for resignation, and offering for offering, 
and agony for agony, and blood for blood, 
and death for death, and charity for His 
burning love ? Oh ! what can be dearer 
to a loving and grateful soul in this life, 
than to repay her lover even one little 
drop of love, in return for that exceeding 
bitter chalice, all of which. He, for the 
love of her and for her salvation, drank 
even to the dregs ? Oh ! where is the 
heart that can understand the compassion 
and sorrow that Christ felt, when He be- 
held in the mirror of God's Providence 
the wretched deformity and misery of His 
own members and creatures, which He 
had created in such purity, and nobleness, 
and holiness, and glory, when He saw 
what we had lost, and what we had de- 
served ? Alas ! how all the bowels of His 
compassion were then moved ! Even as a 
tender father mourneth for the death of 
his only-begotten son, so did Christ Jesus 
sorrow for our wretchedness and unhappi- 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 63 

ness. Oh ! who can contemplate, without 
compunction and without tears, this loving 
Joseph falling on the neck of each of us, 
and kissing His brethren, weeping, like- 
wise, over each of them, comforting them, 
and forgiving their sins ; nay, taking all 
their sins upon Himself, and punishing 
their crimes in Himself with sorrow of 
heart, and making the wanderings of each 
one of them, as it were, His own guilt. 
Oh ! what exceeding great labour did this 
innocent Lamb undergo, in order to recon- 
cile His Father unto us ! Even as a 
mother bringeth forth her child into the 
world with great pain and sorrow, so did 
Christ make us to be born again to life 
everlasting with intolerable agony and tor- 
ment. 

O my soul, and all ye who love God, 
come, and let us follow now Christ Jesus 
with sorrow of heari and inward devotion, 
and with tears and pity, into the garden. 
Let us contemplate with the eyes of our 
heart, Jesus, that is, our Saviour, the Lamb 
without spot, how He bore therein all our 
sins; how heavily, all alone, He trod the 
wine-press, that like tiie grape that is 
pressed with all care, He, too, might be 
pressed in the wine-press of His Passion, 
and might pour upon us richly, and give 
us to drink, the red wine of His precious 
Blood, so as to make us drunk with His 
love. Let us see, I pray you, how the 



64 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



glory of the angels became sorrowful even 
unto death, that He might carry us into 
joy everlasting. For, in order to rescue 
us from the torments of hell, He bore in 
Himself all the pains which we had merited ; 
and He, the Lord of might, at Whose look 
the angels tremble, and every knee is 
bowed, appeared not as God, but as the 
poorest, and most abject, and most deso- 
late man, whom the world possessed. See 
how He lieth with His Face upon the 
ground, in much anguish of spirit, covered 
with a bloody sweat, forsaken even by His 
Father as well as by all men. There He 
lieth, I say, and prayeth, not as God, not 
as a just man, but, as it were, a public 
malefactor, as some dreadful sinner, as if 
He were not worthy to be heard by His 
Father, or, at least, as if He were ashamed 
to lift up His eyes to heaven. Doth it not 
seem as if He had been cast away by God, 
and were held to be God's enemy, that we 
who were, of a truth, God's enemies, might 
be made His friends and elect children? 
It is written: "It is a fearful thing to fall 
into the hands of the living God." Yet 
see, how our sweet Jesus, of His own free 
will, gave Himself up into those Hands, 
and gladly suffered all the wrath, and ven- 
geance, and punishment of God His Father, 
wliich we had deserved, to fall down upon 
Himself. This is why He suffered Him- 
self to be so cruelly scourged, and re- 



of oiLV Lord y esiLS Christ. 65 

preached, and beaten, and wounded, and, 
last of all, to be put to a shameful death. 
Oh, what resignation have we here ! What 
an offering of Himself ! What a love is 
this ! His disciples were heavy with sleep; 
He alone remained watching, to pray and 
labour, and, like a tender and faithful 
shepherd, to guard His sheep with loving 
care. Nay, thrice He prayed, before He 
was comforted. O, may such sorrow, I 
pray, such faithfulness, such love beyond 
all bounds, touch these hearts of ours ! 
For it was we that, by our sins, brought 
this sorrow and cross upon Him. Oh ! 
we have thought so very little of offending 
the God of glory; yet see, how fearful was 
the sweat, and the toil, and the sorrow, 
which Christ had to suffer, in order to be 
able to reconcile His Father unto us ! 
Dear, indeed, was the ransom which He 
was forced to pay for our redemption. 
Let us sorrow, then, I pray, together with 
our Saviour, in His exceeding bitter sor- 
row and affliction ; let us pray together 
with Him, and watch and suffer with Him. 
Let us also do somewhat for the sake of 
our salvation ; when we see how zealously 
Christ Jesus, in every member of His 
Body, and in every power of His Soul, is 
busied about us. And if we cannot shed 
tears of blood, at least let our eyes rain 
down tears of water. If we cannot weep 
with Christ in all our members, at least 



66 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

let our eyes weep. And if we are still so 
hard, and the vein of tears is so stopped 
up within us, that not even with our eyes 
are we able to weep, at least let us desire 
to weep in our heart. Let us fall down 
upon our face before Christ, and say to 
llim; 



The Eighth Chapter. 
A Prayer and Offering for Sins. 

OMOST gracious God, have mercy 
upon me ! O King of glory, be 
merciful to me a sinner ! For the sake 
of Thine own goodness, pardon me, for 
ever having turned my heart away from 
the right path of Thy commandments, and 
for having followed my own wicked will, 
when it drew me into sin, and for having 
cast off and thrust aside Thy holy will, that 
was inviting me to virtue. How, O my 
God, can I be so blind of heart, as even 
for a moment to turn away from Thee, 
from Whom come all salvation and every 
good thing, and to turn to that which is 
earthly, and perishable, and will soon fall 
away, and from which nothing cometh to 
nie, but loss, and perdition, and all wretch- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 67 

edness ? Oh ! how can I take pleasure in 
anything at all, save in the remembrance 
of the immense benefits which Thou hast 
conferred upon me ? How can I seek for 
comfort, or refreshment of mind, \\\ aught, 
save in Thy most sacred and bitter Pas- 
sion, and in Thy sweet wounds, that are 
ever dropping down with honey? What 
can I ever care for, except to please Thee, 
and do Thy most gracious will, and love 
Thee with my whole heart, and, according 
to the poor little measure of my strength, 
repay Thee somewhat for Thy labours 
and pains, and, above all, for Thine un- 
utterable love, which Thou hast lavished 
upon me ? O, most gracious Lord, what 
more couldst Thou have done for me, 
which Thou hast not done ? What was 
the love that overcame Thy tender Heart, 
O most loving Jesus, and caused Thee to 
offer Thyself willingly to die for my sins ? 
Why didst Thou so thirst to drink the 
chalice of Thy bitter Passion, that before 
Thine enemies came upon Thee, Thou 
didst place upon Thy shoulders the too 
heavy cross, and not only wentest forth to 
meet Thine enemies, but didst inwardly 
crucify Thyself, even unto death, before 
they reached Thee, and didst inflict upon 
Thyself inward death through bitter sor- 
row, long before they inflicted upon Thee 
outward death ? For the thirst of working 
out our salvation so burned within Thee 



68 liledifaiions on the Life and Passion 

that Thou didst accomplish in Thyself 
whatever lay within Thy power ; and didst 
only leave to Thine enemies to do what 
Thou couldst not accomplish in Thyself. 
Ah, Lord, my God, behold I, too, am not 
worthy to live, for it was I that brought 
upon Thee this most bitter sorrow, when I 
was not ashamed to commit, for the sake 
of a little moment's vile pleasure, what 
Thou hadst to wash away in Thy precious 
Blood, and to blot out by Thy death ! 
Oh ! how grievous are my sins, which 
called for so great a satisfaction, and so 
noble a victim. 

O most loving Father ! how could Thy 
fatherly Heart suffer Thee not to hear 
Thine only and beloved Son, as He lay 
with His Face upon the ground, wrestling 
with Thee in prayer, and in His exceeding 
inward anguish sweating even blood ? 
Why were Thy fatherly bowels moved not 
at the sight of Thy beloved Son, to take 
away from Him that most bitter chalice, 
as He so humbly prayed of Thee ? What 
is man, O Father of mercies, that Thou so 
lovest him, that Thou art ready to give 
Jesus, Thy most obedient Son, for vile 
sinners, who have always offended Thee, 
and covered Thee with wrongs and con- 
tumely ? Dost Thou love us more than 
Him ? He had to die, that we might live ; 
He was sorrowful, that we might rejoice; 
He was wounded, that we might be healed; 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 69 

He shed His precious Blood, that we might 
be cleansed. He ever sought Thine hon- 
our : what was pleasing in Thy sight, He 
carefully performed. At all times, and in 
all ways. He was the expression of all vir- 
tue ; why, then, wert Thou so cruel to- 
wards Him ? Why dost Thou deliver 
Him up for man, who was already damned, 
and who was still a rebel against Thee ^ 
How hath He ever deserved this from 
Thee ? Or, what didst Thou foresee in 
man, that thou lovest him so, and art so 
faithful to him ? For, of a truth, the most 
precious of Thy treasures, and the highest 
and best gift that Thy fatherly Heart 
could give, Thou gavest for man's re- 
demption, — even Jesus, Thy beloved Son, 
the Word of Thy Heart, by Which Thou 
speakest to us the intention of Thy mind, 
and through Which Thou makest known 
to us Thy love, wherewith Thou hast loved 
us with such fatherly tenderness from the 
beginning. 

Oh I how is it that this burning love of 
Thine doth not absorb and melt us in a 
moment, when we see Thee attentive to 
the groans of exiles upon earth, and heark- 
ening to the cry of men who ought to be 
prisoners in hell, and yet leaving Thine 
only-begotten One in the anguish of death, 
sweating great drops of blood, praying to 
Thee with His Face upon the ground, 
watering the very earth with tears of 



70 Meditations o?i the Life and Passion 



blood, as if in no way He belonged to 
Thee ? O sweetest Father, why, or for 
whose sake, hast Thou forsaken Him ? 
Hearken, I pray Thee, O tender-hearted 
Father, to this sorrow of His Heart ; look 
down upon Him as He trembleth in His 
agony ; let those bitter groans of His 
mount up into Thy Heart ; and His Sweat 
of Blood, flowing from His whole Body, 
move Thee to pity ! See how He is bowed 
down to the ground ; hearken, at last, to 
His fervent prayer, for all His members 
cry out to Thee for mercy. Grant Him 
the desire of His Heart, for He turneth 
wholly to Thee in perfect resignation, and 
poureth forth His supplication in truest 
love. It is not His own comfort that 
He seeketh, but the salvation of His 
brethren. It is not His own sin for which 
He grieveth, but my iniquities ; it is not 
His own crimes, but mine, for which He 
mourneth ; for never even once hath He 
sinned against Thee, whereas my offences 
against Thee are manifold. 

O most merciful Father ! by the love 
and suppliant prayers of Thy beloved Son, 
pardon the wanderings of Thy sinful ser- 
vant. Accept the worthy sacrifice of Thy 
only-begotten Son, and remember not the 
wrong done to Thee by Thy wicked ser- 
vant, for far more hath He paid Thee than 
all my debt. Oh ! if Thou wouldst only 
weigh together my malice and His good- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 1 



ness, my crimes and the merits of His bit- 
ter Passion, surely the latter would out- 
weigh the former. For what wickedness 
can be so great, as not to be blotted out 
by such sorrow, such affliction, such obe- 
dience, such lowliness, such unconquerable 
patience, and, above all, such unutterable 
love ? What crime can be so enormous, 
as not to be outweighed by Christ's most 
bitter Death ? O heavenly Father, see ! 
I offer Thee my Saviour and Redeemer, 
Jesus Christ, Thy best-loved Son, with 
great devotion and gratitude, in union with 
that love, by which Thou didst send Him 
to me from Thy fatherly Heart, in order 
that He might take my nature, and free 
me from eternal death. See ! I offer Thee 
this unutterable sorrow of His, this anguish 
incomprehensible to us, but known to Thee 
alone, which here in the garden He under- 
went for all my sins, and instead of the 
sorrow and contrition which by right I 
ought to feel. Yes, I offer Thee His 
sweat of blood, for the tears which I have 
not in my eyes, which for hardness of 
heart I cannot shed. I offer Thee, also, 
His most humble and burning prayers for 
all my lukewarmness, and sloth, and neg- 
ligence. Lastly, I offer Thee all His 
grievous labours, the practice of His vir- 
tues. His rough and austere life, and all 
that He did in His human nature ; all the 
bitter torments which He suffered in His 



72 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Passion, together with all the praise of the 
spirits on high, and the merits of all the 
saints, as a worthy sacrifice to Thy eternal 
honour and glory, for all my sins by which 
I have ever offended Thee, and for the 
virtues which I have neglected to perform, 
as also for all the living and the dead, for 
whom Thou, O my God, wishest me to 
pray, and I am bound to pray ; that Thou 
mayest grant to each of them who are still 
alive, through Thy beloved Son, whatever 
Thou knowest to be necessary for them 
to enable them to serve Thee in that state 
to which, by Thy merciful loving-kindness, 
they have been called. 

Another cause of Christ's sorrow was, 
that He foresaw all the fearful and cruel 
torments which He was now, at this very 
moment, about to suffer, and this as per- 
fectly as if felt them already present. 
And because in very truth He was a man 
able to suffer like other men, of a tender 
and noble complexion, beyond what any 
understanding of man can grasp, for this 
very reason His fear was the more vehe- 
ment, so that outwardly He trembled in 
all His limbs, and inwardly was sorrowful 
even unto death. He had undertaken to 
redeem man from his damnation, and to 
pay his whole debt, and therefore His 
heavenly Father, as a just Judge, entered 
into strict account with Him, and opened 
that great and ancient account-book which 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 75 

containeth all the debts of men, and in 
which He clearly saw all the sins of the 
world. At the same time He shewed 
Him the ancient hand-writing ao^ainst us, 
and He laid before His eyes the price 
beyond all reckoning, the immense sum, 
by which these debts must be paid, so that 
our sweet Jesus saw His whole Passion as 
openly as when He suffered it. Oh ! 
then, what must have been the sorrow, 
what the ang^uish, what the fear, which 
seized upon Christ's tender Heart and all 
His members ? 

Here, too, we ought to notice, how our 
Saviour, Christ Jesus, had always lifted 
Himself up, and stretched Himself forth 
both in spirit and with His whole strength, 
to show reverence and honour to His 
Father. For the Spirit of God had gently 
embraced His nature with all its powers, 
and had made them subject to the law, 
and all the Scriptures which concerned 
Him, so as to perfect them according to 
His Father's gracious will. Therefore it 
was that He offered obediently into the 
hands of His Father Almighty, His Body 
and Soul, and whatever He had, desiring 
that in Him might be accomplished all 
that had been decreed and fore-ordained 
by the eternal wisdom of God and the 
counsel of the Holy Ghost, and in this 
Spirit He enjoyed both peace and quiet, 
in tiiat He had resigned Himself simply, 



74 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

without any choosing of this or that, to 
God the Father. But, on the other hand, 
looking down on the tenderness of His 
complexion, and the cruelty of the tor- 
ments already hanging over Him, He be- 
came sorrowful even unto death; and here, 
so great were His suffering and struggle, 
that they surpass all human understand- 
ing, and by reason of the exceeding in- 
ward agony, outwardly He trembled all 
over. For according to the spirit He de- 
sired to die, but all His Flesh shrank from 
the bitterness of death. His Spirit, in- 
deed, was at peace, being united and sub- 
ject to God, but His sensible and sensitive 
nature had so fully drunk in the bitterness 
of His overhanging Passion, as imaged 
before His mind, that He was beyond 
measure troubled and sore afraid. 

After this, so fierce grew the struggle, 
and with such force did He compel His 
sensitive nature to consent to these horri- 
ble sufferings, that from the excessive 
strain His Blood poured forth like sweat 
from all His limbs. For by reason of the 
fervour of His prayer, and of His dread 
and horror of death. His Blood had flown 
up to His Heart. Then His strong love 
driving out all fear, as well as His burning 
desire to accomplish His Father's will, and 
of redeeming us, like some hammer or 
mighty force, struck down and overcame 
this fear and sensitiveness, and forcibly 



cf our Lord Jestis Christ. 75 

pressed out the blood which had mean- 
while grown heated, so that, from the sud- 
den shock, it burst forth from His open 
pores, and flowed down mingled with His 
other sweat. Oh ! who can understand 
the greatness and bitterness of this pain ? 
Oh ! by what anguish was the sweet Heart 
of our Saviour shaken, which, placed as it 
were between two pressures, that of fear 
and of love, was sorely straitened, fear, 
namely, straitening Him in His lower 
nature, and love in His higher ? 

And although fear was strong, yet was 
It utterly cast out by the mightiness of 
His love. But oh ! the sufferings, the in- 
comprehensible pain which Christ under- 
went in this wine-press ? Oh ! how did 
His material nature compassionate His 
sensitive nature, when He saw the latter 
so straitened and oppressed } How 
faithfully in its great compassion did that 
higher nature make intercession, even as 
an advocate, for the lower .-* " Father," 
it said, "if it be possible, let this chalice 
pass from Me:" and then again, as an ex- 
cellent peace-maker, it added in the spirit, 
*• My Father, if this chalice cannot pass 
away, except I drink it, Thy will be done." 
As if He would say: " Now that Thou hast 
unfolded unto Me the great debt of the 
human race, and the price by which it 
must be paid, from which, indeed, all My 
tender nature, tender above all under- 



y6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

standing, shrinketh in fear and trembling ; 
yet the desire which I have of fulfilHng 
Thy will, and of redeeming man, utterly 
overpowereth Me. I accept then the con- 
dition, and I approve what Thou demand- 
est, and see ! this red Blood of Mine, just 
shed, shall be the pledge, that with money 
of the same kind I will pay the rest of tlie 
debt." O love of Christ Jesus, Thou art 
above all comprehension ! Who is there 
that would not be inflamed by such burn- 
ing love as this ? Who is able even to 
think of the fruit, and usefulness, and sal- 
vation, and eternal good, which were born 
to us when this most saving word was 
uttered, " Thy will be done ?" Of a truth, 
of all words ever uttered that was the most 
saving; for by it the Son of God was taken 
in exchange by His Eternal Father, so 
that from the moment when it was uttered, 
our heavenly Father laid aside His ancient 
enmities, and changed all His wrath into 
mercy, and took us back into His grace, 
so that we have become the sons of God, 
and joint-heirs with Christ of the kingdom 
of heaven, who before were the children 
of wrath, and dwellers in darkness. Oh ! 
who can sound the abyss of this love, 
whereby Christ uttered this word ? 

He foresaw, indeed, all the torments 
that hung over Him, even down to the 
least blow. He beheld, too, how griev- 
ously, how cruelly He was to suffer ; nay, 



of our Lord yes2is Christ. 77 

He saw, too, our exceeding great hardness 
of heart, and ingratitude, and that amongst 
so many men His precious Blood would 
have no effect, no fruit ; nevertheless, so 
great was His love for us, that He was 
ready rather to suffer Himself to be cruci- 
fied even a thousand times, than allow, so 
far as lay with Him, even one man to 
perish. 

Come, then, all ye who are devoted to 
Him, and as many as are of good will, and 
who desire to make progress in virtue. 
Contemplate here in the garden Him Who 
is the mirror of all virtue, the very path of 
perfection. Follow your Lord, walk in the 
same footsteps in which He hath gone be- 
fore you. Learn here to lay aside your 
own will, and to do God's will. Learn to 
overcome and to bring into captivity to the 
Spirit your sensuality and vicious learn- 
ings, which are drawing you away from 
God, that so, according to St. Paul's ad- 
vice, you may have all your senses under 
bridle, and your will obedient to the ser- 
vice of Christ. Learn, here, that in no- 
thing ought ye to seek your own selves, 
but rather God's honour, and your neigh- 
bour's salvation. Lastly, learn here not 
to give in to the desires of nature, or the 
persuasion of your own wisdom, but rather 
to those things which God asketh and 
requireth of you, whatever they may be, 
whether in acting, or in abstaining from 



7 8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



action, or in suffering, or in prosperity, or 
in adversity ; even as Christ did not His 
own will, but His Father's, although to do 
this was a trial to His nature, and went 
against it, and His sensitiveness shrank 
from it utterly. Far more useful will it 
be for you to follow Christ and His divine 
inspirations, than to be wise according to 
your own conceits and feelings, however 
grand and good these may seem. For He 
Who alone was offended, perfectly knew, 
when you knew it not, in what way He 
would be appeased and reconciled. What- 
ever, therefore. He requireth of you, thai 
give unto Him ; wheresoever He may 
either lead or draw you, thither follow 
Him ; yea, not less boldly to the depths of 
hell, than to the heights of heaven. As 
He speaketh to you, so answer Him ; 
whatever He commandeth, accomplish 
without delay ; whatever cross He may 
lay upon you, carry it without murmuring. 
For the more you are united to Him, and 
the more you go out of, and deny your- 
selves, so much the more will ye be lifted 
up above to Him. 

But now, that we have been strength- 
ened for a little while by this little morsel 
of spiritual teaching, let us turn again to 
Christ in His affliction, to Christ, I say, 
still lying upon the ground, as we have 
seen Him in our meditation, wet with His 
bloody sweat, and fervently entreating the 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 79 

Father for us. And now, O my soul, look 
and see how noble and excellent thou art, 
and how great is the price with which thou 
hast been bought. See how greatly the 
only-begotten of God the Father hath es- 
teemed thee, when for thy sake He de- 
livered Himself to death, and for thy re- 
demption hath shed His precious Blood. 
Observe, I beseech thee, what are the 
pains and the labour by which thou hast 
been restored to health and salvation. 
Yet thou considerest thyself so vile, that 
for the short pleasure of a moment, for 
some trifling temporaj thing, thou sellest 
and losest thyself, whom Christ hath re- 
deemed in His own Blood. See how bit- 
ter was all His Passion, the mere thought 
of which caused Him to shed both blood 
and water. 

But now, with melting hearts, let us see 
how our loving Lord, after this grievous 
suffering, lifted up His Head from the 
ground, and rose from prayer. Oh ! how 
sore were all His limbs from the fearful 
and great agony which He had undergone. 
How swollen was that fair face of His, 
after His burning prayer, covered all over, 
as it was, by His sweat of blood ! How 
inflamed were His eyes by the tears, which 
still were thickly flowing ! Hear how He 
addresseth His disciples, and saith: "Sleep 
on, now, and take your rest." See here, 
the immensity of our Lord's goodnes!>. 



So Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Not with severity did He upbraid them, 
but patiently bore with their sloth and 
weakness. See, too, how the faithful 
Shepherd watcheth and prayeth for His 
sheep. Of a truth, by His own fervour 
He supplied for their sloth and torpor. 
O, the unutterable kindness of Christ 
Jesus ! The Lord watcheth, while His 
servants sleep. He alone combateth, that 
they may remain unhurt. He exposeth 
Himself to the wolves, that His sheep may 
escape scatheless from their bite. He did, 
indeed, love them to the end. 

After this He roused them, and said: 
" Arise, it is enough ; behold, he who be- 
trayeth Me is at hand." Think, then, O 
my soul, that thou art now with Christ in 
the garden, and that He spake these words 
to thee. Rise, therefore, O my soul, from 
the sleep of sin, from thy torpid dream of 
the deceitful pleasures of earth, and from 
every delight and convenience of nature ; 
and seizing manfully the cross of penance 
and affliction, follow Christ thy Lord, and 
with great compassion, devotion, and in- 
ward love, look upon the poor disfigured 
form of thy Saviour, and think how thou 
wert the cause of His Passion. Weigh 
diligently with thyself, how great must 
have been the inward anguish of His Soul, 
by the outward signs of His exceedingly 
afflicted Body. Then throw thyself hum- 
bly at His Feet, with as much sorrow and 



cf our Lord Jesus Christ. 8i 

compassion as thou canst obtain from God, 
and with burning tears and deep heavy 
sighs, pray to Him thus 



The NiJsfTH Chapter. 

A Prayer to the Son for Pardon^ and the 
grace of Self- denial, 

OMOST merciful Jesus, I beseech 
Thee by Thy bitter sorrow and 
anxious grief, when Thou wert made sor- 
rowful even unto death at the inward con- 
templation of the bitter Passion and shame- 
ful death which were so close at hand, so 
that the strain within Thee made Thee 
tremble outwardly, and sweat blood and 
water — by that exceeding great anguish 
of Thy Soul, when prostrate on Thy Face, 
Thou didst pray so earnestly to Thy Father, 
and with simple created love and true 
resignation, didst struggle with the fear of 
death, not heeding the horrors of Thy 
lower powers, but submitting and subject- 
ing Thyself with the created love of Thy 
Humanity, to the uncreated love of Thy 
most high Godhead, wert made obedient 
with Thy full consent to Thy Father, even 
unto the death of the cross; — by the strug- 



82 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



gle and mighty effort of that contest, by 
the intolerable pain of Thy Soul and Body, 
by the sweat of blood itself which broke 
forth from all Thy members, and flowed 
down in great drops upon the ground ; — 
by all this sorrow and grief, I beseech 
Thee, O tender Jesus, to pour into me true 
contrition for my sins, and to soften my 
heart of stone to compunction, and to in- 
flame it to devotion, and to give to my 
eyes rivers of tears, so that night and day 
I may weep for having wronged and in- 
sulted Thee, and for the numberless sins 
whereby I have offended Thee, O Lord 
my God ! 

Deal not with me, I implore Thee, ac- 
cording to my demerits, but according to 
Thine infinite mercy ; neither enter into 
judgment with Thy servant, but set, I 
beseech Thee, this bitter Passion of Thine 
between Thy judgment and my wretched 
soul with its sins. And whatever mine 
iniquities deserve, let Thy bitter Death 
forgive, and Thy precious Blood wash 
away for ever. Grant, O most gracious 
God, that I may deny my own will, and 
make myself of no reputation, and submit 
myself and all creatures to Thee, my Lord 
and Maker, for Thy sake, and that I may 
feel also that I am the vilest and most un- 
worthy of all Thy creatures ; that thus I 
may be resigned in will, and as free from 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 83 

all choice, as if never I had any will of 
mine own at all. 

O Jesus Christ, most strong and uncon- 
querable Lion, Who hast overcome the 
world and its prince, do Thou so strength- 
en, I beseech Thee, my weakness, that I 
may utterly overcome my sensuality and 
unmortified rebel nature, and every inor- 
dinate affection towards all things in this 
world beneath Thyself ; and that I may 
put a yoke upon myself, and perfectly and 
wholly turn away from all that can stain 
my heart, or come between Thy love and 
me ; in a word, that I may love Thee, my 
Lord, as purely and as fervently as it is 
possible for a perishable creature to love. 
Make, also, my heart so just, and right, 
and pure, and place it so close to Thy 
Heart, that between me and Thee there 
may be found nothing distorted, nothing 
unjust, nothing unlike Thee ; so that in all 
my conversation, and in all my works, I 
may seek for nothing, desire nothing, look 
for nothing, or intend nothing, except to 
please Thee, honour Thee, perform what- 
ever is Thy will, and love Thee with my 
whole heart ; and that in this I may ever 
spend my whole being, in order, in some 
poor little way, at least, to repay Thy love. 



84 Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 



The Tenth Chapter. 
Jesus goeth to meet His Enemies. 

OUR Lord Jesus, knowing that Judas, 
His betrayer, had come, surrounded by 
a devihsh crowd of wicked men who were 
thirsting for His Blood, and who had come 
with exceeding cruelty to take Him, as if 
He had been a thief, with lanterns, and 
swords, and cords, and with a great noise 
of arms, like an innocent Lamb, with great 
affection and burning love went forth to 
meet them, saying: " Whom seek ye ?" 

Consider now, O my soul, with thy in- 
ward eyes, the immense love of thy Sa- 
viour ; see how above measure He thirst- 
eth to redeem thee. Look how His Heart 
is boiling over within Him for exceeding 
burning love. O sweet Jesus, the only com- 
fort of my heart, where is now the fear, 
which a little before had come upon Thee ? 
Where now are Thy deep groans ? Where 
now are Thy trembling limbs ? Where 
now is Thy great horror of death ? While 
as yet Thine enemies were far from Thee, 
rhou wert sorrowful even unto death, and 
in Thy cruel straits Thou didst sweat 
blood, and Thou didst pray that the Pas- 
sion that was hanging over Thee might be 



of our Lord Jestis Christ. 85 

taken from Thee by Thy Father ; but now 
that Thine enemies are before Thine eyes, 
roaring like lions, and raging like mad 
doors to shed Thine innocent Blood, Thou 
fearest nothing, Thou tremblest at no- 
thing, and all fear hath gone far from 
Thee. Thy betrayer hath come with a 
crowd of blood-thirsty men, cruel wolves ; 
and of Thine own free will Thou goest 
forth to meet them. What doth this 
mean, O gracious Jesus, except that per- 
fect love hath cast out fear ? 

Oh ! how perfectly hast Thou gone out 
of Thyself, O loving Jesus ! How well 
hast Thou prepared a place for Thy hea- 
venly Father, in order that He may ac- 
complish within Thee His own most gra- 
cious work according to His will. Oh ! 
how Thou hast spared Thyself in nothing ! 
With what burning thirst hast Thou sought 
after Thy Father's honour ! How mightily 
hast Thou conquered Thyself through love, 
being made obedient even unto death ! O 
Jesus, sweet Lover of men, what love is 
this that hath so swallowed up Thy Heart, 
that Thou hastenest to death as to a mar- 
riage feast, that Thou goest forth to meet 
Thine enemies, as if they were Thy friends ! 
Thou couldst not even wait till they ad- 
dressed Thee, but even as a man saluteth 
his friends, whom he meeteth on the way, 
so didst Thou address them first, and say: 
"Whom seek ye ?" Oh! of a truth, most 



S6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



gracious Jesus, the fire of love had so 
worked its way within Thee, and melted, 
and burnt away the marrow of Thy soul, 
that all Thy inner man blessed God the 
Father Almighty, and all Thy members 
were stretched like a bow to accomplish 
Thy Father's gracious will. For Thy un- 
created love as God so moved and kindled 
Thy created love, that Thou wert wholly 
ready to satisfy that love in all that it 
required. Hence it was that in Thy thirst 
Thou didst seize the chalice, from which 
but a little before Thou didst so greatly 
shrink ; and quickened by love, as a fear- 
less giant. Thou rejoicest to run the tvay of 
our salvation. 

O most gracious Lord, who is there that 
would not be inflamed by love like this? 
Who am I, and Who art Thou, that Thou, 
the Lord of lords. Thou, the Ruler of 
heaven and earth, shouldst offer Thyself 
to such a shameful death, and into the 
very hands of Thy cruel enemies, for me 
who am but a poor vile worm of earth ; 
and that Thou shouldst receive him who 
betrayed Thee as if he were Thy brother? 
No, not even from Judas, that ungrateful 
dog, didst Thou turn away, O well-spring 
of unexhaustible mercy, even when he 
blushed not to seek a kiss from Thy 
sacred mouth ; but Thou didst gently 
place that sweet and loving mouth of 
Thine, in which there was no guile, against 



of our Lord testes Christ, 87 

that foul mouth of his, overflowing, though 
it was, with malice. Oh ! the incomprehen- 
sible gentleness, the wonderful loving- 
kindness, the unutterable lowliness, the 
measureless goodness of the Master to- 
wards His cruel servant ! Of a truth, 
Lord, it were better for that man if he 
had never been born ! O sweet Jesus, so 
continual was Thy goodness, that Thou 
didst show him all the kindness that Thou 
couldst, in order, if possible, to soften his 
heart of stone. With kindly, friendly 
words Thou spakest to him, and saidst: 
"Friend, why earnest thou hither?" As if 
Thou wouldst say: " Have I deserved this 
of thee, O Judas ? Did I sin against 
thee, in washing thy feet, in bending My 
knees to thee, in refreshing thee with My 
Body and Blood ? Friend, wherefore hast 
thou come ? Dost thou hold Me of less 
value than thirty pieces of silver ? Why 
hast thou turned away from Me, Who hon- 
oured thee by the title of apostle, Who 
brought thee up in delights, and taught 
thee with all loving care, as My own son ? 
Why hast thou forsaken Me, the well of 
living water, and joined thyself to the ser- 
vants of the devil ? Why hath thy lieart 
gone after avarice, and why hast thou left 
Me, the highest and Eternal Good, and 
sold Me for a poor wretched price, although 
I have within Me the hidden treasures of 
wisdom and knowledge, and I enrich and 



88 Meditations 07t the Life and Passion 

fill both heaven and earth ? Friend, 
wherefore hast thou come ? Turn and 
look into thine own self, I pray thee, go 
down a little into thyself, come back to 
thine own heart, and see the depth to 
which thou hast fallen ; observe what thou 
hast done. Even now My grace is open 
to thee ; only come back with sorrow unto 
Me, and I will receive thee." 

Who can restrain his tears, when he 
considereth Christ's unutterable kindness 
to His betrayer ? Who, after this, shall 
dare to lose hope of God's mercy ? O 
sweetest Jesus, if Thou hast been so faith- 
ful, and loving, and kind to the traitor, 
and the enemy, Thy wicked and unfaith- 
ful servant, and hast so laboured to call 
him back to Thee, and save him, what, 
therefore, wilt Thou do to Thy dear friends, 
who seek, and love, and thirst after Thee 
with their whole life ? Of a truth, Thou 
art no respecter of persons, nor dost Thou 
desire the death and destruction of the 
wicked, but rather that they should be 
turned from their wickedness, and live. 
For Thou hast embraced all men in Thy 
Heart, nor dost Thou cast away any man 
from Thee, save those alone, who by their 
own free but evil will, and hardness in sin, 
depart from Thee. Oh ! how grieved was 
our gentle Saviour, that His own disciple 
should treacherously betray Him with a 
kiss 1 Bitterly enough He complaineth of 



of our Lord yesus Clwist. 89 

this by the prophet, when He saith: "If 
Mine enemy had spoken evil against Me, 
I would indeed have borne it, but that 
thou, the man of My peace, My friend and 
disciple, in whom I hoped, and who sattest 
at meat with Me,shouldst magnify treachery 
against Me, and sell Me for a vile sum of 
money, and deliver Me to death ! O 
Judas, wherefore hast thou come ? Dost 
thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss ?" 

But now return awhile to thyself, O my 
soul, and see, I beseech thee, how impa- 
tient, how cruel and greedy of vengeance 
thou art. By a single word thou art moved 
to anger, to reproachful words, and to 
avenge thyself. Truly Christ did not dis- 
dain to speak to His betrayer, and to call 
him friend, and to sweetly kiss him. Oh ! 
how many times I pass by my neigiibour, 
thinking it beneath me to speak to him, 
and by such disdain or contempt provoke 
him to hatred, and thus I lose his soul 
when I might have softened him by a 
friendly look or kind word, and moved him 
to love. 

But Christ addressed also His other 
enemies with friendly words, and said : 
" Whom seek ye?" They answered Him: 
"Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them: 
" I am He." And when He had said this, 
they went backwards, and fell upon the 
ground. Here Augustine crieth out: "'I 
am He/ by this one word, expressive of 



go Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 

His hidden Godhead, without a weapon of 
any kind, He struck down, drove back, 
laid low so great a multitude that had 
come out against Him, fierce in wrath, and 
terrible in arms, for God lay hidden in the 
flesh. What will He do when He cometh 
to judge the world, who doeth this when 
He is about to be judged Himself? What 
will He do when He shall reign, who could 
do this when He was about to die ?" So 
far Augustine. After this sign He gave 
them again power to rise, and raised them, 
as it were, from death ; and a second time 
He said: "Whom seek ye ?" They said 
unto Him: "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus 
answered: "I have told you that I am 
He." Hearken, O my soul, to this sweet 
word of thy Saviour. He Who a little 
before had laid them low upon the ground 
by one word of His power, by the same 
word now graciously delivereth Himself 
over to death, saying: "I have told you 
that I am He ;" as if He would say: " I 
am ready to fulfil My Father's will, and to 
offer Myself a living victim to My Father's 
honour and glory, for the salvation of mer>. 
I am ready now, not only to bear all the 
sins of the world, but also to undergo the 
penalties which are due to them, and to 
blot out that old hand-writing of their 
cruel enemy in My own Blood, and to 
redeem man from eternal death. Your 
High Priest spoke truly when he prophe- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 91 

sied, that one man must needs die for the 
people, that the whole nation perish not. 
I am that Man ; I am that innocent Lamb, 
ready to be offered for the sins of My 
people. Therefore it is, that now I give 
Myself into your hands. Often, indeed, 
have ye desired both to take and to kill 
Me, but My hour had not yet come. Now 
that hour is come, and the power of dark- 
ness. Glut now your thirst, and your rage 
against Me. I am He Whom ye seek ; I 
am ready to bear whatever ye can think of 
to do against Me. Take Me, seize Me, 
bind Me, lead Me to death itself; but 
suffer these to go their way. No power 
hath been given you over My disciples ; 
only against Me have ye power to rage. 

O unutterable love 1 Oh I of a truth 
Thou art the good Shepherd. See, how 
He loved His little flock even to the end, 
placing Himself between them and the 
teeth of these ravenous wolves. How 
willingly He suffered Himself to be man- 
gled, and torn, and killed, that the sheep 
of His little fold might go unhurt. Then 
with great fierceness did they take Him, 
and like mad dogs, fastened their cruel 
fangs upon this innocent Lamb. 



92 Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 



The Eleventh Chapter. 

A Prayer for perfect Self-denial and 
Love. 

OMOST gracious Jesus, I, a vile and 
wretched sinner, heartily acknowledge 
and confess myself utterly unworthy of all 
these benefits, and gifts, and graces, and 
of all grace and love, which so abundantly 
and beyond all measure Thou hast be- 
stowed upon me, the least of the worms of 
earth, and above all, of that love whereby 
Thou gavest Thyself into the cruel hands 
of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest suf- 
fer a most bitter death for my sins, and 
mightest shed Thy precious Blood for my 
redemption. And I beseech Thee, O ten- 
der Jesus, mightily to inflame my heart 
with the same love, that I may utterly 
deny myself, and count myself for nothing, 
and may subject myself both to Thee, and, 
for Thy sake, to all creatures, so that I 
may correspond in some poor way, at 
least, with Thy obedience, and resignation, 
and wonderful humility. And this one 
other grace grant me also ; namely, that 
my desires and affections may be so in- 
flamed, that I may offer myself wholly to 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 93 

Thee in return, with the same burning- love 
as that with which Thou didst offer Thy- 
self to the Father for me ; and that I may 
offer myself, too, with all my powers, as a 
living sacrifice, to accomplish Thy most 
gracious will in all things, both in what I 
do, and in what I leave undone, without 
any choice of my own, and to bear what- 
ever may happen to me by the permission 
of Thy goodness, in whatsoever way or by 
whomsoever it may come about ; and that 
I may so free and purify the very depths 
of my being, relying on Thy help, from all 
selfishness, and sensuality, and impressions 
of images, and from cleaving thereto ; in 
a word, from everything that can cause a 
barrier between my soul and Thee, so that 
naked, and without anything coming be- 
tween us, I may be united to Thee in will, 
and love, and intention, and desire ; and 
that I may thoroughly and wholly shake 
myself off from, and make myself naked 
of all that is beneath Thee, so that Thou 
mayest have free space to work in me, and 
mayest accomplish Thy pleasant work 
within me without any obstacle ; and that 
I, all free and unencumbered, may embrace 
Thee in the naked arms of Thy love, and 
rest for ever in Thee, and Thou in me, O 
my most sweet, and loving, and gracious- 
Lord Hud God ! Amen. 



94 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Twelfth Chapter. 
yesus is taken and bound. 

COME now, and with inward sorrow 
and weeping eyes let us go and see 
where we have left our Lord Jesus Christ, 
namely, in the cruel hands of the savage 
Jews ; our most innocent Lamb in the 
hateful and rough claws of lions, roaring 
for their prey. Let us see, I pray, in sor- 
row and affliction of heart, how shamefully 
and miserably these unclean dogs have 
treated the Lord of glory. He, indeed, 
the meek Lamb of God, spake to them 
kindly in gentle words, and said: "As 
against a thief have ye come forth to take 
Me. I was daily with you, teaching in 
the temple, and ye took Me not. But this 
is your hour, and the power of darkness." 
O ye blind and wicked, what need was 
there to come in such numbers to take 
Him, Who of His own free will giveth 
Himself into your hands ? What need 
was there to search with lanterns and 
torches for Him Who cometh forth to 
meet you, and to speak to you } What 
will your arms proht you, when by one 
word He hath laid you flat upon the 



cf oitr Lord Jesits Christ. 95 

ground ? Or why have ye souglit by 
night Him Who was daily with you in the 
temple ? Of a truth, this is the hour of 
darkness. The children, I say, the chil- 
dren of darkness hate the light ; therefore 
they desire to put it out, that they may 
remain in their darkness, lest their evil 
works may be made manifest. But in 
vain do they labour. As the Scripture 
saith: His light shall not be put out by 
night, but it will shine the brighter, and 
will be lifted up on the candlestick of the 
Cross, that it may give light to all, who 
are in the household of Holy Church. 

Then all the disciples, leaving their 
Master alone in the wicked hands of the 
raging Jews, fled away. Oh ! who can 
think of all the fierceness, and the wicked- 
ness, with which those savage wolves 
treated this our loving Lord, or of the sor- 
row, and contempt, and shame, that they 
brought upon Him ? Let us for a little 
while, I implore you, endeavour in our 
imagination to compass this cross and af- 
fliction, in order to stir up our hearts to 
compassion and devotion. And although 
all that our Lord here suffered may not 
appear so plainly as from the Evangelist's 
words, yet may we gather and deduce 
them from those other words, in which he 
saith: •* They did unto Him whatsoever 
they would." And who can reckon up all 
that these mad dogs wrought against this 



96 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

innocent Lamb, if they " did whatever 
they would ?" If they could not glut 
themselves with His Blood, and with all 
kind of cruelty against Him, when they 
had crucified Him, and shed His precious 
Blood like water, without also crucifying 
Him witli their tongue, and blaspheming 
and mocking Him, and even opening His 
Side when He was dead, what must they 
be thought to have done to Him while He 
was still alive ? If at the end of His Life 
no kind of savage cruelty could satisfy 
them, what must we think they did to 
Him in that first mad rush upon Him, 
when their rage was at a white heat ? 
Where is the mind that can understand, 
or the heart that can search out all the 
cruelty with which they treated our gentle 
Lord, after having for so long a time 
sought after Him, and laid in wait to kill 
Him, and so often threatened Him ? With 
what tyrannical and cruel eagerness did 
they now seize on this innocent Lamb, 
when they had Him in their power, Whose 
Blood they had so fiercely thirsted after ? 
All the savageness, the malice, the envy, 
the contempt they had so long conceived 
and borne in their minds, they now poured 
out at once upon Him. All the poison, 
bitterness, and rage, they had so long be- 
fore laid up in their hearts, and carried 
about with them, and nourished, they now 
in one mass vomited out upon Him. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 97 



But let us go a little farther, and with 
great compassion, and hot burning tears, 
behold how our tender Jesus stood here 
alone among all those mad and raging 
hounds, forsaken by all men. Let us 
imagine, I beseech you, that we ourselves 
are standing by, and are looking on, while 
they thus treat so cruelly this meek and 
gentle Lamb. One teareth out the hair of 
His Head, another that of His beard. 
This one layeth hold of His breast, that 
one of His neck. One striketh Him hard 
blows in the face, another on the neck, a 
third upon His Most Sacred Head. Some 
heap up spittle upon His loving face, and 
bind His blessed hands with hard cords. 
There are doctors who say, that they threw 
an exceeding heavy iron chain around His 
neck. Who can unfold how many blas- 
phemies, how many reproaches and revil- 
ings, how many foul and shameful names 
our sweet Lord was compelled to hear ? 
Of a truth, they knew not how to glut 
their malice, or by what shameful torments 
to rage against Him. For although they 
carried out against Him all that they could 
think of in their traitorous and cruel hearts, 
nor even then were able to glut their 
bloody thirst — yet far more did they burn, 
and desire to do, than they actually did. 
For the more of wickedness and malice 
their virulent eagerness vomited out, so 

much the more did they burn to devise all 
t 



98 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

manner of treachery and deceit against 
Him. And because our Lord had cast 
them down with their backs upon the 
ground, so in their exceeding rage and 
fury, they in their turn threw Him with 
His back upon the earth, and kneehng 
upon His breast spat upon His sacred face 
and adorable mouth ; nay, as some doctors 
think, they so trod upon His breast, and 
covered His face and mouth with spittle, 
that by the stopping of His breath He 
would have died of suffocation, had not 
the power of His Godhead kept Him 
alive. 

See here, in passing, how almost every 
step of Christ's Passion was itself a bitter 
death. Look now, O my soul, with the 
eyes of thy heart upon thy Lord and 
Maker, at Whose high Godhead the angels 
marvel, and see how exceeding low He 
hath been cast down, and humbled for thy 
sins. Marvel at, and tremble, and adore 
this wonder of all wonders ! Behold, and 
with all care consider, how that most high 
Majesty hath cast Itself down, and, as it 
were, brought Itself to nothing for the 
sake of thy measureless vileness. But 
above all, weigh well that burning love, 
whereby He willed to do this, for He 
alone was the cause of His doing so. 
Contrast, I beg of thee, His highness with 
thy vileness, and — unless I am mistaken — 
in the contrast th)' powers will fail thee. 



of our Lord ^esus Christ. 99 



thy understanding will totter to and fro, 
thy spirit will become faint, and thy heart 
for exceeding great wonder will shake 
with horror. Consider, also, the greatness 
of thy sin and tlie fearful weight and 
gravity of the debt which called for such 
a payment, and stood in need of such a 
Redeemer, and asked for so dear a ran- 
som of reconciliation. For with nothing 
less than the very precious Blood of Christ, 
and the Death of the Son of God, could it 
be paid. Observe, too, O my soul, both 
thine own hardness and dissoluteness, in 
that thou hast so little fear ; and at the 
same time, be ashamed that thou thinkest 
nothing at all about sinning, exposing thy- 
self so easily to damnation, when Christ 
had to redeem thee with such measureless 
torments, and with such great labour. 

After this, behold how those shameful 
ones trampled upon the Lord of Glory. 
Hear how He complaineth of this by the 
prophet, when He saith: " Many young 
bulls have compassed Me, fat bulls have 
beset Me round, and many dogs have sur- 
rounded Me, Upon My back have sin- 
ners built, they have prolonged iniquity. 
I am a worm and no man, the reproach of 
men, and the outcast of the people." Oh ! 
how deeply hath the Majesty of God cast 
Itself down, in order to lift us up on high ! 
How humbly hath It submitted Itself unto 
all men, in order to wipe out our pride, 



lOO Meditations on the Life and Passion 

and blot out our disobedience. See whe- 
ther He was not, of a truth, a poor worm, 
trodden under the feet of the Jews, de- 
spised, spat upon, killed? Was ever a 
thief or malefactor treated so cruelly, so 
inhumanly, or disfigured so basely, as 
Jesus Christ the Son of God, to Wiioni 
liath never cluno- the sliQ;htest stain of sin. 

sweet Jesus, loving Lord, whither shall 

1 turn my heart for exceeding great trou- 
ble, when I see in what anguish and dis- 
tress Thou wert, when Thou didst lie so 
miserably among those madmen, who, all 
of them, like hungry lions, thirsted to man- 
gle and tear Thee in pieces, innocent 
Lamb that Thou art, and how my sins 
■were the cause of Thy Passion ? Who, I 
ask, can have such a breast of steel, such 
a heart of ice, as not to be inflamed by 
love like this ? For thereby, when wc 
were about to be burnt up in the fires of 
hell, Christ took all this upon Himself, 
and suffered, out of His pure love, the 
punishment due to our sins for our sakes. 
That we might be freed from the power of 
Satan and the chains of death, the King of 
Glory was taken prisoner, and bound, and 
led to death ; and that He might lead us 
without punishment into the kingdom of 
heaven, He underwent all the punishment 
that we deserved. 

Wherefore, O most merciful God, what 
cau we render Thee in return for all this 



of our Lord yesus Christ. lOl 

unutterable grace and love ? Much have 
we hitherto marvelled, that Thou hast 
willed to sink so low as to take our human 
nature, and to be laid in a manger, but 
this humility, this utter casting down of 
Thyself, is above all Thy former works. 
For now Thou art no more a man, but, 
indeed, an outcast and a worm. At Thine 
Incarnation Thou didst lie in the pleasant 
arms of Thy most tender Mother, but here 
Thou liest in the hands of the Jews. 
Then Thou wert adored as God and Man, 
now Thou art taken as a thief. Then 
were offered Thee royal gifts, now Thou 
art smitten, and blasphemed, and despised, 
and mocked. 

Weigh well with thyself, O my soul, 
what must have been the sorrow of the 
holy and heavenly spirits, when they saw 
their Lord and King, Whom they had ever 
held in such honour and reverence, brouorjit 
down to such distress, and punishment, 
and wretchedness, so exceedingly hum- 
bled, despised, and shamed. We may, 
indeed, picture them to ourselves by a 
holy imagination, as falling down flat upon 
their faces in the presence of God tlic 
Father, and weeping bitterly and praying 
for their King. Let us also, therefore, 
have a fellow-feeling with them, that we 
may compassionate our Lord Jesus Christ, 
for it is our sorrow and our wounds, by 
which He is afflicted and tormented ; and 



I02 Medifafions on the Life and Passion 

with deep groans and sorrowful hearts let 
us fall down upon our faces before the 
Fatlier, and say: 

" O most gracious Father, look down, I 
beseech Thee, upon the sore distress of 
Thine only Begotten One, and the cruel 
torments whereby He is compassed rounc 
about. Oh ! how could Thy tender Hearl 
endure to see Thy beloved Son suffer sucii 
dreadful agony, and yet give Him no help 
or succour ? O Father, Father, why hast 
Thou forsaken Him ? Why were Thy 
fatherly bowels moved not with compas- 
sion towards Thy beloved Son ? Why 
hadst Thou no pity on the tears of the 
angels, so as to suffer them to avenge the 
Vv^rongs of their Master and their King ? 
What love hath overcome Thee, O Father 
of Mercies ? What is man, that Thou so 
lovest him ? Thou hast pity upon sinful 
men, and forsakest Thine only Son. That 
men might be exalted in heaven, it is for 
this that Thy Son is so shamefully hum- 
bled upon earth. That the guilty and 
wicked sinner might be freed from death, 
this is why Thy only holy One, Who knew 
no sin, is led to a miserable death ! O 
most loving Father, what is this marvel- 
lous work which Thou hast willed to do, 
that Thou shouldst lay all our sins upon 
Thine only One, and avenge them in Him, 
although He ever thirsted after Thy hon- 
our, and did Thy will, and performed what- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. lo 



o 



ever was grateful and pleasing in Thy 
sight ? Yes, Thou hast horribly smitten 
this Thy beloved Son for our sins, and 
delivered Him wholly into the hands of 
the cruel Jews. What shall I give Thee 
in return, O Father of heaven, for all this 
utterly unfathomable and incomparable 
love, for all the faithfulness, and mercy, 
and loving-kindness, which Thou hast 
shown to me, so worthless, and vile, and 
ungrateful, and dissolute a sinner ? What 
gratitude, what praise and honour shall I 
repay Thee for all this ? Oh ! how can 1 
ever give Thee even the least thing in 
return for love so far above all under- 
standing ?" 



The Thirteenth Chapter, 

A very humble Co7ifesston of Sins, and a 
Prayer to the Father for Forgiveness. 

O FATHER Almighty, tender and 
merciful, I, a wretched and vile 
sinner, with as much lowliness as I can. 
and with full trust in the immensity of 
Thy goodness, cast myself down at Thy 
Feet, and confess with inward sorrow of 
heart all my great and grievous sins, 



I04 Meditations on the Life and hasmn 

whereby I have offended Thee, my gra- 
cious Father, even to this very hour ; and 
that I have not feared to commit those 
accursed crimes which Thy only and be- 
loved Son so cruelly atoned for, and so 
bitterly expiated. I confess also to Thee, 
O most gracious Father, my manifold and 
great ingratitude, that even to this hour I 
have been ungrateful both to Thee, and to 
Thy Son, for all the love, and mercy, and 
faithfulness which Thou hast shown me ; 
inasmuch as now, for so many years, in 
the midst of malice and sinfulness, Thou 
hast in Thy long-suffering spared me, and 
hast gendy borne with all the wrong and 
contempt I have brought upon Thee by 
my disobedience and evil will ; nay, even 
waited for my repentance with such in- 
finite loving- kindness, in order that at 
some time or other Thou mightest get 
possession of my heart, and make Thy 
dwelling-place therein, and pour out upon 
it Thy love. And oh ! how often, O Lord 
my God, hast Thou knocked at the door 
of my heart by Thine inspirations, and 
soothed me with Thy good gifts, and 
drawn me on by Thy consolations, and 
forced me on by the afflictions Thou hast 
sent me ; and yet Thou hast suffered Thy- 
self to be driven back, for always have I 
turned my back on Thee. But even this 
Thou hast borne in mercy. Oh ! how 
justly mightest Thou have cast me down 



of our Lord yestis Christ. 105 



into the deptlis of hell, yet hast Thou gra- 
ciously spared me. Of a truth, it is won- 
derful, O sweet Father, that my heart 
breaketh not for exceeding- great contri- 
tion, when I think of these things. Even 
hell itself hath not punishments many and 
cruel enough for all my wickedness and 
sin. I am not worthy that I should be 
called Thy creature, or that the earth 
should bear me up, or provide me with 
nourishment. Marvellous it is, O Lord, 
that Thy other creatures and all the ele- 
ments have not taken vengfeance togrether 
on the wrongs and contempt I have 
brought upon Thee by my manifold ini- 
quity. 

But now, O most faithful Father, have 
mercy upon me, I beseech Thee, and turn 
to me, a wretched and lonely sinner, the 
eyes of Thy divine grace and tenderness. 
Open to me the bowels of Thy loving- 
kindness ; take me back again into Thy 
grace ; pardon me for having so long de- 
layed to turn to Thee. Throw open to 
me Thy fatherly bosom, and pour upon 
me the nourishment and comfort of Thy 
grace. I beseech Thee, O Lord God, 
work speedily in me, that for the sake of 
which hitherto Thou hast spared me, and 
for which from everlasting Thou hast fore- 
ordained me. And woe to me, unhappy 
sinner, because I have forsaken so loving, 
so tender a Father, Who hath never shown 



io6 Meditations on the Life a7id Passion 



me anything- but love, and kindness, and 
grace, and faithfulness, and because I have 
refused Thee my heart, which Thou, O 
God, hast decreed to be Thy temple. Thy 
dwelling-place, and Thy delight, and have 
made it foul with many stains, for indeed 
it hath been a vessel of iniquity, and the 
cave of unclean spirits. Openly I confess 
to Thee, O Lord, that of all whom the 
world holdeth, I am the most sinful. 
Nevertheless, in the immensity of Thy 
g"oodness I place my trust ; for if my sins 
are above number, so also is Thy mercy. 

O most loving Father, if Thou wilt, 
Thou canst indeed make me clean. Heal 
my soul, for I confess to Thee that I have 
sinned. Remember, O kind Lord, that 
comforting word of Thine, which Thou 
spakest by one of Thy prophets: "Thou 
hast committed fornication with many 
lovers ; yet turn again to Me, and I will 
take thee back." Of a truth, Father of 
Mercies, I trust much in this most sweet 
word, and with my whole heart I turn to 
Thee, as if Thou hadst spoken it to none 
but to me alone, and as if by that word 
Thou hadst meant to call me alone. For 
I, even I, unclean and unfaithful soul that 
I am, am that prodigal and unprofitable 
son, who miserably have gone far away 
from Thee, the Father of lights, from 
Whom flow all good things, and as a wan- 
dering sheep, have strayed far from Thee, 



of oitr Lord Jesus Christ. 107 

and squandered and lost all those bounti- 
ful gifts which Thou hadst given me in 
such profusion. I have left Thee, the 
fountain of living- water, and have dug for 
myself cisterns holding no water, by seek- 
mg outward consolation, for all temporal 
and perishable delight vanisheth away like 
smoke. I have left Thee, too, the Bread 
of Life, and I have fed myself with the 
husks of swine, by following my sensual 
appetites, and indulging my passions, like 
the beasts. I have left Thee, the High- 
est, and perfect, and Eternal Good, and I 
have let myself float down upon the stream 
of earthly pleasure that passeth rapidly 
away. Wherefore I have become naked, 
and poor, and wretched, and unclean, and, 
like the beast of the stall, I have become 
rotten in my own dung and tilth. But I 
pray Thee, O Father, remember not the 
contempt and the wrong Thou hast re- 
ceived at my hands. For I have thought 
of my ways, and my evil life, and with my 
whole strength I have turned my feet to- 
wards Thy testimonies and Thy command- 
ments. Yea ! and in the bitterness of my 
soul I have counted all my years as evil 
and lost, and I have determined with my- 
self to do Thy will, and to persevere in 
Thy faithful service. Lord ! what wilt 
Thou have me to do ? For I am ready 
not only to bear the easy yoke of Thy 
commandments, but also for Thy love 10 



io8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



keep to hard paths, and to enter upon the 
strait and narrow way of the cross, and 
to take the cross upon my shoulders, and 
to follow Thine only and beloved Son. 
And now, O Father of heaven, I offer my- 
self wholly to Thee, with all love, and with 
all my powers, as a living sacrifice ; and 
whatsoever Thou wishest to do with me 
in time and eternity, I am ready to do or 
not to do, and to suffer whatever Thy 
goodness shall desire to come upon me. 
Take thorough vengeance upon me, O 
Lord, for all the wrong I have done Thee, 
for humbly do I bow myself beneath the 
scourge of Thy fatherly mercy. Bind, I 
beseech Thee, my hands and my feet, lest 
in aught I may rebel against Thee ; for 
although the flesh indeed is weak, and 
without will, yet the spirit is altogether 
ready. I know, yes, of a truth, I know 
that so many adversities could not have 
come upon me, unless 1 had deserved 
greater and more for mine iniquities. 
Wherefore I ask for nothing but Thy 
grace from the depths of my heart, and 
that mercy may temper justice. But what 
shall I render unto Thee, O most gracious 
Father, for all that Thou hast done for 
me ? Teach me by what works, by what 
service, by what offerings I ought to ap- 
pease and reconcile Thee. Thou hast 
commanded us not to appear before Thee 
empty-handed. But what shall 1 offer 



of onr Lord yesus Christ. 109 

Thee, who have nothing of my own. Ah ! 
this is why I humbly knock at the door of 
Thy rich Son, and beg an alms out of the 
infinite never-failing treasury of His most 
sacred Passion ; and this I will offer Thee. 
Nay, I offer Thee this same only Son of 
Thine, in union with that love with which 
Thou didst offer Him to me, and didst 
send Him from Thy fatherly Heart into 
this world, that He might take our human 
nature, and undergo a most bitter death ; 
and with Him I offer Thee all His merits, 
that is to say, of His Incarnation, Passion 
and Death ; but more especially that 
shameful affliction and torment which He 
suffered when He was taken prisoner. 
Moreover I offer Thee His willing obedi- 
ence. His unutterable lowliness and pa- 
tience, and above all that burning love of 
His, with which He went forth to meet 
His enemies, and cheerfully, as if they 
had been His friends, gave Himself into 
their hands. In like manner, all the cruel 
chains, and blows, and buffets, and tramp- 
lings under foot, the contempt, the spittle, 
the mockery, the blasphemies, and what- 
ever He suffered when He was taken, all 
this with overflowing heart and meek 
gratitude, I offer as a worthy sacrifice to 
Thy supreme glory, for all my sins and 
negligences. Accept, I beseech Thee, O 
most gracious Father, the merits of Thine 
only- begotten Son for all my iniquities. 



1 10 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

For whatever sin I have committed against 
Thy justice, all this Thy beloved and only 
Son hath paid for, and blotted out, and 
expiated by His Passion, and for all my de- 
fects He hath laden Himself with, and sup- 
plied for them. And what can be the sin 
so great, for which such suffering cannot 
implore pardon ? What can be the stain 
so foul, that Ciirist's warm blood cannot 
wash away ? What malice can there be 
in man so deep-rooted and inveterate, 
which such burning love cannot melt away, 
and utterly burn out ? Of a truth His 
Passion is stronger than our sins, and the 
riches of His merits are measureless and 
infinite, so as to outweigh all sins and neg- 
ligences. Wherefore from these deep 
streams I draw whatever I see is wantinsf 
to me. 

I offer Thee, then, His most innocent 
Death, and whatever He wrought in His 
human nature, together with all the merits 
of all the saints, and all the acts of virtue, 
and all the praise which shall be shown 
forth in Thy sight until the last judgment 
day, and throughout endless ages of ages. 
All this with as full a heart as I can, I 
offer Thee, as if they were all my own. 
Lastly, I offer Thee this oblation to Thine 
eternal glory for my own sins, and for 
those of all the living and the dead, for 
whom I am bound to pour forth prayers, 
and as Thou, O God, wishest to be ea- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 1 1 



treated for them, and that Thou mayest 
be praised and blessed thereby for all 
eternity, and that thanksgiving may be 
made to Thee by all Thy creatures. 



The Fourteenth Chapter. 
yes7is is forsaken by His Disciples. 

WHEN our Saviour, as hath been 
said, was so cruelly bound, and led 
away by those mad dogs in so miserable a 
plight, His disciples, terrified by exceed- 
ing great fear, fled away from their be- 
loved Master, and left Him alone. But 
oh ! what must have been their sorrow, 
when returning to themselves, and looking 
into the depths of their own hearts, they 
thought with themselves Whom they had 
forsaken, and from Whom they had sepa- 
rated themselves; and how faithlessly they 
had deserted their loving Master and most 
faithful Lord in the moment of His great- 
est need. Oh ! how those fiery and pierc- 
ing words, which Christ had spoken to 
them in warning, both at the supper and 
on the way, now glowed witliin them, and 
burnt into their hearts like live coals. 
For although they had torn themselves 



112 Meditations on the Life and Passioit 

away from the fire, yet as men who have 
just come from the fire, they were still 
glowing with heat, and the sparks of fire 
were still bright within their breasts. And 
although Christ in His provident wisdom, 
had, for a litde while, departed from them 
in the body, yet He had left behind Him 
in their hearts His inward foot-prints, and 
the signs of His Visitation ; that is to say, 
tears, and groans, and compunction of 
heart. He Who had once saved His 
people Israel in the wilderness, leading 
them by night by a pillar of fire, lest they 
should wander and fall into the hands of 
their enemies, He it is, the same Lord, 
Who now guarded and led His holy apos- 
tles by the support of His fiery love, lest 
in that dark night they should utterly lose 
their way, and fall under the power of 
Satan. For although He had been taken 
away from their bodily eyes, yet had He 
left His Spirit in their hearts, by which 
also they cried out: "Abide with us, Lord, 
for it is toward evening." Oh ! in what 
distress and anguish they went along, 
shedding many and bitter tears ! Oh ! 
how often with weeping eyes and many 
groans did they look up unto heaven ! In 
what misery did they go along the way, 
weeping and crying aloud, complaining of 
their grief, and clasping their hands, as 
orphans without a father, desolate as sheep 
without a shepherd ! How forcibly they 



of otir Lord yesiis Christ. 113 

smote their breasts, and said: " O gracious 
Master, O sweet Father, O gentle Lord, 
Who hast nourished us for so many days 
in delights, and hast guarded us as Thine 
own sons with loving care, and governed 
us with all zeal, and taught us with all 
wisdom, and loved us with all faithfulness, 
as if we had been Thine own Heart ! 
How is it that we have gone away from 
Thee so basely ? Whither shall we now 
fly ? Who henceforward will defend us ? 
Ah ! ravening wolves will now attack Thy 
sheep. Why have we forsaken Thee ? 
Why did we not cling to Thee ? Why 
did we not stand by Thee, as we promised, 
even unto death ? Better far would it 
have been for us to die with Thee, than 
to live without Thee. Oh ! how often 
meanwhile did they cast back their eyes 
on their Master, Whom they saw led away 
so cruelly to death ! How often did they 
stop doubting in their minds, whether or 
not to go back to Him ! How were love 
and fear fighting within them for the mas- 
tery ! But all this was by God's permis- 
sion, God so ordering, that the Scripture 
might be fulfilled. 

As for the rest, our sweet Jesus being 
now in the hands of His enemies, turned 
not His loving-kindness away even from 
these wicked ones, for He healed the ear 
of one of the Jewish servants, that had 
been cut off. Yet could not all this good- 



I T4 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



ness and power, shown to these traitoi.s, 
soften their hearts of stone. 



The Fifteenth Chapter. 
jestis is led to Anitas. 

FROM this they now led Him away 
cruelly bound to Annas. And here 
who is able to think of all the annoy- 
ances, and injuries, and cruelty, and con- 
tempt with which they treated Him on the 
way ; how often they struck Him, and 
vomited out blasphemies against Him, and 
pulled His sacred beard, and kicked Him, 
and spat their hateful spittle in that fair 
face of His, on which the angels desire to 
look; and how at last they hastened to 
lead Him as quickly as they could to the 
chief priest, and after this to deliver Him 
over to death. No one can think of all 
they did to Him, for far more than all this 
they did, since, as it is written, they did 
with Him what they would. 

See now, O my soul, how miserably thy 
Lord and Maker is beset and led off by 
those wicked and lustful wretches, just as 
if He had been a thief, or malefactor con- 
demned to death. And yet, during all 



of oiLV Lord Jesus Christ. 1 1 5 



this persecution He remained patient to- 
wards men, most grateful towards His 
Father. Think, I ask of Thee, what sort 
of night, so full of trouble was it, must 
this have been to Him ? O Jesus, King 
of glory, Who governest the whole world 
by a word, for no one can resist Thy power, 
how lowly, and poor, and weak, and 
despised, hast Thou willed to become for 
my sake ! Where now are the thousand 
times ten thousand of those who fall upon 
their faces before Thee, and adore, and 
bless, and praise Thee, saying without 
ceasing ; *' Holy, Holy, Holy !" Of a 
truth, O loving Jesus, this is the hour of 
darkness, the time of sorrow, the night of 
bitterness. And Thou didst enter into 
this sad and horrible night of Thine own 
free will for my sake. Thus, then, as we 
have seen, they led Him bound and dis- 
fioured to Annas. 

Let us now see, but with exceeding 
compassion, how humbly the Lord of 
power stood there chained and covered 
with spittle. His eyes cast down, His face 
suffused with virginal shame, waiting with 
friendly look to be judged by a vile and 
puffed up sinner, although no guile had 
ever been found in His mouth, nor any 
injustice in His deeds; nay, to Whom, 
because He was full ot grace and truth, 
all power and all judgment hath beeji 
delegated by the Father. And see 1 iiovv 



1 16 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

the blood-thirsty high-priest treacherously 
questioned Him concerning His disciples 
and His doctrine, in order that from His 
words he might lay hold of some occasion 
to condemn Him. But Christ, the Wisdom 
of God, understanding the high-priest's 
deceit, was silent as to His disciples for 
this time, because at this particular time 
He could not greatly praise them. But 
with regard to His doctrine, He answered 
with prudence and wisdom : " I spake 
openly before the world, I was daily teach- 
ing in the synagogue and in the temple, 
where all the Jews meet. Why askest 
thou Me ? Ask them, who heard what I 
said ; ask thy servants whom thou hast 
sent to take Me ; behold ! tliese know 
what I have said." Of a truth, He who 
speaks thus is the Eternal Truth, Whose 
words are so just and true, that even His 
enemies bear witness to them. And when 
He had said this, one of the servants 
standing by, a wicked man and of bold 
front, gave Jesus a horrible blow, saying : 
" Answerest Thou thus the high-priest .<*" 
Meekly did this gentle Lamb receive that 
blow, nor did His face contract with 
wrinkles, nor burn with anger, nor did He 
loosen His tongue to make reproach, nor 
did He stretch forth His hand to avenge 
Himself, but He meekly answered, and 
said : " If I have spoken ill, bear witness 
to the ill, but if well, why smitest thou 



oj our Lord Jesus Christ. 117 

Me ?" O Jesus, gentlest Lamb, who can 
call to mind without tears Thy exceeding 
loving-kindness, and patience, in that Tliou 
sufferest that fair face of Thine, on which 
the angels desire to look, to be so cruelly 
smitten by a vile wretch ? And thou, O 
my soul, how proud, how impatient, and 
severe, and rude and greedy of revenge 
thou art, thou who by one word art dis- 
turbed and offended, nor ever thinkest of 
the mighty wrong the Son of God under- 
went for thy sake. Let His Passion be 
the mirror of thy life, follow His blessed 
footsteps and His conversation, learn of 
Him, how He is meek and humble of 
heart. Offer Him at least one little drop 
of sorrow in return for the large and bitter 
chalice which He drank to the very dregs 
for thy salvation ; show Him some little 
compassion for all His labour and sorrow ; 
give Him at least patience for patience, 
suffer contempt for contempt ; forgive thy 
neighbour, even as God daily forgiveth 
thy many wanderings, although often thou 
offendest Him, and so forgiveth, as not the 
less to protect thee, and show thee His 
friendship and loving-kindness. Contem- 
plate the whole of Christ's Passion, even to 
His last breath, and never once wilt thou 
find Him to have been moved in any way 
against His enemies, although they afflicted 
Him so sorely, or ever to have shown 
forth the least contempt for them either in 



Ii8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

word, or look, or deed. Nay, rather, thou 
wilt find that He showed them all loving- 
kindness and sweetness, so that, if possi- 
ble, He might soften and turn their hearts. 
For so loving, so sweet is our Lord, that 
He knoweth not how to show His enemies 
anything but love and friendship. He 
hath a kiss for him who betrayed Him, 
and sought to take Him, He healeth the 
ear of one of the high-priest's servants, 
when it had been cut off; He prayeth for 
them who crucified Him ; nay, His Heart 
was wounded with greater agony by their 
sins and hardness of heart, than by the 
outward pain which He bore in His body. 

We, therefore, if we wish to please 
Christ, ought to cast away far from us all 
bitterness, and rancour, and the clouds of 
passion, and to rejoice when any adversity 
crosseth our path. For that sweet Bride- 
groom came to look for a sweet bride, who 
might be free from guile, and like Himself 
in condition. Hence, in the Canticle of 
Canticles He calleth His bride a dove. 

Moreover, Peter also followed his Lord, 
but when He was charged with being of 
the number of Christ's disciples, he denied 
Him thrice. Thus Christ, moved by mercy, 
turned the eyes of His grace upon Peter, 
who, returning to himself, began to think 
that this had been foretold him by Christ; 
how, namely, before the cock crowed, he 
should deny Him thrice. Thus touched 



cf our Lord yesiis Christ. 119 

^— — . ..... . — - , . I . ■ . ■ ■ M 

with inward sorrow of heart, be went out 
from the company of sinners, by whom he 
had been drawn on to his fall and sin, and 
wept bitterly. Let us also see here, how 
great was the sorrow which pierced Christ's 
loving Heart, when He saw the head and 
the most earnest of His disciples thus 
miserably overcome, and how, even as 
powerful Samson of old had lost all his 
strength through a woman, so now the 
prince of the apostles, who by a word had 
been wont to cast out devils, had denied 
his Master, out of fear of one word from a 
woman-servant's mouth. Oh ! how all 
His bowels were moved with compassion 
and mercy at the weakness and fall of His 
disciple, and even as some kind father 
mourneth for the death of his only child, 
so did Christ weep for the inward death of 
His disciple and member, whose spiritual 
death-wound touched Him with no less 
sorrow, than if He had received it Himself. 
Oh ! how quickly He snatched him out of 
Satan's power, into which he had fallen, 
and raised him up again by His preventing 
grace ! How quickly did He look upon 
him with the eyes of His grace, and 
permitted the rays of divine light to 
shine into the dark depths of his soul I 
Hence it happened, that Peter at once 
returned to himself, and betaking himself 
into the depths of his own heart, acknow- 
ledged his fault, and wept bitterly ; and 



1 20 Mectttattons on the Life and Passion 



straightway at the first touch of grace, 
turning away from the children of dark- 
ness, turned himself to the light that went 
before him. For although by God's per- 
mission he had fallen into weakness, yet 
had he been resigned to God, and had 
utterly denied his own will, and given him- 
self wholly to God ; and lately again he 
had chosen him and embraced him in His 
Heart, so that in desire and affection 
nothing could ever separate him from Him. 
And although afterwards he failed in deed, 
yet that resolution, that desire was good. 
For he had said : " Lord, even if all should 
be scandalized in Thee, and shall forsake 
Thee, yet not I. For I am ready to go 
with Thee to prison and to death." No 
doubt, love and burning desire had raised 
his courage above its strength, and had so 
lifted up his heart, that he forgot his own 
frailty. But temptation changed all this, 
so that now he humbly cast himself down 
within himself, and esteemed himself as 
nothing worth ; who so lately had boast- 
ingly lifted himself above himself, and 
being left to himself, learnt also what in 
that first fervour he had been unable to 
recognize. For he had offered himself to 
God, and suffered God to work in him, 
but that lofty structure which God sought 
to build up in him, could not be built, 
except first the weakness of the first foun- 
dation were disclosed, and a new founda- 



of our Lord yesus Christ, 121 

tion deep and low were laid. For straight- 
way as soon as Christ looked upon him, 
and he received the light of grace in 
his heart, he followed that light, and accus- 
tomed himself to the touch and inspiration 
of His Spirit, doing what he was admon- 
ished by the Spirit to do ; namely, to turn 
away from creatures, and to turn to the 
light which he felt within him ; and by this 
he was led to the knowledge of himself, 
and so he wept bitterly. For when he had 
trusted to himself, and boasted of himself 
boldly above measure, and the weakness 
of nature, our Lord left him to himself, 
that he might recognize his own weakness 
and powerlessness ; and thus at once he 
fell. For however much we trust in fer- 
vour of spirit, to the same extent ought 
we to fear the frailty of nature. Of a 
truth, S. Peter, as long as he was with 
his Lord, feared neither death, nor ene- 
mies, nor weapons of war, for boldly had 
he thrown himself upon the enemy, strik- 
ing at them with liis sword. But when his 
Lord turned away His face from him, he was 
overthrown and overcome by one woman's 
word. No doubt this is what David meant 
when he said : " Thou didst turn Thy face 
from me, and I was troubled." 

O measureless goodness of God, how 
tenderly did our loving Lord undergo the 
contempt and shame which He suffered on 
account of His disciple, in order that there- 



122 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

by the same disciple might learn to know 
and humble himself ? For already had 
our Lord decreed that he was to be the 
foundation of the Church, and therefore He 
permitted him to fall into the lowest depth 
of his nature, where he clearly discovered 
his own frailty and utter powerlessness ; 
and where he learnt not to boast rashly of 
himself, but humbly to trust in the help of 
God, as it is written : " Be not high- 
minded, but fear." For all this, because 
Christ had fore-ordained Peter to be to the 
house of Israel, a wall and tower that can 
never be taken, it was altogether neces- 
sary, that his foundation should be laid 
exceeding deep in the virtue of humility, 
which is itself the foundation of the whole 
spiritual structure and of every good. It 
was necessary, too, that the head should 
feel sick and weak, in order to feel pity 
upon the weakness of the other members, 
and to forgrive those who sin not sev^en 
times, but seventy times seven, and to 
learn by what he himself suffered, how to 
have compassion upon all who desire to 
turn from their sins, and to obtain for them 
the grace which he himself had received 
from Christ. And because Peter had 
resigned himself wholly into God's hands, 
and his heart and intention were right and 
true before God, therefore it was that this 
fall was not unto damnation, but rather a 
healing medicine, and was a step forward 



of our Lord Jesns Christ. t 2 3 

towards God ; so that he who had rashly 
and vvitliout caution turned to himself, 
being now fallen and wounded, might be 
compelled to forsake himself, and to turn 
to God. And this is why the apostle 
saith : " To them that love God all things 
work together for good/' both adversity 
and prosperity, riches and poverty, gain and 
loss. For they who have renounced their 
own selves, and suffered themselves to be 
led by God, to such there can happen 
nothing ill. For when by God's permission, 
any infirmity cometh upon them, it is for 
them the cause and matter of humiliation, 
and contempt, and of lowly thoughts about 
themselves, and of turning to God, and of 
loving God, and of cleaving unto God, and 
of serving Him more faithfully, and of 
observing themselves more carefully, and 
of more diligently watching their own salva- 
tion. And whatever from their own defect 
they lose in mounting up to God, and in 
working for Him, that they gain once more 
in coming down into themselves, and in 
resignation. For the deeper we go down 
in the knowledge of ourselves, so much 
the higher do we rise in the knowledge of 
God, in which consisteth our chief beatitude; 
just as the deeper the wall below, the 
higher it is from above. So, too, the more 
we cast ourselves down, the higher will 
God exalt us, and the viler wc beh'eve 



124 Meditations oft the Life and Passion 



ourselves to be, the more shall we magnify 
God. 

Nor can a man worthily honour God, 
unless he be truly humble ; nor is any 
service pleasing unto God, unless it pro- 
ceed from a humble heart ; nor is any man 
so pleasing unto God, as he who is utterly 
humble. For such men have so lowered 
themselves, and made themselves of no 
account in their own eyes, that God, neither 
by Himself nor by all His gifts, can cause 
them to be proud of themselves. For 
the more they are enlightened, and the 
more gifts and graces they receive from 
God, so much the more clearly on this 
very account do they recognise their own 
vileness, and the more unworthy do they 
feel themselves to receive any of God's 
gifts ; and for this reason they marvel that 
God should vouchsafe to work anything 
through them. From this then arises in 
them so great a love, reverence, zeal, and 
delight towards God, that they know not 
how in any way to repay His exceeding 
love and graciousness, or how to do enough 
for Him. They know, too, that both they 
themselves, and whatever they are able to 
do, suffice not for this. Hence it is, after 
all, but a little thing for them, compared 
with what they desire to do, that they 
have given themselves wholly unto Him, 
Who had first given Himself wholly for 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 125 

them, since they are not ignorant, how 
all that they can themselves give is far 
above what they can give to Him, when 
compared with all they have received 
from Him. Nor do they know ho.v 
enough to praise Him, or to give Him 
thanks, or to exalt and worthily hon- 
our Him, or how enough to despise and 
to think nothing of their own selves. 
Whatever they do, they are eager to do 
more ; at all times they have equally the 
same thirst after His honour, the same 
alacrity in doing His will, for their love of 
God is always asking of them something 
more. They praise God, indeed, but tliey 
fall short in praising Him ; and because 
tliey fall short in good, they confess that 
they do wrong even in that wliich they do 
well. Hence they blame and despise 
themselves ; yet here again they come 
short, and so are made nothing in their 
own eyes. Now in this mounting up to 
God by praise and reverence, and in this 
going down into their own selves, they are 
set on fire with love, and the red marriage 
garment, the scarlet and purple robe, twice 
dyed, is woven. This is that ladder, which 
Jacob saw reaching up into heaven, and 
the angels ascending and descending 
thereon ; and of a truth, as many as have 
found this way of ascent and descent, 
rightly and deservedly may be called 
angels. For, indeed, by means of that 



126 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



migluy wonder which is stirred up within 
them by the knowledge of God, and by 
means of that burning love which spring- 
eth from this knowledge, they have so 
mounted up on high to God in their affec- 
tions, as to pass beyond and above, and to 
forsake all earthly and perishable things, 
and to have their conversation in heaven, 
now contemplating God with this illu- 
minated understanding, so far as God 
Himself wisheth to be known by them, 
and as is expedient for them ; and now 
again by the light which they receive from 
God's shining rays, sinking down into the 
depths of their own being, and letting 
themselves fall into their own vileness, 
where they utterly despise themselves, 
and hold themselves as less than nothino-. 
And when again they feel the exile of this 
world, and the frailty of their nature, and 
the wants of the body, they groan and cry 
aloud: "Alas! am I still here in my 
misery ?" And they say with the apos- 
tle: "Oh! wretched man that I am, who 
shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ?" O Lord, take my soul out of its 
prison. I desire to be dissolved and to 
be for ever with Thee. Even as the hart 
desireth the fountains of living water, so 
doth my soul thirst after Thee, O God, 
Oh ! when shall I see with mine eyes Him 
Whom I confess with my mouth, Whom I 
believe in my heart, Whom I thirst after 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 127 

in my affections ? When shall I see Thee 
face to face, Whom now I am permitted 
to see only in a glass, in a dark way. 
Wherefore let my tears and my groans be 
my bread day and night, and my consola- 
tion ; and let my soul look down upon all 
earthly comforts, until the day come when 
it shall be said to me: "Behold here is 
thy God !" Oh ! they who ceaselessly fly 
up on high upon wings like these, even as 
the chaste and mourning dove, or who 
mount up by the ladder aforesaid, seeking 
after the things their soul loveth, passing 
step by step from virtue to virtue even 
unto God. Oh ! surely surely shall they 
with Jacob see God leaning over the top 
of the ladder, as He stretcheth out His 
arms to rescue His bride, and saith : 
*' Come, My bride, My dove, enter into 
the joy of My delights, which thou hasL 
sought after witli toil and groans." 

Men like these can with confidence 
mount up to God, because they have laid 
their foundations deep down in humiHty, 
and are led by the Spirit of God, so that 
they cannot fall as long as the hand of 
God upholdeth them. Oh ! happy and 
blessed they, who walk not after the im- 
pulse of nature, or their own judgment, 
but according to God's leading, and suffer 
themselves obediently to be guided by 
God's Spirit, and to follow whithersoever 
He may have gone before. And nov/, O 



128 Meditatiojts on the Life and Passion 

my soul, how is it that in thine inmost 
depths thou art so busied about other 
things, and so distracted and unquiet, that 
thou art unable to notice God's secret in- 
spirations ? How rebellious also art thou, 
and given up to thine own will, so that, 
very often thou causest delay to God's 
Spirit, and placest obstacles in the way of 
His sweet workings ? S. Peter, at one 
look from God, was so thoroughly con- 
verted to Him, that exceedingly quickly 
he turned himself from every disturbing 
and distracting influence to God, so that 
he was taken back into God's grace, and 
his sins were forgiven him, and he was 
established in love. 

O most gracious Jesus, how happy are 
they on whom Thine eyes thus fall, whom 
Thou thus enlightenest with the rays of 
Thy divine light, so tliat they are enabled 
both to search into the depths of their 
own soul, and to acknowledfje their own 
sin ! How quickly are they converted ! 
How quickly are their cold, hard hearts 
softened, inflamed, melted with love, and 
dissolved in tears, so that they who before 
could not keep from sin, now cry out in 
the conversion of their hearts : " Lord, 
what wilt Thou have me to do ? Of a 
truth it was no marvel that Peter should 
weep bitterly; but it is indeed a marvel, 
and a greater marvel, that his heart should 
not have utterly burst asunder for distress 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 129 

and fear, when his dear Lord caused him to 
look into the depths of his own soul, and 
to see his own sins, and to perceive all the 
contempt and wrong he had brought upon 
his beloved Master. Oh ! that a man 
could only once thus look into the depths 
of his own soul I 



The Sixteenth Chapter. 
A Prayer that we may follow Christ 

O SWEETEST Jesus, Who wert for- 
saken by Thine own disciples, taken 
prisoner by Thy chosen people, betrayed, 
sold, and given up by Thy own apostle, 
led, shamefully bound, before Annas the 
high-priest, denied thrice by Thy chief 
apostle, and cruelly struck upon the face 
by a vile servant ; I beseech Thee, O my 
God, by Thy most sacred Passion, and by 
all the contempt which Thou didst freely 
undergo for my sins, to forgive me what- 
ever I have done wrong against Thy law, 
and the right of Thy commandments ; 
and henceforward to direct all my life 
according to Thy most gracious will. 
Grant me also the grace to follow Thine 
example, by truly loving my enemies, and 
9 



1 ^o Meditations on the Life and Passion 



o 



by doing good to them who do me wrong 
and trouble me. O my only comfort, so 
soften my heart, I beseech Thee, and 
make it so warm and pliable by the fire 
of Thy love, that Thou mayest be able, 
according to Thy will and desire, to beat 
it down with repeated blows of the ham- 
mer of affliction, and to work it into a 
vessel of love for the tenderness and de- 
light of Thine own Heart, and that I may 
never faint away through frailty under 
these blows, but that at each blow I may 
send forth fiery sparks of patience and 
resignation ! O Jesus, mirror of virtue, 
form of perfection, way of life, lantern to 
my feet, grant that I may faithfully keep 
to the footsteps of Thy patience, lowliness, 
obedience, and love, and so that my life 
may be in harmony with Thine, so far as 
this is possible for mortal man. 

O Thou true Lover of men, Who de- 
sirest that no man should perish, but that 
all should turn to the knowledge of the 
truth, and be enlightened thereby, look 
upon me, I beseech Thee, from the bottom 
of my heart, with the eyes of Thy mercy, 
as Thou didst look on Peter, and Magda- 
len, and Matthew, and those many others, 
whom Thou didst draw forcibly away from 
the path of iniquity, to Thy singular love, 
that the rays of Thy divine light may 
shine in the dark depths of my soul, and 
that I may thus clearly know my measure- 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 131 

less vileness, and wickedness, and my own 
nothing, and utterly annihilate myself in 
mine own eyes, and profoundly humble 
myself before Thee and all men, so far as 
it is possible for me, and pleasing and 
agreeable to Thee. O heat of the Love 
of God, that burnest so fervently, that no 
•water can quench Thee, for Thou ever 
brightly glowest, nor can Thy flame ever 
fail, and Thou consumest and transformest 
all things into Tliyself, even as the fire 
which is seen by the eye transformeth iron 
and wood ; burn, I beseech Thee, all that 
Thou canst lay hold upon without obstacle, 
and melt my hard and stiffened heart by 
the heat of Thy love, that I may embrace 
Thee with the closest love, and that I may 
be all consumed in my poor, frail, and cor- 
rupt nature, given up, as it is, to the senses 
which, indeed, I did not make and form 
for myself, but which I have rather un- 
made, and deformed, and that I may be- 
come nothing, and by thy marvellous trans- 
formation may put on and wear a new 
form and likeness according to Thy like- 
ness. And even as Thou, O everlasting 
Son of God, by the fellow-working of the 
Holy Ghost, wert made the Son of Man, 
and taking upon Tliee what Thou wert 
not, didst yet remain what Thou wert, so 
in like manner make me to be born again 
into the number of Thy elect children, by 
the laying aside of the old, and carnal, and 



132 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

sensual man, and by the taking on of the 
new, and deiform man, created according 
to Thine image. O Key of David ! that 
openest, and no man shutteth, that shut- 
test, and no man openeth, shut up, I be- 
seech Thee, all the windows of my senses, 
through which entrance may be given to 
death, or the devil, or any wicked thing, 
into my soul, which is Thy house, and 
which holiness becometh. And because 
it hath pleased Thee to make Thy temple 
within us, keep Thy dwelling-place spot- 
less, that it may be Thy everlasting house 
of prayer, and that it may please I'hee to 
dwell therein for ever. Open only therein 
the eastern gate which Ezechiel saw, that 
is the highest part of my soul, of which 
Thou didst give command to Thy prophet, 
that no man should enter through it, for 
Thou, the King of Israel, wouldst keep its 
entrance for Thyself alone. Keep, then, 
for Thyself alone, this entrance, that it 
may lie wide open at the rising of Thy 
grace, and that when Thou, the Sun of 
Justice, beginnest to dawn over my dark- 
ened soul, straightway I may be able to 
receive in me the rays of Thy light, and 
that so, in the words of Holy Writ, my 
evening and Thy bright morning may be 
one day ; and also that I who, times be- 
yond number, have, with Peter, by my 
wicked works, denied Thee by night, may 
confess to Thee by day. 



of our Lord 'Jesus Christ. 133 

Open up to me, also, O my God, the 
vein of tears, suffer mine eyes to grow 
weak and dim with weeping at the thought 
of many sins and of the wrongs I have 
done Thee, O Lord my God, by my disso- 
lute and negligent life. Of a truth, most 
sweet God, Tiiou hast loved us beyond 
our poor understanding, and therefore Thou 
askest for a return of love from us, and I 
long to satisfy this demand of Tiiine, and 
desire to love fhee in return, O my God, 
with my whole heart, and strengtli, and 
thought. But, O most gracious GoJ, I 
have fallen down to my own self upon the 
earth, my heart is full of stains, my spirit 
full of sluggishness, my understanding full 
of darkness, my thoughts full of distrac- 
tions, and I have utterly lost the mastery 
over myself; for my own household rtght- 
eth against me, nor is there anyone sub- 
ject unto me. Yea ! with groans I com- 
plain to Thee, that the very wife, whom 
Thou hast given to be my helpmate, whom 
I have more than enough cherished in my 
bosom, I mean my own flesh, persecuteth 
me, and, like Eve, daily desireth my de- 
struction, by vexing me, and offering me 
the forbidden food of pleasure. Where- 
fore I fly to Thee, O God, my protector. 
Enlighten, I beseech Thee, my inward 
eyes, that I consent not to sin ; strengthen 
all my powers, that I may overcome mine 
enemies, and subject all my senses and 



34 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



all my members to my spirit, in order to 
serve Thee alone. Cleanse Thou my 
heart, inflame my spirit, enlighten my un- 
derstanding, collect my thoughts, unite all 
my powers, and bind them together with 
the chain of Thy love, and the fetters of 
Thy fear, so that never more I may be 
estranged from Thee, but that ever sub- 
ject and united to Thee, I may cleave 
unto Thee and faint not, but rather fear, 
and love, and thank, and praise, and bless 
Thee now and for evermore. Amen. 



The Seventeenth Chapter. 
Jesus is led to Caiaphas. 

AFTER this Annas sent Jesus bound to 
Caiaphas, who was the high-priest of 
that year. Here the chief priests and 
scribes and elders of the Jews had met 
together, for eagerly they thirsted to de- 
liver Christ to death, and to shed His in- 
nocent Blood ; and when they saw Him, 
they rejoiced like a lion that has caught 
its prey, and is ready to devour it. Now 
this was the second procession of our 
Saviour. Follow now thy Bridegroom, O 
my soul ! Who, in order to espouse thee 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 135 

underwent all this labour and torment. 
Nor will He remain with thee for long. 
See, He is already given over into the 
hands of His cruel enemies, and of the 
Jews who are thirsting for His Blood, and 
who will not give over, until they shall 
fasten Him to the gibbet of the Cross. 

Gaze now upon that fair face of His, 
and press it to thy heart, for yet a little 
while and there will be no more fairness 
in it at all, nor any beauty. Observe, I 
beg of thee, this sad procession, wherein 
these cruel dogs lead along the gentle 
Lamb, and this, we may firmly believe, 
they have done, as children of the devil, 
full of envy and madness, even as their 
father Satan hath suggested to them and 
persuaded them. And because they had 
remained quiet for a little while, in the 
house of Annas, and had recovered their 
strength, now they began anew to vex our 
Lord on the way, and to mock Him, and 
to spit upon Him, and to pull His venera- 
ble beard and hair, and to throw Him 
down, and to trample on Him with their 
feet, and then, when He had fallen upon 
the ground, to drag Him along; in a word, 
to heap upon Him all the reproaches, and 
mockery, and annoyance, and injury that 
they could think of Let us here consider 
in our hearts the agony which our sweet 
Jesus suffered in His Heart, how weary 
was His Body, how sick and ill were all 



1 36 Meditations on the Life and Passioji 



His members from this grievous cruelty, 
and the exceeding great haste with which 
the Jews hurried Him along. For in all 
this agony and distress not even a mo- 
ment's space was given Him, in which He 
could draw even one breath ; yet was He 
ever the same innocent, patient Lamb. 
Who gave Himself wholly up to their 
fury. Whose is the heart that can keep 
from tears, when he seeth love, and lowli- 
ness, and patience such as this ? Who 
would not be touched with compassion, 
and groan from his inmost heart, and pro- 
claim himself guilty before high heaven, 
when he seeth that he is himself the cause 
of such exceeding cruel suffering to his 
Lord ? Thus then they led our Lord 
Jesus with all cruelty to Caiaphas, at 
whose house the chief priests and elders 
of the Jews had hurried together, as chil- 
dren of the devil, at their father's bidding. 
And because they had met in Satan's 
name to shed Christ's innocent Blood, 
therefore was that malignant one in the 
midst of them, inwardly spurring them on 
to all manner of cruelty and malice. 

See now, O my soul, how humbly the 
King of Glory stood there. His hands 
bound. His eyes cast down, His face piti- 
able and disfigured from the spittle and 
the blows, yet full of chaste shame, and 
loving thirst, and longing to drink the bit- 
ter chalice, and to accomplish His Father's 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 137 



will ; and how those raging and cruel dogs 
gnashed at Him with their teeth, and 
glared at Him exceeding fierce looks. 
This is that of which our Lord complained 
by the mouth of His prophet, when He 
said: " They have taken thought together 
against Me, and looked on Me with fearful 
eyes ; they have gaped upon Me with their 
mouths like a ravening and a roaring lion ; 
they have gnashed upon Me with their 
teeth ; they have sharpened their tongues 
like serpents, that they might vomit upon 
Me this poison." Ah ! who can see with- 
out sorrow of heart this innocent and weak 
Lamb standing alone among so many 
savage wolves, and think that He Who is 
the Son of God, and Lord of lords, to 
Whom belongeth all judgment, is waiting 
for sentence of death to be passed upon 
Him by the vilest of His creatures, and 
wicked sinners ? Oh ! how their savaQe 
breasts burned with rage ! How their 
souls overflowed with hatred, and their 
mouths with cursing and malice ! How 
did envy darken their reason, spread thick 
clouds over their understanding, extinguish 
truth, keep down the judgment of their 
conscience, and all thoughts of religion ! 
Oh ! all the plots, and snares, and false- 
witness contrived against this guiltless 
Lamb, and drunk in by their cruel and 
poisoned thirst, in order that they might 
deliver over the Just One unto death ! 



1 38 Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 

Yet our sweet Lord opened not His mouth, 
but gently and meekly bore for His Father's 
honour all those wicked and foul lies, and 
blasphemies, and falsehoods, which they 
heaped upon Him. No excuse would He 
give, for He had taken upon Him all the 
sins of the world ; and because it was His 
will to be crucified with the unjust, as an 
unjust man, it was also His will to be 
judged. Not even a word did He answer 
to all these false accusations, because out 
of His measureless love He thirsted with 
a burning thirst after man's salvation, and 
the chalice which His Father had given 
Him to drink ; for clearly in His inner 
man He felt His Father drawing and call- 
ing Him, that Father to Whom He could 
not go, save by the road of His Passion. 
Of a truth He had given and resigned 
Himself wholly up to His Father's will, 
and He suffered Him to work in Him, 
offering Himself in all things as His in- 
strument, and listening in silence to what 
He was saying to His soul. For in His 
humanity He proved Himself a most fit- 
ting instrument to accomplish His Father's 
work, and all that He required of Him ; 
even as He had taught His disciples not 
to fear, when they stood before kings and 
governors, nor to take thought what they 
should answer, but rather to wait for the 
Spirit of the Father, Who should teach 
them when and how to speak. 



of our Lord Jesiis Christ. 139 



Then, when the false witnesses had been 
heard, and no cause of death found in our 
Lord, the wicked liigh-priest was troubled, 
and carried away by rage out of his seat, 
said unto our Lord: "I adjure Thee, by 
the living God, that Thou tell us whether 
Thou be Christ, the Son of God." Now 
when our Lord heard Himself addressed 
by His own divine Name, out of reverence 
to His Father, and by the Spirit shining in 
Him, He answered: "Thou hast said that 
I am. Nevertheless I say unto you, here- 
after ye shall see the Son of Man sitting 
on the right of the power of God, and 
coming in the clouds of heaven." Then 
the high-priest rent his clothes, and said: 
" He hath spoken blasphemy, what further 
need have we of witnesses ? Behold, now 
ye have heard His blasphemy. What 
think ye ?" Then all those mad men with 
one voice cried out, and said: " He is 
guilty of death." And at the same time, 
running upon Him with one accord, as 
fierce lions upon some gentle lamb, they 
all loosened the reins of their envy, and 
vomited upon Him all their rage and 
hatred, witliout measure and without com- 
passion. And one spat in His face, and 
another smote Him on the head, and an- 
other on the neck, while others again tore 
His hair and His beard. Some, moreover, 
out of inborn malice, cruelly wounded His 
fair face with their nails. This, too, He 



140 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

had testified of old by His prophet, say- 
ing: "I turned not away My face from 
them who reproached Me and spat upon 
Me." And again, " I gave My cheeks to 
the pluckers." Of a truth they did upon 
Him what tliey would, nor could they glut 
their cruel rage. Nay, had it been possi- 
ble, in their mad fury they would have 
reduced Him to nothing. But His hour 
had not yet come. 

It was a custom with the Jews, that 
when they wished to show contempt to a 
man, on account of his wickedness and 
guilt, they spat in his face, as if to avenge 
the wrong done to God. And this they 
too often did with intemperate cruelty, so 
as to take away the breatli of not a few, 
and to suffocate them. Here, therefore, 
we are allowed to imagine, that this tor- 
ment of our Lord was not less than death 
itself, and that in this grievous strait He 
would have been deprived of breath, had 
not His Godhead saved Him to suffer still 
greater punishments. For, as the Evan- 
gelist saith, they not only spat, but they 
spat out, that is, they fetched their foul 
spittle from the depths of their chest, and 
cast it into His face, yea, and even into 
His blessed and most gentle mouth. 
What greater contempt or contumely could 
they have shown the Lord of Glory .-* 
Never to any thief, or to any one con- 
demned to death, had been shown such 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 141 

contempt, or derision, or shame, as was 
now shown to our Lord after His condem- 
nation. With such indignities did they 
treat Him, that hardly the form of man 
remained to Him. And His fair face was 
so swollen from the blows, so beset with 
spittle, so crimsoned with blood, so torn 
by their nails, and likewise the blood and 
spittle were so mingled together, that our 
sweet Saviour's face was pitiable to be- 
hold, and would have moved a heart of 
stone to pity and compassion. And be- 
cause the grace of His face had been such 
as by its mere look to soften sinners, and 
draw them unto Him, so those wicked men 
put a veil upon Him, that they might not 
be moved by any kind or pitiful feeling, 
but might pour forth according to their 
desire all their rage and cruelty upon Him. 
Therefore without mercy they cruelly 
struck Him, and at the same time mock- 
ing Him, said : " Behold our Prophet ! 
Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who it is that 
struck Thee ?" Thus whatever annoy- 
ance, and insult, and cruelty, they could 
conceive in their devilish heart, this they 
did to our most patient Lord. Nor even 
yet was their thirst quenched. For after 
that they had vomited upon Him all the 
poison of their bitterness, and were them- 
selves utterly tired and exhausted, they 
handed Him over to their servants, that 
they might spend the rest of the night in 



142 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

guarding Him, and annoying Him, while 
they betook themselves to rest. But to 
our exhausted, and wearied, and agonizing 
Lord was no rest given, nor even breath- 
ing-time, but He was handed over to their 
wicked followers, who all that night in- 
humanly troubled Him. It is indeed the 
opinion of S. Jerome, that those annoy- 
ances and punishments which they inflicted 
. on our Lord on that night, will only be 
made known at the day of judgment. 
Wherefore the devout, who desire to 
meditate on our Lord's Passion, ought to 
do somethino- in honour of those secret 
sufferings of God, and to offer them to the 
Eternal Father, to Whom they are well 
known, in satisfaction for their own secret 
and unknown sins. 

Now then, O my soul, and as many as 
love Jesus, let us go and behold with in- 
ward sorrow, in what distress and afflic- 
tion our sweet Jesus, the joy of heaven, 
then was. Where is the heart that can 
refrain from tears, when he seeth the Lord 
of Glory, the King of Heaven, so basely 
treated ? O beautiful in form above the 
sons of men, how art Thou deformed ! 
Thou, Wlio art the mirror of eternal 
brightness, Whose beauty is the marvel 
of the elements, art led about covered 
with a vile and filthy linen cloth ! Of a 
truth the prophet saw all this with great 
sorrow, when he said: " We have seen 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 143 

Him, and there was no beauty in Him. 
And we accounted Him as a leper, and as 
one smitten by God, and humbled." Let 
these words cut into thine heart, O my 
soul, and set this exceedingly afflicted 
form or image before the eyes of thine 
heart, and understand that so pitiable is 
it, that the prophet, although enlightened 
by God, could find no words to express it ; 
but compared Him to a leper, at the very 
sight of whom, every one shrinketh away. 
Yes ! Christ's lovinof face was so swollen 
with the blows, so veiled in blood, so full 
of spittle, so cut and wounded by their 
finger nails, that there remained to Him 
no more the form of man, nor the beauty. 
Let this Passion pierce thine heart, O 
my soul, and be thou inflamed by the 
mighty love which worked all this. Be 
ashamed, O proud man, vile dung as thou 
art, who seemest to thyself to be some- 
what foro^etful all the while that thou art 
dust, and ashes, and dirt, and less than 
nothing-. See how the Son of God was 
humbled for tiiy sins ; how the glory of 
heaven. Whose majesty passeth all under- 
standing, for thy sake was despised and 
set at nought. Observe, O thou dust of 
earth, so greedy of revenge, so unyielding, 
so cruel and impatient, how the Lord of 
lords most patiently bore all this grievous 
affliction, and this too, at the hands of vile 
wretches, and vvoithless slaves, and for thy 



144 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Sins. Of a certainty, in all this trouble 
and annoyance, thou wilt not find that 
even once He contracted His forehead 
into wrinkles, or opened His mouth to 
curse, or stretched forth His hands to 
defend Himself. And thou canst not suf- 
fer even one little word for God's sake, 
without straightway showing thine anger 
by word, and deed, and sign, and gesture, 
and look. Thou confesses! indeed thy 
sins to God, and He hath mercy upon 
thee, and taketh thee back into His grace, 
and layeth on thee some little punishment 
by way of satisfaction. He permitteth 
some cross to come to thee, and desireth 
that thou shouldst carry it for His sake in 
return for all the wrong thou hast done, 
and brought upon Him by thy sins. But 
straightway thou breakest forth into com- 
plaints, murmurings, impatience, and art 
unwilling to carry the cross which God 
hath laid upon thee ; nay, thou thinkest 
that thou art wronged therein by God. 
What else is this, except, in reality and by 
thy acts to declare, and to say that thou 
wilt not perform the satisfaction laid on 
thee by God, that thou wilt rather after 
this life suffer punishment in flames of 
brimstone, than here undergo a little afflic- 
tion } Thou hast desired fire ; the fire 
shall come to thee ; thou rejectest God's 
mercy, thou shalt not be able to find it. 
Here thou despisest His grace, afterwards 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 145 

thou wilt feel His justice. For He saith: 
" What proiiteth thee to ask for grace, 
saying: 'Lord, Lord,' when all the while 
thou doest not what I tell thee ?" Of a 
truth thou wouldst desire that in all things 
God should suffer thee to do thine own 
will, to satisfy all thy sensuality and lust ; 
that He should fulfil every desire of thine 
heart, and that not even one little harsh 
word should be spoken to thee, and yet 
that through His merits all thine iniquities 
should be forgiven, and that thou thyself 
should be raised without any punishment 
to His eternal glory, as if thou wert wor- 
thy thereof ; nay, thou wouldst wish Him 
to submit Himself in all things to thee, 
and to become unjust for thy sake. But 
thou art deceived, utterly deceived. Not 
at so low a price doth He reckon His 
kingdom. It cost Him far too dear. It 
behoved Christ to suffer, and so to enter 
into His glory ; if thou refusest to suffer, 
remain outside. He saith : " He who 
would come after Me, let him deny him- 
self, and take up his cross daily and follow 
Me." 

Wherefore, if in a true spirit thou de- 
sirest the grace of God, confess to Him 
thy sins, hate and turn from thy sins, lay 
thyself wholly open to His correction, and 
offer thy whole self to Him, saying with 
the Prophet: " I am ready for scourges." 
Throw thyself on Him, ready for every- 



10 



146 Meditations on the Lije and Passion 

thing, and cheerfully with thy own free 
will embrace the cross which He hath laid 
upon thee. Look not to its heaviness and 
trouble, but to Him, Who layeth it on 
thee ; for of a truth our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God, Who hath gone before 
thee with His own cross, and to Whom 
thy weakness is well known, will lay no 
burden upon thee above thy strength. 
For His nature is goodness, and He will 
be with thee, and stand by thy side in all 
thine afflictions, as He hath done to all 
the saints. He will not be unmindful of 
His mercy, if only thou knowest how to 
lay aside thine own will, thy murmurings 
and complaints. Suffer Him therefore to 
do with thee as He willeth, that He may 
perfect His work in thee. And without 
doubt in this thy lowly subjection. He will 
show thee much mercy, and all the bowels 
of His compassion will be moved towards 
thee, and He will pardon all thy wander- 
ings, and He will accept this thy resigna- 
tion and good will, even as of old He ac- 
cepted that of our Father Abraham, when 
he took his only son to offer him to God, 
and He will spare thee also, and show 
favour unto thee, even as He did unto 
Abraham's son Isaac. For He desireth 
exceedingly to give thee His everlasting 
glory, yet it is His will that thou shouldst 
do somewhat thyself, that in justice this 
may be bestowed upon thee ; and what 



of our Lord yesiis Christ. 147 

He wisheth thee to do is this, to submit 
thyself to Him in obedience of heart, and 
to suffer Him to perfect His work in thee, 
and to keep Flis grace, lest it be frustrated 
in thee. It was thus that we read of all 
the saints, how they suffered numberless 
evils, and led a severe and austere life, 
that they might be worthy to be joint-heirs 
with Christ in His Father's kingdom. 

But now let us oro back to our most lov- 
ing Lord, from Whom for a little while we 
have wandered ; and let the flood of our 
tears, which meanwhile hath been stayed, 
now again be allowed lovingly to flow. 
What, O my soul, I [)ray thee, wouldst 
thou have done, hadst thou been there, 
and hadst seen all that contempt and afflic- 
tion cast upon thy Lord ? Wouldst thou 
not have run forward to Him out of burn- 
ing love, and embraced Him, and washed 
His disfigured face with thy tears, and lov- 
ingly have kissed Him } Wouldst thou 
not have spoken to Him the kindliest and 
most friendly words that thou couldst think 
of, saying: " O sweet Jesus, my Lord and 
God, my heart can no longer bear that 
these wicked men should thus persecute, 
and despise, and inhumanly treat Thee. 
For exceeding sorrow my heart will break, 
if any longer I shall see Thee in such woe. 
O Jesus, my hope, my comfort and my 
love, Whom my soul loveth, who will grant 
unto me, that I may suffer for Tiiee ? 1 



1 48 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

is not Thou Who hast sinned, but I. O 
fairest and most beautiful of the sons of 
men, how full of shame, and disfigured, 
and without beauty, Thou art become ! 
Where hath Thy beauty gone to ? Why 
art Thou humbled so ? How hath all this 
mighty guilt been laid upon Thee, to which 
Thou art utterly a stranger, and of which 
Thou art wholly innocent ? See ! it is the 
, blood of our sins that is sprinkled on Thy 
garments, and for us Thou Thyself hast 
been made the reproach of men, and the 
outcast of the people. Ah ! who hath de- 
livered Thee over to these wolves ? O 
my soul, wilt thou not cleave to thy Lord 
by these words with thy wf ole body, wilt 
thou not take Him in thine arms and de- 
fend Him, wilt thou not rebuke those 
wicked men, and say: "Ah ! do not rage, 
I beg of you, with such exceeding cruelty 
against the Son of God, and the Lord of 
us all. Seize hold of me rather, and do to 
me whatever pleaseth you. For this in- 
nocent Lamb hath not sinned. It is I 
who have sinned, and who am worthy of 
death. It is I whom ye should spit upon, 
it is I whom ye should mock, and strike, 
and persecute ; on me glut your cruel 
thirst, on me quench your burning rage, 
on me accomplish all your hatred and poi- 
sonous malice, on me work out all your 
will, — only let my Lord Jesus go. For I 
cannot bear the contempt and wrong which 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 149 

ye cast upon Him." Oh ! how could the 
Eternal Father bear to see the wrong and 
the shame of His glorious Son ? Did He 
not fearfully avenge His Prophet Eliseus, 
when he was mocked at by children, and 
this more from childish thoughtlessness 
than from malice ? Yet His only and 
most dear Son He would not avenge, but 
gave Him wholly up to the rage and 
malice of the Jews, O most loving Father, 
what is man that Thou lovest him so ; 
that Thou hast oriven over to these raven- 
ing dogs, so worshipful, and good and dear 
a Son, for the sake of a wicked and dam- 
nable sinner ; that for the sins of Thy 
people Thou hast smitten Him so fear- 
fully ? Oh ! how could Thy fatherly Heart 
suffer Thy most gracious Son, Who never 
did aught against Thy will, to lie under 
the weight of the sins and debts of all 
Thy people, and at the same time to drink 
to the dregs the chalice of bitterness and 
wrath, whicli our sins had mingled ! How 
hast Thou left Him in all His affliction, 
and cast Him off as an exile and an enemy, 
that we who were Thine enemies and chil- 
dren of wrath, might be made Thy friends 
and children of adoption ? How is Thine 
Heart so absorbed and drunk with love 
for man, that Thou seest not how much 
Thine only Son is suffering ? Nothing 
moveth Thee, though Thou art lavishing 
a treasure beyond all price. Thou carest 



150 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

for no labour, no sorrow, no expense, if 
only man may be saved. Therefore it is 
that Thou hast exposed and wholly given 
over to the will of wicked men Thine only- 
begotten Son, just as if Thou hadst cast 
Him from Thee in indignation, and adopt- 
ed man in His stead. 

O sweet Father, I offer Thee the mea- 
sureless resignation and obedience of Thy 
Son, Jesus Christ, and especially that im- 
mense love of His, whereby He willingly 
offered Himself to suffer all this intolerable 
affliction and torment ; choosing to be for- 
saken by Thee, and chastised, and beaten, 
and inhumanly and cruelly chastised, in 
order that we might obtain mercy and 
peace. Likewise all those cruel blows, 
and mockings, and the spittle and deri- 
sions, and whatever Thy beloved Son un- 
derwent according to His Heart's desire 
on that bitter night, I offer Thee for my 
sins. O Father of mercies, have mercy 
upon me for Thy dear Son's sake! For 
although I have sinned through weakness, 
yet now out of His love hath Thy Son 
paid all my debt, for His goodness and 
love are stronger than all sin. Oh ! if my 
sins were placed in one scale, and the 
merits of Thy Son in another, the latter 
would far outweigh the former. Where- 
fore, I beseech Thee, let His Passion be 
to my profit, since for my sake He suf- 
fered, and let His sacred wounds be a 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 151 

salve for my wounds. Let His most pure 
Blood wash away the filth of my heart ; 
His humility blot out and excuse my pride; 
His obedience my disobedience, His pa- 
tience my impatience. O Abyss, from 
which flow all good things, grant me, by 
the name of Thy dear Son, the grace to 
correct my evil life, and then to live ac- 
cording to Thy most gracious will. En- 
lighten my blind iieart with the shining 
rays of Thy divine light, that I may know 
my sins, and frailty, and vileness, and that 
thus, knowing myself thoroughly, I may 
thoroughly humble, despise, and submit 
myself not only to Thee alone, but to all 
men for Thy sake, so that I may faithfully 
follow the footsteps of Thy dear Son's 
humility and obedience. Grant unto me, 
O my God, that I may perfectly deny and 
forsake myself, and all things that are 
lower than Thou, so far as is pleasing un- 
to Thee, and so far as such things may be 
an obstacle in the way of my obtaining a 
perfect love of Thee ; that I may love 
Thee, and that in this love nothing may 
come between me and Thee, and that I 
may be so fastened to Thee by the nails 
of pure love, that neither adversity nor 
prosperity, no, nor any affliction may be 
able in any way to separate me from 
Thee. Amen. 



152 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Eighteenth Chapter. 
Mary folloiueth Jesus her Son. 

LET us see now, where God's tender 
Mother hath gone, and whether she 
will ever appear in public, or whether, 
peradventure, with the apostle she hath 
forsaken her Son. Of a truth, although 
the apostles staggered in faith, grew cold 
in love, and wavered in hope ; although 
fear had scattered the sheep far away from 
the Shepherd, and cut off the branches 
from the Vine, yet did one branch remain 
whole and unhurt, and that was the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, who was indeed full of the 
sap of faith. For it was not possible that 
Christ's Mother should fall into doubt, as 
to whether Jesus was the Son of God, since 
she knew that she herself had conceived 
Him by the Holy Ghost, without contact 
of man ; nor could she in any wise forsake 
Him, with Whom she had been made one 
spirit in God. Indeed the Spirit of God, 
of Whom she was full, bore witness in her 
concerning the Son of God, that it be- 
hoved Him thus to suffer for His Father's 
glory. For as S. Paul saith: "He who 
cleaveth unto God is one spirit." Where- 
fore it is altogether probable, that the 



of onr Lord Jesus Christ. 153 



Holy Ghost had gathered into His em- 
brace all the powers of the soul of God's 
Virgin Mother, and had claimed with all 
power the allegiance of her whole will, 
and understanding, and love and affec- 
tions, lifting up her created spirit to the 
glory of the Father, and rendering subject 
to the law and the other Scriptures, in all 
that concerned her Son. Hence, even as 
Christ sought not His own Self, but to do 
His Father's gracious will, and work out 
the salvation of souls, so also Mary spared 
not her only-begotten Son, but herself 
offered Him cheerfully for all that Pas- 
sion, which God the Father required Him 
to bear. Nor did she take heed of the 
sword, which was to pierce her heart, nor 
consider the treasure beyond price, of 
which she was to be deprived, nor dwell 
even for one hour on that dear Son of 
hers, or on all the joy and comfort from 
Whom, and from which she was to be 
torn away. But she resigned her whole 
self, with all the powers of her soul, to do 
God's gracious will, ready to bear all the 
distress, affliction, and grievous torment 
that might come upon her, as if she too 
in the spirit of her Son had said: " If this 
chalice cannot pass from me, except I 
drink it, O Lord, Thy will be done !" 
But to no one can it appear doubtful, that 
that blessed Mother, and our Lady was 
inflamed with such love towards God and 



154 Meditations on the Life and P%ssion 

all mankind, and so thirsted for the salva- 
tion of souls, that most gladly would she 
have undergone the death of the Cross, if 
so it had seemed good unto God Almighty. 
And because that could not be, she in- 
wardly underwent so cruel a cross and sor- 
row, that she was unable to bear it with- 
out her heart breakino-. And even as our 
Lord Jesus Himself, although ever united 
with His Father's will, nevertheless in His 
Humanity, feared and dreaded death, so 
that at the thought of His Passion hang^- 
ing over Him, He became sorrowful even 
unto death, and His sweat was of blood, 
falling in thick drops upon the ground. 
So also it could not be, but that that 
Mother's Heart was pierced by the sharp- 
ness of a sorrow beyond all understand- 
ing. 

Of a truth it would have been for her a 
far more pleasant thing to die with Him, 
than to live without Him, and to behold 
with her own eyes His bitter death. For 
how should she not love with exceeding 
vehemence that loving Lord and God of 
hers. Who in form was beautiful and fair 
above the sons of men, Who had folded 
her heart to His bosom, and utterly melted 
it in His own love, and Who had chosen 
her from among all women, and had raised 
her high above them all, and had hon- 
oured, and blessed, and hallowed her ! 
How should she not love Him, Who pos- 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 155 

sessed in Himself, and Who had deified 
all the powers of her soul, her will, and 
understanding, and memory, and love, and, 
together with herself, had transformed 
them into Himself, so that she rejoiced at 
the thought of His Godhead, and at the 
sight of His Manhood, with joy beyond all 
understanding, and listened to His sweet 
sayings with delight unutterable ? For 
what was not Jesus, ever to lier a cross ? 
and therefore to suffer all poverty, and 
affliction, and persecution, and contempt 
for His sake, and witli Him was to her an 
inward joy, and an exceeding great deh'ght. 
Oh ! surely no mother ever embraced her 
son with so much love, as tlie Blessed Vir- 
gin her only Son, nor did ever motlier 
grieve for her son's leaving her, like this 
Mother. But because the Eternal Father 
could bestow upon His only-begotten Son 
no more excellent or noble gift than that 
of His Cross and Passion, — for after Him- 
self this is the most gracious and blessed 
gift He can give His dearest friends — 
therefore it was that He bestowed the 
same gift upon the Virgin who knew no 
stain. And as Christ was obedient unto 
the Father, even unto the death of the 
Cross, so also the most Blessed Virgin 
Mary was ready to obey God even unto 
the same death ; for the suffering which 
her dear Son bore in His Body, she in her 
compassion bore in her heart. Wherefore, 



156 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

after the Name of Christ, Almighty God 
liath exalted her name above every name, 
and hath blessed her above all creatures. 
And as she had been chosen by God to 
cooperate in the new birth of the human 
race, so it was His will that she should also 
cooperate in the Passion ; that as she had 
been to us our Mother, in bringing- forth 
our Saviour, so too she might be our de- 
liverer, by inwardly bearing with her Son 
the Cross of His Passion, and by feeling 
within her heart the exceeding sharp 
sword of sorrow. For as the Father 
of heaven offered His only Son on the 
altar of the Cross, a living Sacrifice, and 
still offereth Him in the Holy Sacrament 
for the salvation of man, that He may be 
an everlasting Mediator between Himself 
and men, so also He suffered His elect 
daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to 
suffer hard things, and He accepted her 
offering as a grateful sacrifice for the ad- 
vantage and salvation of the whole human 
race ; that she too might become an ever- 
lasting mediatrix between God and men, 
and offer herself vvith all her sorrow and 
all her virtues in the sight of God, for all 
who shall call upon her, so as to turn, 
through the merits of her afflictions, the 
wrath of God into His mercy, and that 
standing beneath the wood of the Cross 
in her exceeding sorrow, and gazing in 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 157 

bitterness on the fruit of the tree of hfe, 
she might cooperate in man's redemption. 

Moreover, He had here stored up an 
almost infinite treasure-house of merits, 
wherefrom He might help before God all 
who are in wretchedness, and might so fill 
her own heart with spiritual virtues, as to 
become to all men a most faithful Mother, 
overflowing with mercy beyond measure. 

O Mary, fountain of grace, chief of all 
the martyrs ! This was not the beginning 
of thy dolours ; this was not the beginning 
of thy torments ; this was not the first re- 
nouncement of thyself under obedience to 
God ; but just as Christ thy Son had sub- 
jected Himself from the beginning to His 
Father's gracious will even unto death, 
and all His life long had, of His own free 
will, undergone poverty, persecutions, ob- 
loquy, and contempt ; so thou too, O our 
sweetest Lady, didst give thyself wholly to 
God, when thou didst consent to become 
the Mother of God's Son, and didst say: 
" Beiiold the handmaid of the Lord, be it 
done unto me according to Thy word." 
Moreover Christ was born that He might 
die. As then thou didst offer thyself for 
the generation of the Son of God, so also 
didst thou resign thyself unto His death 
and Passion. Hence, as at the Nativity 
thou wert the happiest of all mothers that 
have ever been, so at the Passion thou 
wert the most sorrowful ; and thou, who in 



15S Meditations on the Life and Passion 

bringing forth thy Son didst escape all 
pain and anguish, during His Passion wert 
bowed down beneath the whole bitter heap 
of affliction. O most tender Mother, how 
faithfully didst thou take thy cross upon 
thy shoulders, and follow thy dear Son, 
and bear in thine heart all His bodily and 
outward Passion. For Ilis Cross was 
thine, and thine was Ilis. And as Eve 
rashly took of the tree of knowledge of 
eood and evil, and thus caused all men's 
loss in Adam, so didst thou take upon thee 
sorrow from the tree of the cross, and 
when thou hadst eaten more than enough 
of its bitter fruit, didst, together with thy 
Son, redeem man. 

O Mary, mother of grace ! how over- 
flowing were thy blessed breasts, when 
thou didst undergo, together with thy dear 
Son, such cruel torments for thy children ! 
And who can reckon up all the cares and 
burdens, all the poverty, and affliction, and 
trouble of these three and-thirty years 
which thou didst suffer with thy Son ? Of 
a truth, whatever persecution and affliction 
thy only One underwent at the hands of 
the Jews, all this thou, Ilis most tender 
Mother, hast borne. For by a certain 
marvellous love drawing thee within Him, 
thy soul lived in Him ; and so no trouble 
or sorrow could come upon Him, when 
thou wert looking on, without thy soul 
being at the same time tormented by all 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 1 59 



that He suffered in His body. Every man 
who is truly devout to thee, and who hold- 
eth thy dolours in veneration, may here 
still more carefully and deeply meditate 
and think upon these things in his own 
heart. 



The Nineteenth Chapter. 

Of tke Conipassio7i of the Virgin Mother 
for her Son. 

O BLESSED Mother of God, and ever 
Virgin Mary, where is the heart that 
can conceive how heavy must have been 
the cross and the affliction which thou 
didst suffer on that sad night, when thy 
dear Son, the only comfort of thy heart, 
was given into the hands of wicked men, 
and was forsaken by His own disciples ! 
We may indeed believe, O sweet Mother, 
since thou wert full of the Holy Ghost, 
that thou sawest in spirit all that sorrow 
and torment which thine only Son under- 
went on that fearful night. For as for the 
sake of man's salvation He would not spare 
His own fair, and young, and blooming 
Body, but rather deliver it to death, so He 
spared not that Mother's lieart of thine, 



1 60 Meditations 071 the Life and Passion 

but suffered it to be pierced by the sword 
of sorrow. Hence, also, He foretold thee 
all His Passion, that He might make thee 
share in all His merits and afflictions, and 
that thou mightest cooperate in the work 
of man's redemption, so that thy maternal 
breasts, filled with all merits, might ever 
have ready the milk of grace, and pour it 
forth in all abundance on every one who 
presseth them by devout prayer. 

O Mary, Mother most sad, how bitter, 
how sorrowful was that night to thee, when 
Simeon's sword pierced into thy heart ! 
How mournful then was the song of thy 
matin-prayers ! Thy hymn was a hymn 
of woe ; instead of jubilee, thou didst utter 
groans, and thy spirit was full of anguish. 
Oh ! how sad were the words, how pitiable 
the sighs, yet how fiery, that thou didst 
send up to thy Father in heaven ! With 
how fervent and devout a heart didst thou 
pray to the Father of heaven for thy Son, 
offering and commending Him wholly unto 
Him. And although in the body thou 
wert not near thy Son, yet all that thou 
knewest Him to suffer, pierced thy heart 
as much as if thou hadst suffered it in 
tliine own body; and thy very heart burned 
within thee as in a burning furnace, and 
melted away, and withered up, for ex- 
ceeding burning love and the wasting 
flame of thy affection and thy cross. Who 
can conceive how fiery were thy words 



of our Lord yesus Christ. i6i 



how glowing were the sparks which thy 
heart of fire sent up all that night long ? 
Peradventure thou didst utter some such 
words as these : * O Jesus, my Son, my 
sweet Son Jesus, who hath taken Thee 
from me ? Who hath torn a Mother from 
so dear a pledge of love ? Why cannot I 
see Thee, O longed for light of mine 
eyes ? Who will give to me, O Jesus, my 
child, that I may suffer for Thee, die for 
Thee ? O Jesus, only comfort of my 
heart, why did I not go with Thee to 
death ? Why did I not straightway fol- 
low Thee, when Thou wentest away ? 
O sweet Jesus, dear Son, where art Thou 
passing this night ? In whose hands art 
Thou ? What art Thou now suffering ! 
Oh ! if those raging dogs would only 
vomit forth their cruelty on me, and let 
Thee go Thy way unhurt ! O Jesus, my 
hope, my nourishment, my sweet delight, 
why have I not died for Thee, that I might 
not now see in Thee all the sorrow of my 
heart ? For sweeter would it have been 
to die, than to see Thee, my sweet and 
only Son, in such great distress. O my 
Jesus, my life, my nourishment, the help 
of my soul, my sweetness and consolation, 
where now is the promise of Thine ange), 
when he said to me, that I should become 
Thy Motlier without woe, full of grace, 
blessed above the rest of women ? Of a 
truth I seem to be the most unhappy of all 



1 62 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

women, whom the world containeth ; a 
Mother above all mothers that have been 
ever found, full of most bitter sorrow ! 
My affliction is indeed exceeding great, 
my heart overfloweth with bitterness, my 
spirit fainteth for anguish, and my sorrow 
is above woman's sorrow. 

These and such like words did Christ's 
blessed Mother pour forth all that night 
long, and wore herself away in tears, and 
sighs, and tender complaints, and lamenta- 
tions. And just as all that night Christ 
was never without the cross, so was His 
sweet Mother never for one moment free 
from fearful sorrow, O Mary, most faith- 
ful Mother, with what courage didst thou 
then follow thy Son ? How hath that love, 
which by its fire had urged thy Son, to 
hasten of His own accord to the place, where 
the cup of bitterness was waiting for Him, 
moved thee too, to hasten where the sword 
of grief hung ready sharpened to pierce 
through thy Virgin heart into the inmost 
recesses of thy soul ? O glorious Queen 
of heaven ! how sadly wert thou led along 
the way by thy friends ! How didst thou 
move them all to tears by that sad voice 
of thine 1 Who can conceive how sorrow- 
ful was this thy journey ? For the nearer 
thou earnest to the city, the deeper wert 
thou plunged in thy grief. Nor can we 
doubt, that so long didst thou continue on 
the way, until thou earnest into the presence 



of our Lord testes Christ. 163 



of thy Son, either as He was beingr led to 
Herod, or as He was being brought back 
from Herod to Pilate, or as Pilate was 
bringing Him forth to the people, saying : 
'• Behold the Man." Who can understand 
the sorrow that seized thee, when thou 
sawest that same only Son of thine, so 
cruelly bound, so wickedly disfigured by 
blows, and spittle, and blood, that almost 
He seemed to have lost the form of man ? 
Indeed, it is wholly probable, that our 
loving Lord looked at His sweet Mother 
as calmly as He could, and spoke by lov- 
ing look what He could not say in words. 
But, O gentle Mother, how did thy heart 
then melt away within thee, like wax in 
the heat of the fire ? How wert thou then 
utterly dissolved in tears ? Yet, as these 
things are not found in the Evangelists, it 
is not expedient for many to dwell upon 
them. But the things that here have 
been written, have been written to excite 
in us devotion and compassion for the 
Blessed Virgin. For the rest, each one 
can and ought to meditate upon them still 
more thoroughly, and more deeply, in his 
own heart. 



164 Hfedifatiojis on the Life and Passion 



The Twentieth Chapter. 
Jestis is delivered to Pilate. 

VERY early in the morning, at the first 
hour of the day, those blood-thirsty 
^nd cruel men met together, that they 
might deliver Jesus to death. Their 
pestilential envy and blood - thirstiness 
gave them no rest, while their mad rage 
so devoured and inflamed their hearts, 
that almost like mad dogs, they greedily 
thirsted after the innocent Blood of that 
meek Lamb, They led Him, therefore, 
into their council-chamber, and again 
questioned Him ; and when they heard 
Him say that He was the Son of God, they 
cried out : " What further need have we 
of witnesses ? Out of His own mouth we 
have heard." Then they led Him bound 
and shamefully disfigured to Pilate, to be 
condemned to death by that uncircumcised 
dog ; that is to say that Pilate, when he 
saw Him so despised by the Jews, and 
condemned and cast off by the high- 
priests, might judge Him to be some 
wicked wretch, and so might indict Him, 
and sentence Him to death, and hand Him 
over wholly to the priests, to do with Him 
according to their will. 



of our Lord ^esus Christ. 165 

This then is the third procession of our 
Lord Jesus, which for our sakes He un- 
dertook in His Passion with sorrow unut- 
terable. See now, O my soul ! with ex- 
ceeding grief and compassion, how these 
truculent men led thy Lord God, chained 
and wretchedly disfigured, and marked all 
over with every sign of condemnation that 
they could think of, to Pilate the judge. 
Oh ! who can think of the shame, and the 
reproach, and the affliction, and the annoy- 
ance, and the contempt which they caused 
our sweet Jesus to suffer on the way ? 
Oh ! with what ignominy did they lead 
the Lord of glory. Who is all honour and 
glory, to a profane and heathen man, to 
be condemned by him to death, just as if 
He had been the most wicked of robbers ? 

But when they had come to Pilate, with- 
out judgment, and without reason, they all 
with one accord barked out their false 
charges against our Lord Jesus, and 
heaped their lies upon Him, so that they 
might deafen Pilate with their noise, and 
obtain from him, by the clamour of their 
savage words, what by truth and justice 
they had not been able to obtain ; and 
that Pilate, when he heard them all ask- 
ing the same thing, might fear to oppose 
them all. 

Come then, O all ye faithful of Christ, 
I pray you, and let us see, how our Lord, 
like an innocent lamb, stood there, ready 



1 66 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



to be slain for the sake of our salvation. 
There sat Pilate, puffed up with pride 
of state, as His judge. On either side of 
them were ranged His savage torturers, 
waiting for Pilate's sentence, ready to cru- 
cify and kill Him, Behind stood the 
wicked crowd of cruel Jews, roaring like 
\ions, and uttering horrid cries. In the 
midst of them all, that meek Lamb opened 
not His blessed mouth to defend or excuse 
Himself, for He too was ready ; ready, 
that is, to die for the salvation of those 
very wretches. With terrible eyes and 
cruel countenance did the cruel and wicked 
Jews scowl upon Him, and gnash their 
teeth ; yet all the while our loving and 
tender Lord stood there in lowly shame, 
His eyes cast down, His hands bound, 
ready to drink the chalice which His 
Father had given Him. And Pilate, 
moved by such exceeding lowliness and 
patience, to disdain rather than to kindli- 
ness, spake to Christ roughly enough, and 
said : "Speakest Thou not to me ? Know- 
est Thou not, that I have power to crucify 
Thee, and tl.at I have power to let Thee 
go ?" Ah ! who would not be kindled to 
humility, and patience, and love, at the 
sight of the Lord of lords. Who is to come 
to judge the living and the dead, standing 
there before that vile man, to be con 
demned by him, and bearing with such 
patience all that cruel wrong, and shame, 



of our Lord testis Christ. 167 



and confusion, and contempt, and ignomany. 
Yet, wretched men that we are, we can 
hardly suffer one little word of reproach 
for the love of God ! For if aught be 
done against us by our enemies, for a 
whole year do we carry in our hearts 
both anger and hatred, wasting ourselves 
wretchedly away by the very madness of 
our wrath. Nor do we heed, how the 
Lord of Majesty suffereth daily at our 
hands, reproach, and unfaithfulness, and 
wrong, and contempt, all the many times 
when we despise His holy commandments, 
and oppose His will, and neglect His 
grace, or receive it in vain, and when we 
daily crucify Him again, and mock Him, 
and pierce Him with cruel wounds, and 
shed His Sacred Blood. For we fear not 
to commit accursed and hateful sins, for 
which Christ suffered all this. Neverthe- 
less, our gracious God is ever ready to 
take us back into His grace, to forgive us 
our sins, and not only to forgive, but to 
forget them, and so to forget them, as to 
confirm upon us even greater grace and 
friendship. For when we turn to Him 
with our whole hearts from our sins, 
Christ is ready to be our Intercessor and 
Advocate, and to place Himself between 
His Father's wrath and us, and our sins, 
and to offer Himself wliolly with all His 
Passion to the Father for our trespasses 
and negligences. Yet we, puffed up and 



1 68 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

wretclied, who are but ashes and dust, can 
hardly forgive the wrong of one little 
word, or look with calm eyes upon those 
who have offended us. Therefore hath 
God well said, that He will forgive us our 
trespasses, as we forgive them that tres- 
pass against us. 



The Twentt-First Chapter. 

A Prayer that we may perfectly Jollow and 
love y^esus. 

O JESUS, my hope, life, nourishment 
and comfort. Thou light of my heart, 
joy of my soul, refreshment of my spirit, 
my health and my rest, what shall I ren- 
der unto Thee for Thy numberless bene- 
fits, which Thou hast vouchsafed to bestow 
upon me. Thy most unworthy creature ! 
How shall I be able to love Thee in return 
for Thine immense love, since it is so 
infinite and overflowing, that all my un- 
derstanding and all the powers of my soul 
faint away for very wonder ! How can I 
ever forget Thee in my heart ? How can 
I ever love to labour, for aught save to 
repay Thee for Thy mighty love, and to 
satisfy it ? For if I spend myself even a 
thousand times, what am I compared to 



of our Lord y esus Christ 169 

my Lord ? How ever can this marvellous 
work go out of my memory, that not only 
Thou, the Lord of lords, but also the Judge 
of all creatures, hast vouchsafed to be- 
come, as it were, the servant of servants, 
and a guilty and wicked man, and hast 
desired with the malefactors to be sen- 
tenced to a shameful death ? Behold I, a 
wretched and vile sinner, condemned by 
my own conscience, desire in the eyes of 
men to appear just, and to have a zeal for 
virtue ; and if aught of honour or praise is 
given me, if any, on that do I lean with 
satisfaction. Why is this, O loving Lord, 
except that I do not seek Thine honour 
and glory with all my strength, and all my 
power ? But why do I not seek Thy 
glory, except that I do not love Thee with 
my whole heart ? And why do I not love 
Thee as much as I ought, except that I 
still love myself, and have not as yet 
despised and denied myself? This is 
why I do not seek Thee, O my God, with 
my whole strength, but rather seek myself 
in many ways. This is why I do not walk 
in the holy footsteps of Thy lowliness, 
and patience, and obedience, and resigna- 
tion. But, O most merciful God ! have 
mercy on me, Thy most wretched crea- 
ture, for I confess to Thee my weakness 
and perverseness. Help me, O Lord my 
God, to deny and destroy myself, and so 
to crucify my pleasure-loving nature, that 



I *]0 Meditations on the Life and Pa<ision 

I may resist sin even unto blood. I can- 
not do anything without the help of Thy 
grace. And although my love be not 
strong as death, so as to be able, like Thy 
holy martyrs, to suffer myself, by the 
death of my body, Thy shameful death, 
yet do Thou vouchsafe so to strengthen 
my spirit, that in part, and by degrees, I 
may pay my debt to Thee, which as a 
whole, and at once, I cannot pay ; and 
that so much the more I may die to my- 
self for Thy honour, in all things that 
please the senses, and offer obstacles to 
Thy love, as I am the less able to undergo 
the death of the Cross for Thy sake, as 
Thou hast done for me, and so many mar- 
tyrs after Thee have done. And what 
other reason can there be, O loving God ! 
that I am so frail, and useless, and un- 
stable, and changeable, except that I do 
not love Thee, my God, with the whole 
strength of my heart ? Help me, then, 
that I may love Thee exceedingly from 
my inmost heart. Inflame my heart with 
love of Thee, wound it with Thy love. 

I confess, indeed, O gracious God, that 
Thou desirest to be loved by all men, nor 
dost Thou refuse Thy love to any man, 
who is fit and able to receive it. I know 
also, O sweet God, that to all my sins it 
must be ascribed, that Thy love hath 
grown cold within me. For my many 
faults come in between Thee and me, 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 171 

and are an obstacle to Thy love, so 
that it cannot have place in me, and ac- 
complish its gracious work. For Thy 
Holy Spirit, Who is love itself, cannot 
dwell in a vessel that is unclean, nor in a 
body subject to sin. 

O Jesus, Thou Saviour Whom I cannot 
see, behold, I confess to Thee, that I am 
a vessel full of sin and uncleanness ; but 
if Thou wilt Thou canst make me clean, 
for Thou art that Lamb without spot, Who 
takest away all the sins of the world. Who 
wast slain for our sins, crucified for our 
iniquities, and wounded that Thou might- 
est heal our wounds ; and Thou hast shed 
Thy sacred Blood, to cleanse us from all 
stain of sin. Wherefore I pray Thee, O 
most loving Jesus, to wash away in Thy 
purest Blood whatever in me is displeas- 
ing to Thee, or can come between Thy 
naked love and my wretched soul. Oh ! 
take the same, and utterly consume and 
bring it to nothing in the abyss of Thy 
divine grace, that I may deserve, without 
anything coming between us, to be taken 
captive, and bound, and wounded, and 
swallowed up, and transformed by Thy 
love, so that the old man in me, which is 
all carnal and earthly, being crucified and 
dead, the new man may be raised by Thee, 
and born out of Thee ; that new man, 
made according to Thine image, that 
knoweth not the things of earth, seeketh 



1 72 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



no fleshly pleasures, but standeth ever 
upright and ready before Thee Who made 
it ; that new man, that is guiltless of this 
world's evil and free therefrom ; that new 
man, in a word, that may continually fix 
its inward gaze on Thee its Saviour, 
Whom it hopeth by Thy grace to see 
clearly in a blessed eternity, and in eternal 
blessedness face to face. 



The Twenty-second Chapter. 
yesus is led to Herod. 

AFTER that Pilate had heard all the 
false and unjust accusations of the 
Jews, and had seen that they could show 
no cause of death in Jesus, and when he 
had heard at the same time that Jesus was 
a Galilean, he sent Him to Herod, who 
then was ruler over Galilee. This was 
the fourth procession of Jesus, which He 
underwent in His Passion with sorrow un- 
utterable. Oh ! how those wicked men 
laboured, and what trouble they took, be- 
fore they could deliver Jesus to death. 
For it could not be, that in that most pure 
gold, proved so many times in the fire of 
affliction, they could find even one staia 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 173 



of any impurity whatsoever, even the 
sh'ghtest. Oh ! with what ignominy and 
cruelty they led along the Lord of Ma- 
jesty, to Whom is due all honour and 
glory, through the city in the sight of all, 
for the city was full ot people. Hence, 
doubtless, men ran together in crowds in 
their eagerness to see Christ, and so the 
Lord of Majesty was made a spectacle to 
God and men. Some mocked at Him, 
and inflicted on Him grievous hurt, and 
sorely troubled Him. Others ran after 
Him, heaping shame and reproach upon 
Him. Oh ! how they hurried along with 
our sweet Jesus, dragging Him. from one 
judge to another. Oh ! how sick and sore 
were all His limbs from weariness, and all 
that manifold affliction and cross, which 
He had undergone during that long night ! 
How worn and hurt were His feet from 
the stones of the public places, as they 
hurried on with immoderate speed, and 
our Lord walked barefoot ? 

Learn, then, O my soul, from thy Bride- 
groom, to deny thyself, and to subject 
thyself first of all to God, and in the next 
place to those who are set over thee, as 
standing in the place of God, and also, to 
all men whatsoever, out of love, that after 
the example of thy Bridegroom, thou 
mayest look on thyself as the least and 
the vilest of all, and mayest rejoice to be 
the hand-maid of the servancs of Christ. 



1 74 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



For if thou wishest to be a pleasing bride 
unto Him, and to follow Him faithfully, 
then must thou strip thyself wholly of 
thine own will and choice, even as if thou 
hadst never known what it was to have 
any will of thine own. And thou must 
suffer thyself to be led from one to the 
other, far and near, to the highest and the 
lowest, within and without, and thou must 
be ever cheerfully obedient, and subject, 
however troublesome and hard, however 
painful and contrary it may be to thine 
own feelino", or judgment, or sensuality; 
even as Christ cheerfully gave Himself 
up to all those cruel tornients, which were 
beyond measure painful to His tender 
complexion, and gladly suffered Himself 
to be dragged from judge to judge, from 
punishment to punishment, and underwent 
divers crosses and afflictions, one after 
the other. Nor did He ever draw up 
His face in wrinkles, or disdainful look, 
nor open His mouth to any complaint or 
murmurinof. Our tender Lord regarded 
not the shame, or the crosses, or the 
wrongs which He suffered, but He was 
humbly obedient to His Father even unto 
death, and patiently submitted Himself to 
all the sorrows, and pains, and torments, 
which they inflicted on Him. 

Thus, then, did those savage men lead 
Him to Herod. Now Herod, since he 
was a man full of curiosity, and puffed up, 



oj our Lord Jesiis Christ. 175 



and had heard much about Christ's mira- 
cles, for a long time had been desirous to 
see Him. But not a word of answer could 
he obtain from Christ. For as he desired 
to see some miracle only out of vain curi- 
osity, he was clearly unworthy to receive 
even a word or a sign from the Eternal 
Truth. Here then, again, those crafty 
and blood-thirsty Jews, like mad dogs, 
barked out their charges against Christ, 
and their condemnation of Him, and bring- 
ing false witnesses against Him, in order, 
by their loud discordant cries, to urge 
Herod on to judge and condemn the 
Christ. Yet, in the midst of all this, that 
gentle Lamb was humbly silent, and 
waited in patience for the chalice which 
His Father had prepared for Him. 

Herod, then, when he saw that Jesus 
gave no sign nor answer, was troubled, 
and set Him at nought, and mocked Him 
with all his men of war, v^hereby our Lord 
Jesus suffered great shame and reproach. 
Of a truth, in all places, and at the hands 
of all, He suffereth persecution, contempt, 
and wrong. There is no man to relieve 
Him, or to show Him any kindness, or to 
compassionate Him in His affliction, or to 
speak to Him even one word of comfort. 
Young and old, little and great, servants 
and their lords, all rose up against Him ; 
all with one accord vomited out upon Him 
their poisonous malice and falsehoods. 



176 Meditations on the Life and Passiojt 

All greedily thirsted for His death, and 
burned to shed His innocent Blood ; for 
without pain and disgust they could not 
look upon Him. Thus was Christ our 
Lord clearly made the reproach of the 
world, and the outcast of the people. For 
Herod not only cast Him away from him 
with indignation, and shamefully treated 
Him, but he even clad Him in a white 
garment, as if He had been a fool, so as 
by this means to provoke the whole crowd 
at the same moment to mock Christ. 
And with such ignominy and confusion he 
sent Him back to Pilate. This is the fifth 
procession of our Saviour, which He un- 
dertook during His Passion for our sins. 

Here every man may think with him- 
self, how full of misery was this procession 
of Christ, in which, after He had been 
thus shamefully mocked at, and set at 
nought by Herod, those vile servants and 
murderers in their turn mocked Him and 
ill-used Him with great contempt, some 
smiting Him, others trampling on Him 
with their feet ; some dragging Him by 
His garments, while not a few behind His 
back vomited upon Him curses and shame- 
ful words. Nor need we speak of those 
other numberless reproaches, wrongs, and 
insults, by which those impure men were 
carried away against Him, of which no 
express mention is made in Holy Writ, 
nor have we any certain testimony. Yet 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. lyf 

because they were the sons of the devil, 
they treated Christ with all the malice 
which they could think of at the sugges- 
tion of their father. 

Behold then, O my soul f with bitter 
grief thy Bridegroom, the Joy of heaven, 
tlie wisdom of the Father, the King 
of glory, thus shamefully brought down 
to confusion, and set at nought, so that 
He is now no longer a man, but an abject 
worm. Not only is He sentenced to death 
as a guilty malefactor, but even, like some 
poor idiot, is mocked at in His fool's gar- 
ment. Oh ! who hath such a heart of 
steel, as not to be softened at this ? Be 
ashamed, ye proud men, who with heads 
lifted up on high, march on in your pride. 
Blush for shame, O ye who are wise in 
your own eyes, forgetting that you are only 
dung and ashes, and vessels of earthen- 
ware full of all uncleanness. Behold ! the 
Lord of lords, in whom are hidden all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, is 
mocked at as a fool ; and ye yourselves, 
more senseless than the brute beasts, 
which praise their Creator according to 
their capacity and condition, and wliich 
observe moderation in eating and drink- 
ing, desire to be thought wise, and circum- 
spect, and holy by men. Blush for sliame, 
I say, O ye puffed up and proud sinners, 
who before God and all His saints are full 
of rottenness, who are wholly bent upon 



12 



lyS Meditations on the Life and Passio7i 

adorning- your sack of dung and nest of 
worms with precious things, while the 
Lord of Majesty for your sake is set at 
nought, clad in a white and shameful gar- 
ment, like a fool, and while He who is the 
loftiness of heaven vouchsafeth to be hum- 
bled. 

And you, O ye wretched and puffed up 
sinners, to whom is due nought but eternal 
damnation, are lifted up and swollen with 
pride ! Long ago the angels fell through 
pride, and were cast out of heaven, yet ye 
trust to be able to obtain heaven by pride. 
Our first parents fell into great wretched- 
ness and misery through pride, and, driven 
out of paradise, were for five thousand 
}ears exiles from heaven, and prisoners in 
hell; yet we, notwithstanding, avoid not this 
accursed pest, this deadly and most hate- 
ful sin ! Even this rotten body of ours, 
conceived of unclean seed, which one day 
will be cast out to be devoured by worms, 
we know not how too curiously to adorn, 
and to nourish with delicate and soft food, 
and to treat with every comfort and con- 
venience. But our far nobler souls, in 
which God hath set up His dwelling-place, 
and which, born of God, and created to the 
image of the Most Holy Trinity, will again 
be brought into the presence of the Divine 
Majesty, we suffer to perish for hunger 
and want. 

Let us, I pray, take example from our 



of our Lord Jesus Ch'ist, 1 79 

most loving Saviour, and let us walk in 
His footsteps in all lowliness, poverty, 
resignation, and patience ; since He in 
His greatest need had no convenience, but 
hung all naked on the cross, with all His 
limbs so stretched and nailed thereto, tliat 
He could not even move a single limb, 
nor rest His head ; and in His thirst He 
had gall and vinegar to drink, and in such 
great poverty gave up the ghost. If then 
He did all this for our sins, let us also, I 
pray, do somewhat for our iniquities. 



The Twenty-Third Chapter. 

Christ, after having been set at nought by 
Herod, is led back to Pilate. 

FROM Herod those savage wretches 
led Chnst back to Pilate, and again 
brought their cruel charges against Him, 
that they might obtain flis death-warrant. 
Again they tried to deafen Pilate with 
their horrid cries, since they could bring 
forward no just reason or cause against 
our Lord. By shouts and threats they 
sought to drown the truth, and to overcloud 
reason, and to darken justice. But Pilate, 
when he saw that the Jews sought through 
mere hatred to put Jesus to death, and 



i8o Meditations on the Life and Passioji 

that Herod in like manner had found no 
cause of death in Him, left nothing untried 
in order to set our Lord free. And be- 
cause he could not appease the Jews by 
reasoning, he asked of them, whether, ac- 
cording to their privilege, they would have 
Him released in honour of the Paschal 
solemnity. But with one voice they all cried 
out that they would rather have Barabbas. 
O, great blindness ! O, insatiable fury of 
the Jews! O, unhappy exchange! They 
chose a wolf instead of a lamb, a wicked 
and hateful wretch instead of a just and in- 
nocent man, an impious one, and a thief, 
instead of the Author of life. In like 
manner, all those who desire to persevere 
in their sins, and fear not to offend God, 
and to transgress His holy commandments, 
deny and reject God, and choose some 
cruel robber, like the devil, who is the 
destroyer of the souls of all who consent to 
do his biddinor. 

Then Pilate asked what he should do 
with Jesus. And, with a horrid roar, they 
cried, " Crucify Him, crucify Him !" Pilate 
answered, " What evil hath He done ? I find 
no cause of death in Him. But, to temper 
your burning rage and empoisoned hatred, 
and to quench a little your thirst of blood, 
even without cause I will chastise and 
correct Him, that peradventure ye may 
have compassion, and may cease to seek 
the death of this innocent Man, which He 



of our Lord Jestis Christ. i8i 

hath not deserved." Then Pilate deH- 
vered Christ to his ministers and torturers, 
that they might scourge Him. 

Come now, O my soul, and see with 
mourning heart, how thy Bridegroom 
Jesus, the glory of heaven, is delivered into 
the cruel hands of vile servants, that they 
may carry out all their savage malice 
against Him. See how there are given to 
these raging and blood-thirsty dogs the 
power and the means of tearing to pieces 
that most pure, and noble, and virgin Body, 
and of shedding His royal Blood. See, 
how of His own will the Lord of lords eave 
Himself over, and subjected Himself to 
those abject wretches and vile slaves, suffer- 
ing them to glut all their malice and cruel 
tyranny upon Him : and obedient to His 
Father in heaven, even to death. He 
opened not His blessed mouth to curse 
them, or to murmur, or to complain, nor 
did He stretch forth His hands to avenofe 
Himself, nor did any change of face betray 
either anger or indignation. See this, all 
ye religious, who are stiff-necked, puffed 
up, and proud, who have put on indeed 
the outward look of obedient and religious 
men, but who are inwardly without resig- 
nation, morose, and given up to your own 
will. And, indeed, ye show this forth 
when any command is laid upon you that 
is contrary to your ever-varying will, or 
your own judgment ; for straightway ye 



i82 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



break out into complaints, impatience, and 
murmuring ; and by word, and look, and 
the very impatient carriage and gestures of 
the body, betray clearly enough the depth 
of your want of resignation, and how much 
ye love your own will. Nor have ye 
known how to curb that nature of yours, 
which, far from being dead, is given up to 
your senses, or to hide it under the shelter 
of religion; for you have never manfully 
conquered it, nor have ye brought your 
own will into servitude, and tlierefore both 
your nature and your will hold rule over 
you. And for this reason ye oftentimes 
let your passions overflow, and ye have no 
peace in your hearts. For your peace 
lasteth no longer than while it is with you, 
and you are permitted to do what ye gladly 
do, and to have what ye gladly have. But 
see, I pray you, how willingly Christ 
offered Himself to death, and with what 
love He seized the bitter chalice of His 
Passion, although His nature shrank from 
it exceedingly ; and how of His own 
accord He went forth to meet His enemies, 
and gave Himself into their hands, and suf- 
fered Himself to be taken, saying, "I am He 
whom ye seek." Take example then from 
Him, and bend your proud and stiffened 
neck under the divine correction, and the 
commandments of God, and of those who 
are set over you, and who hold the place 
of God towards you, forye may be sure 



of our Lord yesiis Christ. 183 

that whatever contempt, or murmuring, or 
rebellion, your prelates may receive at 
your hand, will all be turned to the dis- 
honour of our Lord God Most High. 



The Twenty-fourth Chapter. 
yesus is fearfully Scourged. 

FROM this the lictors and guards of 
the governor, mad with rage, took 
Christ, and savao-ely stripping Him of His 
garments, who is the maker of heaven and 
of all creatures, and who hideth the heaven 
with clouds, and giveth being to all, shame- 
lessly left Him naked before all the 
people. There He stood, the fairest and 
most beautiful of men, clad only in His 
virgin shame and simple innocence. Oh, 
what a cross was this to His most pure 
heart, to be compelled to stand so shame- 
fully in His nakedness before those vile 
wretches; for the more a man hath of true 
virtue, so much the more full is he of the 
shame of innocence. Then they bound 
Him so mercilessly to the pillar, that, as we 
read, His flesh hid altogether the cords by 
which He was bound, such was the tender- 
ness and delicacy of His nature. Mor<= 



84 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



over, we find it written, that He was so 
cruelly bound, that the blood burst forth 
from His finger-nails. And this they did 
lest He should slip out of their hands, for 
they held Him to be a malefactor and an 
impostor. After this these cruel wild beasts, 
like savage lions, inhumanly tore Christ's 
fair and holy body ; for they so scourged 
it, and ploughed it up with wounds, and 
mangled it with rods and all the other 
terrible scourges they could think of in 
their envious hearts, that He became 
wholly unlike Himself, His body being all 
covered with His blood, and with gaping 
wounds. 

Nor was it only His skin that they tore 
with rods, but they mangled His sacred 
flesh by inhuman tortures, and so tore it 
to pieces, that all His body seemed to be 
left without skin, as those evil-minded ones 
added wound to wound, and pain to pain, 
and woe to woe. And when they had so 
cruelly torn one of His sides, so that 
nothing could be seen but blood and 
wounds, as certain doctors affirm, they 
loosed Him, and then bound Him again 
with His back to the pillar. His hands at 
the same time being fastened above His 
head. After this, they wounded by re- 
peated scourging His sacred belly, which, 
as it had touched the pillar during the first 
scourging, was not so grievously hurt, and 
they tore it in like manner as they had 



of our Lord ycstis Christ. 185 

torn His back. And the men who did 
this, peradventure, were fresh torturers. 
There were four of them, we read, and 
they vomited their cruelty upon Him, not 
less than the first had done. We may 
gather this, and prove it from those words of 
the prophet : " From the sole of His foot 
to the top of His head, there is no health 
in Him." 

Meanwhile, let us think what His tor- 
ment must have been during all this, when 
they tore out the cords which had eaten 
into His flesh, and then again forced them 
back into His flesh, and inhumanly struck 
and wounded Him afresh. S. Bonaventure 
saith that Christ here received more 
than five thousand wounds. Of a truth, 
He was so disfigured and pitiable a sight, 
that not only His torturers were wearied 
with striking, but men were also wearied 
with looking at Him. Nevertheless, our 
gracious Saviour stood there full of kind- 
ness and burning love, patiently suffering 
all this affliction and punishment for our 
sins, and with exceeding great desire offer- 
ing His fair and ruddy Body as a loving 
sacrifice to His Father in heaven. For 
never did He suffer so much for our salva- 
tion, as not to desire to suffer more for 
His Father's glory, and to testify to us 
the incomprehensible love of His Heart, 
and to make it known as clearly as He 
could in very deed. Nothing sound or 



1 86 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



whole was left in His Body, and still all 
the while His desire of suffering yet greater 
thinos remained in Him whole and without 
distraction. The torturers' scourges had 
torn His whole Body, yet in His patience 
love kept His Heart untouched. The tor- 
turers had grown weary of scourging Him, 
yet was not Christ wearied of desiring to 
suffer. His Blood, so precious to sinners, 
flowed down in large streams upon the 
earth, and His Spirit, in gratitude, was 
lifted up to His Father in heaven. His 
sacred Body lay under tlie scourges of sin, 
and the prayers of His Heart were carried 
by the angels to His Father in the hea- 
venly places. His Flesh streamed down 
with Blood, and His Blood itself flowed 
down, but His groans and fiery desires, 
whereby He offered all this affliction to 
His Father for the sins of all mankind, 
went up on high. On every side He 
poured Himself out upon men, but with 
His whole strength, and with full and wor- 
thy reverence and praise, He stretched 
Himself upwards to the high presence of 
His Father in heaven. Below poor man, 
sick and ill, drank in the medicine of life ; 
antl above, the Father rejoiced in the 
patience of His Son. Man received that 
by which he will be saved for ever, and 
God the Father that by which He will be 
praised through all eternity. The Son of 
God was wounded in His Body, that the 



of our Lord yestis Christ. 187 

souls of men might recover salvation. 
From all His limbs there flowed forth 
Blood, that He might pour the same, as a 
health-giving balm, into our wounds. The 
grape-cluster was hung on the staff, that 
He might make us certain and sure of the 
land of promise. The cluster was pressed 
in the wine-press, that He might make us 
drunken with His love. The bowl was 
broken in pieces, that the oil of mercy 
might begin to flow out. He dyed the 
tunic of His Body in purple, that as our 
Bridegroom of singular beauty, He might 
provoke us to love Him. Grievously did 
He suffer in His Body, and sorely was He 
afflicted, that He might make us glad in 
spirit. He was forsaken of His Father, 
that we miofht be taken back into His 
Father's grace. His body was damp witli 
His warm Blood, that He might prepare 
for us a bath, wherein we might be 
thoroughly washed and cleansed from 
every stain of sin. His warm Blood 
boiled over from His sacred Body, that 
He might cause our cold and hardened 
hearts to melt in His love. Like water 
He was poured out, that our spirit 
might swim in the delights of His 
grace. Nothing in His whole Body re- 
mained whole, that nothing hurtful, no- 
thing foul, nothing that was not whole, 
might remain in our souls. And although 
on all sides He was so stricken by more 



1 88 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

than human suffering, that by reason of 
the excellence and tenderness of His nature 
and complexion, every blow pierced His 
Heart ; nevertheless, His will was so sub- 
ject both to God and men, and His burn- 
ing desire to accomplish to the full all that 
His Father required of Him, and to re- 
deem man, was so great in Him beyond 
all measure ; in a word, He was so taken 
prisoner by love, that He could utter no 
complaint. For He could do nothing but 
love, and suffer for love. 

O my soul ! and as many as love God, 
who have been redeemed by the precious 
Blood of Christ Jesus, and washed from 
your sins, come and see, with inward grief, 
all that God suffered for our sins, all that 
He underwent for our iniquities. And if 
this doth not bring compunction to your 
hearts, nor move them, then account your- 
selves harder than steel or stone. See 
how the King of glory was here wounded 
and disfigured for your crimes. What 
more do ye require of Him ? If this is 
not enough. He is ready to suffer even 
more. Think ye that there remained in 
His Body anything unhurt or sound ? Be- 
hold ! He will gladly accept even death 
for your sins, and will suffer His Blood to 
be shed to the very last little drop. Yea ! 
He will let His Heart be pierced for your 
sakes, that He may throw it open to you, 
and make known His exceeding love 



of our Lord y esus Christ . 189 

Oh ! who can ever find us forgetful of His 
measureless love ? Marvellous indeed it 
is, that our nearts are not melted at this 
most burning love ! How ever can we 
cease from praising Him and giving Him 
thanks, or who can busy himself with any 
other care, than to return in some poor 
little way love for love ? Why is it hard 
for us to taste some Httle drop of myrrh 
for His sake, Who suffered Himself to be 
swallowed up whole in a very sea of suf- 
fering for our sakes ? Or how can it be 
ever a grievous thing for us to bear in 
mind His Passion, which it was not griev- 
ous for Him to undergo ? O sweet Jesus, 
what tenderness hath overcome Thy Heart, 
what love hath swallowed it up, that Thou 
hast willed to suffer so bitter and ignomi- 
nious a Passion for us wretched sinners ? 
Why didst Thou not spare Thyself alto- 
gether, when it would have been enough 
indeed, so excellent and of such exceeding 
worth was Thy Passion, to have shed one 
little drop of Thy precious Blood ? Why 
didst Thou cast Thyself so utterly away, 
and expose Thyself, and suffer Thyself in 
so humble a way to be well nigh brought 
down to nothing ? O loving Jesus, Thou 
hast wished this to show forth Thy out- 
flowing and utterly measureless love for 
us, with which, from the beginning, Thou 
hast loved us. This is why Thou gavest 
Thyself wholly for us, that in our turn we 



1 90 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



might give ourselves wholly to Thee, and 
love Thee back again with our whole 
strength and all our power. 

O Almighty Father, who am I, a poor 
vile man and worthless sinner, that Thou, 
for my sake, shouldst not spare even Thine 
Only-Begotten One ? How precious, how 
dear w^as my soul in Thine eyes, for whicli 
Thou gavest so noble a pledge, and which 
Thou hast redeemed by so precious a trea- 
sure ? How hast Thou loved me from 
everlasting, that Thou wouldst rather that 
Thy Son should be wounded, and wearied, 
and afflicted, and tortured, and the last 
spark of His human life put out, than that 
I should perish ? And how could Thy 
fatherly Heart suffer, O gracious Father, 
to see Thy beloved Son, God co-eternal 
and co-equal with Thee, overwhelmed by 
such more than mortal torments, a spec- 
tacle of woe even to His enemies ? Thou 
comest to the help of all who are afflicted 
and oppressed. Thou hast pity on thieves 
and robbers, lending them aid even when 
they suffer for their sins and trespasses ; 
why then wert Thou not by the side of 
the Son of Thy love ? Why didst Thou 
not comfort Him in His sore distress ? 
Why didst Thou forsake Him, O Father 
of mercies ? Why were not the bowels of 
Thy fatherly compassion moved for the 
grievous and intolerable affliction of Thy 
only-begotten One ? Why didst Thou not 



of our Lord y estLS Christ. 191 

withdraw Him from the hands of the 
Jews ? Why didst Thou not temper His 
sorrow by pouring sweetness into His 
Heart, as Thou hast done to Thy holy 
martyrs in their agony ? Of a truth, O 
most merciful Father, Thou hast done this 
in Thy divine justice, and wisdom, and 
goodness, that the resignation and patience 
of Thy beloved Son might be shown forth 
more clearly in our eyes, that the power 
and merit of His Passion might not be 
lessened, that the salvation of mankind 
might be vigorously, mightily, and per- 
fectly accomplished, and that, lastly, the 
debt of the human race might be paid in 
lavish abundance. It was because Thou 
wouldst show forth Thy burning love to- 
v.'ards us, that Thou didst not spare the 
very last little drop of the Blood of Thy 
beloved Son. 

Clearly, had not Christ's Death and Pas- 
sion been enough to save man, both the 
Father of heaven and the Holy Ghost 
would also have taken on them our human 
nature, and died for man, rather than have 
suffered him to perish. Moreover, although 
the Son alone became man, and suffered a 
bitter death for man, yet the love and ten- 
derness of the Father and the Holy Ghost 
were not the less shown forth in our re- 
gard, for in the Trinity of Persons there is 
one essence, one love, one operation com- 
mon to all, one and the same will. The 



192 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

adorable and most holy Trinity took coun- 
sel together concerning the redemption of 
the human race, and agreed together in 
decreeing that man should be redeemed ; 
and because for none of the Three Per- 
sons was it so fitting to take our human 
nature, as for the Son, therefore both by 
His own free will, and by the will of the 
Father, and by the persuasion of the Holy 
Ghost, He came upon earth ; He Who 
was the Almighty Creator, became man, 
was made a creature, by the cooperation 
both of the Father and of the Holy Ghost. 
For Christ was conceived of the Holy 
Ghost by the cooperation of the Father. 
He saith Himself : ** I work nothing of 
Myself ; but My Father, Who abideth in 
Me, He it is Who doeth the works." 
Now that the love of the Son towards us 
is the same as that of the Father, and of 
the Holy Ghost, is clearly enough shown 
to us by the Father, from the very fact 
that He delivered His own Son to death 
for our sakes ; and Christ Himself beareth 
witness to this, when He saith: " For the 
Feather also loveth you." And of the 
Holy Ghost the Apostle saith: "And the 
Spirit Himself asketh for us with groan- 
ings that cannot be uttered ;" that is, in- 
spireth, moveth, and exciteth us to pray, 
and to give ourselves to virtue. And the 
Spirit beareth witness to our spirit, that 
we are the sons of God, so that, in the joy 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 193 



of this inward witness we may cry in the 
same spirit, " Abba, Father !" But what 
can be more blessed and dehghtful in this 
valley of tears, than for man, out of the 
testimony of the Holy Ghost in his own 
conscience, to call God his Father ? For 
if we are sons, then are we Christ's 
brethren, and joint-heirs with Him. 

See then, O my soul ! what care the 
Adorable Trinity hath taken of thee. 
Behold, how from everlasting God hath 
loved thee ! Consider this, I pray you, O 
ye cold and hard-hearted children of 
Adam ! Think at how dear a price He 
hath bought you. The noblest gift that 
God's Heart could conceive, the mightiest 
offering that God's power could give, 
this He hath offered for you, nay, daily 
offereth in the adorable Sacrament. And 
as of old the Father of Heaven spared not 
His only-begotten Son, but offered Him to 
death, and that the most shameful death 
of the cross, for the sins of men ; so even 
now there is not a moment, when He doth 
not in like manner offer Him for our sins 
in the most noble Sacrament of the 
Eucharist. And as Christ was made obe- 
dient unto the Father, even unto death, so 
to-day, and until the last day, He is obe- 
dient, not only to God the Father, but to 
all who, witli faithful hearts, and longing 
desires, love God, and cleave to Him. 
But because there was no need that He 
13 



194 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

should again suffer death, since His sacred 
death reacheth unto all sins that have 
ever been committed, or shall still be com- 
mitted ; nevertheless He ceaseth not to 
offer daily His Sacred Body, and His noble 
soul, and His precious Blood, together 
with all the merits of His Life and Passion, 
in the worshipfu\ Sacrament of the Altar, 
for the remission of our sins, and in 
memory of His Passion and Death. Of a 
truth He teacheth us by this, that, were it 
necessary, He is still ready to-day to give 
His worshipful Body and Blood over to 
death, for the sake of our salvation. For 
the same love which Christ then had for 
us, still endureth in Him, and will endure 
for ever. 

Where then, I ask, is there such a heart 
of stone, as not to be moved to compunc- 
tion at all this ? Where is the spirit that 
will not rejoice at love such as this ? 
Where is the heart that will not wholly 
melt away in the heat of this burning 
charity } Where is the man whose under- 
standing will not faint, for exceeding 
wonder, when he contemplateth God's 
measureless love and goodness towards 
us, when he perceiveth with the eyes of 
his heart, and searcheth the recesses of his 
conscience, or weigheth in the balance the 
mighty benefits which God hath con- 
ferred, and daily conferreth upon us poor 
wretched men ; for of a truth they are so 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 195 

great, that greater can hardly be ? See 
how Christ's gracious arms are stretched 
out to receive us ! And His wounds art 
ever open, ready to pour forth upon all 
whatever they desire. The banners of 
His mercy are ever unfolded, so that we 
may take shelter and lie hidden beneath 
them, for He is ever ready to receive us. 
More than this. He loveth us so very 
much, that by divine drawings, and inspi- 
rations, and inward warnings. He asketh 
for us more than we ask for ourselves, for 
He is indeed far more ready to give than 
we to pray. 

What need of multiplying words ? Of a 
truth, it is no small sorrow to Him, that 
His wounds are dried up, and can no 
longer bleed down mercy upon us, since 
very few there are, alas ! who desire this 
with their whole hearts. Wherefore, be- 
yond doubt. He will one day prove Him- 
self a stern judge to those who now neg- 
lect His loving-kindness and mercy, since 
He burneth with such love for man, that 
He confesseth that His delights are to be 
with the children of men. If, then, with 
hearts meet and ready, we would suffer 
Him to accomplish His work and His will 
within us, beyond all doubt, in His ex- 
ceeding goodness. He would Himself 
with all His gifts flow down upon us. F'or 
God is a well of living water, ever leaping 
up, never ceasing to flow, save when 



196 Meditations on the Life and Passioit 

vessels are wanting to receive it. And by 
one link of love doth He Himself eagerly 
desire to be united to man, and to build up 
within us His own delightful dwelling- 
place and longed-for temple. Nay, He 
longeth to be united to man by love, with an 
exceeding great longing, just as if He had 
utterly forgotten His power and majesty, 
and only cared to be made like to man in all 
things. And how could He have raised 
us higher, and cast Himself down lower 
than He hath done ? How could He have 
united us unto His Godhead more closely 
than He hath actually united us, when He 
linked together His most high and im- 
mortal nature with our mortal humanity, 
by taking on Him our nature ? Nor is 
this all, for day by day, also. He giveth 
His most high Godhead, and all that He 
is, to be our food. How, then, could He 
have joined Himself to us in a more in- 
ward manner, than by His desire to 
become our food ? For nothings is so 
closely bound up with a man as the food 
which passeth into his substance. 

Moreover, God the Father hath also 
bestowed something more upon us, when 
He raised up our human nature in Christ 
as high as it could be raised, and by lifting 
it high above all creatures to His own 
Right Hand, so that our nature, which of 
old had been cursed, and sentenced to 
damnation, now became blessed, and lial- 



of our Lord J^estis Christ. 197 

lowed, and wonderfully exalted above all 
the blessed ; and what had formerly been 
the laughing-stock of the demons in hell, 
is now adored by the angels in heaven. 
How, then, could God have treated us 
with greater honour and glory, or shown 
us more overflowing love ? Of a truth, 
we have obtained, through Christ our Lord 
and Saviour, far richer salvation and glory 
than we lost through Adam, our first 
father. What more can we desire from 
our sweet Lord ? To every man, above 
all to him who cleaveth unto and loveth 
Him with his whole heart, He is as greatly 
and closely attached, as if He had for- 
gotten the heavens and the earth, and all 
tliat in them is, and had wholly perished for 
very love of him. This is why the loving 
soul crieth out in the Canticle of Canticles: 
"My Beloved to me, and I to Him." And 
so great and measureless is God's love to- 
wards the soul of man, that He seemeth to 
love none else but him. Yet not even by 
all these kindnesses and acts of love can 
God draw us to Himself, or move us, or 
inflame us with His love ; so infected are 
our hearts with sensual love, and painted 
over with the likenesses of created things, 
and so given up to temporal goods and to 
the blandishments of this world, so greatly 
also do they pant after honours, and desire 
to obey and satisfy their nature in its 
search after pleasure. By these and such 



198 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

other like things, we are so held and hin- 
dered, that there lieth open to us no 
approach to God by love. Yea ! the 
heavens and the earth weep for this, 
because men have fallen so low, that they 
have left their Creator to love the crea- 
ture ; that they have forsaken the highest 
and chief good, which is God Himself, to 
lovingly embrace the earth, and the slime 
of earth ; that they would rather be the 
slaves of demons, than the sons of God, 
that they would rather be friends of the 
world, than lovers of Christ ; that, in a 
word, it is a more pleasant thing for them 
to be a nest of unclean spirits, than the 
temple of the Holy Ghost. Ah ! ah ! let 
us love Him, I beseech of you, who hath 
embraced us with such measureless love, 
and on the other hand, by every means in 
our power, let us despise him, together 
with all his counsels and suggestions, who 
is the relentless murderer of souls, and 
who is wholly bent upon leading us with 
him to the place of torment everlasting. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 199 



The Twenty-fifth Chapter, 

4. devout prayer for ike forgiveness of sins^ 
and for resignation, atid the love of 
Jesits. 

OMOST merciful Lord Jesus Christ, 
behold I, a wretched and vile sin- 
ner, cast myself, with all tlie humiHty that 
I can, into Thy footprints, and with entire 
faith and full trust in Thy measureless 
goodness, and with inward sorrow for all 
my sins, with deep sighs, bitter contrition, 
and burning tears, I confess to Thee all 
the iniquities of my past life. O gracious 
Jesus, by Thine infinite mercy, have pity 
on me, I pray ; open to me the bowels of 
Thy loving-kindness ; turn to me, a poor 
sinner, and guilty worm of earth, the eyes 
of Thy divine grace and clemency. For to 
whom, O sweet Jesus, laden as I am with, 
and buried in, numberless sins, can I fly for 
refuge, save to Thee, who art full of 
mercy ? Therefore, all my evils, all my 
ingratitude, sensuality, anger, disobedience, 
levity, want of mortification, and lust ; all 
these together I throw into the abyss of 
Thy divine mercy and grace, and into the 
sacred and bleeding Wounds which in this 



200 Meditations on the Life ana Passion 

Aorrible torment Thou hast received for my 
salvation ; and I pray Thee, O my God, 
that Thou wouldst so wash away all these 
in Thy precious and most pure Blood, that 
no remembrance of them may endure 
before Thee. 

O loving Jesus, my only comfort, I come 
to Thee with the full and earnest desire of 
loving Thee fervently, and of avoiding all 
that may draw me away from Thy love, so 
that I may deserve to be made one with 
Thee in affection, and will, and love. For 
Thou art all my hope ; Thou art my con- 
solation and my refuge. However much I 
may be troubled and cast down by my 
sins, yet am I no less gladdened and lifted 
up by Thy measureless goodness, and the 
merits of Thy most Sacred Passion. For 
whatever I have done wrong, hath been 
blotted out by Thy most bitter Death. 
Whatever is wanting to me, is abundantly 
filled up in me by the merits of Thy most 
holy Incarnation and Passion. And al- 
though my sins be great and numberless, 
yet are they little when compared with 
Thy measureless mercy. Wherefore, I 
trust in Thy infinite goodness, that Thou 
wilt never suffer me to perish, whom Tliou 
hast created to Thine own image and like- 
ness. Oh ! despise me not, whose flesh, 
and blood, and brother, Thou hast 
vouchsafed to become. I hope, too, that 
Thou wilt never condemn me, whom Tiiou 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 201 



hast redeemed with such labour, and 
bought for so dear a ransom. O gentle 
Jesus ! in Whom my soul trusteth, and 
Whom from the most inward marrow of 
my heart, I desire to love, make me now 
to feel Thy tenderness and loving-kind- 
ness, for Thou art not ignorant of my 
frailty. Thy Father in heaven judgeth no 
man, but He hath given over all my sins 
to Thy judgment. The Holy Spirit also 
hath given all judgment to Thee, and 
whatever I have done wrong against Him, 
by neglecting His grace, by not obeying 
His instincts, by not following His attrac- 
tions, by not fulfilling His requirements 
and vocation, and lastly, by hindering, 
times without number. His loving work, 
by my own selfishness, and restless busy- 
doing ; — all this He hath left to Thee, and 
cast it all upon Thee. All my salvation is 
in Thy hand; whatsoever Thou pardonest 
is forgiven. So long as Thou wilt, O 
sweet Jesus, there will never be wanting to 
me the means of salvation. O pitiful 
Jesus, have mercy upon me, for Thy Holy 
Name's sake ! For what else is the 
meaning of this Thy name, Jesus, sweeter 
than honey, and the honey-comb, except a 
" Saviour" ? Wherefore, O good Jesus, be 
to me Jesus. Why wilt Thou be angry 
with the leaf which is blown about by the 
wind ; why wilt Thou punish the withered 
straw ? Why wilt Thou be forgetful of 



202 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

me, who am but a frail vessel of clay, 
which Thine own hands have made ? 
Although I have offended Thee, yet 
am I a man wholly conceived in iniquity. 
Let Thy g^race come down upon me, and 
Thy Wounds flow over me ; let the heal- 
ing balm of Thy Precious Blood be near 
my soul, and I shall be safe, for I am 
ready to fulfil Thy most gracious will. 
What wilt Thou have me to do, Lord ? 
Behold! I offer my whole self to Thee, my 
body, soul, senses, memory, understanding, 
will, and all that I am, and I am ready to 
bear whatever Thou wouldst have me 
bear in time and eternity, want and abun- 
dance, abandonment and suffering. O 
Jesus, my only Love, grant that I may 
love Thee from my heart, and nothing do 
I ask, except to love Thee perfectly. 
Suffer me to be Thy lover. Thou hast 
commanded me, indeed, to love Thee with 
my whole heart, but give what Thou hast 
commanded, and command what Thou 
wilt. Pierce, I pray Thee, this heart of 
mine, with the sweet dart of Thy fiery 
love, that I may languish for love of Thee 
all the days of my life. Grant that I may 
love Thee from my heart, as Thou wouldst 
Thyself have me love Thee. Make me to 
see, O my God, how much Thou lovest 
me, that my whole life long and with my 
whole strength, I may strive to return Thy 
love, and satisfy it. O kind Jesus, so fill 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 203 

and inebriate my heart with Thy sweet 
love, that all the world may be turned for 
me into a disgust and a cross. O loving 
Jesus, I long to love Thee, to receive 
Thee, to eat Thee, to embrace Thee witli 
the arms of my soul, to treasure Thee up 
in my inmost heart, where no man can take 
Thee from me, where I may enjoy Thee 
alone, and where I may rest with Thee in 
peace, never more to be troubled. There 
Thou wilt give me richly to drink of the 
river of Thy heavenly and divine doctrine ; 
there Thou wilt teach me Thy more secret 
paths, whereby I may come to Tliee in all 
safety and certainty ; there Thou wilt be 
wholly my leader, and Thou wilt hide me 
in Thy sweet wounds, and in Thy loving 
Heart, until the winter of sin is over and 
past, and the cruel storm of temptation is 
hushed, and the bright sun of Thy divine 
grace shineth through the whole depth of 
my soul, setting my heart utterly on fire, 
and causing^ it to flourish in all virtue. 
Amen, 



204 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Twenty-Sixth Chapter. 
yesus is croivned with thorns, 

AFTER that our Saviour had been so 
fearfully scourged, and hurt, and 
tortured, that no part in all His body re- 
mained whole, and His body itself was one 
wide gaping wound, dreadful to behold, 
they loosed Him from the pillar, and led 
Him about naked, and streaming with 
blood, looking for His garments, which, 
after they had stripped Him, they had 
scattered over the court out of anger and 
malice. Come, then, and let us see in 
what misery our loving Jesus walked 
along, full of sorrows, trembling with cold, 
streaming with blood, so that every step 
He took was marked with His red Blood. 
This is what the Prophet meant, when 
speaking in the person of the Angel, or of 
loving souls, to our Lord, he said : " Why 
is Thy garment red, and Thy vestment like 
the vestments of those who tread the 
wine-press ?" Jesus answereth : " My vest- 
ments are red, O My bride, because I 
have trodden the wine-press alone." See 
now, O my soul 1 burning as thou art with 
the love of God, see now, I pray thee, 
with inward compassion, how thy Beloved 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 205 

IS beingr treated. Thou indeed hast 
sinned through pleasure, and Christ hath 
been punished in thy stead by mighty tor 
ments. Thou hast obeyed the lusts of 
flesh and blood, and Christ hath given 
over His own Flesh and Blood to such in- 
imman pains, for thy trespasses and sins. 
Moreover, when our Lord was putting on 
His clothes, these servants of the devil 
took counsel one with the other, and said : 
•' That seducer proclaimed Himself a 
King, let us, then, treat Him as a King, 
and crown Him." And straightway the 
whole cohort vvas pressed back into the 
praetorium, and Jesus along with it, so that 
He might be held up for scorn and 
mockery before all the people, and thus 
might be put to greater confusion. Then, 
again, with exceeding savageness tliey 
tore off His garments, which He had 
hardly time to put on, and clad Him in a 
purple or scarlet robe. Next, they plaited 
a crown of thorns, and pressed it down 
on His sacred Head, and gave Him a reed 
to hold in His hand, in place of a sceptre; 
and they bent their knees before Him, and 
did Him mock reverence, saying: "Hail, 
King of the Jews." 

Go then forth, O ye daughters of Sion, 
and see the true Solomon in the diadem 
with which His Mother crowned Him in 
the day of His Heart's joy. Truly He 
hath loved us, and He Himself hath car- 



2o6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

ried our feebleness, Himself hath borne 
our infirmities. Oh ! with no common 
compassion let us go and look on Him, 
and see how fearful were the torments 
which the Son of God here underwent for 
our sins. Let us draw heavy sighs from 
our inmost breast, let all our members, all 
our veins, burst forth into tears, because 
we have been the cause of these suffer- 
ings. Let our heart melt for sorrow, and 
be all dissolved in tears, because we have 
crowned God, our Maker, so cruelly with 
our accursed sins. Of a truth, all these 
thorns plaited together, what are they but 
our cruel sins, which we have heaped one 
upon the other ? By these do we day by 
day mercilessly wound the worshipful Head 
of Christ, and inflict upon Him far greater 
pain and reproach than they who tortured 
Him by these pains at the time of His 
Passion. For of them is it written : "If 
they had known Him, they would never 
have crucified the Lord of glory." But 
we both have known this Almighty King, 
and have clearly before as His will and 
commandments, yet we refuse to obey 
Him, We are not ashamed to resist so 
powerful a Lord, and to despise His com- 
mandments, yet He seeketh nothing but 
our salvation, and that we may be joint- 
heirs with Him in His Father's kingdom, 
and that His Blood, and Passion, and 
labour may redound to our salvation. Ohi 



qf our Lord Jesus Christ. 207 



♦vho can ever find words to express with 
how intolerable a sorrow our Lord Jesus 
was seized, when that fearful crown of 
thorns was pressed down upon His Head ? 
For as some affirm, that crown was formed 
of sea- thorns, which are exceeding sharp 
and stiff. Nor, indeed, were they few in 
number, but they plaited them together 
into the form of a cap or helmet, so that 
the thorns were in great part fastened to 
the head ; and with such great force and 
cruelty did they press down this fearful 
crown upon Christ's sacred Head, that, as 
S. Bernard saith, the thorns pierced into 
the brain, and penetrated tlirough the 
veins, and nerves, and bones of the Head, 
so that His Blood became mixed up with 
His Sacred Brain, and flowed down in 
streams over His Face, and neck, and 
hair. Here let every one weigh with him- 
self what must have been this pain. For 
if even one large thorn was fixed upon a 
man's head, what would be the state of 
that man's mind ? Yet of a truth, as 
Anselm saith, "Christ's worshipful Head 
was punctured by a thousand thorns." 
Oh ! let us impress His poor suffering 
form or image upon our hearts, so that It 
may never leave it more. Ah ! how dis- 
figured was this most beautiful of created 
forms ! How destitute of all comeliness 
and beauty was Christ's fair face, all swol- 
len, as it was, from the numberless blows 



2o8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



and wounds of that night, and torn by the 
finger-nails of His tormentors, and made 
foul with their spittle, which had flowed 
down upon it, and then became a hardened 
mass. See, too, how it hath been watered 
by that last fresh stream of blood mingled 
with brain, so that our Saviour's face was 
become so pitiable an object, that man 
cannot even picture it to himself! Of a 
truth, we should pity even some brute 
beast, were we to see it treated thus. 
Hence our Lord saith to the soul, in the 
Canticle of Canticles : " Open to Me thy 
heart, My sister, My dove, My bride, and 
let My bitter Passion touch it ; for My 
Head is full of the dew, and My hair with 
the dew-drops of the night, that is, of sins; 
for My Head is damp with blood, and 
this for thy sins." 

Yet not even was all this blood-shedding 
enough for these cruel dogs, nor all this 
torture ; no, nor even Christ's marvellous 
patience ; none of these was enough to 
move them to compassion ; but their mad 
hatred was still more inflamed with malice, 
so that they spat again on Christ's dis- 
figured countenance, which they had so 
woefully ill-trealed, and all the reproach, 
and contempt, and annoyance, and spurn, 
and slight, that they could conceive in 
their devilish hearts, all this they inflicted 
on this gentle Lamb. They wagged their 
heads, they gnashed with their teeth against 



,.'• I 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 209 

Him in the very madness of their rage, as 
the prophet saith, for they knew not what 
affliction and pain, or what contempt they 
could heap upon Him. Their devilish 
heart was ever desirous of torturing Him 
more, nor could they glut their thirst for 
His Blood with even torments such as 
these. Hence, again, they bent their knees 
to Him in mockery, and adored Him, say- 
ing, "Hail, King of the Jews." 

Then, because Christ bore all this with 
marvellous patience, so as not even once 
to turn away His face from their blows 
and spittle, they were stirred up to such 
fury, that leaping from the ground, and 
seizing the reed out of His hand, they in- 
flicted horrible blows upon His Head, 
whereby the points of the thorns were 
fixed deeper into His sacred brain, so that 
the pain of this reached even to His Heart, 
and His precious Blood flowed down abund- 
antly over His dear face and neck. Yet 
all the while that innocent Lamb sat there 
full of love, and bore with exceeding pa- 
tience all this utterly inhuman affliction 
and pain for our foul sins, for the glory of 
His Eternal Father. O ye proud, ye foul 
sinners, weigh well, I pray you, with your- 
selves, how great must have been your 
sins, that they had to be atoned for by 
such a chastisement, and by chastisement 
so exceeding great. Had not the Eternal 
Father been grievously offended, never 



2 lo Meditations on the Life and Passion 

would the Son of God have suffered thus. 
Had not your sins been clearly unto deaths 
never would the Son of God have died to 
blot them out. Wherefore, let every sin- 
ner go down into his own heart, and there, 
with deep sighs and bitter tears, let him 
confess and acknowledge that he himself 
is the cause of these Christ's cruel tor- 
ments. For of a truth, as we have sinned, 
so Christ desired to suffer. It is because 
men take exceeding pains to adorn their 
heads in order to appear well-favoured be- 
fore men, and because they take pride in 
this, that Christ Jesus was so fearfully tor- 
tured in His Head, so that He might 
atone for these sins of men. 

He was clothed also in a purple or scar- 
let robe. Purple is the dye of fishes, 
•which live in the dew of heaven, and it 
signifieth tenderness of heart, since this 
virtue sheweth a man's blood through all 
his veins, and gladdeneth and enlighteneth 
his heart, and setteth his spirit on fire with 
compassion and love. The man who is 
tender of heart swimmeth in the delights 
of grace, like a fish in water, and a tender 
heart liveth upon the dew of heaven, that 
is, on the inflowing of the Holy Ghost. 
All this, indeed, we can see in Christ. 
For during the time of His Passion He 
was young and beautiful, full of all grace 
and love, for He performed all His works 
out of a loving, glad, tender, and cheerful 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 211 

heart, to the glory of His Eternal Father ; 
and He shed His precious Blood even to 
the last little drop, for tlie salvation of His 
creatures. And when the Jews could not 
kill this noble fish on that higli and solemn 
feast-day, the vestment of His Body was 
dyed in purple colour. Thus, too, in that 
He was clad in a scarlet robe, that is, in a 
red garment, twice dyed with the blood of 
little worms, is shown forth to us His love, 
which addeth ornament to all virtues, and 
this we ought also to have for our chief 
and upper garment. And His garment 
was of two colours, and twice dyed, so as 
to unite us both to God and our neighbour 
by love, just as fire joineth to itself what- 
ever it can burn, and transformeth it into 
its own likeness. Thus, also, every one 
who is humble and little in his own eyes, 
chooseth to be as a poor little worm, and 
burning with love towards his God, stain- 
eth his robe with scarlet, when for God's 
glory, and his neighbour's profit and sal- 
vation, he wasteth his own blood. For 
the fiery love with which he burnetii to- 
wards God, yearning to promote His high- 
est honour, and to increase His praise, 
and his ardent desire to lead all men to 
the highest blessedness, whereby God 
may be praised by them for all eternity ; 
these, I say, are so great and vehement in 
such a man, that they inwardly melt and 
consume him, and cause him to pour him- 



212 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

self forth outwardly, so that he embraceth 
all men, especially those who are op- 
pressed by misery or calamity, in such burn- 
ing love and charity, that he would desire 
to suffer the torments of hell for all men, 
if this seemed good to God, and could 
give Him honour ; even as Moses, for the 
sake of the children of Israel, desired to 
be blotted out of the book of life, and as 
Paul desired to become an anathema for 
his brethren. Thus then did Christ. He 
humbled Himself in our nature beneath 
all men whatsoever; He called Himself 
not a man, but a worm, born of the clay of 
earth, in that He Himself had taken upon 
Him human nature, of that goodly earth, 
the Virgin Mary. Moreover, He took 
blood and marrow of bone out of love, in 
order that He might work the highest 
deeds of love for the glory of God His 
Father, and the salvation of all mankind. 
This was why Christ Jesus, the humble 
lover of souls, wore a bridal garment of 
purple and scarlet; namely, as a clear 
proof and sign of His unutterable tender- 
ness and incomprehensible love. And on 
that day of His espousals, He wore a crown 
of green, adorned with red roses, that is, 
crimsoned by His own red Blood, for He 
would show to us that He is a tender and 
gentle King, and the true Prince of love. 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 213 



The Twenty-seventh Chapter. 

A prayer for enlightenment. 

O JESUS, Mirror of eternal truth 1 LiVht 
that enlighteneth every man that 
Cometh into the world ; Light that shinest 
in the darkness ; Light in which there is 
no darkness at all ; Light to which no 
other light can add ; Light before which 
every other light is as it were not ; Light 
that givest increase to all light ; Light 
from which all tilings receive light ; Light 
that createst all light, preservest all light, 
rulest all light ! O Light, which Tobias 
saw, when, with closed eyes, he taught his 
son the way of life ! Light, which Isaac 
inwardly saw, when, with misty eyes, he 
told his son the things which were to be ! 
Light, by which all tlie prophets were en- 
lightened, that they might know the secret 
things which were to come to pass long 
afterwards, and propliecy of hidden sacra- 
ments and mysteries ! Light, that saidst : 
" Let there be light, and there was light." 
Behold ! darkness covereth the face of my 
heart, so that I cannot see the light of 
heaven. Say, therefore, to my soul : "Let 
there be light, and there shall be light." 
For straightway in glittering splendour 



214 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

there shall beam forth shining rays from 
Thee, the true and fontal light, into the 
abyss of my heart, into the depths of my 
soul, and my night shall be turned into 
clear day. 

O Light above all understanding ! So 
light me up with Thy brightness, that I 
may contemplate Thee, my God, in Thy- 
self, and myself in Thee, and all things 
beneath Thyself. O Light that canst not 
deceive, and canst not be deceived, to 
Whom nothing is hid, to Whom alone the 
hearts of all the sons of men lie open and 
clear; enlighten, I beseech Thee, the 
secret recesses of my heart, that I may 
find out my secret sins, which lie hidden 
within them ; and not those sins alone, 
which have been conceived of the enemy's 
vicious seed, but also those propensities 
and hidden roots of the soul, which have 
generated within me, and caused to spring 
up anew the enemy's hurtful seed, whereby 
Thy work in me is hindered and delayed, 
virtues are kept under, and the little 
garden of my heart, which is tilled for Thy 
consolation, is given up to shameful weeds, 
and beconieth untilled and rough. 

O most luminous Truth! who can rightly 
understand his own sins ? Who can 
clearly discern what is pleasing or un- 
pleasing to Thee, what is suggested by 
Thy Spirit, or advised by our own spirit 
of sensuality ? Of a truth without Thee 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 215 

all things are vicious, frail, and unclean ; 
without Thee, all is darkness to me ; with- 
out Thee, there is for me no truth, no 
judgment, no knowledge, no discernment. 
As long as Thy light is absent, vanity 
seemeth to be truth, and wickedness 
justice, and vice virtue. For with my 
growth, ignorance hath grown ; my ini- 
quities are multiplied more than the hairs 
of my head ; I have tried to see, and could 
not. The mist of impure thoughts hath 
so darkened my heart, that I cannot gaze 
at the light of Thy grace. Blind, I am 
led down to hell. Ah 1 my God ! grant 
that 1 may see ; enlighten my inward eyes, 
lest ever I should sleep in death, and the 
enemy should say : " I have prevailed 
against him .-*" Tear asunder the great 
veil, which hath obtruded itself between 
Thee, my God, and me, Thy servant. 
Open my blindfolded eyes, that I may 
know the way of truth, and keep to Thy 
sacred foot-prints. O Jesus, bright Sun of 
Justice, exceeding bright, enlighten me 
who sit in darkness, and who dwell in the 
shadow of death ; direct my feet into the 
way of peace, by which I may come to the 
place of Thy wonderful tabernacle, to Thy 
great dwelling-place, with the prayer of 
compassion, and the song of rejoicing. O 
well-spring of exhaustless loving-kindness, 
from which flow all grace and goodness ; 
let there flow forth, I beseech Thee, the 



2 16 Meditatio7ts on the Life a7id Passion 

rich dew of Thy bounty on my parched 
and withered soul, before it die ; for my 
virtue is dried up like a potsherd. Help 
Thy wretched creature, that Thine Al- 
mighty Goodness hath made. O source 
of my being ! Thou hast made me out of 
nothing, and behold I return into nothing, 
unless Thou govern and preserve me. 
When I had perished, Thou didst redeem 
me ; but again I perish, unless Thou suc- 
cour me. For Thou art the Word of God, 
by Whom all things are made, and with- 
out Whom nothing is made, and behold 1 
without Thee, I am nothing. O tender 
Jesus, Who shrinkest not from coming 
down from heaven, to build up again what 
had become ruined, come down even to 
my wretched soul, corrupted though it be, 
and dead in sins, that by Thee I may be 
born again. Without Thee we have no 
life in us. Let me hear Thy sweet voice, 
at which the dead come to life, and the 
wicked spirits are put to flight, and all 
sicknesses are healed, that my spirit also 
may be healed by Thee, and stirred up, 
and that it may rejoice with joy beyond 
all measure, in worthy praise and thanks- 
giving. 

O, mirror of divine brightness, purify 
my inward eyes, that they may be made 
fit to contemplate Thee. For it was for 
this that Thy loving face was made foul 
with spittle and blood, and was buffeted 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 217 



and smitten. It was for this that Thou 
Thyself wert left without any beauty ; be- 
cause Thou would St cleanse the face of 
my heart, and make it pure from every 
stain in Thy precious Blood. It was for 
this, too, that Thine outward eyes were 
veiled and covered during Thy Passion, 
because Thou wouldst uncover the inward 
gaze of my understanding, and strip it 
naked of all distractions, and images, and 
multiplicity of objects, and of all that can 
come between Thee and it ; so that with 
a naked understanding and a clear gaze, I 
might look on Thy eternal Godhead, and 
on Thee, the source of my being, and 
that I might ever have my spirit naked 
and uncovered, a living and brilliant mir- 
ror, as it were, wherein I might catch the 
outward likeness of Thy divine image ; 
and that I might set no other object be- 
fore the eye of my heart, than that bleed- 
ing Body of Thine, and Thy disfigured 
Face, and Thy thorn-crowned Head ; and 
that at the same time, by means of this 
Thy pitiable and painful image, I might 
vigorously despise all pride and vanity of 
this world, and the applause and favour of 
men. 

O most merciful God, grant me so much 
knowledge of Thyself as is necessary for 
me, in order to obtain a true love for 
Thee ; for, indeed, I love Thee, and long 
more and more to love Thee, Wound 



21 8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



my heart with the dart of Thy love, and 
grant that I may love Thee with such 
ardour as that with which Thou wishest to 
be loved by me. For nothing is sweeter 
to me than to love Thee, my God ; and 
nothing more bitter, than to be held back 
from and kept a stranger to Thy love by 
anything whatsoever. For all that is be- 
neath Thee is to me a cause of great want, 
and an affliction ; nay more, it is a deadly 
enemy that desireth to tear me from Thy 
sweet and beloved Heart. Moreover, 
without Thee, I am a heavy cross to my- 
self, and an intolerable hell. 

O unquenchable fire of love, Thou love 
that ever burnest, and never canst be put 
out, set me also on fire, burn into my 
whole being, that in myself I may wholly 
fall away, and be wholly transformed by 
Thy love ; melt my whole being, that 1 
may wholly lose myself in Thee. Con- 
sume me wholly, O my God, in the fire of 
Thy burning love, that utterly forgetful of 
my own self and of all that is in the world, 
I may, with the arms of love, embrace 
Thee, the highest and most excellent Good. 
I pray Thee, Lord, by Thy loving-kind- 
ness, to graft me into Thyself, and unite 
me to Thee, tlmt I may become one with 
Thee, and rest for ever in Thee, the one 
Eternal. Amen. 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 219 



The Twenty-eighth Chapter. 

Christ is shown to the people by the Gov- 
erfiovy with the words : " Behold the 
Man r 

AFTER that Jesus had been thus in- 
humanly treated, and all the poison- 
ous malice of the Jews had been poured 
out upon Him, yet not even then did their 
raging madness and hatred wax cold, nor 
was their thirst of blood quenched. Not 
satisfied with having thus shamefully 
mocked and set at nought the Son of 
God in the sight of all who were in the 
judgment hall, they would have Him led 
out before the gaze of all the people, who, 
for fear of pollution, had not dared to 
enter in ; for Pilate was a heathen and 
profane, and it was not lawful for the Jews 
to come under his roof. They were afraid 
of becoming polluted by entering into a 
heathen man's house, yet they had no fear 
of calling down Christ's innocent Blood 
upon themselves. They desired to eat the 
Paschal Lamb, yet they feared not un- 
justly to put the true Paschal Lamb to 
death. Pilate, therefore, brought forth 
Jesus in His cruel agony, and set Him 
before the gaze of that raging crowd, say 



2 20 Meditations 07i the Life and Passion 

ing : " Behold the Man ! Behold I lead 
Him forth to you." See how grievously 
He hath been treated, how fearfully He 
hath been scourged. 

Let us now observe, and this with great 
compassion, how pitiably our Lord stood 
there, covered with a shameful garment 
that might well excite their laughter, His 
crown of thorns upon His Head, His scep- 
tre a reed, His Wounds gaping, His limbs 
worn and wearied. His poor Body horri- 
ble to see, trembling with cold, and shed- 
ding large drops of blood. Let us look, 
too, with inward sorrow, on His loving 
face, on which the angels desire to gaze ; 
how pitiably it is swollen from the cruel 
blows, how torn and scratched by the fin- 
ger-nails of His tormenters, how stained 
and discoloured with mingled blood and 
brain, how foul with spittle, so that He 
hath almost lost the form of man. Oh ! 
of a surety, he who is not moved by this, 
is harder than steel and adamant. When, 
then, Pilate had led Him forth before the 
people, he said ; " Ecce homo I" " BekolcL 
the Man ./" 

This can be interpreted in divers ways. 
The Father of heaven hath indeed loved 
us from all eternity, and it is His will that 
we should give Him love for love, accord- 
ing to our poor measure. This is why He 
said to the soul of man: *• Ecce homo. Be- 
hold the man." Look upon Him, that thou 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 221 

mayest be looked upon by Him ; love, that 
thou mayest be loved ; acknowledge Him, 
that He may acknowledge thee. " Behold 
My only-begotten One beareth fullest testi- 
mony of My love for thee, since I have 
given Him all for thee. Neither His 
Body, nor His soul, nor His Blood, were 
so dear to Me, that I could hesitate to give 
Him for thy sake. Nay, if I could have 
found in My fatherly Heart anything bet- 
ter or more precious, that would I have 
given for thee. Behold the Man ! In 
the manhood of My Son, I have given 
thee My most high Godhead, for He is 
one with Me, and in Me, one, same, true 
and undivided God, and whosoever receiv- 
eth Him, receiveth Me. I have given 
thee, moreover, My Holy Spirit, to cleanse, 
and comfort, and enlighten thee ; to teach 
thee all truth and justice ; to inflame thee 
with His own love ; to solace thee, and 
enrich thee with all graces and virtues. 
For I took exceeding great complacency 
in thee, and thou didst find favour in My 
eyes, and I set My Heart upon thee, and 
chose thee for My own beloved bride. 
And from everlasting had I decreed, that 
My delight ana My pleasure should be in 
thee, even in thee whom I had chosen to 
be My temple, and My chamber, and My 
dwelling-place. Behold the Man ! In 
Him have I given thee My whole un- 
divided Self, that thou also mightest give 



2 22 Mediiatlons on the Life and Passion 

to Me thy whole undivided self, all that 
thou art, and all that thou canst do. With 
the purest love have I embraced thee, 
without ever looking for any reward or 
compensation from thee. Wherefore it is 
just that thou in thy turn shouldst love 
Me without looking for any reward ; that 
is, that thou shouldst love Me for Myself 
alone, that I may be thy reward, thy hope, 
and thy aim, and that thou shouldst love 
Me, because I have loved thee, and that 
thou mayest deserve to be loved by Me. 
And if thou wilt enter with Me into a com- 
pact of love, and become worthy to be 
loved by Me, thou must be a willing and 
living instrument in My hands, and allow 
thyself to be led by Me ; and thou must 
offer and resign thy whole self wholly to 
Me, "without any wish or choice of thy 
own, and suffer whatever may seem good 
to Me to do with thee both in time and in 
eternity. Yes, I say, it is thus absolutely 
necessary that thou shouldst leave Me to 
work in thee, and leave thyself to suffer, 
and to forego, and that thou shouldst ask 
of Me to accomplish in thee all that from 
everlasting I have decreed and fore-or- 
dained, denying thyself utterly, and giving 
Me all power to work in thee. And witii 
entire trust in My goodness, thou must 
cling to Me, receiving with great gratitude 
from My hand all that I shall permit to 
happen unto thee, both adversity and pros- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 223 

perity, temptations, afflictions, abandon- 
ment, distress ; trusting that in My loving- 
kindness I send thee these things, as being 
the best, and most healthful, and useful 
for thee, and in these must thou exercise 
thyself. But if thou art stable in thyself, 
and persevere, and look into the depths of 
thy soul, thou wilt clearly see why I have 
suffered these things to happen to thee, 
and that they are most necessary for thee, 
and for thine own interest. But, above 
all, I wish thee to take care, lest thou re 
sist My workings within thee by obstinacy, 
self-seeking, wandering thoughts, negli- 
gence and dissipation. But in whatever 
affliction, distress or abandonment, I may 
suffer to come upon tliee, thou shalt 
desire to persevere therein just as long as 
shall seem good to Me, until I loosen and 
snatch thee therefrom, and set thee free ; 
and thou shalt bear that cross even unto 
the end for My sake. It behoveth thee, 
indeed, to be thus shaken and tossed by 
temptations and troubles, until every straw 
of lust, or selfishness, or vicious propensity 
be blown away from thee, and thy soul, 
which is so proud and stiff, must be ground 
by these things as if by a mill-stone, until 
thou, in thine own eyes, art brought down 
to nothing, like dust and ashes, so as not 
only to acknowledge, but to feel that thou 
art the most wretched and vilest of all 
whom the world containeth. And thou 



\ 



224 hhditatmis on the Life and Passion 

must be so stripped of all will and choice 
of thy own, that whatever God shall do 
with thee and with all creatures, may be 
so pleasing to thee, that thou mayest not 
even desire it to be otherwise, even if all 
creatures and all the elements were sub- 
ject to thy rule. But before this state can 
be reached, there is work for thee to do, 
and toil for thee to bear ; and to obtain 
all this many will be the crosses and la- 
bours, yea, and spiritual deaths, which thou 
wilt have to undergo. For before it can 
bring forth the fruit, the grain of wheat 
must die in the earth. Of a truth, these 
are the two wings, exceeding trustworthy, 
which summarily and swiftly lift us to the 
spiritual life ; that is to say, self denial and 
patient suffering of adversity; in two 
words, self-denial and suffering. For who- 
soever knoweth how to resiofn himself to 
God in all simplicity, to him no affliction, 
nor infirmity, nor adversity can happen at 
all, without turning to an increase of vir- 
tue. This is that to which the apostle 
beareth witness, when he saith : " We 
know that to them who love God all things 
work together for good." 

Therefore, if a man bear all things 
equally, and from all that happeneth to him 
gather matter for self-exercise, and if he 
carefully look into the depth of his own 
heart, he will iiear the Father's voice speak- 
ing to him inwardly, and saying; " Ecce 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 225 

homo !" " Behold the Man !" Know 
thyself, know what thou art ; acknowledge 
thy too great want of mortification, and 
the manifold vices that lie hidden in the 
depth of thy soul ; take good heed that 
thou art nothing, that thou hast nothing, 
that thou canst do nothing of thyself. 
Suffer Me, then, to work within thee. 
Cleave unto Me by love, serve Me by 
faith, and whatever thou canst not do by 
thine own power I will do it for thee. In 
this knowledge, therefore, such a man will 
exercise himself, and when all his defects 
and crosses have been taken away, he will 
go with them to God, and give Him thanks, 
for thus having caused him to know his 
own vileness ; and he will answer God, and 
will say in his turn, " Ecce homo !" " Be- 
hold the man !" Behold, O my God, I 
arr* wretched and fit for nothing, and weak, 
and powerless ; I have been conceived in 
sin, born in misery, and brought up in 
vice. Against whom, O Lord, dost Thou 
put forth Thy power } " Ecce homo P* 
" Behold the man." Be not angry with 
the leaf that is carried away by the wind. 
Forget not, O tender Lord, my poverty 
and frailty, and take not away from me 
the help of Thy grace, for I am a man, 
and a frail potsherd ; I am a worm, 
and no man, full of the uncleanness of the 
flesh, from which filth and dirt run down 
both within and without. The power of 



2 26 I\Tcditations ofi the Life and Passion 

resistance hath gone from me, and already 
I am overcome. Have mercy on me, O 
Thou, my God ! Fight for me, work in 
me, do unto me what Thou wilt. Behold ! 
I resign my whole self to Thee. For I 
know that Thy nature is goodness, and 
that it belongeth to Thee to have mercy 
and to spare. All my malice I cast into 
Thine infinite goodness. Thou hast granted 
unto me to know my sins, O Lord, grant 
that I may overcome them. Tear up by 
the roots all uncleanness of sin, and what- 
ever is displeasing to Thee, and again 
plant in me Thy divine love, and all vir- 
tues. 

Lastly, by this acknowledgment of his 
own frailty, and by the contemplation of 
his own vices, a man will very often make 
greater progress, if he only exercise him- 
self well therein, than if in the meanwhile 
lie had exercised himself in other things, 
however high. Of a truth, if a man is to 
be thoroughly cleansed, the vices which 
lie hidden in him must be brought to light, 
and he himself must sit with holy Job on 
the dung-hill and filth of his own vices, 
and this, too, with much sorrow and an- 
guish, scraping off the gore and unclean 
matter of his wounds with a potsherd ; 
that is to say, wiping away with labour and 
pain the impure flux of thoughts that 
spring from his sensuk/ t^rid corrupt nature. 
And he must place his exercise in this, so 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 227 

that with grievous toil he may cultivate the 
jfield of his conscience, if one day he would 
have it yield pleasant fruit. Now he must 
exercise himself in these things for a while, 
and many times must he die to these vices, 
and conquer them, and go with them to 
God, and throw all his sins and faults 
many times into God's Wounds, and wash 
them therein, and burn them away in the 
flame of God's love, until he feel that they 
have gone utterly from him, and that he 
hath been freed from them by God. 

Moreover, this word, '* Ecce homOy' may 
be taken in this sense, as if, namely, the 
Son Himself were to say: ^^ Ecce homo :'* 
"Behold, O man." Behold what I iiave 
done for thee ; I have known thee from 
everlasting in My essence, for from ever- 
lasting hast thou been in Me, sharing My 
being according to the idea of My Eternal 
Mind. Besides, I made thee a creature, 
and embraced thee with such high love, and 
endowed thee with such excellent grace, 
that I created thee to ]\Iy own imao;^e and 
likeness. And that thou mightest know 
how goodly and fair I made thee, I shrunk 
not from taking thy nature, and from stamp- 
ing on it the image of My worshipful God- 
head. I was made thy own flesh and 
blood that I might redeem thee. I created 
My soul with all its powers, and I filled it 
with all spiritual gifts and graces, that I 
might perfectly practise all virtues, that I 



2 28 Meditatmis on the Life and Passi07i 

might satisfy for thy sins, and that I might 
merit and obtain for thee hfe everlastine. 
'^ Ecce homoy I, Who before all ages was 
born of the divine womb of My Eternal 
Father, in a certain marvellous and un- 
utterable way, ever abiding equal with the 
same Father in power and glory, thought 
it no lowering of Myself to take thy nature, 
and to be made thy servant for three and 
thirty years, and in much poverty and low- 
liness and affliction, to work thy salvation. 
I was made, too, an exile from Mine own 
kingdom, that thou mightest become its 
heir. I was made an enemy of My Father, 
and was forsaken and chastened by Him 
with cruel chastisement, and I suffered His 
anger to be cast on Me, that thou mightest 
find grace, and be made the friend and 
child of God. Lastly, I took all thy debt 
upon Me, and I, Who was thy Judge, and 
Who by right could have sentenced thee 
to eternal damnation, was so touched with 
mercy, that under the appearance of a 
guilty sinner I gladly gave Myself over to 
a shameful death for thy sins, and spent 
My whole Self even to the last little drop 
of blood. Moreover, out of pure love, I 
gave thee My very Heart's Blood to drink; 
I became a worm, and no man, mocked 
and scoffed at by all, the reproach of men, 
and the hated sickening outcast of the 
people. As the fruit of the vine was I 
pressed in the wine-press of My Passion. 



of otir Lord yestis Christ. 229 



My strength withered up like a potsherd, 
and was dried by the fire of love ; and 
even as snow melteth when the sun look- 
eth down, so in My Father's sight was I 
exhausted, and consumed, and melted for 
the sake of thy salvation. ** Ecce homo." 
" Behold the Man !" What more wilt thou 
that I should do for thee ? How could I 
have shown thee ijreater faithfulness, 
greater good-will, greater loving-kindness ? 
See, how I stand here disfigured for thy 
sins; how I, the Lord of lords, am forsaken 
from on high, and from below, and de- 
spised by all. See how the torment of 
those thorns has pressed into the marrow 
of My Heart, that I may pick out the 
thorns and sharp points of thy sins. From 
the top of My Head to the sole of My 
feet, I am but one gaping, bleeding Wound, 
that I may perfectly heal thee of every 
hurt. All the evil that thou hast deserved 
by following the desires of thy nature, all 
tliat I have washed away in such great and 
sharp bitterness of pain ; and I have so 
cleansed thee wholly from every stain of 
sin in My precious Blood, that thou might- 
est become pleasing and acceptable in My 
sight. " Ecce ho7no :" " Behold the Man." 
Keep for ever in thy mind the remem- 
brance of this love, and with what zeal, 
and labour, and sorrow, I sought after thee, 
and be not after this a stranger to Me. 
See if there can be any sorrow that can be 



2 30 Ideditations on the Lije and Passion 



compared with My sorrow ! See if ever 
any guilty wretch suffered such pain for 
his own sins, as I have suffered for thine ! 
From these words, too, Holy Church, 
our Mother, hath deemed that the Sacred 
Host should be elevated and shown to all, 
as if to speak to us, and say: '' EccehomoP' 
" Behold the Man ;" in order to stir us up, 
the good Mother that she is, to bear ever 
in mind the Incarnation, Nativity, Passion, 
Death, and Resurrection, and, in a word, 
all the love and all the benefits shown and 
conferred upon us by Christ ; for the Holy 
Thing, that is the Mass, hath been insti- 
tuted in remembrance of God's love, and 
of the works which for our sakes He hath 
accomplislied. For the same reason it 
hath been decreed, that there should be 
placed in all the churches the mirror of 
truth, that is, the image of the Holy Cross 
of Christ Jesus; so that as often as he 
crosseth the threshold of the temple, man 
may contemplate the figure of his Maker 
hanging upon the Cross ; and that straight- 
way tliere may come into his mind that 
wonderful love, which his God then de- 
clared to him ; and that he may so exer- 
cise and occupy himself therein, as to for- 
get all strange and outward images, and 
may imagine that his crucified Lord is ad- 
dressing him in these words: " Ecce homo:" 
"Behold the man." Behold how I hang- 
here, despised, mocked, wracked, fastened 



of our Lord Jestts Ch rist. 231 

with nails, wounded, deprived of all com- 
fort, My arms naked and stretched out 
towards thee, to take thee back into My 
grace. Behold how I hang here, with My 
Head bowed down, that I may give thee 
the kiss of peace and reconciliation ; with 
My side and Heart open, that I may bring 
thee. My chosen bride, into the pleasant 
chamber of My Heart, and there embrace 
thee with love everlasting. Then man, in 
his turn, as if accepting Christ's loving in- 
vitation to approach His sweet Wounds, 
turneth himself, full of confidence, to God, 
and to Christ's nailed and pierced feet, 
and throwing himself down with as lowly 
submission as he can, thinketh how 'he 
himself hath inflicted, by his foul sins, all 
this bitter sorrow on his Lord and God, 
and at the same time confesseth all his 
sins with bitter sorrow and burning tears, 
saying: "Enter not now, O most merciful 
God, into judgment with Thy useless and 
sinful servant, for in Thy sight shall no 
man living be justified." If in Thy angels 
evil was found, how much more unclean 
will man be, who was conceived in concu- 
piscence, and born in sin ? Lord, correct 
me not in Thine anger, for I am not spirit, 
but flesh ; not an angel, but a man. " Be- 
hold the Man." What is man, Lord God, 
that Thine anger should rage against him, 
whose life is like the wind or the smoke, 
which quickly passe th away ? Why dost 



232 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Thou show Thy power against the leaf, 
which is carried away by the wind ? Then, 
too, at the same time, with all his weak- 
ness and all his sins, man turneth to God, 
and saith : " I know, O God of mercies, 
tliat Thou madest me pure and exceeding 
lit for no other end than that I might serve 
Thee, love Thee, praise and give Thee 
tlianks, and that I might be an obedient 
instrument in all things, whereby Thou 
mightest work according to the desire of 
Thy Heart, in all delight and without hin- 
drance. But alas ! I have been corrupted 
and made foul by sin ; I have utterly de- 
stroyed Thy noble instrument, and ren- 
dered it unfit for use, so that I am unwor- 
thy that Thou shouldst work in me at all. 
For by sin I have been made wholly use- 
less, and corrupt, and hateful ; nor do I 
know if I deserve ought else, than that 
Thou shouldst take away from me all Thy 
grace, and cast me off from Thy face. 
But, O most merciful God ! while I thus 
wait for Thy tender long-suffering, and 
Thy long-suffering tenderness, wherein 
Thou hast borne so patiently all the wrong, 
and contempt, and shame that I have in- 
flicted on Thee, I here call to mind that it 
is not Thy will that any man should perish, 
and that Thou desirest not the death of 
the wicked, but rather that he should turn 
from his wickedness, and live. Trusting 
then to this, I turn to Thee, 



of our Lord yesiis Christ. 233 



'• O sweet Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the 
will of the Father, and the co-operation of 
the Holy Ghost, didst renew our too cor- 
rupted nature, and restore it to its first 
purity, so that by Thee far greater grace 
and glory have been born to us, than we 
lost by our first parents : Behold, I desire 
so to offer myself as an instrument in Thy 
hands, whereby Thou mayest work in me 
according to the desire of Thy Heart, as 
no creature hath ever offered itself before. 
But, O tender God, this is not in my 
power, for by a long habit of sin I have 
utterly corrupted myself. But whatever I 
may now be, I offer myself to Thee. If 
Thou hast renewed the whole world by 
Thyself, surely Thou art able to form me 
again to that purity, in which I was created 
by Thee. Thou art able out of a stone to 
raise up a child of Abraham. Vouchsafe, 
therefore, by Thy divine Mystery, to form 
and make over again all that by my own 
wickedness I have destroyed." 

Thirdly, the word " Ecce homo' may be 
literally understood, as if Pilate, when he 
said to the Jewish multitude: "■ Ecce homo,'' 
" Behold the man," meant to address them 
in these words: " Behold the man. — Now 
let your blood-thirstiness be quenched, let 
this now be enough for you ; cease now to 
persecute any more the innocent blood. 
For, contrary to right and justice, contrary 
to my mind and conscience, 1 iiave fear- 



234 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

fully chastised this innocent man, in order 
to appease your mad rage. Let this be 
enough for you, and now show some kind- 
ness to this man, who hath deserved no 
evil. For he is a man. Have compassion 
on your own flesh and blood, and on one 
of your own race ; let your cruel tyranny 
be turned into mercy, your hatred into 
love ; have pity upon Him in His cruel 
punishments, which you see have been in- 
flicted upon Him. He is no beast, but a 
man. No robber or malefactor was ever 
so brought down to nothing, or so unwor- 
thily punished for his crimes, as this Just 
Man, Who hath done no wrong. If ye 
despised Him because He said He was a 
king, now, at least, receive Him Whom 
you see the most wretched and abject of 



men." 



When, then, the cruel Jews heard these 
words, and saw Jesus thus disfigured stand- 
ing before them, their hearts of steel, far 
from being softened, began rather to glow 
with a white heat of hatred and envy, so 
that they cried out savagely: " Away with 
Him, away with Him 1" " We cannot even 
look upon Him !" " Crucify Him, crucify 
Him !" " We will have no more excuses : 
He is guilty of death." When Pilate saw 
that he could do no good, and that he was 
powerless either by word or deed to set 
Jesus free, and that the rage and madness 
of the Jews increased more and more, he 



of 07ir Lord j^esus Christ. 235 

washed his hands before all the wicked 
people, and said: "I am guildess of the 
innocent blood of this Just Man. See ye 
to it." But they with discordant and hor- 
rible cries, cried out: " His Blood be upon 
us, and upon our children." O unheard- 
of malice ! O accursed hatred ! 

Here let each man enter into the secret 
places of his heart, and there meditate 
with himself with what sorrow the Heart 
of Jesus was pierced at these words, since 
He clearly saw that they had been uttered 
by the Jews out of envy and malice. Let 
us consider how heavy an affliction it was 
to our tender-hearted Lord, Whose nature 
is goodness, when He looked into the de- 
ceitful and plague-stricken hearts of His 
people, and beheld with what cruelty and 
hatred they were consumed, how they 
thirsted for His Blood, so as even to give 
themselves and their children over to eter- 
nal malediction, and the terrible vengeance 
of God, if only they could put Christ to 
death. How sadly, peradventure, did our 
Lord think within His Heart: '* O My 
people, what have I done to you, or how 
have I grieved you ? I chose you from 
out the nations, and highly exalted you. 
With fatherly love I kept and cherished 
you, and I filled you with all good things, 
and now you seek to kill and crucify 
Me." 

After this, Pilate passed sentence upon 



236 UTeditations on the Life and Passion 

Christ, and gave Him into the hands of 
the Jews, that they might crucify Him, 
and put Him to death according- to their 
desire. Ah ! where is tlie man whose 
heart will not tremble with horror, and 
who will not break forth into tears, when 
he seeth the Author of life sentenced to 
death ? the Son of God, to Whom the 
Father hath given all judgment, suffering 
Himself, of His own free will, to be con- 
demned to a shameful death ? Oh ! who 
can refrain from tears, wlien he calleth to 
mind how his dear Lord, the innocent 
Lamb, was delivered into the cruel hands 
of the Jews, that they might fulfil their 
designs upon Him ? What will they now 
do, when they have obtained the judge's 
consent, who dared to do so much without 
the governor's leave ? Will they not pour 
out upon Christ the rage which they have 
so long borne in their hearts ? Of a truth, 
whatever evil they could think of, that 
they inflicted upon Him. By the most 
bitter, shameful, cruel and contemptible 
death they can think of, will they kill 
Him ; for He hath given Himself over to 
their will. O wicked judgment ! O unjust 
sentence ! O cruel condemnation ! O 
perverse judge, a little while ago thou 
didst find no cause in Him, and now thou 
sentencest Him to death. A little before 
thou didst declare Him a just man, and 
now thou condemnest Him to die. A 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 237 

little before thou didst confess that thou 
k newest well that the Jews had been moved 
by hatred and envy to deHver Him to you, 
and that there was no fault at all in Him, 
and now thou eivest Him over into the 
hands of His enemies^ and to their cruel 
will! 



The Twenty-ninth Chapter. 
The burden of the Cross is laid on 

yes Its. 

Now after that Christ Jesus, our Sa- 
viour, had been condemned to death, 
the soldiers again seized Him, and strip- 
ping Him of the purple garment, clothed 
Him once more in His own garments^ that 
He might be the better recognised in His 
own dress. Then they hurried Him along 
to death, for they feared that Pilate might 
be otherwise persuaded, or repent, and 
thus recall his sentence. They took, there- 
fore, the heavy beam of the Holy Cross, 
and laid it upon His sacred shoulders, and 
its length, as some have observed, was 
fifteen feet. Moreover, the reason why 
they did this was, because at that time the 
cross was the most shameful kind of tor- 



238 Meditatiojis on the Life and Passion 

ment by which the g-uilty could be put to 
death. For this reason no one would 
touch it for fear of confusion and shame. 
Thus, then, they laid it on Christ, to His 
great confusion, that He might bear His 
own shame, and might be an object of 
mockery and scorn to all men, and that 
the remembrance of Him might be utterly 
blotted out of the hearts of men, and that 
no one might ever dare to make mention 
of Him again. But our most gracious 
Lord willingly and gently took its weight 
upon Him, and carried it with great love 
for His Father's glory and the salvation of 
men ; nor did He take upon Himself the 
Cross alone, but the sins of the whole 
world, and He carried it to Calvary, where 
He fastened them to the Cross, and de- 
stroyed them, and washed them away in 
His own Blood, and atoned for them by 
His bitter death. This is what the Pro- 
phet saith: " All we like sheep have gone 
astray, every man into his own way ;" that 
is, after his own lusts and delights; "and 
the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of 
us all." 

Moreover, In doing this, our Lord showed 
unto us a certain example of perfection, as 
before He had taught us by word, for He 
utterly denied and resigned Himself, and 
bore His Cross with constancy and perse- 
verance. If, tlien, thou wouldst become 
His disciple, go and do likewise, and fol- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ 239 



low thy Lord. Yet it was not enoug^h for 
the Jews to have thus shamefully treated 
Him, for, to shame Him the more, they 
led Him along between two thieves, and 
showed Him far greater contempt than 
they showed to them, by forcing Him to 
carry His Cross, — a thing which was never 
heard to have been done to thieves. O 
most loving Jesus ! what love hath over- 
come Thee } How exceedingly liast Thou 
thirsted after my salvation ! With what 
strong desire hast Thou walked along that 
difficult and painful way for my sake, and 
suffered such great shame and reproach for 
the love of me. To call me back to life, 
Thou, the Author of life, wert led to death ! 
To bring us back out of the path of wick- 
edness. Thou, the Lord of Sabaoth, the 
Lord holy and just, art dragged to Calvary. 
To teach us to despise the good things of 
earth, Thou hast suffered Thyself to be 
despoiled of all things, and naked hast 
gone up to the Cross to Thy Father. To 
plant us among the angelic choirs, and to 
join us thereto. Thou hast been numbered 
with the wicked ; and lastly, that we might 
be honoured by the hosts of heaven, Thou 
art held up before the whole world to con- 
tempt and scorn. Of a truth, no malefac- 
tor ever died by a more shameful death. 
For, at the time when Christ suffered, the 
Pasch was being celebrated by the Jev/s, 
and a great multitude of people had come 



540 Mediiations on the Life and Passion 

together, and all strove one with the other 
to obtain a sight of Christ. Thus, then, 
the Lord of glory, Whose is all glory and 
honour, walked along, crowned with thorns, 
bound with hard cords, heavy laden with 
the weight of the Cross, between two 
thieves, and mocked by every sign of con- 
demnation, of which those wicked men 
could think. 

Let us contemplate, I pray of you, with 
sorrowful hearts, how full of agony was 
that procession. Before our Lord went 
the vile crowed, laughing and grinning, de- 
siring to be beforehand with Him, in order 
to see Him fastened to the Cross. On 
either side walked the torturers and exe- 
cutioners, afflicting Him at every step in 
numberless ways, in order to allure and 
excite the whole people to mock and ill- 
treat Him. Behind followed the cruel 
crowd of armed men, and, as we may sup- 
pose, the leaders and chief-priests, rejoic- 
ing like lions when they have captured 
their prey, and these heaped upon Christ 
curses and blasphemies. Thus, then, was 
the King of glory made the contempt of 
all ; small and great, noble and base-born, 
shamefully ill-treated Him. This our Lord 
had long before foretold by the Prophet, 
in these words: "They who sat in the gate 
spoke against Me, and they who drank 
wine held me up to scorn. All who saw 



of our Lord ^esus Christ. 241 

Me, mocked Me ; they spoke with their 
h'ps, and wagged their heads." 

Let us, then, with inward sorrow, look 
closely into the torments which our Lord 
now suffered. Although, as Isaias saith, 
He was full of wounds, and from the sole 
of the foot to the top of the head there 
was no health in Him, yet it hath been 
observed by some, that He was again 
grievously hurt and wounded in His shoul- 
der. For upon it pressed the great beam 
of the Cross, which inflicted on it a large 
wound, making of all the wounds one 
wound ; and the pain thereof pierced His 
tender Heart. And as some devout doc- 
tors teach, this was one of the most griev- 
ous of Christ's pains. For, as we learn by 
daily experience, if a man be in pain from 
even some slight wound or ulcer, he can 
hardly suffer with patience anyone to come 
near him. What then must have been the 
torment of our Lord Jesus Christ, when 
that heavy wood was laid and pressed 
down upon His bleeding shoulders, and 
chiefly upon that fearful wound ; and He 
had to carry it so long a journey ? And 
because the Cross was too long, He could 
not carry it all upon His shoulder. Hence 
it happened, that the end of it, striking 
against the stones strewn upon the way, 
made a great and harsh noise, which must 
have been painful to our Lord beyond all 

belief Moreover, as by reason of all those 
16 



^42 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



grievous pains and troubles whicli He had 
borne all that night and day, He was so 
weak and injured as to be wholly ex- 
hausted and devoid of strength, He walked 
along so pitiably bowed down to the earth 
beneath the great weight of the Cross, and 
with such exceeding agony of heart that 
every step He took eat, so to speak, into 
His very Heart. But His burning love 
for us and our salvation kept urging Him 
on to suffer beyond His strength. And 
of a truth, beyond measure grievous was 
that affliction, both inwardly and outwardly, 
when He had taken on Himself not only 
the burden of the Cross, but the sins of 
the whole world, as the prince of the apos- 
tles saith: "He hath borne our sins in His 
own Body on the tree." Nor could Christ's 
Passion be anything but exceeding bitter, 
since, according to the rigour of justice, it 
was to outweigh all the sins of men. Here 
let every man think in his own heart, how 
much heavier he himself hath made the 
Cross of Christ by his own sins. 

After this, when those bloodthirsty dogs 
would hasten Christ's death, they both 
kicked and struck Him, and without any 
mercy showered down blows upon Him, as 
if He had been some brute beast in their 
hands. Nevertheless, this innocent Lamb 
meekly placed Himself under all their 
savage blows. Who then can restrain his 
ccars, if he set Christ thus disfigured be. 



of oiLV Lord yestis Christ. 243 

fore the eyes of his soul, and with great 
compassion consider His pains ? For, of 
a truth, His Body was utterly exhausted, 
and yet carried a Heart to suffer. His 
limbs sank down under His burden, yet 
when He fell down burning love raised 
Him up, that He might bear His punish- 
ment even to the end. The heavy weight 
of the Cross pressed Plim down to the 
earth, yet His fiery longing urged Him to 
go on. For His eager desire to accom- 
plish His Father's will, and to finish our 
redemption, had so increased within Him, 
that it compelled Him to suffer more than 
His nature and human weakness could 
bear, and so forced Him through all His 
pains, that He would not have refused to 
walk under this heavy burden, even to the 
last judgment day, for man's salvation, if 
this had seemed good to His Father, and 
had been to His honour. 

Here, therefore, Christ setteth before 
all men a mirror, as it were, and form of 
spiritual life and perfection. For as many 
as aspire to a true and virtuous life, these 
must gladly take up their cross with Christ, 
and faithfully and perseveringly carry the 
same ; and if it shall please God, they 
must suffer themselves to be stripped 
naked of all temporal goods, and of all 
help and comfort of friends, and of inward 
and spiritual consolation and sensible grace. 
For this they must cheerfully suffer mock- 



244 Meditations on the Life mid Passion 

ery, and shame, and detraction, and wrong, 
and reproach, for God's dear sake ; and 
with Christ they must be made a sacrifice 
pleasing unto God, and hke unto their Be- 
loved, by bearing many afflictions and 
troubles at the hands of men, and tempta- 
tions of devils, and their own faults and 
defects. And whosoever desireth to be a 
true lover, must never forsake his Beloved, 
either on the cross, or in death, or any 
affliction whatsoever, that can come upon 
him ; but taking his cross earnestly on his 
shoulders, he must humbly place himself 
beneath it, and say: "I will follow Thee, 
O my Beloved, whithersoever Thou shalt 
go." Nor must he ask to be loosened 
from the cross, but must desire to bear it, 
as it shall seem good to his Lord. Nor 
must he seek any consolation, either earthly 
or spiritual, which may soften or lessen his 
cross. Nay, rather, for the glory of his 
Beloved, he must be ready to bear it even 
to his last breath ; nor must he seek any 
other reward for this, but only God's hon- 
our and His good pleasure. 

Lastly, those who thus carry their cross, 
these I call the true lovers and followers 
of Christ, for they seek not their own, but 
the things of Jesus Christ ; even as S. 
Paul, that faithful lover of Christ, after 
those fearful and cruel crosses of which he 
maketh mention in his epistle, still desired 
to be an anathema for his brethren, the 



of our Lord yesus Christ, 245 

children of Israel ; that is, to become ac- 
cursed and separated from God, if only he 
could gain many to Christ. Moses, in like 
manner, desired to be blotted out of the 
book of life. Of a truth this is perfect 
charity, which seeketh not its own, spareth 
not itself, neither in time nor in eternity, if 
only God's honour be increased. They 
are true lovers and followers of Christ, 
who repay Christ in some manner for His 
Death, by exposing their lives to danger, 
even as Christ laid down His life for them, 
and who desire their own loss, if they 
may gain Christ. Nor do such men de- 
spise anyone, but themselves rejoice to 
be despised ; they magnify others and 
think them saints, but think little of them- 
selves, and hold themselves as nothing- 
worth. These show themselves kind and 
gracious to all men, rigid and severe only 
10 themselves. From others' evils they 
draw forth virtues, and their own virtues 
they hold for sins, and all others compared 
with their own sinful selves they earnestly 
judge to be just and virtuous. Who can 
hesitate to call such men humble, and 
lovers and followers of Christ, since they 
have utterly denied themselves, and follow 
Christ with His Cross } 

Nevertheless it is not enough, if thou 
wouldst perfectly please thy bridegroom 
Christ, merely to have taken up thy cross. 
If thou wouldst be made in any way like 



246 Meditations 011 the Life and Passion 

to Him, thou must also go forth with Him. 
For thus thou readest of thy Lord in the 
Gospel, that He went forth carrying- His 
Cross. And to the virgins in the Gospel 
it is said: "Behold, the Bridegroom Com- 
eth, go ye out to meet Him." W'hither, 
then, shall w^e go out ? Out of the city, 
out of the crowd of men, out of all tumult 
and disturbance ; yea, and so utterly out 
of our own selves, out of all selfishness, 
sensuality, pleasure, comfort ; out of all 
unlawful love of creatures, and all that can 
stain our hearts ; and lastly, out of all 
things in which we seek ourselves more 
than God's simple honour, love and plea- 
sure. Moreover, when we have thus gone 
out, we will then faithfully take our cross 
upon our shoulders, and keep close to 
Christ's footprints; that is to say, we will 
gladly accept all afflictions and crosses 
whatsoever, whenever they come to us by 
God's permission, and whencesoever they 
may come, whether from the evil spirit, or 
from our own faults and defects ; and will 
lift them on our shoulders, that is, we will 
exercise ourselves therein ; and so, at last, 
they will turn to our advantage. 

But come now, and let us go back to 
Christ where we left Him ; in the bloody 
hands, namely, of the cruel Jews. While 
Christ was walking along full of misery, 
under the heavy burden of the Cross, there 
were a few devout persons, chiefly certain 



of our Lord Jestts Cht'ist. 247 

women, who were deeply moved by com- 
passion for their Saviour, and wept ex- 
ceeding bitterly. To these our Lord said: 
" Weep not for Me, ye daughters of Jeru- 
salem, but weep for yourselves, and for 
your children;" as if He would say: "I 
indeed stand in no need of your prayers, 
for of My own will I suffer this shameful 
Death, both for My Father's glory and the 
salvation of all of you, and for all your sins 
and wickedness. It is not Me, therefore. 
Whom you should weep for, but weep 
rather for your own sins and those of your 
children, which cause Me all these pains. 
For it is your sins, and the contempt which 
I perceive My F'ather receiveth from you, 
which weigh Me down far more heavily 
than the Cross which I bear. And soon 
My pain will pass away, but yours will en- 
dure for ever. For if your children do 
this in the green tree, what shall be done 
in the dry ? If I, Who never committed 
any sin, but am ever green, and fruitful of 
all virtue, cannot, nevertheless, pass away 
out of this world without the fire of trou- 
ble and affliction, and the bitterness of 
suffering, what will be the fire, and flames, 
and the torments of hell, which thou must 
look for, who are dry and barren of good 
works, empty of virtue, and full of wicke(/ - 
ness ?" Here, S. Gregory truly saith; 
'* When I weigh with myself the Passion 
and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, wiien 



248 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



I consider, too, the afflictions of Job, and 
the martyrdom of S. John the Baptist, my 
heart shrinketh for fear of the punishment 
prepared for sinners and all wicked men. 
For if God chastised so terribly His own 
dearest friends, what will He do to His 
enemies ? If He thus punished their ex- 
ceeding slight faults, without which this 
life can hardly be passed, what will be the 
severity with which He will punish those 
who, like senseless and thoughtless cattle, 
live according to the lusts of their own 
corrupt flesh ?" 



The Thirtieth Chapter. 

Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, followeth 
her sorrowing Son. 

WHILE these things were being done, 
Mary, God's most sorrowful Mother, 
eagerly sought to see her Son, that she 
might receive from Him at least one word 
of comfort, or might herself solace Him in 
some way, and bid Him a last farewell. 
But, because she was not allowed to go 
near Him, by reason of the crowd.of wicked 
soldiers, who surrounded Him on every 
side, and followed Him, she went round 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 249 



by anotlier way, as some affirm, so as to 
get before the crowd, and thus meet her 
Beloved Son. For although from her bit- 
ter grief for her Son's Passion, she was 
utterly exhausted, and without strength, 
yet her mighty and burning love for Him, 
and her great desire of seeing Him, gave 
her fresh strength, so that she passed be- 
fore the whole crowd of those who were 
leading Jesus. Who, I ask, can conceive 
what must have been the agony of sorrow 
which then pierced her heart, when she 
saw her heart's only joy, Whom she em- 
braced with love beyond all comprehen- 
sion, so miserably forsaken, and bent down 
besides, beneath the heavy burden of the 
Cross ; when she looked, too, on His gra- 
cious face, that so often she had kissed 
with inward devotion, so shamefully dis- 
figured, and miserably treated ; when she 
beheld His worshipful Head, that she had 
times without number pressed with reve- 
rence and burning love to her heart, so 
cruelly pierced by the dreadful crown of 
thorns ; when, in a word, she saw such 
wrong and contempt inflicted on her God 
and Lord, and Himself numbered with 
::ondemned thieves .•* Who can doubt that 
the sword of sorrow most sharply pierced 
her devout and tender heart, when she 
saw her Beloved Son, Whom she had car- 
ried on her breast, so foul with blood and 
spittle, so buffeted and smitten, so dis- 



250 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



figured, as well as despised and cast off by 
the whole world ? There is no doubt at 
all, that if she had not been kept and 
strengthened by God's goodness, her heart 
would have broken for sorrow, for the 
measureless force of sorrow had so weigh- 
ed down her spirit, that she stood as if 
overwhelmed by some heavy rock, and 
could not utter even a word. Yet she 
manifested no unwonted disfigurement, nor 
showed outwardly any sign of impatience ; 
for she had resigned herself utterly to 
God, and had poured and brought back 
her whole being, without any choice or will 
of her own, into His most gracious will 
And because she was full of the Holy 
Ghost, she had known from the prophets 
that her Son was to die, and that it was 
for this that He had taken a mortal body, 
and that so it had seemed good to His 
Heavenly Father. Therefore it was that 
she knew not how to desire anything else. 
Hence, even as Christ Jesus gladly offered 
Himself to the Father a living Victim for 
the salvation of men, so also the most 
blessed Virgin Mary offered her own Son 
for the salvation of the human race ; and 
it was far more pleasing to her to be de- 
prived ol His consolation, than to hinder 
man's redemption. But her burning love 
for her Son could not keep itself wholly 
within, but as it inwardly burned, con- 
sumed, and melted her heart, so also it 



of otir Lord Jesus Christ. 251 

outwardly poured forth bitter tears, and 
darkened her fresh colour, and pressed 
out numberless deep sighs, so that her 
outward, pitiable, and most sad appear- 
ance, showed forth the inward anguish of 
her spirit. But because she understood 
that it was God's will that she should suf- 
fer together with her Son, she gladly of- 
fered herself for this, for she was ready, 
indeed, 'to die with her sweet Son Jesus, 
for the salvation and redemption of wretch- 
ed man. Moreover, she kept back her 
sorrow within the secret places of her 
lieart, because she desired no outward 
comfort from men, seeking rather to abide 
in that sorrow, until our Lord Himself 
delivered her therefrom, and consoled her. 
For this reason she followed Jesus, that 
with Him she might carry her cross. For 
this she went up to Calvary, that with 
Him she might be cracified inwardly in 
spirit. For this she stood by the Cross, 
that the sword of sorrow might pierce her 
Heart, and make her the Queen of all mar- 
tyrs. For the most excellent gift of God, 
by which He is wont to reward His friends, 
is the cross, together with affliction, and 
this gift He bestowed on His Son and the 
Blessed Virgin, and still bestoweth on all 
His chosen friends. Hence, whosoever 
setteth himself against the cross and afflic- 
tions, resisteth God's ivill and God's gifts, 
and waudereth away from God, and turn- 



252 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



eth his back upon Him, For with a com- 
mon love God loveth all men, and desireth 
them to advance towards perfection ; but 
this cannot be without labour, and sorrow, 
and many crosses: just as some precious 
and cunningly worked vase of gold cannot 
be made without fire, and hammers, and 
other sharp and suitable instruments. Yet 
wretched men always fly away, nor can 
they bear or tolerate Christ's gentle work- 
manship within them, and this is why they 
always remain fit for nothing, wretched and 
frail. 

Then, when Christ, as we have said, 

thus walked along pitiably laden with His 

Cross, and when all His strength was gone, 

and He was utterly exhausted, so that He 

could go no further, in His exceeding pain 

He fell down flat upon the ground. At 

this fall He felt all at one time the fearful 

want of mercy shown by those cruel 

wretches, as they smote, and dragged, and 

forced Him along, as every man may easily 

weigh and meditate in his own mind. For 

they did to Him all the devil inwardly 

suggested. Moreover, when those wicked 

and blood-thirsty tyrants saw that neither 

by striking, nor dragging, nor forcing, nor 

kicking, they could move Him any farther, 

— so utterly was He without strength, — 

they compelled a certain man, going into 

the city, to carry the Cross after Christ, 

Now this they did, not from any compas- 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 253 

sion for Christ, but that they might the 
more quickly put Him to death ; and lest, 
peradventure, He might break forth His 
soul under their hands, before they had 
put forth all their malice and wickedness 
against Him. Now this man was a heathen, 
that thereby might be given to understand 
that the Jews were unworthy to carry 
Christ's Cross ; and, at the same time, this 
mystery signified that the faith and glory 
of the Cross would pass to the Gentiles. 



The Thirty-first Chapter. 
A Prayer to t/ie Father of Heaven. 

LOOK now, I beseech Thee, O most 
merciful Father, on Thine Only-be- 
gotten Son, and see how He hath suffered 
for Thy glory in the work of our redemp- 
tion. See how the Only One of Thy love, 
equal to Tiiee in glory, equal in power, 
hath been disgraced between two thieves, 
and condemned to the shameful death of 
the Cross. Look upon His persevering 
obedience and patience, how with longing 
desire He hath borne for Thy honour all 
these pains, and all this bitterness, and 
contempt, and shame, and wrong, and all 



254 Meditations on the Life and Passio7t 

His horrible torments ; and how He hath 
exhausted and spent Himself beyond His 
human strength, with true resignation, and 
without any help from others, in order that 
He might accomplish Thy gracious will. 
This is Thy Beloved Son, in Whom Thou 
art well pleased. This is that true Jacob, 
Who, suffering persecution from Esau, the 
Jewish people, hath walked humbly through 
the Jordan alone, with the weight of His 
Cross, that He might come back again to 
Thee with great riches, and an exceeding 
multitude of men. This is that true Jo- 
seph, Thy dearest Son, sent by Thee in 
search of His brethren, whom He found in 
Dothaim, that is, in the midst of great sin 
and iniquity, but who was devoured by an 
evil beast, that is to say, by the pestilen- 
tial poison of envy. This is Jesus, the 
good Shepherd, Who laid down His life 
for His sheep, and sought everywhere so 
earnestly for the one sheep that was lost, 
and Who, when He had found it, after 
exceeding labour, and drawn it out, and 
led it away from the filth of sin, laid it so 
lovingly on His shoulders, and brought it 
back to the sheep-fold. 

O Father of Mercies ! see, I beseech 
Thee, how Thy sweet Son hath borne 
alone on His Cross the sins of the whole 
world ; and how He Who never sinned, 
washed away all our filth and uncleanness 
in His own most pure Blood, and con- 



of our Lord Resits Christ. 255 

sumed them in the heat of His burning 
love. He Whom Thou hadst appointed 
Judge, and to Whom Thou hadst given all 
power of judgment, out of His love hath 
been sentenced to death, and hath died, in 
order that He might redeem all who were 
guilty, and free them from their debts by 
paying the price of His own innocent Blood. 
O Father of heaven, how brightly doth 
Thy divine image shine forth in Thy most 
holy Son ? How easy is it to know, through 
Thy Divine Word, i'hy tender and Fatherly 
Heart ^ Now clearly do we acknowledge, 
that whosoever seeth Thy Son, seeth Thee 
also, and by the mercy of Thy beloved 
Son, we do indeed understand how Thou 
art the Father of mercies, and the God of 
all consolation. See, most sweet Father, 
here is Thy obedient Son, Who so thirsted 
after Thine honour, that out of zeal and 
love for Thy house, He wasted His Heart's 
blood, and the marrow of His bones, and 
was dried up like a potsherd, in order that 
He might lead all men along with Him to 
Thee, and that they might love, and thank, 
and praise Thee for ever. Ah ! what am 
I, a poor little worm of earth, that for my 
sake Thou sparedst not Thine only-begot- 
ten Son } How hast Thou loved me, 
whom Thou hast redeemed at such a 
price ! And, of a truth, if Thy Fatherly 
Heart could have thought of anything bet- 
ter, this, too, would have been given as the 



2a6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



price of my salvation, and for the perfect- 
ing thereof. What shall I render Thee, O 
most holy Father, for all this Fatherly 
trust, and kindness, and love, which 
Thou hast shown me through Thy Only- 
begotten Son ? Of a truth, if for Thy 
love my heart could be divided, at every 
single moment of time, into as many litde 
parts as there are little blades of grass on 
the earth, or drops of water in the sea, or 
particles of dust and sand on the moun- 
tains and in the valleys ; and if each single 
part could ceaselessly praise Thee with as 
exceeding great gratitude, and serve and 
wait on Thee as diligently, and obey Thee 
as simply, and venerate and worship Thee 
as worthily, and love Thee with as great 
detachment, as even lieth within the desire 
of all the blessed ; and if, moreover, each 
part could suffer for Thy honour as much 
as it should desire to suffer, until the last 
judgment day ; yet not even then could I 
in any wise satisfy Thee, or worthily repay 
Thee for Thy incomprehensible love, which 
Thou hast poured upon me through Thine 
Only One. 

O most gracious Father ! Thou height 
of riches, depth of consolations, abyss of 
mercy, source and river of grace, origin of 
all good, abyss of holiness, paradise of 
delights, joy of heaven, full content of the 
blessed, on Whom I see the angels desire 
to look, behold ! I praise, and laud, and 



of our Lord JesiLS Christ. 257 



ihank, and glorify, and extol, and magnify 
Thee, and all my inward parts confess, 
honour, and bless Thy holy Name ; for 
Thy goodness, and loving-kindness, and 
grace and mercy towards me, are exceed- 
ing great. And although I am a vessel of 
uncleanness, stained and spotted with many 
sins, and unworthy to praise Thee, yet am 
I bound and ought to praise Thee, by 
every right. Nay, how can I ever cease 
from Thy praise, when Thou ceasest not 
to show kindness unto me ? Therefore, 
vouchsafe in Thy mercy to be praised by 
me, a vile sinner, since Thou shrinkest not 
from bestowing daily on me. Thy most 
neglectful servant, so many gifts and graces, 
and showing me so great and Fatherly 
faithfulness and love. Behold ! again I 
offer Thee, most loving Father, this same 
only and beloved Son of Thine, in union 
with that love, whereby Thou gavest Him 
then for me, when Thou didst desire Him 
to take my nature, and afterwards to un- 
dergo the gibbet of the Cross. Nor in all 
my understanding can I think of aught 
more noble, or more worthy, or more ac- 
ceptable to Thy Majesty. Moreover, I 
offer Thee also this sweet Son of Thine, in 
union with that love, whereby He offered 
Himself as the highest sacrifice of praise, 
when on the altar of the Cross, with a loud 
cry and burning tears, He commended His 
soul into Thy hands, and Himself, the 
17 



658 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

great High Priest, entered the Holy of 
Holies, and uncovered the veil of the old 
tabernacle, and consecrated new Sacra- 
ments, not in the blood of sheep ; and 
when anointed, not by the Jewish high- 
priest, with natural oil, but by thee, His 
God and Father, with the oil of gladness, 
He washed away all the sins and tres- 
passes of Thy people in His own Blood. 

In addition to this I offer Thee His 
guiltless death, with all the merits of His 
bitter Passion, and of the blessed and spot- 
less Virgin Mary, and of all the blessed, 
to Thy eternal glory, for all my sins, ini- 
quities, and negligences ; also, for all the 
living and the dead, for whom Thou wish- 
est me to pray, O my God, and for whom 
I am bound to pray, that Thy holy Name 
may be blessed, and praised, and honoured 
by them for ever and ever. Amen. 



The Thirty-second Chapter. 
yesus is given vinegar to drink. 

IN this way, then, as was said a little 
above, the cruel Jews led Christ to 
Calvary, a place of condemnation, accursed 
and shameful, full of the fetid odour of dead 



of our Loyd yes ics Christ. 259 



mens' bodies and bones. And here it is 
lawful for us to gather tliat Christ's death 
was by far the most shameful of all deaths ; 
and this for four reasons. First, indeed, 
because in that age crucifixion was the 
basest and most ignominious kind of death 
that could be inflicted on the very worst 
criminals. Secondly, because our Lord 
was crucified between two thieves, as the 
chief thief, as if He had been condemned 
for their crimes as well, and that, being 
subjected to the same punishment, might 
be supposed to be equal with them in guilt. 
Thirdly, because He was put to death, all 
naked, on the foul site of Calvary, a pun- 
ishment which was wont to be inflicted 
only on notorious criminals. Fourthly, 
because He was put to death during the 
Paschal solemnity, as if His life had been 
so wicked and abominable, that it became 
a necessity to send Him out of the world 
as quickly as possible, being such an uni- 
versal object of hatred, as well as a burden 
to all. 

Now when they had come to this mount 
of Calv^ary, our gentle Lord became ex- 
ceeding worn and weak from excessive 
weariness and the heavy burden of the 
Cross, and they gave Him to drink, as 
was the custom to give to the condemned ; 
not indeed sweet, but corrupt and acid 
wine, mixed with myrrh and gall, whereby 
those spiteful and wicked men clearly be- 



26o meditations on the Life and Passio7i 

trayed tlie bitter poison of their hearts 
against Christ, since they left not even 
one of His members unpunished. But 
Christ also wished to suffer in all His 
members, in order perfectly to heal us, 
who had been wounded in all our mem- 
bers. And because Adam had sinned 
through lust of the forbidden fruit, our 
Lord Jesus wished to atone for his sin by 
the torment of this bitter draught. Alas ! 
how many are to be found at the present 
day, who think nothing at all of offending 
God by the sin of gluttony, and of despis- 
ing His law, whereby He has commanded 
us not to indulge our concupiscence, but 
rather to bridle our sensual appetites, and 
subject them to the spirit, that the flesh 
may not at any time rebel against the 
spirit, but be humbly subject to it, and 
obey it. Oh ! how great at the present 
day is the number of those who stuff their 
rotten bodies, not by the eating of a single 
apple, but with many and divers kinds of 
food, all of them exceeding delicate, and 
thus offend God. These are they whose 
God is their belly, and who make of the 
temple of the Holy Ghost a pot-house of 
devils ; because, forgetting the form of 
their noble being, they have changed the 
image of the likeness of God into the 
likeness of senseless cattle. These are 
they, in a word, who fear not to destroy 
soul and body, in order to satisfy their 



oj our Lord Jesus CJwist. 261 



sensual appetites and lusts. Now these, 
it is clear, do not once only give a bitter 
draught to Christ Jesus, but daily offer 
Him the bitterest of aJl gall to drink. Of 
a truth, these men have forgotten that 
soberness is a kind of preparation for all 
virtues, that it is the throne of chastity 
and purity, the purge of the soul, the 
mother of health, the way of heaven, the 
shield against the temptations of fleshly 
desires, and the discipline of the Christian 
life. For as the old serpent laid low our 
first parents through gluttony, so his wea- 
pons are easily turned aside through sober- 
ness. Nature, indeed, is itself greatly in- 
clined towards evil and sensual deli"iits, 
and seeketh her own pleasure in many 
ways; hence it is necessary that a spiritual 
man should act prudently and reasonably 
on this point, so as to say with holy Job: 
** Before I take my meat, I sigh." And, 
of a truth, as Augustine saith: " We ought 
to take food in the same way as medicine, 
with such moderation and discretion, that 
it may help us to serve God ; and with 
such gratitude, that at eacli single morsel 
praise may redound to our most kind 
Creator. Amen. 



262 M editatio7is on the Life and Passion 



The Thirty-third Chapter, 
yesus is again stripped of His garmeniii. 

AFTER this they again cruelly tore olT 
the crarinents of our Lord and Sa- 
viour, and left Hfm as shamefully naked 
as when He came forth from His Mother's 
womb. For as Adam had broken the 
law, so Christ wished to cancel our debts 
and sins. Adam was overcome by seek- 
ing for garments, Christ conquered by be- 
ing stripped of His garments. Therefore, 
although our Lord Jesus, both at His birth 
and His whole life long, was poor indeed, 
yet on the Cross He desired to offer to 
us a perfect example and form of true 
poverty, by thus suffering Himself to be 
stripped naked, so as not even to have a 
thread left Him, by which He might cover 
His pure and modest members, or any- 
thing on which to lean His sacred Head. 
But as naked He had come into the world, 
signifying by this that He had no con\- 
merce with the world, so naked He went 
out of the world. For thus He spake: 
"The prince of this world cometh, and 
hath nothing in Me ;" that is, nothing of 
his own. Of a truth, He so lived in this 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 263 

wicked world, that not even the slightest 
dust of the desire of possession clung to 
Him. Lastly, for His greater shame and 
dishonour. He was hung up thus naked in 
the sight of His bitterest enemies and 
mockers. For it was not the custom to 
crucify naked those who were guilty of 
death, unless they were notorious male- 
factors, who, as an example for others, 
were oblio^ed to suffer a horrible death. 
Adam also, when he had lost his inno- 
cence, hastened to clothe himself with gar- 
ments: but Christ was stripped naked that 
He might preserve the purity of innocence 
whole and unhurt ; nor had He need of 
any covering. 

Look, now, O my soul ! with inward 
compassion and sorrow of heart, upon thy 
sweet Redeemer and Lover. See, how 
the King of glory, Who clotheth and cover- 
eth all things, the heaven witli clouds, the 
trees with leaves, the earth with grass and 
flowers, is Himself stripped of all clothing 
even to the skin. See, how the Lord of 
lords is made a pattern of true poverty, 
and be ashamed after this to murnmr, and 
complain, and to be cast down in mind 
when anything is taken from thee, or thou 
art left in inward or outward poverty. 
Learn from this to follow Jesus, poor, and 
naked, and forsaken ; despise whatever 
the world hath, in order that thou mayest 
merit to embrace thy naked Saviour with 



264 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

thine own naked arms, and in turn to be 
clasped in His embrace, and united to 
Him in naked love. Observe, I pray thee, 
how He, Who is the beauty of heaven, is 
here disfigured, how the height of heaven 
is brought low, how the clear mirror ol 
purity is uncovered, because unworthy of 
any covering, since there was no stain in 
Him that it was necessary to hide. For 
thus our Lord Himself said of Himself: 
"Which of you convinceth Me of sin ?" 
Nevertheless, there is no one who can ever 
understand the grievous pain which eat 
into His most pure Heart, when He was 
forced to bear that great confusion and 
shame ; above all, when He had to hang 
upon the Cross so shamefully in the sight 
of His purest Mother. Let us see, I pray 
thee, with great compassion, with what 
pitiless rage those cruel dogs tore off our 
Lord's garments, the very hem of which 
had healed the woman who laboured with 
a bloody flux. Who doth not see how 
cruel must have been that sorrow and tor- 
ment, when they tore off with such fury 
and cruelty the garment which had clung 
to His wounds, and become fastened to 
them with His Blood, thus, doubtless, 
causing all His wounds to bleed afresh ? 
Let every man weigh the greatness of this 
pain in his own heart. And, as is the 
opinion of some, they again pressed down 
on His Sacred Head, with incredible tor- 



t>j our Lord yesiis Christ. 265 



ment, the crown of thorns, which they had 
torn from it, so that there is no pain which 
can be compared with this. 

Come now, O my soul, and meditate 
upon the agony of Him Who is the joy of 
heaven. See how His whole Body was 
again wounded, all His sacred wounds 
opened afresh, while they streamed with 
His purest Blood. Behold how His blessed 
Head, which even the angelic powers gaze 
at and tremble, and which the Venerable 
Baptist, S. John, shrunk from touching, 
was afflicted and tortured by those savage 
dogs ; while the thorns, which again had 
been placed upon it, inflicted new wounds, 
so that wound was added to wound. Ob- 
serve, I beg of thee, how that Royal Blood 
of His, mingled with brain, flowed down in 
streams from all His wounds over His face 
and neck, even to the ground ; and how 
that disfigured Body, so pitiably cut and 
torn, and which was but one large gaping 
wound, was now exposed to the wind and 
cold, and was stiffened thereby. Yet that 
most meek Lamb bore all this cruel and 
horrible agony, not only with patience, but 
with great desire. Oh ! how He stood 
there trembling with cold, and streaming 
with blood! Oh ! how were all His wounds 
made larger and deeper, when they madly 
tore away His garments, and forced one 
wound to flow into the other, so that our 
tender Lord Jesus Christ, ever to be em- 



266 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

braced with all love, became but one bleed- 
ino;- wound. Here, indeed, was that livino- 
well of measureless loving-kindness, from 
which floweth to us in all abundance what- 
ever we may desire. Of a truth, out of 
His Sacred Body there flowed forth rivers 
of His precious Blood, which is the price 
of our salvation and redemption ; out of 
His mouth there came forth sacred words 
to be the food of our minds ; out of His 
eyes there flowed forth tears of love in 
torrents, as a proof of His loving-kindness ; 
out of His Heart there sprang that burning- 
love, which forced Him to undergo all that 
cruel pain ; in a word, out of all His actions 
there flowed forth, in rich abundance, in- 
struction, discipline, and moral teaching 
for ourselves, whereby we may draw from 
His Passion not only the payment of our 
debts, but also a perfect and absolute rule 
for our life. Who hath such a heart of 
stone, as not to be moved by these im- 
mense benefits, nay, drawn to love ? 

Lastly, our Lord Jesus was not only 
stripped naked, but so utterly stripped of 
all things, as never again to be clothed 
any more, but to die in that poor naked- 
ness, and naked poverty. Come now, all 
ye faithful, and let us mourn in every limb 
of our body, since our Lord standeth here 
before us, streaming with blood from all 
His members. Of a truth, that innocent 
Lamb desired to be stripped so shamefully 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 267 

naked, in order to clothe our deformity, 
and to give us back again the robe of in- 
nocence, which of old we had lost through 
the treachery of a certain wicked servant. 
Oh ! what crosses our sweet Jesus under- 
went in His Heart, when He saw the 
hatred, and rage, and deceit, and blood- 
thirstiness of the Jews, how they made 
exceeding haste to adjust the Cross, and 
to urge on the executioners, so as to hurry 
on Christ's death ; for to them it was a 
great inward cross to be forced to see our 
Lord and Saviour for so long a time mov- 
inof before them. 

Come then, O my soul, and set thy Lord 
and Saviour before the eyes of thy heart, 
and imagine that thou seest Jesus, the 
Bridegroom and delight of thy soul, stand- 
ing before thee so pitiably crimsoned witli 
blood, and mangled with wounds, and dis- 
figured, and heart-broken, in order to es- 
pouse thee in tliy foulness as His bride, 
and to cleanse, heal, and adorn thee, 
and to free thee from all thy debt. How 
canst thou suffer to see tiie Beloved of thy 
heart so miserably treated ? Wilt thou 
not desire with thy whole heart to be 
utterly dissolved in tears, in order to wash 
the all- wounded Body of thy Beloved, and 
to cleanse it from all its disfigurement ? 
O happy thou, if all the marrow of thy 
bones, and thy very heart's blood, could 
be distilled in ointment so as to anoint all 



2 68 l\fe dilations on the Life and Passion 



thy Bridegroom's wounds ! Oh ! that thy 
heart itself might be melted in the fire of 
love, and be changfed into grateful food 
for the sweetening of the mouth of thy 
Beloved, which hath been made so bitter 
by the vinegar and gall. And although 
thou canst do none of these things in 
reality, yet in desire thou wilt do them, 
and that is enough for thy Beloved, Who 
weigheth thy heart rather than thy deeds. 
Wherefore, when thou hast thus washed 
and anointed thy Bridegroom, lay Him to 
rest with great devotion and reverence on 
the sweet bosom of God His Father, as 
on the most pleasant bed that thou canst 
think of; place His worshipful Head, which 
has been so cruelly punctured by sharp 
thorns, and which hung so long upon the 
Cross without anything to rest upon, on 
the tender breast of God, as on the softest 
pillow that thou canst find, that He may 
take His rest. 

But let us go back to our sweet Lord, 
Whom we left standing in such wretched 
plight, and worn away by such cruel pains. 
Let us, I pray, impress so deeply upon 
our hearts this His pitiable image, that 
never more it may be blotted out of our 
remembrance. There, too, we may im- 
agine, as some affirm, how Christ Jesus — 
Who never allowed His spirit to rest from 
prayer and desire of work — when the exe- 
cutioners were busied in preparing for His 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 269 



death, knelt down with His bare and bleed- 
ing knees upon the ground, and lifting up 
His Heart, and eyes, and hands towards 
heaven, to God His Father, offered Him 
the noble sacrifice of His Passion, for the 
reconciliation of the human race, in these 
or like words: 

" O Father of heaven. Eternal God, 
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all 
creatures, I pray Thee, I beseech Thee, 
Thou Who always hearest Me, accept now 
the sacrifice and oblation of Thine only 
Son ; accept My most bitter Passion and 
My guiltless death, which now out of love 
I desire to suffer for all the sins and tres- 
passes of the world. I come not into Thy 
presence with another's blood, or with the 
blood of sheep, but Mine own Blood do I 
shed as full payment for the debts of fallen 
man. Look down, I beseech Thee, Holy 
Father, on My humble prayers, on My 
labour and My sorrow, and on this cruel 
Passion of Mine, and graciously accept My 
death, which I have never deserved, but 
which in My great love I desire to under- 
go for the sins of all men, so as to destroy 
death, which Adam brought into the world 
by liis prevarication. Let Thine anger, I 
beseech Thee, be turned into mercy, and 
open to lost man the gate of heaven, which 
for his sin Thou hast utterly closed for so 
many thousand years, and give him. in Thy 
fatherly mercy a place in Thy everlasting 



270 Meditatio7is on the Life and Passion 



kingdom, that by him the ruins of the 
wicked angels may be built again, and Thy 
house filled, and Thy Holy Name praised 
and blessed for ever and for ever I Amen. 



The Thirty-fourth Chapter. 
yesus is fastened on the Cross* 

AFTER this those inhuman butchers 
cruelly dragged Jesus towards the 
Cross, and when He beheld it, the Inno- 
cent Lamb saluted it with longing desire, 
saying in His Heart: " O Blessed Cross ! 
how long have I desired to embrace thee ; 
for three-and-thirty years have I been held 
fast by the love of thee, that on thee I 
might work the salvation of men. O pre- 
cious Wood ! by which justice shall be 
done, and the debt of the prevaricator 
paid. O most fruitful Wood ! blessed 
among all trees of the earth, thou alone 
hast been found worthy to bear the fruit 
of life. O chosen Tree, chosen above 
all trees to bear the world's ransom, 
become now the servant of thy Creator, 
Who made thee out of nothing." Then 
they laid the wounded Body of that 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 2yi 

innocent Lamb flat upon the rough Cross, 
and one hand they fastened thereto by a 
thick nail, with repeated blows, so as to 
cause Him exceeding cruel agony. Oh ! 
how beyond all power of suffering was this 
pain to our gentle Redeemer, Whose com- 
plexion was so tender and delicate, and 
Who was so utterly weak and exhausted 
by all the pains which He had already un- 
dergone. Oh ! how those blows of the 
hammer, and the cruel nailinq-, pierced 
into the very inmost marrow of His Heart 1 
What must have been His Heart's pain, 
how measureless must have been His 
agony, when that great and blunt nail was 
hammered down with unutterable torment, 
through the veins, and nerves, and little 
bones which meet in the hand ! Let every 
man weigh with himself, wliat must have 
been His agony ! And because the nail 
was very blunt and heavy, it drew in the 
skin with it into the wound, which became 
so filled and stopped up, that the blood 
could not flow therefrom. And straight- 
way they stretched the other hand towards 
the hole made in the other arm of the 
cross, in order to nail it in like manner. 
But because the hole was far off, and 
Christ's Body was not a little contracted 
from cold, and blood-shedding, and all tlie 
pains He had already suffered, they stretch- 
ed that hand with a rough rope, holding 
down, meanwhile, His other hand with ex- 



272 Meditations on the Lije and Passion 



treme force. Thus did they stretch Christ's 
sacred arms with horrible pain, until they 
brought the hand to the place they desired, 
and there, in like manner, they pierced it 
with a great nail. After this, they first 
most cruelly stretched His sacred feet, 
and then fastened them with a horrible 
nail. 

Look then, O my soul, on thy Bride- 
groom, Who is both thy God and thy 
Maker, and see how He hath gone up to 
the bed of His love ; how wide He hath 
stretched out His arms to embrace thee ; 
and how lovingly He hath invited thee to 
Himself, making use, as it were, of the 
words of the Songf of Son^s: "Come to 
Me, My sister. My bride, My dove ; come, 
I say, into the holes of the rock, into My 
own sweet wounds. Conae, for behold ! I 
am ready, and our bed is covered with 
flowers, adorned with the roses of My 
wounds, and of My own precious blood. 
Come then, O my soul, with thy whole 
self, and see all that thy God hath suffered 
for thee. Behold, but with great compas- 
sion, how His sacred limbs have been 
stretched, and disjointed, and torn, and 
pulled, and disturbed far and wide out of 
their joints, so that not one cleaveth to its 
own place, and they can all easily be num- 
bered. Can there be any one who is not 
moved to compassion by such unutterable 
pain .-* Oh ! how all His sacred limbs and 



of our Lord yes us Christ, ^"^^ 

nerves were stretched and bent like bows, 
as they were drawn one towards the other. 
Oh I how entirely He offered Himself for 
us, when He had not even one limb which 
was not tortured in horrible agony and 
labour, and wholly busied in the work of 
our salvation. For so inhumanly was He 
stretched, that one limb could bring no 
help to another, because all alike were tor- 
tured with suffering and pain beyond all 
comprehension. We, indeed, if we are 
visited with some slight wound, can hardly 
suffer any one even gently to touch it ; 
yet the whole weight of Christ's sacred 
Body pressed upon the wounds of His 
hands and feet. Oh ! how pitiably were 
all His limbs and nerves contracted ! how 
were all His inward parts troubled, and 
hurt, and worn away ? This pain surpass- 
ed all grasp of human understanding ; it 
was simply intolerable, yet it lasted for so 
long a time. Hence Venerable Bede saith: 
" Christ hanging upon the Cross, His hands 
and feet fastened by nails, was consumed 
and worn away by a slow death, and He 
continued in pain, not because it was a 
pleasure for Him still to live, but lest His 
Passion might too soon be over." 

Let us, for a little while, be made par- 
takers of this bitter Passion, for it was our 
sins which inflicted it upon the Son of 
God. Let us repay, in some poor way at 
least, our tender Lord for His Passion, so 

i8 



2 74 Meditations on the Life and Pass ion 



far as we are able. This surely will we 
do, if we wish to be conformed to His 
Crucifixion, and as S. Paul saith, we will 
crucify the flesh with its damnable vices 
and concupiscences, by resisting them even 
to blood, and so wear it away by the afflic- 
tions of the Cross, that sin may no more 
reign in our mortal body, and the power of 
concupiscence may be held ever strongly 
bound by the fear of God, We will so 
conform ourselves to Christ's Crucifixion, 
as if we too lay stretched upon the Cross, 
by taking and drawing it into our hearts 
with all love, so that we may say with 
Andrew the Apostle: " O good Cross, so 
long desired, and now, at last, prepared 
for a soul that loveth thee ; behold, safely 
and gladly I come to thee, so that thou, 
too, mayest receive me with rejoicing, as 
a disciple of Him Who hung upon thee ; 
for ever have I been thy lover, and ever 
have I desired to embrace thee." 

Now this is to be understood not only 
of the cross of outward affliction, but of all 
distress and affliction, whether outward or 
inward, which shall happen unto us by 
God's permission ; whether it be persecu- 
tion, or annoyance, or contempt on the 
\^art of men, or the loss either of those 
who are dear to us, or of temporal things, 
ov the temptation of the enemy, or inward 
anguish of mind on account of our want of 
progress; and all these crosses we will 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 275 

gladly take from God's hands, and stretch 
ourselves upon them, saying with holy 
David: "My heart hath waited for re- 
proach and misery." And not only these 
crosses will we suffer to be laid upon us, 
but we will, of our own accord, go further 
still, by crucifying ourselves, and holding 
ourselves up to contempt and mockery, 
and making ourselves out of no account ; 
in a word, by stripping and scourging our- 
selves. Now this means that, when we 
are despised by others, we will slight our 
own selves, as of no account, and heartily 
confess that we are a hundredfold more 
vile, and more worthy of contempt and 
scorn, than all men can bring upon us ; 
nay, that we are unworthy even to be de- 
spised by such noble creatures. More- 
over, we will scourge, and afflict, and cru- 
cify ourselves ; that is, we will make our 
cross heavier, and we will plant it deeper 
within us, by exercising ourselves therein, 
as holy Job saith: "I will speak in the 
trouble of my spirit, and I will hold con- 
verse with the bitterness of my soul," For 
example: when we are utterly desolate 
and troubled in heart because of the sins 
of our past life, and our exceeding great 
negligences and manifold vices, and be- 
cause our progress in virtue is simply 
nothing at all ; then we will not straight- 
way hurry to confession, in order to be 
relieved of all this trouble — for this would 



276 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

be to throw away the cross, and it is ever 
tlie devil's counsel to us to say: "Come 
down from the cross, and save thyself," — 
but bravely will we cling to the cross, to 
which we have been fastened with Christ, 
by even increasing our own cross, so as to 
consider within ourselves how little is this 
distress of ours, when compared with all 
the wrongs and contempt which we have 
inflicted on the Lord of majesty, by our 
exceeding great iniquities, and by very 
often havinof dared, vile worms thouQ^h we 
are, to resist so great a Lord, and trans- 
gress His will, and by not having feared 
to offend so loving and faithful a Father, 
Who is ever embracing us with such 
Fatherly love, and heaping upon us so 
many benefits. 

Moreover, we will think of God's im- 
mense goodness, in that so mighty a Lord, 
Who might at once have avenged the 
wrong done to Him, hath borne all this 
our contempt and shameless wickedness, 
with so much crentleness and lone-suffer- 
ing. The very elements cannot bear to 
see their Maker wronged, but, like David's 
servants, when he was cursed and reviled 
by Semei, lift themselves up and cry for 
venofeance on the wrongs done their Kinof. 

O CD O 

But our tender Lord commandeth them to 
cease, saying: "Suffer them to heap all 
this contempt upon Me ; gladly will I bear 
it, that peradventure they may be con- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 277 

verted and repent. For I desire not the 
death of a sinner, but rather that they 
should turn from their wickedness, and 
live." 

Thus, then, our Lord Jesus Christ hung 
upon the Cross in all His immense pain, 
and with constancy endured His affliction ; 
nor would He come down from the Cross 
either because of the curses and blasplie- 
mies of the Jews, or the immensity of His 
pain. But He made His torment still 
more grievous, by recalling to mind all the 
ingratitude of men, and all the wrong and 
contempt done and shown to His Father, 
and all the vengeance that would be visited 
upon them, and that in many His Passion 
would have no effect at all. Further, we 
will conform ourselves to our Beloved on 
His Cross, that as He was lifted up there- 
on from the earth, so we, too, may say 
with holy Job: "My soul hath chosen to 
be hanged up, and my bones death ;" and 
all our members, our hands, and feet, and 
hearts, and all the powers of our soul will 
we lift up, and stretch forth to God, as if 
to show Him praise, and love, and thanks- 
giving, and honour, and reverence, where- 
by all our inward parts may bless God, 
and all our bones cry out: "Lord, who is 
like unto Thee ?" 

Moreover, when we have thus, with 
our whole strength and our whole power, 
been lifted from earth towards heaven^ 



2yS Meditations on the Life and Passion 

and when we shall wait with a loving thirst 
for the heavenly dew and sweet influence 
of the Holy Ghost, saying with David: 
" Let my soul be filled with fat and good 
things, and my mouth shall utter praise 
with lips of rejoicing ;" then, indeed, will 
our Lord teach us to sing a far different 
song from that which of old He taught the 
children of Israel in Babylon. For our 
jubilee will be turned into mourning, and 
our joy into grief, and instead of the songs 
of Sion, we shall sing with sorrowful voice: 
" My God, my God, why hast Thou for- 
saken me ; I will call upon Thee in the 
day-time, and Thou shalt not hear." And 
this is that blessed hanging up which Job 
chose, and this the death which he de- 
sired, so as to be able to reach neither 
heaven nor earth, but to hang suspended 
between both. For to such a man earth 
is a cross, and he loathes it ; and heaven 
is closed, and the clouds are forbidden to 
give their rain. So also did the same Job 
hang in his wretchedness and desolation, 
when he said: " If I go to the east, He 
appeareth not ; if to the west, I shall not 
understand Him. If I go to the left, what 
shall I do ? I cannot reach Him. If I 
turn me to the right, I shall not see Him. 
But He knoweth my way, and He shall 
prove me like gold which passelh through 
the fire. O truly blessed cross and holy 
hanging 1" And while we persevere in 



of Mtr Lord yestis Christ. 279 



this pitiable thirst, and in crying and groan- 
ing towards heaven, our thirst will be 
quenched with vinegar and gall ; that is, in- 
stead of the sweetness of devotion, we shall 
suffer bitter and unclean thoughts, and 
then again we shall say with Job: "The 
things which formerly my soul refused to 
touch, have now, in my distress, become 
my meat." And again: *' If I shall say, 
my bed shall comfort me, and I shall be 
refreshed, speaking with myself on my 
couch. Thou shalt frighten me with dreams, 
and shake me with horror by visions ;" 
that is, if we wish to return to our exer- 
cises on the bed of our retired and tranquil 
heart, where, with a loving soul, we were 
wont by night to seek our God, and to 
receive many secret kisses, here Thou wilt 
terrify us with horrible forms and images, 
and phantoms of hell and darkness. Be- 
ing, then, so utterly desolate, and not hav- 
ing anywhere, even for a moment, whereon 
to lay our head, how shall we contain our- 
selves ? Where shall we receive consola- 
tion, except on our cross, saying with holy 
Job: "This is my consolation, that when 
He afflicteth me with sorrow, He should 
not spare ; and that He Who began, Him- 
self should crush me." 

This danger, then, will we clearly incur, 
and expose our lives for His love, Who 
laid down His life for us, and in this deso- 
lation we will resign ourselves wholly to 



28o Meditations on the Life and Passion 

God, saying: "Lord, into Thy hands and 
Thy will I commend my soul, now and for 
ever." 

But now let us go back to our Beloved's 
bed, that is, the Holy Cross, whereon our 
Love was pitiably stretched and lifted up. 
Oh ! in what anguish was God's sweet 
Virgin-Mother Mary ! How each blow 
of the hammers, as she heard it during 
her Son's crucifixion, beat down her tender 
heart ! How perfectly did she bear in 
herself the image of the Cross, being her- 
self impressed with its form, and, as it 
were, transformed into it. Nor can we 
doubt that through her great compassion 
she was fastened with her Son to the 
Cross, and that she suffered inwardly, what 
Christ suffered outwardly. Let us, too, 
stand for a little while with our most 
loving Mother by the Cross. It is good 
for us to stand here for a little while, for 
therefrom flow rivers of graces and gifts. 
And let us also, together with our afflicted 
Mother Mary, — if we be the children of 
grace — be wounded by sorrow and com- 
passion in our inmost souls, towards 
Christ's cruel Passion ; for He is our 
brother, our own flesh and blood, and all 
that is ours is the sins for which He is 
thus afflicted. Let us mount up with 
burning love and devotion upon our 
Beloved's bed, for He is waiting for us 
with exceeding great desire, and His arms 



of our Lord yesus Christ, 281 

are wide open to receive U3. In order to 
kiss us, He hath bowed down His Head ; 
let us, then, lift up all the powers of our 
soul, and all our members towards Him, 
that we may clasp Him in a loving em- 
brace, and with devout reverence let us 
press Him to our hearts, saying with the 
spouse in the Canticle of Canticles : " A 
bundle of myrrh is my Beloved to me. 
He shall dwell between my breasts." Our 
heart, let it be His pleasant pillow, 
whereon He may rest His Sacred Head, 
which hath hung so long in such grievous 
pain, without anything to bear upon. Oh ! 
I pray of you, let us not pass by this 
blessed bed of the Holy Cross, for it is our 
bed ; but with the spouse of the Canticle, 
let us seek, by the light of the torches of 
love, on our own bed for Him Whom our 
soul loveth. For whatever we see weak 
in Him, He hath taken on Him for the 
love of us, and from us, and His infirmity 
is our health and medicine. 

Now, with our whole understanding, let 
us search out the high mystery of this 
venerable bed of the Cross. 

So great and so measureless is the glory 
of the Cross, that there is nothing in it 
without mystery. First of all, it was made 
of two pieces of wood, which signify the 
two Testaments. For whatever the Old 
Testament foretold by writing and in 
figure, all that the New Testament an- 



282 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

nounceth as truly fulfilled. Moreover, these 
two pieces of wood are joined together by 
Christ's firm faithfulness as by a strong 
nail, and are sealed with Christ's seal. 
And the Holy Cross itself, like a true bed, 
hath four corners, towards which the 
sacred members of the Son of God were 
stretched, that thereby it might be given 
us clearly to understand, that He em- 
braceth tlu whole race of man ; that is, all 
men, in one common love, and that He, as 
a true lover, desireth to draw them all to 
Himself upon His bed, from the four cor- 
ners of the world. For He died for all, 
and desireth all men, without distinction, 
to be saved. And this, too, is set forth 
and hinted by the very form of the Cross. 
For its upper part signifieth that He 
wished to restore the ruins of the angels ; 
the lower part, that He redeemeth the 
Fathers from Limbus. The right-hand 
side, that He protecteth His own friends, 
and blesseth them. The left-hand side, 
that He wisheth to draw to Himself, and 
convert His enemies, and all sinners. By 
the upper end is signified the opening of 
heaven ; by the lower, the overthrow of 
hell ; by the right arm, the difi"usion of 
grace ; by the left, the forgiveness of sins. 
Let us, then, according to the Apostle's 
instruction, be of like mind with Christ 
Jesus; that is, let us conform ourselves 
spiritually to the aforesaid Cross, so as to 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 283 

prepare a pleasant bed for Christ in our 
souls, a bed constructed with four corners, 
of which one shall look upwards, and 
another downwards, and the third within, 
and the fourth without. These are the 
four paths of life, which not only lead us 
to paradise, but adorn us with such pleasant 
beauty, that we are made a paradise of 
delights to God Himself, and that, as from 
the earthly paradise, four rivers exceeding 
pleasant may go forth from us, leaping up 
into life everlasting. 

The highest corner, indeed, of this bed, 
or the highest extremity, is to open and 
stretch forth our hearts and all our desires, 
with our whole strength, towards God in 
love, gratitude, praise, reverence, lowly 
resignation, obedience, and subjection, so 
that at all moments we desire to pay to 
God as great a tribute of praise and hon- 
our as all creatures could wish to offer 
throughout endless ages. Yet not even 
Vk^ith this ought our burning thirst to be 
satisfied, but we ought also humbly to 
pray to God, that He would Himself per- 
fect His own praise, which no creature can 
perfect or even understand. The lowest 
extremity is to cast ourselves down so 
deeply in great humility, and to humble 
and drown ourselves therein, and to hold 
ourselves of such little moment, as not 
only to deem ourselves the vilest and most 
worthless of sinners in the whole world, 



284 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

but to desire to be esteemed such by all 
men, and that such may be the opinion of 
all men with regard to us. For of a truth, 
every man ought so to cast himself down 
into the lowest depths, as not even to be 
able, by all the gifts and graces of God, to 
be lifted up, but the more bountiful and 
abundant the gifts and graces which God 
poureth out upon him, so much the more 
ought he to humble himself, and to esteem 
himself of no moment, and to tell of and 
praise God's goodness, making it his 
whole care to wonder how God, who is so 
high and glorious, should have remem- 
bered even for one moment so useless, 
worthless, poor, and utter a worm, and that 
He should vouchsafe to work through him 
even anything at all. And the outward 
extremity is to be widely stretched out 
towards all creatures, so as to embrace all 
things, and all beings in heaven and on 
earth, and in purgatory. 

And first, indeed, let us embrace the 
blessed spirits of heaven with loving fer- 
vour, by congratulating them on their 
glory, and by giving God thanks for the 
same, as if we ourselves enjoyed it. 
Then, too, let us embrace the souls 
imprisoned in purgatory, by suffering with 
them as greatly in their pains and tor- 
ments, as if we ourselves bore their pains, 
and let us help them to the utmost of our 
povj/er. Tiiirdly, let us be stretched out 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 2S5 

towards the rest of men, by embracing 
them all with love, and excluding no one, 
and by helping every one, and lightening 
every one's burden so far as we are able ; 
and this with such love of our hearts, as to 
grieve that there should be even one who 
is beyond our help ; and by performing all 
our works with such great love, as to wish 
to be of as much service to all men as to 
ourselves. Thus, then, let us so turn our- 
selves to what is outward, as ever to 
abide within, or at least to be able without 
hindrance to return within, and that thus 
our going out may be in reality our 
coming in. For, fourthly, — and this is 
that extremity which looketh within, — we 
ought, with Moses, deeply to press down 
all our faculties into the inward recesses, 
in the secret and only solitude or desert of 
our quiet heart, until we have passed 
beyond, and lost all multiplicity and 
unrest, and may reach, together with the 
same Moses, unto the adoring gaze of 
God's face, where in silence we will do 
homage to our Lord. There we shall hear 
God's inward voice crying in the wilder- 
ness: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make straight His paths." Of this wilder- 
ness our Lord speaketh in Osee : '* I will 
lead her," He saitii, that is, the loving 
soul, " into solitude, and there I will speak 
to her heart." These are the four corners 
or four horns of the Holy Cross and Bed 



286 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



of Love. And of a truth, whosoever hath 
constructed and made ready his bed, may 
with confidence invite his Lover, Christ, in 
the words of the loving soul, and say : 
" Come, my Beloved, for our bed is green 
with flowers." 



The Thirty-fifth Chapter. 
A p7'ayer to Jesus Crucified. 

O JESUS, Paradise of delights, Key of 
David, that shuttest and no man 
openeth, and openest and no man shutteth, 
stretch forth the arms of Thy divine 
mercy and grace, and take me, Thy 
wretched creature, that flieth to Thee in 
his trouble. Moaning and trembling like 
some poor sheep, when surrounded on all 
sides by many and savage wolves, I come 
to Thee, the Good Shepherd, who hast laid 
down Thy life for Thy sheep. 

Open to me Thy sacred Wounds, that I 
may lie hidden therein, and be concealed 
from the fiery darts of the enemy. 
Embrace me, even as a poor mother is 
wont to embrace her sick child, in the 
bowels and arms of Thy mercy, since Thou 
hast willed, out of pure love for me, to be 



(yf our Lord Jesiis Christ. 2S7 



so fearfully stretched upon the Cross, and 
so fastened thereto with nails, that all Thy 
bones were torn out of their joints, and so 
disturbed out of their proper seat and 
place, that they might all easily be num- 
bered ; and thus vvert Thou fastened hand 
and foot to the Tree of Life with horrible 
pain, that Thou mightest blot out, by 
Thine own innocent Blood, the hand- 
writinof of the old debt, which our first 
parents had contracted by stretching forth 
their hands towards the forbidden fruit of 
the tree of knowledge of good and evil ; 
and that Thou mightest fasten sin to the 
Cross and utterly destroy it. Kill, also, 
within me, all the desires of the flesh, and 
vvhatever I have of self-will, or of pride, or 
of vicious leaning. Extinguish in me all 
vice, and whatever is displeasing to the 
eyes of Thy holiness, and stir up anew 
within me a good and firm spirit, and a 
desire of practising all virtues. Raise up 
all the powers of my soul by love, that I 
may love, praise, thank, and lionour Thee, 
O God, my Maker and my Saviour, and 
that not even one of my members may 
cease to bless and magnify Thy holy 
Name. Re-make and repair me as Thy 
own instrument, which I myself have 
destroyed, and make me so subject to 
Thee, and obedient and pliant, that Thou 
mayest be able to work in me as freely 
and pleasantly as Thou hast ever worked 



288 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



in any creature. For since we have, 
drawn into ourselves the vein of corrup- 
tion from the root of the sin of our first 
parents, we iiave become prone to all 
wickedness. Nor can this poison of the 
old serpent and vicious propensity be 
cured, except by the divine mystery of the 
Holy Cross. But if, O Eternal Wisdom, 
human nature, when it was still in its first 
dignity, and abiding in itself, could not 
remain stable, but fell ; how much less 
shall I, who am already corrupt and 
vicious, be able, by my own power, to lift 
myself above myself ? I cannot, indeed, 
without Thy great mercy, be restored to 
my first innocence, but I shall be as one 
born out of due time, brought forth by his 
mother with continual pain, and all the 
labour and pain of the birth will be borne in 
vain. 

O tender Jesus, if Thou hast so loved 
me when I was lost, as to redeem me by 
Thy Precious Blood, and to undergo for 
my sake a most shameful death ; how 
much more now wilt Thou in nowise suffer 
rr,e to perish, or all Thy labour and pain to 
be of no effect in me. O merciful God ! 
behold, I desire to serve and obey Thee 
with my whole strength. But Thou, Who 
hast given me this good will and desire, 
must also grant me the effect of good 
works. For from Thee is all our good, 
and not only Thou givest to will and to 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 289 

work, but also Thou preparest the heart to 
desire to have this good vvilL For what 
have I of myself ? What have I been 
able to draw from the inheritance of 
original sin, save all corruption and prone- 
ness to every evil ? Wherefore, if there 
be ought else in me, this is Tiiy work, O 
Lord ! and it cometh from Thee, the source 
of all good, Who art just and holy in all 
Thy works. 



The Thirty-sixth Chapter. 
yes2is with the Cross is lifted up on high. 

WHEN, then, they had fastened Jesus 
to the Cross, straightway His cruel 
executioners raised Him, together with the 
Cross, with great rage, and they savagely 
placed the Holy Cross in the hole of the 
rock, and they let it fall down therein, so 
that by this fall all Christ's members and 
inward parts were shaken with cruel pain, 
and all the more cruel for havin^j before 
been so tightly stretched. And again the 
Sacred Wounds of His hands and feet 
broke forth like fountains, and began to 
flow in streams. Of a truth, these are the 
four rivers of paradise, that go forth from 
19 



290 Meditations on the Life and Passion, 

the garden of pleasure, and water the 
whole earth. 

O all ye that thirst ! come to the waters, 
and draw with joy from the Saviour's 
fountains. Suck honey from the rock, and 
oil and wine from the hard rock. Buy 
without silver, and without any price, wine 
and milk. For truly this is that corner- 
stone, firm, and which cannot be shaken, 
rejected indeed by the Jews, but chosen by 
the Gentiles, which Jacob, that is to say, 
the Father of Heaven, raised as a sign of 
grace and mercy and peace, and anointed 
with the oil of mercy. Come all ye, as 
many as love God, and let us go up to the 
mountain of the Lord, for it is exceeding 
fertile, and rich, and aboundeth with all 
delights. The river of pleasure, which 
goeth out from the midst of paradise, that 
is, from Christ's wounded side, floweth 
through the whole of it. This is truly the 
land of promise, flowing with milk and 
honey. Here is seen the cluster hanging 
on the staff. Here is the rock twice 
struck with the rod, which poureth forth 
not only living waters, but rivers of oil ; so 
that as many as go up this mountain may 
be sanctified, and may say with the loving 
soul in the Canticle of Canticles : " Thy 
name is as oil poured out." Here, also, is 
the vessel full of the oil of grace, which 
was sent by the Father upon earth, that 
the sick man might be healed thereby, 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 291 

who, going down from Jerusalem to 
Jericho, fell among thieves, and was left 
half dead from his wounds ; in which also 
is contained the price of our salvation. 
And this vessel was not only pierced in 
many places, but its end was also knocked 
out, so that every man may draw there- 
from as it pleaseth him. And this Christ 
testifieth concerning Himself, when He 
saith, *' I was poured out like water." 
Moreover, although the vessel is small, 
yet it is ever full, having been blessed by 
God, so tliat never will the oil fail, as long 
as there are empty vessels to receive it. 

Now for this reason was Christ lifted 
up, that the enemy, with his whole strength, 
might be thrown down. He was taken 
and lifted up from the earth, that He 
might draw us after Him, far away from 
every earthly lust. He was lifted up on 
high, that, looking upon us, His sheep, 
wandering afar off, He might bring us 
back to Him by a look of grace and 
mercy. Moreover, He was lifted up into 
the air, that He might purify it from 
demons, as He had purified the earth by 
His precious Blood-shedding, and at the 
same time might open to us a safe road to 
heaven. He was lifted up, one part of 
His Cross being raised on high, the other 
resting on the earth ; and thus He hung 
between the two, that He might unite 
earth with heaven; that is, men with 



292 Meditations or. the Life and Passion 

angels, peace between them not as yet 
having been estabhshed, and might show 
to us that He will be the Eternal Mediator 
and Peace-Maker between His Father and 
man. Hence, as a solid wall for the 
house of Israel, He set Himself against 
God's anger, and took upon Himself all 
the weapons of divine wrath and ven- 
geance, so that He was covered with 
deadly wounds. 

Come, then, all ye faithful, and behold 
how your Saviour, Leader, and King 
fighteth for you, and delivereth you from 
your enemies, and restoreth you to your 
first freedom. Now is the standard of 
victory, the trophy of the Cross, lifted up, 
under which we must fight, and which we 
must guard from all who may oppose it or 
come in its way. Let us be glad, then, let 
us rejoice, let us glory in the Holy Cross 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, despising 
every kind of arms, by this Cross 
alone hath He willed to cast down His 
enemy. And He so loved it, that He 
came down to earth to seek it, for heaven 
beareth not this kind of tree ; and He 
feared not to become a stranger to His 
glory and His joy, and an exile from 
His own kingdom, and to undergo all 
ignominy, and pain, and trouble, that He 
might embrace this Cross. Thus S. Paul 
saith : " Let us look to Jesus, the author 
and finisher of our faith, Who, when joy 



cf our Lord y esiLS Christ. 293 

was proposed to Him, bore the Cross, and 
despised the shame, nay, and all affliction 
that could happen to Him. 

Moreover, by the fact that our Lord was 
crucified, not within the city, or inside a 
house, but outside in an open place, is 
signified to us that He came to redeem, 
not merely the house of Israel, and that 
He died not only for the Jewish people, 
but the whole world. Thus, in the Canti- 
cle of Canticles, when He saith : "I am the 
flower of the field, and the lily of the 
valley," He doth not call Himself the 
lily of the garden, planted and brought up 
by the care of men, for He sprang from 
untilled earth, that is, from the untouched 
womb of His Virgin- Mother. He is also 
the Lamb without spot, and the white lily, 
the offspring of the valley of tears, wliich, 
being aforetime accursed, brought forth 
only thorns and briars, but wliich now 
offereth its first-fruits to God, with a new 
I enediction. Now, we may here observe, 
that our Lord hath given us His own 
loving-kindness, for our earth hath brought 
forth its fruit, and truth hath arisen out of 
this same earth of ours. Of a surety. He 
is that fair lily of our valley, of sparkling 
whiteness, that lighteth up the whole 
world with its splendour, and filleth it with 
the sweet odour of its scent, that is, of His 
virtue ; and there go forth from it rays of 
gold, that is, His Godhead, which lieth 



294 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

hidden under the wliite leaves of His most 
pure manhood. Let, then, our earth 
rejoice at being adorned with so fair a 
fruit : let our valley cease from mourning ; 
nor let it be called any more the vallej' 
that hath been forsaken, and left barren 
and accursed, but the valley of fruit- 
fulness, and the soil of fatness, and the 
field of plenty, which the Lord hath 
blessed. For what of old had become 
tainted by the taste of the serpent's 
poison, hath now been purified again by 
the balm of Christ's Precious Blood, and 
hath been watered by heavenly dew, 
through the pouring out of the Holy 
Ghost, so that it hath brought forth not 
one only, but numberless lilies, amongst 
which the loving soul declareth that her 
Beloved walketh and feedeth. For as 
many as there are men on earth of a clean 
heart, who love God, so many lilies hath 
our valley brought forth. And among 
these the Spouse feedeth with delight; 
here He walketh with exceeding pleasant- 
ness ; here He dwelleth with great desire ; 
iiere it is His delight to be ; and here, too, 
is the food on which He most gladly 
feedeth, namely, that His Father's will 
may be accomplished. But what are all 
these other lilies compared with that 
single Lily, from whose seed all the rest 
have sprung, and borrowed their beauty, 
and form, and odour, — by the very odour 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 295 



of which serpents and all corrupt things are 
driven away ? 

Hither, then, like the busy bee, let us 
fly, passing from Wound to Wound, nor 
let us enjoy any other food, for these flow 
with honey. And what else are Christ's 
sacred and honeyed words upon the Cross, 
but flowers flowing with honey, which 
springs up from the cup of the lily, that is, 
the Holy Cross ? Now, if we diligently 
press these, we shall be able to suck honey 
therefrom. 

So also our Lord Jesus is that Divine 
Light, which the Father of heaven hath 
sent on earth, and which lay so long hid- 
den under the bushel of Christ's lowly 
Humanity, but which was now taken up, 
and set upon the candlestick of the Cross, 
that as many as are in the house of the 
Church may be enlightened thereby. The 
Jews, indeed, broke the bushel in many 
places, and the Light began to pour itself 
forth through its chinks, so that a certain 
dark house which stood very near it was 
all lit up with its rays, and a voice came 
forth therefrom, and cried: "Lord, remem- 
ber me when Thou comest to Thy king- 
dom." But if the power and efficacy of 
this light was so great when it shone 
only through the chinks, what would it 
have done when the whole bushel had 
been utterly broken, and it was able to 
shed forth its splendour without any hin- 



296 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

drance ? Of a surety, we should have seen 
not one, but many enh'ghtened, beating- 
their breasts, crying out, mourning, groan- 
ing, and saying: " Of a truth, this Man 
was the Son of God !" For as we read 
that after the death of Joseph the chil- 
dren of Israel were multiplied, so also, 
after Christ's death, the number of those 
who believed was increased. 

But let us eo back to Christ's wounded 
Body, and with a certain sensible, affec- 
tionate compassion, let us behold the tor- 
ment whereby He is surrounded ; for, in- 
deed, there was not one member which 
was not torn out of its place with pain un- 
utterable. Oh ! how full of pain were 
those arms of His so fearfully stretched ! 
How did the torments of those wounds 
pierce His Heart, as they bore up for so 
long a time the whole weight of His Body! 
How great was the anguish of His sacred 
Soul, when, deprived of all comfort and 
light, it bore all this Cross and pain in its 
own weight ! Truly, the scale was laden 
as much as it could bear, and the other 
scale carried the sins of the whole world. 
Now, if there be in us one little spark of 
love, if any bowels of compassion are left 
us, we cannot but compassionate our Maker 
and our Saviour, when we see Him hang- 
ing here so pitiably before our eyes. For 
who would not have compassion even on 
some brute beast, if it was thus treated ^ 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 297 

And, indeed, our tender Jesus not only 
hung there in intolerable pain, in order to 
move us to tears and compunction, but to 
inflame and provoke us in like manner to 
love, by every proof and sign of love. He 
was lifted up on high that He might be 
seen by all: He stretched out His arms 
wide that He miorht embrace us all. He 
was fastened witli hard and rough nails to 
the Cross, that He miglit lead us by long- 
suffering to penance. From His whole 
Body there flowed forth blood, that in all 
abundance He might give us to drink of 
His best medicine, His own precious Blood. 
Great and deep were His Wounds, that we 
might have ever open access to Him, and 
a safe hiding and resting-place from every 
attack of temptation and affliction. His 
Side He suffered to be pierced, that we 
might have an open way into His Heart. 
With a loud voice He cried out, that He 
might be lieard by all. Bitterly He wept, 
that He might move us all to compunction, 
devotion, and compassion. His Head He 
bowed down, that He might give us the 
kiss of reconciliation and of love. Who 
then, after this, can be of so wicked and 
perverse a heart, so hardened in sin, as 
not to be moved by all these signs of love, 
and inflamed to love Him in return as 
much as he can, and, indeed, with his 
whole strength, for His love is beyond all 
understanding ? 



2q8 Meditations oti the Life and Passion 

Who is there who will not wholly turn 
to Him, Whom he sees thus wholly turned 
to himself, especially if he observe Who 
He is Who asketh for this love, and from 
whom it is asked ? Marvellous, indeed, it 
is, that the heart of a man who weigheth 
these things as they deserve, should not 
be turned within itself for exceeding won- 
der, and wholly melt away with love. Who 
will despair of forgiveness when he seeth 
all these proofs and signs of mercy ? 

As many, therefore, of us, as have been 
bitten, and wounded, and tainted by the 
pestilential serpent, let us fly beneath the 
Cross of our Lord Jesus. Let us look, not 
on the brazen serpent hanging on a pole, 
but on Jesus, the true Son of God, hanging 
on the Cross, Who offereth us the health- 
giving balm of His precious Blood. Let 
us say with a mournful voice, like S. Ber- 
nard: "Of what art Thou guilty, sweet 
Boy ? What hast Thou done, O loving 
Youth ? What is Thy crime ? What the 
cause of Thy condemnation ? Of a truth, 
I am the cause of Thy pain. That which 
the wicked servant hath done, his Lord 
hath undone ; the debt which the unjust 
man hath contracted, the Just One hath 
paid. O, Son of God ! to what depth hath 
Thy lowliness descended, when for me 
Thou hast been made obedient unto death, 
even the death of the Cross ? Concu- 
piscence drew me to what is unlawful: 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 299 



holy love hath drawn Thee, for my sake, 
to the Cross. I took an apple, Thou art 
torn with nails. I tasted that apple's 
sweetness. Thou tastest the bitterness of 
gall. Eve rejoiceth with me in my wretch- 
edness ; Mary, weeping, hath compassion 
on Thee at the Crucifixion. I lifted up 
my head proudly towards the forbidden 
fruit. Thou hast bent Thy Head to the 
crown of thorns. O Jesus, the Eternal 
health of all who believe in Thee, the Re- 
deemer of all who hope in Thee, may Thy 
Cross be for me a sure protection against 
all my enemies. May Thy wounds be for 
me a sure refuge in every temptation ; 
hide me therein, until the concupiscence 
and heat of sin shall have passed away. 
May Thy innocent Blood, flowing from 
Thy sacred hands, wash away the foulness 
of my sinful acts ; and again, I raise up 
my hands and all my members to Thee in 
devotion, prayer, love, praise, thanksgiving, 
and an accomplisliment of Thy most gra- 
cious will. May the Wounds of Thy feet 
wipe away the remembrance of the wan- 
derings of my perverse journeys, and hence- 
forward direct my feet into the way of 
everlasting life, and suffer me not to wan- 
der from the paths of Thy commandments. 
Amen." 



300 I\T edit at ions on the Life and Passion 



The Thirty-seventh Chapter. 
Jesus was ntimbered zvtth thieves. 

MOREOVER, our Lord Jesus Christ 
was numbered with transgressors, 
and lifted upon the Cross between two 
thieves, as if He had been the chief thief. 
This was done by the wickedness of the 
Jews, that Christ, Who was in Himself 
most innocent, mio^ht share in their guilt, 
and that all might believe that He was 
like to them in conduct, since He had been 
condemned to like punishment ; and that 
thus through the wickedness of others He 
might become infamous, Who was Himself 
the Just One. But our humble Jesus re- 
fused not to hang between those for whom 
He desired to die. And, indeed. He was 
numbered with the transgressors upon 
earth, that we might be numbered among 
the choirs of angels in heaven. For a 
little while His good name was blotted out 
amongst men, that our names might be 
written for ever in the Book of Life. He 
was hung up between two thieves, not as 
partaker of their wickedness, but that He 
might make them partakers of His God- 
head. He hung, I say, between them, not 



of our Lord yesiis Christ. -301 



ns their fellow in murder, but as the Medi- 
cine of Life. He hunq- between the trans- 
gressors, not as a wicked one, but as the 
Judge, signifying thereby that all power 
had been given Him in heaven and on 
earth, and that He had been appointed to 
be the Judge of tlie living and the dead. 
This was why He ascended the judgment- 
seat of the Holy Cross between two of the 
wicked, that He might in His mercy be- 
stow life ui)on the one, and in His justice 
pass sentence of death everlasting upon 
the other, and that He might show in like 
manner that in His iiands was the empire 
of life and of death. By this He also 
shadowed forth the form of the judgment 
to come, when He will place the good on 
His right hand and the wicked on His 



left. 



The Thirty-eighth Chapter. 
Of the glorious title of Christ's Cross, 

MOREOVER, Pilate, according to the 
custom of the Romans, wrote the 
cause of Christ's death upon a tablet, and 
commanded it to be fastened above the 
Cross. Written iii three languages, were 



302 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



these words: "Jesus of Nazareth, the Kingf 
of the Jews." And although Pilate was a 
heathen man, yet he wrote this at the dic- 
tation of the Holy Ghost, for the shame 
indeed and confusion of the Jews, but for 
the glory and triumph of Christ. Thus, 
although that wicked nation refused to 
acknowledge Christ as their King during 
His life-time, yet at His Passion, by that 
most true title, they were forced to ac- 
knowledge Him even against their will, 
and to confess the truth before the whole 
city. By this title the great cruelty of the 
Jews and Christ's justice are also declared, 
since in their wickedness they had put 
their own King to a shameful death, hav- 
ing no other cause against Him, except 
that He was their King. From this, also, 
it is clear that Christ's Death was unde- 
served, since no other cause of death was 
inscribed on the title, nor could be in- 
scribed. Thus the power of God Al- 
mighty worked secretly in the unbeliever's 
heart, so that he could not write otherwise 
than as he was inspired by God ; nor could 
he change it, although this was asked of 
him by the Jews. For the Jews would not 
hear Pilate, when he said he found no 
cause in our Lord; wherefore, also, he him- 
self gave not unto them, but said: " What I 
have written, I have written." Thus he 
avenged Himself on the Jews, so that all 
the fault and the evil fell upon them. By 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 303 



this title, too, our Lord was separated from 
the thieves, so that every one might per- 
ceive, that not for any crime of His own, 
but out of pure love He had laid down 
His life for His friends. 

Now by these four words of the title 
are declared the hidden mysteries of the 
Holy Cross. By the first word, " Jesus,'' 
that is, Saviour, are expressed the cause 
and virtue of the Cross, for by the Holy 
Cross we are all saved and healed ; and as 
by the wood of disobedience we were lost, 
so by the wood of obedience we are saved. 
And this was why our Lord chose the 
death of the cross. By the second word, 
*•<?/■ Nazareth," that is, the "flower" or 
" green thing," is shown to us that Christ 
hung not on the Cross, a small, dry, and 
barren wood, but like the grape upon the 
vine, or the flower upon the stem, since 
He is Himself the most noble flower of 
the rod of Jesse, whereon the Holy Ghost 
hath rested. Like the grape, too. He is 
pressed out, that He may minister to us in 
all abundance the delightful draught of 
His own precious Blood. By the third 
word, " King,'' are signified to us the im- 
mense power and empire of Christ, which 
He won by the victory of the Cross, as S. 
Paul saith: "Christ was made obedient 
unto death, even the death of the Cross ; 
wherefore, also, God hath highly exalted 
Him, and given Him a name which is 



304 Meditations on the Life and Passidt 

above every name." Lastly, by the fourth 
word, •' of the Jews^' is declared, not only 
that He was King of the Jews, but also of 
all believers ; for Juda signifieth " one who 
confesseth." Hence our Lord saith: "Who- 
soever shall confess Me before men, I also 
will confess him before My Father." And, 
of a truth, as many as here refuse to con- 
fess Him as their King will one day feel 
Him to be the just Judge, Who shall con- 
demn them, as He Himself saith in the 
Gospel: " But these Mine enemies, who 
would not have Me to reign over them, 
bring them here, and slay them before 
Me." 

Moreover, this title was placed, not on 
the side of, nor under, but above the Cross. 
For although the weakness of His human 
flesh was tortured on the Cross, and was 
held up to contempt, yet above the Cross 
was His Royal Majesty, and there shone 
the glory of His kingdom, which He ob- 
tained not in time, nor from man, but which 
He possessed by His own divine power 
from everlasting. Again, this title was 
written, not in the language of one nation 
only, but in the three chief tongues: Greek, 
Latin, and Hebrew. The Hebrews, or the 
Jews, as being instructed in the law of the 
Lord, were at that time of all men the 
most religious. The Greeks were held to 
be the wisest of all. The Latins, or Ro- 
mans, with whom lay the highest power, 



of otiv Lord y esiLS Christ. 305 

and who were lords of the whole world, 
were judged to be the most mighty of 
mankind. Now these three languages met 
together on the title of Christ's Cross, and 
bore witness that He was the King and 
Lord of all religion, and wisdom, and 
power ; for the empire of the whole world, 
and all wisdom, and all religion and holi- 
ness alike bear witness that He was the 
true King of the Jews, that is, of believers, 
and that all power, and wisdom, and holi- 
ness flow from Him, as from their source. 

Moreover, many of the Jews, as the 
Evangelist saitli, read this title. Let us, 
then, read it as true Jews, that is, true 
confessors of Christ, and not like the Jews 
of old, with contempt ; but let us read it, 
and devoutly meditate thereon, by ever 
impressing it on our hearts, and by wear- 
ing it as a shield against all temptations. 
For this is the title of His triumphant vic- 
tory, showing how all the might of the 
enemy hath been broken in pieces by the 
power of Christ's Cross. Let us confess 
that Jesus, that is, the true Redeemer of 
the world, is the Lamb without spot, that 
taketh away the sins of the world ; and let 
us humbly pray Him that He would vouch- 
safe to heal our souls, and cleanse us from 
every stain of sin. Let us confess also 
that He is " of Nazareth ;" that is, the 
" flower of flowers," the flourishing green 
thing, by praying that He may make us 



20 



3o6 Meditations 07t the Life a7id Passion 

flourish and advance in all virtue. Let us 
confess, thirdly, that He is the true King 
of the Jews, that is, of believers, for all 
power is given to Him in heaven and on 
earth. For in Him the heavenly spirits 
rejoice, and with great reverence do they 
adore Him, trembling and affrighted be- 
fore His measureless power, marvelling at 
His incomprehensible wisdom, praising His 
infinite goodness, confessing that He is 
the Almighty God, before Whom the 
armies of heaven fall upon their faces, and 
cast down their crowns, and giving back 
to Him the glory which they received 
from Him, by acknowledging that all hon- 
our and glory have come forth from Him, 
and to Him must be given back. If, then, 
in this way, we read the title of Christ's 
Cross, we shall be true Jews, true children 
of Abraham, and Christ will be our King 
and our Saviour, and He will reign over 
us, and defend us, and after this He will 
take us into His own kingdom, and make 
us joint-heirs with Him in the kingdom of 
His Father. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 307 



The Thirty-ninth Chapter. 

yesits clotheth tJiose who had crucified Him. 

AFTER this, the executioners who had 
crucified Christ, and they were four, 
divided His poor garments amongst them, 
taking each man his part. But for His 
tunic, which was seamless, they cast lots. 
In this is seen Christ's immense humility, 
that He Who was the Lord of glory should 
be delivered into the hands of wretches so 
vile and needy, that with care and exact- 
ness they divided amongst them such sim- 
ple garments, and of such little price. O ! 
how hath the loftiness of heaven bowed 
itself down ! O unutterable patience of 
Christ, Who saw these things done under 
His eyes, and yet suffered them ! Of a 
truth this is that innocent Lamb, Who, 
when He was offered for the sins of the 
world, opened not His Sacred Mouth 
against them that mocked Him, and 
speared and struck Him, but meekly 
covered His murderers with His own gar- 
ments. Moreover, the division of His gar- 
ments into four parts may be taken to 
represent the diffusion of the faith into the 
four quarters of the world, so that all 
might be made glad by the crucifixion of 



3o8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

our Lord Jesus, and miq^ht have a share 
therein, and that by beheving in Christ, 
might deserve to be clothed with, and to 
put on, Christ, even as the sun covereth 
and adorneth the earth, and as wood 
clotheth itself with fire. And the seam- 
less tunic, which on this account was not 
divided, sisfnifieth the indissoluble bond of 
love, and the wedding and no less indi- 
visible garment of charity, which is indeed 
our chief garment, for it hideth all the 
shame and baseness of sin. This garment 
is not torn by men, but it is given by lot. 
Now this declareth to us the incomprehen- 
sible judgments of God, Who knoweth 
who are His, and whom He hath chosen, 
and whom He hath not chosen ; who are 
to be clothed, and who are to be sent 
away in their nakedness. And to His 
elect, indeed, He giveth tlie garment of 
cliarity, by the outpouring of the Holy 
Ghost. 

Moreover, from this we may draw 
spiritual instruction, that he who would be 
a true lover and follower of Christ, must 
be so stripped naked with Ciirist, and 
despoiled of all help or support, as not to 
keep even a thread of anything belonging 
to him, nor even to have anything 
whereon to lay his head. As Isaias 
saith, he must be purified in the fire of 
poverty and desolation, even as gold is 
proved in the fire, and as the grain of 






of oitr Lord Jesus Christ. 309 

wheat is separated by repeated blows and 
shakings from the chaff. Even so, I say, 
must such a man be so utterly stripped 
naked, and unclothed of all spiritual cover- 
ings, (which by daily exercise he hath put 
on, as to think them something belonging 
to him, or that he hath acquired them by 
his own zeal and diligence,) until to him- 
self, and in his own sight, he becometh 
wholly vile and nothing ; and so can 
serve God with the same peace of mind 
and without any choice of his own, in want, 
and desolation, and affliction, as in de- 
light, and consolation, and joy. And 
these garments, which he deemeth his 
own, and which he thinketh that he 
possesseth, as it were, by hereditary right, 
ought, in his eyes, to pass into the hands 
of others ; that is to say, all his pure and 
religious life, and his spiritual garments, 
by which he believeth himself to be 
adorned and glorified, ought to be torn to 
tatters by others, and treated with re- 
proach, and contempt, and shame, and he 
himself held up as an impostor and a 
hypocrite, and his whole life judged to be 
full of deceit and hypocrisy. Thus to- 
gether with Christ will he be numbered 
with the wicked and the transgressors. 

It was in this way that the disciples and 
friends of Christ have suffered persecu- 
tions, and all their holiest efforts and 
works have been held of no account, as a 



3IO Meditations on the Life atid Passion 

certain one amongst them hath said: "I 
suppose that God hath set us apostles the 
last of all, as it were, appointed to death, 
for we are made a spectacle to the world, 
and to anofels, and to men. We are 
cursed, and bless ; we suffer persecution, 
and bear it ; we are blasphemed, and 
entreat ; we are made as the refuse of 
the world, the offscouring of all things 
unto this day." Thus must the noble 
grain of wheat lie hidden for a little while 
in the earth, and be worn away by divers 
storms, and die in itself, if it is to bring 
forth fruit. For it refuseth to be an 
Abel, whom the malice of a Cain doth not 
try. But how blessed a thing is this per- 
secution of Cain, and the trouble which 
we suffer therefrom ! How clearly by this 
winnowing is the grain separated from the 
chaff. How many proud minds remain 
unknown, as long as they are tried by no 
temptations or contempt, but which would 
certainly betray themselveS; were they 
heavily touched. Hence the Prophet 
saith: "Touch the hills and they shall 
smoke." And Isaac saith to Jacob: "Come 
hither, my son, that I may touch tliee, and 
see whether thou art indeed my very son 
Esau, or not." 

But let us go back to the Cross of our 
Lord, and with great devotion and com- 
passion look upon our Maker and Saviour, 
hanging so pitiably in agony, without 



ef our Lord yesus Christ 311 

friends, or any thing of His own, or any 
comfort, forsaken from on high, and from 
below, racked by pain of every kind 
within and without, despoiled of all that 
could soften His pains, while everything 
happened to Him that could possibly 
make them greater. Let us look closely, 
I pray, at this King of ours, so pitiable 
and forsaken. He weareth, indeed, His 
crown, and He hath a royal title, but 
where are His courtiers ? Where is His 
camp ? Where are His palaces ? Of a 
truth He hangeth here under the sky of 
heaven. Wliere is His purple ? Where 
are His robes, glittering with gold ? 
Where His state, as becometh royal mag- 
nificence ? Where, even, are His Body 
and His Blood ? Of a surety His whole 
Body is consumed and wasted by the fire 
of love, as He Himself saith: "The zeal 
of Thy house hath eaten me up." His 
Blood sinners have drunk. What shall 
He give us, I ask. Who hath nothing left 
at all: — no, not the least thing, however 
little, on which He can lean His Head ; 
Who hath no roof, no possession, no in- 
heritance, no garments ? All, all hath 
been taken away. Nevertheless, let us 
go up to this mountain of myrrh, and with 
the mourning turtle, let us fly up to the 
palm-tree of the Cross, and see if we can 
find any fruit. Of a truth, we shall find 
enough, and more than enough, if our 



312 Rleditations o?t the ZAfe and Passion 



earnestness in searching fail not. He 
hath still a tongue, to utter words of com- 
fort, words of salvation, and instruction. 
And if that is not enough for us with 
which the thief was content, let us go up 
yet a little higher. For He hath still His 
Heart left whole ; with that He will pray 
to His Father for us. He hath still con- 
sciousness, full of devotion, grace, and 
love. He will give us to drink of that 
wine, which He gave to His beloved dis- 
ciple, who lay upon His breast. And if 
even this doth not satisfy us, see ! He 
will gladly suffer His side to be transfixed, 
and His Heart to be pierced, and opened, 
and in the love of His burning Heart, He 
will give us His Blood to drink, — sweet 
draught, indeed, and pleasant exceedingly, 
for it is the draught of the love of God. 
Lastly, He will give us even His holy 
Soul, full of grace and merits, and adorned 
with all virtue. What more can we ask of 
our sweet God and Lord } Behold, He 
giveth all that He hath, all that He is ; all 
that He can give. Then let us, too, give 
Him our whole selves in return. 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 313 



The Fortieth Chapter. 
Jesus is attacked with blasphemies. 

NOW there sat not far from the Cross, 
the executioners, who kept guard over 
Christ, and waited for the end. And let 
us also wait for the death of Christ, not 
as they did, out of hatred, but with bitter 
sorrow, watching for our salvation to 
be ended by Christ ; nor let us go away 
from the Cross, since our whole salvation 
is hanging thereon. A certain soul, glow- 
ing with love, hath said: "I sat under 
His shadow, Whom I desired, and His 
fruit is sweet to my mouth." And 
what can be sweeter to the soul that 
loveth, than after the distractions, and the 
labours, and the many troubles which 
happen to her in this valley of tears, 
whether she will or no, and which weary 
her, to take breath under the shadow of 
the health-giving Cross, and to refresh 
herself, and to collect her distracted senses, 
and to strengthen herself in her exhaus- 
tion with the delightful fruit of this tree, 
and to drink her fill of the torrent of her 
Beloved's Sacred Side, which floweth in- 
deed with milk and honey ."* The Jewish 



3T4 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

people waited for the end : let us, too, 
persevere to the end, nor let us go aside 
from the cross until our salvation be 
accomplished thereon ; for whoever shall 
persevere to the end, the same shall be 
saved ; and in like manner, let it only be 
together with our life that we finish our 
penance. 

The Jews watched for the end, because 
neither by blood, nor cruelty, nor by torture, 
could they glut their rage. And because 
in their serpent hearts they could think no 
more of any kind of torment, whereby to 
torture Christ's Body ; at the last, their 
hands failing, they began to crucify our 
Lord with their tongues. O unutterable 
wickedness ! O unheard-of hatred ! O 
cruelty without measure! In their devilish 
rage they wagged their sacrilegious heads, 
and spat upon Him, and said : " Vali ! 
Thou Who destroyest the temple, and 
in three days buildest it again !" Oh ! 
thine immense blindness, thou wicked 
Jew ! Thou believest not what thou seest 
before thy very eyes! Already — now, 
even now, is the temple destroyed, and 
it is thou who hath destroyed it ; but wait 
for three days, and thou shalt see it built 
again ! O unutterable perversity and 
wickedness of the Jews, who put forth 
their whole strength, that, as they had worn 
away His Body, and reduced it almost to 
nothing, so also they might utterly blot 



of otir Lord ^esus Christ. 3 1 5 

out His glorious Name ! But the more 
eagerly they tried to do this, so much the 
more did they exalt Christ, and add to His 
Name greater splendour and glory. They 
thought, indeed, that they could utterly blot 
it out by a shameful death, but they only 
raised it up the higher, as that of a judge 
upon his throne. With their own hands 
they built for Him a column, on which was 
placed the title of His Royal Majesty; 
and not only could they not suppress His 
Name within their own nation, but they 
spread it abroad all the more among all 
nations, and caused it to be extolled ; so 
that they who before had not known 
Christ mi(^ht read and know that He was 
the very King of Israel. Wherefore, by 
their very insults they honoured Christ, 
and against their will added praise to 
praise. For they were so full of malice 
and wickedness, that if they had known 
aught of evil against Him, beyond all 
doubt they would have brought it forth, 
and cast it against Him. But because in 
that most pure gold, so many times tried 
in the fire of affliction, and of the Cross, 
they had been unable to find any dross, 
they tried to cast shame upon His virtues, 
and His glorious miracles, and His Divine 
Name. O most blind Jews ! how just do 
ye declare our Lord to be, when ye have 
nothing in your malice to reproach Him 
with, save what is pure, and holy, and 



3i6 Meditations on the Lije and Passion 



divine ; as, for example, that He had 
raised the dead to life, that He had given 
health to the sick, that He had done mar- 
vellous works ; in a word, that He was the 
Son of God. 

Now this we too hold with undoubting 
faith. For had He not been Very God, of 
a surety He could not have worked these 
wonders. When ye saw these great won- 
ders, ye would not believe ; now, therefore, 
ye have been utterly caught in your mad 
wickedness, so that against your will ye 
confess that "He saved others." Ye 
throw it in His teeth that He is the King 
of Israel, as we saw when speaking of the 
title of the Cross. And hereafter ye shall 
see as your stern Judge, sentencing you to 
everlasting fire. Him Whom you have 
just condemned to the death of the Cross. 
Ye make it a reproach to Him that He 
hath God for His Father. Within three 
days ye shall indeed prove the truth of 
this, when God the Father shall raise Him 
from the dead, and yet again, when Christ 
shall Himself ascend to His Father in 
heaven. 

But now let every man weigh with him- 
self, and meditate with great compassion 
and sorrow, how the tender Heart of 
Christ must have been afflicted, when He, 
Whose nature is goodness itself, beheld all 
this hateful and obstinate wickedness of 
the Jews, and at the same time knew, by 



of our Lord yestis Christ. 317 

His divine wisdom, how it was from the 
malice and the hatred of their hearts that 
they vomited forth these reproaches and 
blasphemies. Of a truth, if over and 
above this they could have heaped upon 
Him aught of reproach or of wrong, in no- 
wise would they have shrunk therefrom. 
Then, indeed, could our tender Lord say 
in His Heart: " My people, what have I 
done to thee, or how have I troubled 
thee ? Why art thou so cruel, so furious 
against the God Who made thee ? Why 
art thou so made of rock and stone, that 
My warm Blood, which thou seest falling 
on the ground like water, and at tiie very 
touch of which the rocks themselves are 
torn asunder, cannot soften thy heart nor 
warm it, no, nor even touch it ? See how 
the senseless elements, and creatures 
without reason, show signs of sorrow ; and 
thou. My people, whom I have enlightened 
with a singular knowledge of My God- 
head, whom I have taugiit the law and 
spiritual ceremonies, whom I have treated 
with such kindness, hast lifted thyself up 
against thy God, and hast forgotten all His 
benefits. 

" It was for thy sake that I smote Egypt 
with many plagues ; thou, on the contrary, 
hast smitten Me with many blows. Mar- 
vellously did I lead thee out of Egypt ; I 
dried up the Red Sea beneath thy foot- 
steps ; I laid low thine enemies without 



3 1 8 MedHations on the Life and Passion 

any labour to thee ; but tliou hast de- 
livered Me to Pilate, and eagerly plotted 
for My death. In the wilderness for forty 
years I fed thee with manna ; thou hast 
given Me gall and vinegar to drink. I led 
thee through the wilderness; by day I 
sheltered thee from the heat with a 
cloud, by night I gave thee light in the 
pillar of fire ; thy garments were not worn 
out : but thou hast led Me cross-laden 
unto death, and hast stripped Me of My 
garments, and placed Me naked on the 
Cross. I honoured thee with a royal 
sceptre ; but thou hast crowned Me with 
thorns, and given Me a reed for My 
sceptre; and after having mocked Me, killed 
Me. What can I do to thee, that at last 
thy malice may cease ? My Body and My 
Blood I gave to thee, and My fresh fair 
nature I suffered thee well nigh to wear 
away. For three and thirty years I 
laboured for thy conversion, and thou 
wouldst not hear Me. Now, at least, I 
pray thee, let My bitter Passion, and num- 
berless Wounds, and burning tears, soften 
thee, whom My words could not turn ; let 
My warm Blood warm thee, whom so 
many of My miracles could not touch." 

But those wretched ones, like mad 
dogs, cried out in answer: " If Tliou art 
the Son of God, come down from the 
Cross 1" 

O Jesus ! unvanquished Lion, heed them 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 319 



not; place no faith in their deceitful 
words. For they who would not believe, 
even if one were to rise from the dead, 
would not now believe, wert Thou to come 
down from the Cross ! Come not down, 
good Jesus ; but finish the work of our 
salvation upon Thy Cross, for all our sal- 
vation lieth in Thy death. Suffer in 
patience, meanwhile, their blasphemies 
and reproaches, and teach us the power of 
charity and patience, by praying for Thine 
enemies. In this the Jews showed them- 
selves to be the children and disciples of 
the devil, by following their father, who 
had already before tliis said to Christ: *' If 
Thou art the Son of God, cast Thyself 
down !" But, good Jesus, come not down, 
but rather let the prayer of Thy Heart 
mount upwards to Thy Father. Let this. 
Thy innocent Blood, reconcile the Father 
to us, and plead from the Cross for us ; 
and then afterwards go up Thyself to Thy 
Father in heaven, and prepare a place for 
us, and open to us an entrance into 
heaven ! 

And now, O most merciful Father of 
heaven, look down upon the torn coat of 
Tliy beloved Son Joseph, which He left in 
the hands of the wicked woman, that is, of 
the adulterous race of the Jews, choosing 
rather to lose His owngarment than His in- 
nocence, and to be stripped of the covering 



320 Meditatw7is on the Life and Passion 

of His body, and to be cast into prison, 
than to consent to her deceitful words. 

Moreover, at the same time, both the 
chief priests and the elders persecuted our 
Lord with blasphemies and reproaches, 
saying: " He saved others. Himself He 
cannot save. If He be the King- of Israel, 
let Him come down from the Cross." 
But Christ dwelt not on those blasphe- 
mies, but bore them in patience, desiring 
to fulfil the works of perfect love, not 
desiring to save Himself, that He might 
save many, and choosing to continue in 
those horrible pains, that He might de- 
liver all men from torments everlasting. 
From this we may clearly gather how 
faithfully our Lord Jesus worked out our 
salvation, when on account neither of the 
bitterness of His pain, nor of the calumnies 
and reproaches of the Jews, nor of His 
Mother's measureless woes, nor for any 
cause whatever, even for a moment, did 
He pause in the work of our salvation, 
with which He was then engaged upon 
the Cross. And we, on the other hand, 
how often are we called away by light 
causes from the service of God, and from 
earnestness in prayer, and fasting, and 
watching, and acts of penance ! How 
easily do we wound charity, when at one 
little word we lay aside patience, not con- 
sidering all the shame, and reproach, and 
ignominy, and contempt, which the King 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 321 

of Glory suffered from His own chosen 
people. And yet most certainly was He 
grievously tormented in heart at these 
things. Pitiably doth He complain by the 
mouth of His Prophet of the sharpness of 
this internal pain: "And, indeed, if Mine 
enemy had spoken evil against Me, I 
would indeed have borne it. But thou, 
the man of My peace, in whom I hoped, 
and who eat My bread, hath magnified 
deceit upon Me, and lifted up his head 
against Me !" 

O how sorely stricken was that meek 
Lamb, when His own peculiar people 
blasphemed Him, and visited Him with 
reproach and calumny, since, instead, they 
ought rather to have praised, and loved, 
and thanked Him, because He, the true 
God, had not refused, for man's salvation, 
to die so shameful a death. 

Nor was it only against the Son of God 
that these wicked ones blasphemed, but, 
moreover, they let loose their tongues, as 
so many ready instruments of the devil, in 
order to wrong and blaspheme His Father, 
saying: "He trusted in God: let Him 
deliver Him now, if He will, for He said: 
I am the Son of God!" O wicked and 
impious people, whither hath the evil 
spirit led thee, that thou shouldst throw in 
the teeth of the Father of merr'es His 
own goodness } Did He do thee any 
wrong, when He opened His Fatherly 



322 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

bosom, and poured forth the riches of His 
grace, and sent His only One upon earth, 
to take upon Him human nature from thy 
own race, in order that He might go in 
search of the lost sheep of thy house, and 
heal them, — and by giving Himself up to 
death for thy salvation, might pay tliy 
heavy debt in the precious Blood of His 
beloved Son ? And in return for these 
His benefits, thou vomitest out blasphe- 
mies upon Him, as if He could not help 
His Son, Who, although He died Himself, 
will one day recall all the dead by one 
word to life, and Who, also, by a word, 
hath made the heavens and the earth. 
Let us consider what a grievous cross it 
must have been to our Lord Jesus to hear 
such blasphemy against His Father, know- 
ing how grievously it stirred up His 
Father's anger, and how horrible was the 
judgment hanging over them. Of a truth, 
all His bowels were moved to pity at the 
mad blindness of His people, and with a 
last voice He cried out to the Father: 
" Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do ?" 

O incomprehensible goodness of Christ! 
He did now, what formerly He had taught 
when He said, that we should love our 
enemies, and pray for them who perse- 
cute us, and what the Prophet had long 
ago foretold of Him: "They who loved 
Me spoke evil against Me, but I prayed." 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 323 

They cursed Him, and He blessed them : 
and although so great was their wicked- 
ness as not to admit of excuse ; neverthe- 
less, so far as He could. He made excuse 
for them to the Father, saying : " Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they 
do ? " O marvellous power of this prayer, 
poured forth, as it was, in such anguish, 
and with such love ! For when others, by 
reason of the vehemence of pain, easily 
forget even their dearest friends, and can- 
not pray even for themselves, Christ 
prayed for His enemies. Yet this His 
prayer was poured forth not only for them, 
who then crucified Him with their hands, 
and blasphemed Him with their tongues, 
but also for all those who still crucify 
our Lord Jesus by their wicked actions, 
and blaspheme Him by their sins. These, 
of a truth, know not what they do ; for 
they are seized with a five-fold blindness. 
First, they know not how fearfully they 
stir up the power of the just Judge, by 
despising the commandments of so mighty 
a Lord. Secondly, they know not how 
merciful a Father they offend, how faithful 
a protector they abandon. Whose friend- 
ship they lose. Thirdly, they do not 
know how shamefully they disfigure their 
own fair and noble souls, which have been 
made to God's image. Fourthly, they do 
not know how horrible are the torments of 
hell, which they deserve. Fifthly, they do 



324 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

not know how great is the glory and 
the joy of heaven, which they lose. 

Here we may learn that we should 
firmly persevere in those crosses which 
God permitteth to come upon us, and with 
S. Andrew the Apostle, suffer not our- 
selves to be loosened therefrom by men, 
but that we should remain with constancy 
upon the cross, until our Lord Himself 
loosen and free us therefrom. Nor, either 
by reason of the grievousness of the cross, 
or the reproaches and scoffs of men, or for 
the sake of relief and comfort, should we 
go down from the cross, when we have 
once taken it up. For this would be to 
consent to the devil, who is ever whisper- 
ing in our ears: "Come down from the 
cross, and save thyself." Some men 
forsake the cross of some light afflic- 
tion, and throw aside their patience, 
and for some little word or slight adver- 
sity, cease to walk in Christ's footsteps, in 
which they had begun to tread. Others 
leave the cross of holy religion, for some 
small temptation, after they have entered 
thereon. Others, again, put off the cross 
of penance, for the sake of some little 
pleasure of the world, and in order to be 
comforted for a very little while. These 
have forsaken Christ's footsteps, and given 
themselves to the devil, who is ever cry- 
ing in the hearts of men, that they should 
come down fro 91 the cross, and save them- 



of 02ir Lord testis Christ. 325 

selves, and satisfy their pleasures and 
lusts, and indulge the affections of their 
nature, and refresh their spirit meanwhile 
with vain comforts and delights. " It is 
not thy business," he saith, " to practise 
hard penance, to observe the austerity of 
religion, and to die daily to thyself. Wilt 
thou kill thyself ! Come down quickly 
from the cross and save thyself." 



The Forty-first Chapter. 
A devout confession and prayer for sins. 

O JESUS, inexhaustible abyss of 
patience. Whose nature is goodness, 
to Whom it belongeth ever to have mercy, 
and to spare, behold I, the greatest of sin- 
ners, whose sins are more in number than 
the sand of the sea, throw myself at Thy 
pierced feet, waiting for Thy immense 
goodness, and Thy great mercy, which 
Thou didst show Thy tormentors, when 
they fastened Thee to the Cross, and 
humbly trusting that Thou wilt not refuse 
me this same grace. Wherefore, with 
great love I embrace Thy holy Cross with 
my arms, and with all lowliness, and devo- 
tion, and reverence, I adore Thee, my 



326 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

God, and Lord, and Saviour, hanging 
upon the Cross, crowned with thorns, 
pierced with nails, racked in all Thy mem- 
bers, covered with blood, disfigured with 
wounds, despised, mocked at, forsaken, 
full of all pain within and without, tor- 
mented by the draught of vinegar and 
gall. 

O Jesus, Eternal Sweetness, I, a foul 
sinner, in the bitter grief of my heart, con- 
fess to Thee my grievous sin, and that I 
am the cause of Thy bitter Passion, and 
have inflicted upon Thee these Thy 
grievous torments, by my grievous sins. 
Of a truth. Thou hast suffered far more 
from me than from those who crucified 
Thee, for the wrong and the contempt 
which Thou foresawest that I should bring 
upon Thy Father, gave Thee more grie- 
vous pain than those cruel wounds of 
Thy Body. Nor is it once only that I 
have crucified Thee, but my whole life 
long. Of Thy tormentors, indeed, it is 
written : " Had they known, they would 
never have crucified the Lord of glory," 
but I, indeed, wicked that I am, have 
known Thee, and yet have crucified Thee 
times without number, and I have wounded 
and mocked Thee, and shed even Thy 
precious Blood. For why did Thy 
precious Blood flow forth so abundantly 
from Thy Body, except because, like the 
grape, Thou wert pressed out under the 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 327 



grievous weight of my sins ? Why were 
Tliy wounds so many, except because of 
my numberless sins ? For because I my- 
self have increased my sins, Thou also 
didst multiply Thy pains. And what else 
is the gall and vinegar which Thou drank- 
est, but my bitter and wicked actions, 
which I offered to Thy lips ? From whom 
hast Thou suffered so many mockeries as 
from me, when I feared not to anger 
Thee, the King of Israel, yea, and I con- 
fess, of heaven and of earth, and so 
adorable and worshipful a Lord, by despis- 
ing Thy holy commandments I What else 
have I done to Thee, except with the 
sacrilegious Jews to blaspheme Thee, and 
say: "Come down from the Cross; never 
more will I consent to sin, or transgress 
Thy law:" and then straightway I have cru- 
cified Thee aofain. Yet not even after sins 
such as these, and after all the wrongs I 
have done Thee, do I in any way despair 
of Thy grace and mercy ; but full of trust, 
I confess to Thee my wanderings, for 
many are the signs of Thy mercy. Of a 
truth, I have fastened Thy feet with rough 
nails, that they should not turn away from 
me, but wait with long-suffering, until I do 
penance. Thy arms are stretched out to 
embrace me ; Thy head is bowed down to 
kiss me, and to hear my suppliant prayers. 
Thy Heart is opened, and Thou invitest 
me to enter into it, promising me a 



328 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

draught of new wine, that my heart may 
be made glad, for Thou sayest : " Come 
to Me, all ye who labour in the tillage of 
My vineyard, and prepare a pleasant bed 
for Me. Come to Me, all ye who have 
begun to fight manfully against your sins, 
and who are striving to avoid this world, 
given up, as it were, to vice. Come to 
Me, all ye who labour, and are burdened 
with the load of sin, with the weight of 
penance, and the cross of affliction, and I 
will refresh you, and feed you ; and I will 
give you to drink out of My glorious soul, 
that red wine, which I have mingled for 
you, for were it not diluted, it would be 
stronger than you could bear." 

Wherefore, O good Jesus, I wait, not 
only for that love which Thou showest to 
Thy friends, but for that, too, which Thou 
showest to Thine enemies, and I contem- 
plate that loving-kindness of Thine, with 
which Thou prayest so lovingly for those 
who crucified and blasphemed Thee. I 
beseech Thee, most tender Lord, let this 
Thy prayer be of profit to my wretched 
soul. For although I have crucified Thee, 
yet was not this done by me with the same 
malice as by the wicked Jews ; but over- 
come by human frailty, I have done it. 
Nor have I sinned that I might treat Thee 
with contempt, but that I might gratify 
my senses. Whatever sin, then, I may 
have committed by the consent of delight, 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 329 

I will correct with the bitterness of pen- 
ance, and I will wash away with hot streams 
of tears. I cry out to Thee, indeed, but 
not as the Jews: " If Tliou art the Son of 
God, save Thyself ;" but, " because Thou 
art the Eternal Son of God, save me Thy 
servant." I pierce Thee not with nails, I 
transfix not Thy side with a spear ; but I 
wound Thy Heart by my prayers, and the 
fiery darts of my desires, and tender love. 
Oh ! for even one little drop, I pray Thee, 
from Thy open side, to fall down into my 
sick and wounded soul, and then I shall 
be saved. O glorious King of heaven and 
earth, remember me, for now Thou hast 
come into Thy kingdom. O true Son of 
God, Who sittest now at the Right Hand 
of Thy Father, remember my poor soul, 
which is held captive in the prison of this 
world. Cause me to hear a word of mercy, 
even that word of comfort which Thou 
spakest to the thief, when Thou saidst: 
" This day thou shalt be with Me in para- 
dise." And this will be soon done, if 
Thou drawest me away from out of the 
midst of sin. For then straightway will 
my soul be joined to Thee, that it may 
rest in Thee, Who art the paradise of spi- 
ritual delights, the rest and full content of 
the blessed. For in Thee, the paradise of 
pleasure, have we everlasting rest, and 
being, and nothing can cast us out there- 
from, save sin alone. Take, then, sin 



330 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



away, O Thou Who art the Lamb without 
spot, that takest away the sins of the 
world, and then I shall be made one with 
Thee, and shall most truly be in paradise. 



The Forty-second Chapter. 
To stir up the soul to praise God. 

NOW then, O my soul, and as many as 
have been redeemed by the precious 
Blood of Christ, come, and with inward 
compassion and fervent devotion, let us go 
up to the blessed palm-tree of the Cross, 
for it is all laden with the fairest fruit. 
Even as the busy bee, let us pass from 
wound to wound, for they are all full of 
honey. Let us search into and weigh with 
exceeding care the sacred words of Christ, 
which He uttered on the Cross ; for every- 
thing is medicinal and good which cometh 
from this blessed tree. All our salvation, 
all our health, all our life, all our glory, are 
centred in the Cross of our Lord and Sa- 
viour ; and as the Apostle saith: "If we 
suffer with Him, we shall also reign with 
Him." And that we may not be found 
ungrateful for such immense benefits, let 
us stir up heaven and earth, and all things 



of our Lord Jesus Christ^ 33 1 

that in them are, and call them to our 
help, in order to praise and bless God, and 
give Him thanks. Let us invite them to 
come and gaze on thi s marvellous spec- 
tacle, and say : " Magnify our Lord with 
me, for He hath done wonderful things. 
Praise and bless the Lord with me, for His 
mercy over us is great." O ye angelic 
spirits, come up, I pray you, with me, to 
Mount Calvary, and behold your King 
Solomon on His throne, and with the dia- 
dem wherewith His Mother hath crowned 
Him. Let us weep before the Lord Who 
made us. Who is Himself the Lord our 
God. O all mortals, and as many as are 
members of Christ, behold, I beseech you, 
with tearful eyes, your Redeemer, Who 
hangeth on high. See if any sorrow can 
be compared with His sorrow. Acknow- 
ledge the cruelty of your sins, which re- 
quired such satisfaction. Go to every part 
of Christ's Body, and ye will find nothing 
but wounds and blood. Cry to Him with 
mournful voice, and say : " O Jesus, our 
redemption, love, and desire, what mercy 
is this that hath overcome Thee, that 
Thou shouldst bear our sins, and suffer a 
cruel death, in order to snatch us from 
death, even death everlasting!" 

And Thou, O God, the Father Almighty 
of heaven, look down from Thy high sanc- 
tuary on Thy innocent Son Joseph, sold, 
and wrongfully betrayed into the hands of 



332 Meditations on the Life arid Passion 

blood-thirsty men, and given over to a 
shameful death. See whether this be Thy 
Son's garment or not. Of a truth, an evil 
beast hath devoured Him. The blood of 
our sins is sprinkled over His garments, 
and all the coverings of His good name and 
reputation are defiled thereby. See how 
Thy holy Child hath been condemned with 
the wicked, how Thy Royal Son hath been 
crowned with thorns. Behold His guilt- 
less hands, which have known no sin, drop- 
ping with blood ; His sacred feet, which 
have never turned from the path of justice, 
pierced with a cruel nail ; His naked and 
helpless side transfixed by a sharp lance ; 
His fair face, on which the angels desire 
to look, all utterly debased and devoid of 
all beauty ; His blessed Heart, which 
no stain of unclean thought hath ever 
touched, pressed down by inward woe. 
Behold, O loving Father, Thy sweet Son, 
all stretched out on the harp of the Cross, 
and harping blessings on Thee with all 
His members. Wherefore, I earnestly 
beseech Thee, O my God, to pardon me, 
for the sake of the Passion of Thy Son, 
whatever sin I may have committed in my 
members. Look, O merciful Father, on 
Thy only-begotten Son, that Thou mayest 
have pity on Thy servant. As often as 
that red Blood of Thy Son speaketh in 
Thy sight, so often do Thou wash me from 
every stain of sin ; and as many times as 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 333 

Thou patiently beholdest the wounds of 
this Thy Son, so many times open to me 
the bosom of Thy fatherly mercy. Be- 
hold now, O tender Father, how Thy 
most obedient Son crieth not out : " Bind 
my hands and my feet, lest I should 
rebel against Thee ; " but how of His own 
free will He stretcheth out His hands and 
His feet, and gladly suffereth them to be 
pierced with nails. Look down, I pray 
Thee, not on the brazen serpent hanging 
upon a pole for Israel's salvation, but Thy 
only Son, hanging on the Cross for the 
salvation of all mankind. It is no longer 
Moses, who stretcheth forth his hands to 
heaven, that the thunder, and the light- 
ning, and the other plagues of Egypt may 
cease, but it is Thv beloved Son, Who 
lovingly stretcheth forth His bleeding arms 
to Thee, that Thine anger may depart 
from the whole race of man. No longer 
do Aaron and Hur hold up the hands of 
Moses, that he may pray more persever- 
ingly for Israel ; but rough, rude nails have 
fastened the hands and feet of Thy only- 
begotten Son to the Cross, that He may 
wait with long-suffering for our penance, 
and that He may take us back into His 
grace, and that He may not in His anger 
turn Himself away from our prayers. 
This, indeed, is that faithful David, who 
now tighteneth the harp strings of His 
Body, and maketh sweet melody before 



334 Meditations on tJie Life and Passion 

Thee, singing to Thee the sweetest song 
that hath been ever sung to Thee : " Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they 
do." This is that High-Priest, Who by 
His own Blood hath entered into the Holy 
of Holies, to offer Himself a peace-offering 
for the sins of the whole world. This is 
that guiltless Lamb, Who hath washed us 
n His own precious Blood, Who never 
knew sin, but Who hath taken away all 
the sins of the world. 

From the treasury, then, of this Passion, 
I borrow the price of my debt, and all its 
merits I count out before Thee in payment 
of what I owe. For all that He hath done, 
He hath done in my nature, and for my 
sake. O gracious Father, if Thou weighest 
all my sins on one side of the balance, 
and placest in the other the Passion of 
Thy Son, the latter will outweigh the for- 
mer. For what sin can be so great that 
the guiltless Blood of Thy Son hath not 
washed away ? What pride, or disobedi- 
ence, or lust, is so unbridled and lifted up, 
that such lowliness, obedience and poverty 
cannot do away with ? O, merciful Father, 
accept the actions of Thy beloved Son, 
and pardon the wanderings of Thy wicked 
servant ; for the innocent Blood of our 
Brother Abel crieth to Thee from the 
Cross, not for vengeance, but for grace 
and mercy, saying : " Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do." 



of 07/r Lord yesus Christ. 335 



The Forty-third Chapter. 
yesus saveth the thief, 

NOW the thieves which were crucified 
together with Jesus, these also ut- 
tered blasphemies against Him. But after 
a little, lie who hung on Christ's right 
hand, when he saw His great patience and 
long-suffering, with which He so lovingly 
prayed to His Father for them who heaped 
such shame upon Him, and fearfully tor- 
mented Him, became utterly changed, and 
began to be moved by exceeding sorrow 
and repentance for his sins. And this he 
showed outwardly, reproving by his words 
his fellow-thief, who still continued to blas- 
pheme, and saying: " Dost not thou fear 
God, seeing that thou, too, art near to 
death ?" 

" Although from obstinate confidence 
thou fearest not men, and thinkest nothing 
of thy bodily pains, yet surely thou must 
fear God, and this, too, at the last moment 
of thy life, for He hath power to destroy 
both thy body and soul in the hell of fire. 
And although we suffer like punishment 
with Him, yet far different are our merits. 
We, indeed, suffer jusdy, for we receive the 



336 Meditations on the Lije and Passion 

due reward of our deeds ; but this Man 
hath done no evil." He, then, who but 
just now was a blasphemer, is now a con- 
fessor and a preacher, distinguishing good 
from evil, blaming the sinner, and making 
excuse for the innocent one ; he who a 
little before was an unbelieving thief, is 
now the confessor of God Almighty. O 
good Jesus, this is the sudden change of 
Thy Right Hand, at which he hung. Thy 
Right Hand touched him inwardly, and 
straightway he is changed into another 
man. In this, O Lord, Thou hast declared 
Thy patience, for out of a stone Thou hast 
raised up a child unto Abraham. Of a 
truth, the good thief received the light of 
faith from no other source than from that 
bright light on the candlestick of the Cross, 
which, shining there in darkness, dispersed 
the darkness of night. But what doth this 
mean, except that our Lord Jesus, out of 
His immense goodness alone, looked with 
the eyes of His mercy upon him, although 
He found no merit in him, save what it 
pleased Him in His goodness to give ? 
For even as God out of His goodness 
alone giveth unto His elect what none 
hath a right to claim, so He bestoweth on 
the wicked what is due to them from the 
equity of justice. Wherefore David also 
saith: " He saved me, because He desired 
me." And this was why that thief, before 
our Lord touched his heart with the rays 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 337 

of His grace and love, blasphemed Christ 
along with the other thief, thus proving in 
truth what first of all he did of himself, 
and then what was afterwards worked in 
him by grace. At first, indeed, he did as 
the other, for he, too, was a child of wrath; 
but when Christ's precious Blood, the price 
of our redemption, was poured forth, and 
paid to the Father in payment of our debt, 
then at that happy moment he asked of 
God an alms for his own good, and no 
sooner asked than received it. For how 
doth one alms lessen that measureless 
treasure ! Or how could our tender Lord, 
Whose property it is to have mercy, have 
refused it him .•* Indeed, He gave more 
than that thief asked for. Yet how could 
that thief avoid the intense heat of the 
burning fire which was so near him 1 Of 
a truth, this was the fire, which had been 
sent down by the Father from heaven upon 
earth, which for long indeed had smoul- 
dered, but which now, kindled afresh, and 
fed by the wood of the cross, and sprin- 
kled with the oil of mercy, and blown into 
a blaze by the breath, as it were, of the 
reproaches and blasphemies of the Jews, 
threw up its flames to heaven, whereby 
that thief was wholly kindled and set on 
fire, and his love became strong as death, 
so that he said: *' I, indeed, suffer no griev- 
ous punishment, for I more than deserve 
it ; but that tliis innocent one, who hath no 

22 



33^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 

sin in Him, should be so tormented, con- 
trary to what is just and good, this, of a 
truth, addeth grievous sorrow to my sor- 
row." O admirable faith of this thief! 
He despised all the punishment that could 
be inflicted on him ; he feared not the fury 
of the people, who, like mad dogs, were 
barking out their rage against Jesus ; he 
heeded not the chief priests ; he dreaded 
not all the executioners with their divers 
kinds of torments and weapons ; but before 
them all, with a heart that knew no fear, 
he confessed Christ to be the true Son of 
God, and the Lord of the whole universe ; 
and, at the same time, he confounded the 
Jews, by confessing that our Lord had 
done no evil, and that therefore they had 
wrongfully crucified Him. O wonderful 
faith ! O mighty constancy ! O incom- 
prehensible love of this poor thief, that 
cast out all fear from him. He had, in- 
deed, well drunk, and was drunken with 
that new wine, which in the wine-press of 
the Cross had been pressed out of that 
sweet grape-cluster, Christ Jesus, and 
therefore without shame he confessed 
Christ before all the people. From 
the very beginning of the Passion the 
apostles and disciples had all fled away, 
and forsaken Christ: S. Peter himself, 
terrified at the voice of one woman-ser- 
vant, had denied Christ, yet not even in 
death did this poor thief forsake our Lord, 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 339 

but confessed Him before all those armed 
men to be the Lord of heaven. Who can 
worthily celebrate the virtues of this man ? 
Who can tell of them ? Who hath taught 
him so quickly that faith of his, and the 
clear knowledge of all virtues, except the 
very Wisdom of the Father, Christ Jesus, 
Who hung near him on the Cross ? Him 
Whom, even from the promises made to 
the patriarchs, and from the confirmed 
oracles of the prophets, and from the 
teaching of the scriptures, and from the 
interpretation of figures, the Jews could 
not, or would not know, this poor thief 
learnt to know by penance. He confessed 
Christ to be the Son of God, although he 
saw Him before him full of wretchedness, 
and want, and torments, and dying of hu- 
man weakness ; and he confessed Him at 
a time when the apostles, who had seen 
His signs, and wonders, and marvellous 
miracles, denied Him. The nails were 
then holding his hands and feet immove- 
able upon the cross, nor had he anything 
free about him, except his heart and 
tongue ; yet he offered to God all that he 
could freely give Him, so that, in the words 
of Scripture, " with his heart he believed 
unto justice, and with his mouth confessed 
Christ unto salvation." O utterly infinite 
and unsearchable mercy of God ! what 
kind of man was he when he was driven 
tc the cross, and what when he left it ? 



340 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Not that we should ascribe this change to 
his own cross, but to the goodness and 
power of Christ crucified. He came to 
the cross polluted with another's blood; 
he was taken down from it cleansed by 
the Blood of Christ. He came to the 
Cross still cruel-hearted and full of anger, 
and upon the Cross he became so meek of 
heart and compassionate, that he bewailed 
the sufferings of others more than his own. 
One member alone was left to him, and he 
came at the last hour to work in God's 
vineyard, yet so zealously did he labour 
that he had finished his work before the 
others, and first of all received his reward. 
He acted, indeed, like a just man, for, first 
of all, he accused himself and confessed 
his sins, saying: "And we, indeed, justly, 
for we receive the due reward of our 
deeds." Secondly, he made excuse for 
Christ, and confessed Him to be the Just 
One, when he said: " But this Man, what 
evil hath He done ?" Thirdly, he showed 
forth brotherly love, for he said: " Dost 
not thou fear God ?" Fourthly, with all 
his members, — at least, with all he could 
offer, — and with a look of love, and a de- 
vout heart, and a lowly spirit, he turned to 
Christ, and fervently prayed: "Lord, re- 
member me when Thou comest into Thy 
kingdom." By this prayer he proclaimed 
Christ to be the Lord of heaven, and there- 
fore Very God, for heaven is God's alone. 



• 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 341 



He beheld nothing in Christ, save poverty, 
pain, and blood, with death coming over 
Him, none of which signs speak in any 
way of the Lord God, but quite the con- 
trary ; yet he said firmly: " Lord, remem- 
ber me when Thou comest into Thy king- 
dom." Great, then, was the justice, and 
humility, and resignation which he showed 
forth in this prayer, since he asked only 
for a little remembrance of himself, ac- 
knowledging himself unworthy to ask any- 
thing great. Nor did he pray for the sal- 
vation of his body, for he gladly desired to 
die for his sins ; and it was more pleasant 
for him to die with Christ, than to live any 
longer. Nor did he pray to be preserved 
by our Lord from the pains of hell or of 
purgatory, nor did he ask for the kingdom 
of heaven, but he resigned himself utterly 
to God's will, and offered himself all to 
Christ, to do with him what He would. 
Nothing, then, save grace and mercy, did 
he pray for in his humility, even as David 
prayed, saying: "Deal with Thy servant 
according to Thy mercy." Wherefore, 
because he had humbly and wisely prayed, 
the Eternal Wisdom, that readeth the 
hearts of them who pray, heard his prayer, 
and opening wide the rich treasures of His 
grace, bestowed upon him far more than 
he had dared to ask. 

O incomprehensible goodness of God ! 
how clearly dost Thou declare by this that 



342 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, 
but rather that he should turn to Thee, 
and live. Thou hast shown forth by this, 
and fulfilled what of old Thou didst pro- 
mise by the mouth of Thy Prophet say- 
ing: "In the hour whensoever the sinful 
man shall mourn for his sins, I will re- 
member his iniquity no more." Not many 
years of severe penance didst Thou im- 
pose upon him, not many pains of purga- 
tory for the expiation and satisfaction of 
his sins ; but as if Thou hadst utterly for- 
gotten his evil deeds, and couldst see no- 
thing but virtue in him, Thou saidst to 
him: "To-day thou shalt be with Me in 
paradise." O immense mercy of God ! 
our tender Lord in His pity forgot all the 
evil deeds which had been so numberless 
in that poor thief, and pardoned him when 
he repented, while to the good in him, 
which was small indeed. He gave so noble 
and magnificent a reward. 

Exceeding rich is our loving God, nor 
doth He stand in need of our goods ; but 
He seeketh for a heart which turneth to 
Him with lowliness and resignation, such 
as He found in this poor thief. For He 
saith Himself : " Be ye turned unto Me, 
and I will turn unto you." When, there- 
fore, this thief so bravely and efficaciously 
turned himself to God, straightway his 
prayer was not only received, but heard. 
For our Lord rejected not his prayer, nor 



of otir Lord Jesus Christ. 343 

said: '"^ See how I hang here in grievous 
pain, and I behold before My eyes My 
Mother in sore affliction, standing in the 
midst of this great agony, to whom as 
yet I have not spoken one word, so that 
to hear thee now would not be just." 
Nothing like this, I say, did our Lord speak 
to the thief; nay, rather, He heard his 
prayer at once, and spoke in answer that 
sweet word: "Amen, I say to thee, this 
day thou shalt be with Me in paradise." 
O tender goodness, O incomprehensible 
mercy of God ! O great prudence of the 
thief ! He saw that the treasures of his 
Lord lay open wide, and were scattered 
about on all sides. Who then should for- 
bid him to take as much as would pay his 
Lord's debt ? And O, the damnable hard- 
ness of the wicked thief, whom neither the 
reproof of his fellow, nor the patience of 
Christ, nor so many signs of love and 
mercy that shone forth in Christ, could 
soften and convert ! He saw, indeed, that 
alms abounded at the rich man's gate, that 
more was given than asked for, yet was he 
too proud and obstinate to wish to ask. 
He saw that life was given, that the king- 
dom of heaven was being bestowed, yet 
would he not bend his heart to desire them, 
therefore he shall not have them. He 
preferred blasphemies and curses, and they 
shall come upon him, and that ior ever and 
ever. 



344 Meditations on the Life ajid Passion 

These new first-fruits of the grape, which 
our Lord Jesus obtained on the wood of 
the Cross, from our unfruitful soil, after 
much sweat of His brow and abundant 
watering of His own precious Blood, He 
sent to His heavenly Father with great 
joy, as a precious gift, by the heavenly 
messengers, the holy angels. But if there 
is joy amongst the angels of God over one 
sinner doing penance, what will be the joy 
amongst them, what the exultation, at the 
salvation of this thief, of whom they had 
almost lost hope, and thought that he had 
perished ? With what joy, let us imagine, 
did the Father of heaven receive these 
first-fruits of the harvest of His Son's Pas- 
sion ? But to Christ Himself, although 
He, too, was able to get some joy at this 
conversion, there came therefrom still 
greater affliction, for by His Divine wis- 
dom He easily foresaw that this thief 
would be to many the cause of damnation ; 
to those, namely, who make up their mind 
to pass their whole life in sin, hoping, 
nevertheless, to obtain forgiveness and 
grace at the moment of death ; a most 
foolish thing indeed, for never do we read 
in the Scripture that it hath happened thus 
to any man. Truly, they who have sought 
after God only when compelled by neces- 
sity, will not, it is to be feared, find Him 
at hand in their hour of need. 

Meanwhile, no man can trust in God t0(^ 



of our Lord Jesiis Christ. 345 

much ; nor hath any man ever been for- 
saken by Him, who turned to Him with 
his whole heart, and leant upon Him with 
loving trust. 



The Forty-fourth Chapter. 

yestts aadresseth His sorrow-stricken 
Mother. 

THERE stood also by the Cross of 
Jesus His most holy and ever- Virgin 
Mother Mary, not, indeed, that His pains 
might be lightened and moderated thereby, 
but that they might be increased in no 
small measure. For if any creature could 
have brought comfort to our Lord as He 
hung upon the Cross, none would have 
been so fitted for this as His most blessed 
Mother. But because it had been decreed 
that Christ should die the bitterest of 
deaths, and close His Passion without any 
consolation or relief, but with true resigna- 
tion. His Mother's presence brought no 
comfort with it, but rather added to His 
pain, for her pains were thereby joined to 
His, and thus He drew therefrom still 
more abundant matter for cruel suffering. 



34^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 



Who then, O good Jesus, can find out 
by meditation how great was Thy inward 
grief, when, for Thou knowest the hearts 
of all. Thou sawest all the bowels and 
members of Thy holy Mother racked by 
inward compassion in like manner with 
Thee upon the Cross, and fastened thereto 
by nails, and her tender Heart, and true 
Mother's breast, pierced with the sword of 
sharp sorrow, her face deadly pale, while 
it told of all the anguish of her soul, and 
herself well nigh dead, without being able 
to die. When Thou sawest her burning 
tears, flowing down abundantly like sweet 
rivers upon her gracious cheeks, over her 
whole face, as so many witnesses to Thee 
that she shared in Thy sorrow and love ; 
when Thou heardest, too, her pitiable 
groans, pressed out from her under her 
weight of woe ; when, moreover. Thou be- 
heldest that same tender Mother, wholly 
melted away by the heat of love, utterly 
dissolved in tears, her strength utterly 
failing her, exhausted and worn by the 
torment of Thy Passion, which wasted her 
away ; Oh ! of a truth, all this was a new 
affliction to Thee on Thy Cross, and itself 
a new cross. For Thou alone, by the 
lance of Thy compassion, hast searched 
into the weight and grievousness of her 
woes, which to all men are simply beyond 
all understanding. And this, indeed, 
greatly added to the pain of Thy Passion, 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 347 

because not only in Thy Body, but also in 
Thy Mother's Heart Thou wert crucified, 
for her cross was Thy Cross, and Thine 
was hers. 

Oh ! how bitter, sweet Jesus, was Thy 
Passion ! Thy outward pain was indeed 
great, but far more grievous was Thy in- 
ward pain, which Thy Heart conceived at 
Thy Mother's anguish and distress. Now 
it was, it is clear, that the sword of sorrow 
pierced her through and through, for the 
Queen of martyrs was fearfully and mor- 
tally wounded in that part which is im- 
passible, that is, in her soul ; and she bore 
the death of the Cross in that which could 
not die, suffering all the more her grievous 
inward death, as outward death departed 
farther from her. Who, O most loving 
Mother, can tell, or worthily conceive in 
mind, the immense sorrows of thy soul, or 
thy inward woe ? For Him Whom with- 
out pain thou broughtest forth, as the 
blessed Mother, free from the curse of our 
first mother Eve, and who, instead of the 
pains of troublesome labour, wert filled 
with jubilee of spirit, and who for thy re- 
freshment didst catch with thine ears the 
sweet melody of the angels, as they praised 
thy Son, even Him hast thou now seen 
killed before thine eyes with such exceed- 
ing cruelty and tyranny. How manifold 
was that sorrow of thine, which at His 
birth thou didst happily escape, when thou 



34^ I^Teditations on the Life and Passion 

sawest thy blessed and only Son hanging 
in such fearful pain upon the Cross, before 
that cruel and raging crowd, who heaped 
upon Him all the insults, and afflictions, 
and shame that they could think of in 
their minds; when thou sawest Him Whom 
thou didst carry in thy chaste womb with- 
out any burden, so inhumanly stretched 
upon the Cross, and pierced with nails ; 
when thou sawest His sacred arms, with 
which He had so often lovingly clasped 
thee, stretched out so that they could not 
move, covered all over with red Blood, 
His adorable Head also pierced with sharp 
thorns, and His whole Body but one 
streaming wound ; and all the while it was 
not given to thee to wipe those wounds of 
His, or anoint them. What must have 
been thy sorrow, when thou sawest Him, 
Whom, times without number, thou hadst 
laid on thy virgin bosom, that He might 
take His rest, now without even the small- 
est thing on which to lean His sacred 
Head ; and Him Whom thou hadst fos- 
tered with the milk of thy holy breasts, 
now tormented with vinegar and gall. Oh ! 
how that Mother's heart of thine was 
pressed in the press of the Passion, when 
thou beheldest with thy chaste eyes His 
fair face so pitiably disfigured, so that 
there was no beauty therein, and nothing 
whereby He could be distinguished. How 
did the wave of affliction, O sweet Mother, 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 349 

beat against, and flow over thy soul, yea, 
and utterly overwhelm it ! Of a truth, if 
even a devout man cannot, without un- 
utterable sorrow and compassion, turn over 
in his mind the Passion of thy Son, what 
must have been thy cross, thy affliction, 
who wast His Mother, and sawest it with 
thine own eyes ? If, to many of the friends 
of God, and to many who love God, thy 
Son's Passion is as great a pain as if they 
themselves suffered it ; and if these, by 
inward compassion, are crucified with thy 
Son, how fearfully, even unto death, must 
thou have been inwardly crucified, when 
not only thou didst weigh with thyself and 
search into thy Son's outward and inward 
pains in thy most devout heart, but didst 
see them even with thy bodily eyes ? For 
what is any man's love for thy Son com- 
pared v/ith thy love ? Never did any 
mother so love her child as thou didst love 
thy Son. And if S. Paul, who loved so 
much, could say out of his burning love 
and deep compassion for thy Son: " I am 
fastened with Christ upon the Cross, and 
I bear about the marks of the Lord Jesus 
in my body," how much more wert thou 
crucified together with Him, and didst in- 
wardly receive all His wounds, being made, 
in some sort of way, an image and likeness 
of thy Crucified Son ? 

If, moreover, they who fervently love 
God, so earnestly seek and thirst after His 



3';0 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

glory, that as often as they perceive that 
God is offended, or any wrong is done 
Him, they are afflicted with as great in- 
ward grief, and are tormented with as great 
pain, as if they themselves had received 
some deadly wound; how exceedingly then 
must thou, the most faithful of all mothers, 
and who lovedst God most fervently, have 
been afflicted, when thou sawest thy dear- 
est and only Son, nay, thy God and Lord, 
so shamefully blaspliemed, despised, and 
mocked ? If, lastly, those Jewish deceivers 
and hypocrites, when they heard any blas- 
phemy, rent their garments, as if in proof 
of their sorrow, how must thy tender heart 
have been rent for sorrow, when thou both 
sawest and heardest all those accursed and 
horrible wrongs, and reproaches, and blas- 
phemies darted forth against thy Son ? 
For thus saith the Lord: "Rend your 
hearts, and not your garments." And, 
indeed, on this very day, thy brave heart 
was pierced, not once only, but more than 
a hundred times. For no trouble came 
upon thy Son in thy sight, which did not 
pierce thy heart. 

And how couldst thou stand? For the 
Evangelist saith: "There stood by the 
Cross of Jesus His Mother." Whence 
came thy strength ? Of a certainty, thy 
body was not of steel or stone, that this 
day thou couldst be pierced so many times 
by the sword of sorrow, and crucified so 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 351 

many times, and wounded together witli 
thy Son, nevertheless thou didst stand 
there firm both in body and soul. Perad- 
venture those strong and rough nails held 
thee also fast upon the Cross of thy Son, 
so that thou couldst not fall. But far 
more strongly did thy mighty love, love 
stronger than death itself, bear thee up, so 
that thou couldst not fall. Thou stoodest, 
therefore, the immoveable column of the 
faith, the lioness that hath never been con- 
quered, and that feareth no attack or threat 
when her little ones have been taken from 
her. Thou hadst no fear for the fury of the 
Jews, the neighing of the horses, the noise 
of arms, for thou wert ready to die with 
thy Son. Nor couldst thou deny Him, as 
Peter had done, or fly, like the other apos- 
tles, or doubt, like the disciples, or suffer 
any scandal, like not a few, for well thou 
knewest Whom thou hadst conceived, and 
brought forth, and how. 

Therefore thou stoodest by His Cross, 
and didst adore His Godhead in spirit. 
Truly thou stoodest like some strong tower, 
in which the king, who had set forth on a 
long journey, had hidden the precious trea- 
sure of faith. Thou stoodest, I say, by 
the tree of the Cross, in order to cooperate 
by thy bitter pain in man's redemption, by 
looking on the fruit of life ; even as of old 
Eve had brought death on man, by stand- 
ing with pleasure by the tree, and looking 



35^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 

at its fruit of death. And, because all 
grief and compassion that spring from love 
are great according to the measure of love, 
therefore, because thy love was beyond all 
measure, thy grief was utterly measureless. 
And because thou knewest Jesus, thy be- 
loved Son, to be the true Son of God, thy 
love for His Godhead, and thy love for 
His Manhood, like two mighty rocks, press- 
ed together thy heart between them, and 
straitened it in mortal agony, when thou 
sawest Jesus, the Son of God, Whom thou 
hadst conceived in thy chaste womb, treated 
so horribly and shamefully in His Human 
nature, and so cruelly put to death. Of a 
truth, these were the two sharp swords that 
cruelly pierced thy soul with all affliction 
and grief. For, as a bride full of burning 
love, thou hadst bitter grief for the griev- 
ous contempt and wrong which thou saw- 
est inflicted on thy Bridegroom, even thy 
God and Lord ; and, as a faithful and true 
Mother, thou didst sorrow exceedingly, in 
like manner, for the horrible pains and 
most shameful death which thou beheldest 
thy sweet Son undergo. Moreover, be- 
cause the Passion of this thy Son was so 
exceeding great, that according to the 
rigour of justice it might outweigh by its 
own weight all the sins of the world, which 
are numberless and boundless, therefore 
was thy suffering also measureless and 
boundless; and because thy sorrow cor- 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 353 

responded with His torments, on that ac- 
count was thy cross and affliction beyond 
all comprehension and measure, and thy 
merits limitless. 

Again, as it had been decreed by God 
that the most blessed Virgin Mary was to 
stand between God and sinful man as a 
reconciler, for this very reason He Himself 
permitted her to suffer a great sickness 
and sorrow of soul, that the merits of her 
affliction might be as great as those of one 
who stood between God and man ought to 
be, and that they might suffice for all men, 
who might thus draw help from the mea- 
sureless treasury of her merits. It was 
fitting, too, that this same holy Virgin, our 
Lady, whom God Almighty wished to be 
the Mother of the children of grace, should 
perform as sad funeral rites of her Son, as 
all the children of grace taken together 
could possibly, or ought rightly and de- 
servedly to perform. 

So great, then, was her cross, so mighty 
her affliction, that although she might have 
found some little comfort in her Son's Pas- 
sion, in order to relieve her sorrow, yet 
was this straightway swallowed up by the 
force of the flood of bitterness, even as a 
drop of sweet wine would be lost in the 
salt sea. Here, then, were to be seen two 
altars, made ready for the Father of heaven; 
one in the Body of Christ, the other the 
Heart of the Virgin Motlier. Christ, indeed. 



354 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

offered His Flesh and Blood, Mary her soul. 
And, of a surety, that sweet Mother desired 
to mingle her blood with that of her Son, so 
that, together with Him, the work of man's 
redemption might be accomplished. But 
it was the privilege of the High Priest 
alone, to enter with blood into the Holy of 
holies. Wherefore, although the Blessed 
Virgin could not accomplish her sacrifice 
by shedding her blood outwardly for God, 
nevertheless inwardly she burnt and con- 
sumed all in the glowing fire of love and 
sorrow. And, of a truth, she did offer to 
God a pleasing sacrifice, even as the Pro- 
phet saith, " a broken heart, and afflicted 
spirit," or, as the text hath it, "a troubled 
spirit;" and in place of blood she shed 
forth tears, and her sighs were borne, like 
clouds of sweet incense, up to heaven. In 
this way she performed and offered her 
sacrifice for all the children of grace, whose 
Mother she was, and she, too, was heard 
for her reverence. 

Now then, O my soul, and as many as 
desire to be the children of grace, look up 
to Christ your Father in His bitter agony, 
and see how by His Death He hath re- 
called you to life, and, like the faithful 
pelican, hath quickened and nourished 
you. His little ones, with His own Blood. 
Look, too, on your sorrow-stricken Mother 
Mary, who suffereth new pains of labour 
by reason of you, in order that you may 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 355 

be made the children of grace. Through 
your Father you have life, through your 
I^Iother grace is given you. Have com- 
passion, therefore, on your parents, whom 
you see labouring in such anxious pain for 
your salvation, if, indeed, you are the chil- 
dren of grace. Oh ! how often did that 
most sad Mother lift up her eyes to gaze 
upon the disfigured Body of her Son, and 
yet was forced to cast them down, pouring 
forth bitter tears. She saw His wounded 
Body, and yet she could not anoint it ; she 
saw the fearful Blood-shedding, yet it was 
not given to her to wipe it away ; she saw 
His members cruelly extended, yet she 
could not loosen or relieve them. She 
beheld Him clad in His purple robe, with 
which she had not clothed Him ; and the 
garment which He had received from her, 
all torn, and tattered, and worn. She saw 
Him bow down His Sacred Head to die, 
and all His members sighing for death, 
and this was the only relief and lightening 
of those her pains, whereby her tender 
heart was pressed out like a grape, so that 
she could truly say with her Son: "My 
soul is sorrowful even unto death." 

Now when her sweet Son saw these 
things, Who hitherto had contained Him- 
self, in order that her mighty faith, and 
her great faithfulness, and her unconquered 
patience, and her glorious passion, and, 
above all, her boundless love that could 



35^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 

not be restrained, and lest the glory of her 
cross might be lessened, could now no 
longer contain Himself, but with tender 
and comforting voice addressed her, say- 
ing: •' Woman, behold thy Son !" as if He 
would say: "Sweetest, dearest, most faith- 
ful Mother, I know thy sorrow and woe ; 
I know how much thou sufferest for the 
love of Me: I perceive the anguish of thy 
devoted heart, when thou beholdest Me, 
thy beloved Son, in such exceeding pain, 
and when thou art so pitiably deprived of 
thy dear Child, in Whom is all thy hope 
and consolation. But what comfort can I 
give thee, sweetest and most faithful 
Mother ? My Passion must needs be fin- 
ished, and I must die ; now hath the hour 
come that I should go to Him Who sent 
Me. Wherefore I leave to thee My best 
loved disciple to be thy son in the place of 
Me, to console thee, and guard thee, and 
to care for thee, and that, as a dutiful son, 
he may be subject and obedient to thee, 
his Mother." But how, think you, did 
these words of our Lord Jesus pierce His 
sad Mother's tender heart, when she heard 
that she was thus left utterly destitute ; 
that for the Son of God there was given 
her a child of man; for her Creator, a crea- 
ture ; for her Master, the disciple ; for her 
Lord, a servant ? How did ker great love 
for our Lord then melt her utterly away, 
when she thought with herself of all His 



cf our Lord yesus Christ. 357 

anxious care for her, and that He was 
more afflicted by compassion at His Mo- 
ther's sorrow than at His own Passion ! 
For now death stood at His door, yet still 
He thought about His Mother. Devour- 
ing death had already well nigh stiffened 
all His members, yet once more they grew 
warm again from love, and were moved to 
compassion. He put forth all the strength 
still left Him to console her, as if He had 
forgotten all His own woe, and was tor- 
mented by His Mother's grief alone. 
Then, as well as He could, He turned all 
His members to comfort her. First, in- 
deed. He bowed His Head, as if to bid the 
last farewell, and to ask her leave to de- 
part from life. Then He lovingly turned 
to her His eyes red with Blood, and still 
wet with warm tears. Lastly, He opened His 
lips, that were already growing pale with 
death, and said: "Woman, not My Mother 
only, but woman, in the widest sense, by 
reason of thy great fruitfulness" — even as 
of old God had said to Abraham's wife 
that she should be called no more Sarai, 
but Sara, " for I have made thee the mother 
of many nations." " Woman, behold thy 
Son. Here is John, who will be thy son, 
whose name, being interpreted, is grace. 
And I have granted thee this privilege, 
that thou mayest be the mother of grace 
for evermore, by reason of the exceeding 
great merits of thy sorrow, nor shall thy 



35^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 



breasts be ever without the milk of grace, 
whereby thou mayest foster and nourish 
all and each who press them by devout 
prayer. Wherefore, O most fruitful Wo- 
man, behold thy Son, and weep no more, 
for thou art no withered tree, no forsaken 
and barren mother without children. Re- 
joice, rather, for thou art the most fruitful 
of all mothers that have ever been, and 
blessed above all women. By these pains 
of labour which now thou sufferest, thou 
wilt bring forth children without number, 
and thou shalt be the mother of all, who 
by My grace shall believe in Me. All 
these, as thy own children, shalt thou fos- 
ter and guard in the bosom of thy mater- 
nal grace, giving them to drink of the milk 
of thy chaste breasts, because thou thyself 
hast found grace before God. All who 
thirst shall run to thee, and say: 'Show 
thyself to be our mother.* Wherefore, 
Woman, behold ! not one Son alone, but 
many sons ; and now forget thy grief 
Let this comfort thee, and lighten and 
lessen thy labour." 

O Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of 
mercy, strengthen us in all virtue, preserve 
us from all evil, and protect us from all 
the enemies of our souls. 

Then our Lord said to His disciple: 
" Behold thy Mother I" Now this was 
said not to Jolm alone, but to all converted 
sinners, for whom grace is all necessary, 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 359 



and who, without grace, die like infants 
without milk. For no man can persevere 
or make progress without the nourishment 
of grace. O Mary ! true mother of grace 
and of mercy, to whom hast thou ever 
closed the bosom of thy grace ? From 
whom hast thou ever withdrawn the breasts 
of thy tenderness ? Let him keep silent 
in thy praise, who complaineth that he hath 
suffered repulse from thee, or hath been 
defrauded of grace. We praise virginity, 
we marvel at humility, we extol justice ; 
but mercy is dearer to them who are in 
misery, and mercy we embrace with greater 
love, and remember more often, and more 
frequently invoke. 

Wherefore, as many of us as are in need 
of grace, let us stand by the Cross, and 
with Mary let us be crucified inwardly by 
compassion. Of a truth, our tender Lord, 
Who hath spent His whole self and all 
that He hath, will not suffer us to go away 
from the Cross without comfort and re- 
ward. And although He is overwhelmed 
in pain, yet He will have care of us. Al- 
though He goeth now to the Father, He 
will not leave us orphans ; but He will 
commend us to His own Father, and will 
send us another Comforter, His own Holy 
Spirit. Moreover, He will give us His 
own spotless. Virgin Mother, saying: "Be- 
hold your Motheri" How sweet, how full 
of comfort is this word to all who are 



360 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

weak, that they should have so faithful, 
so kind, so merciful a mother, who learnt 
compassion from what she herself suffered ? 
Of a truth, she filled up in herself what 
was wanting, and belonging to Christ's 
Passion, that by her merits she might 
bring help to all men. But oh ! how small 
is our hope and trust in God ! We have 
the Father of mercy for our Father, wait- 
ing for us with open bosom, that He may 
make us joint-heirs with His Son on high 
in the kingdom of heaven. The Son also 
is our Advocate, Who by His own labour 
and pain leadeth us back into the Father's 
grace. We have the Holy Ghost for our 
Comforter in this valley of tears, that we 
may not be cast down in heart, or broken 
down from weariness. Moreover, we have 
received for our food Christ's adorable 
Body and precious Blood, lest we faint by 
the way, and as a pledge of bliss to come, 
lest we should doubt or be overcome by 
despair. Lastly, Mary standeth between 
us and God to reconcile us to Him, and to 
renew our peace. And what cannot such 
a Mother obtain from her Son } What 
more comforting word could Christ have 
spoken to us than this word: " Behold thy 
Mother!" Behold your Mother full of 
mercy, who will ever receive you as her 
children, full, also, of grace, who will feed 
and nourish you to the full. 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 361 



The Forty-fifth Chapter, 
The Sun is darkened. 

NOW from the sixth hour there was 
darkness over the whole earth until 
the ninth hour, which with us is the twelfth 
hour, when the sun is highest. But now 
the sun hath withdrawn his light, and hath 
put upon him his mourning garment, in 
order to show, as best he could, his sorrow 
and compassion for his Maker, Who was 
at that moment girt about with such anguish 
and torments ; as if the Father, Whose 
nature cannot suffer, nor have sorrow, nor 
weep, had given command to His creature 
to mourn in His stead, and to perform the 
funeral offices of His Son, and to be the 
companion of the spotless Virgin in her 
sorrow, who then alone wept for Christ's 
Passion. Peradventure, she was even then 
complaining gently to the Father in this 
wise: "O most loving Father, am I alone 
His Mother ? Art not Thou the Eternal 
Father of Thy Son, Who hangeth here in 
such pitiable affliction ? Why dost Thou 
suffer me to weep alone, and to suffer this 
intolerable sorrow, which, of a certainty, is 
not due to me alone ? Hast not Thou 



362 Mediiations on the Life and Passion 



long before borne witness, that this is Thy 
beloved Son, in Whom Thou art well 
pleased ? Where are now the signs of 
Thy love to Him ? He hangeth here, not 
as the Son of God, not as the Son of the 
King, not as the friend of God, not even 
as some poor servant of God, but as a 
transgressor, guilty of death, forsaken, and 
humbled by God. Hast Thou, then, for- 
saken Him Whom the disciples have for- 
saken ? What hath He done against 
Thee, that Thou shouldst deliver Him to 
His enemies ? Is it because Thou art the 
Lord Almighty, and heedest nothing, that 
Thou art touched by no pity for Him in 
His affliction ? Because Thou art a spirit, 
canst Thou not feel ? Because Thou 
dwellest in heaven, hast Thou no concern 
for what is done on earth ? Because Thou 
art in glory, dost Thou not behold and 
regard the contempt, and the wrong, and 
the reproach, and the affliction, and the 
dreadful death of Thy only-begotten Son ? 
Dost Thou not see, O most just Judge, 
how the malice of the Jews rageth madly 
against Thy beloved Son, Who suffereth 
Himself, like an innocent lamb, to be torn, 
and wounded, and crucified, and slain, and 
His precious Blood to be poured out like 
water ? Vouchsafe, O loving Father, to 
be touched with pity and compassion for 
this Thy wretched Son, for Thy nature is 
goodness, and Thy property is ever to 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 363 

have mercy, above all, on those who are 
wretched, and oppressed, and who suffer 
wrong-. Come, too, and help His sorrow- 
ij*g Mother, whom Thou seest in such 
agony, and alone with Thy Son treading 
His wine-press !" 

Now to these complaints of Christ's 
tender Mother, we may imagine the Father 
of heaven to have made answer in this or 
in like manner: " Make no complaint to 
Me, O My chosen daughter, that for a little 
while I have forsaken thee ; for this I have 
done out of My goodness, for the increase 
of thy glory and merits, that thy affliction 
may be in harmony with My Son's Pas- 
sion, which He, with perfect resignation, 
must undergo even to the end. Think 
not that thy prayers, and groans, and tears, 
iiave not come up before Me. Know by 
what is happening whether I have com- 
passion for My own Son or no. For al- 
though no sorrow, no affliction, can fall 
upon My nature, yet I will do through My 
creatures what My Godhead cannot do. 
Lo ! I will stir up and move the whole 
world to sorrow, and to weep bitter tears 
for My Son, so that all creatures shall 
celebrate with thee the funeral of My Be- 
loved Son. For all this world was made 
by Me, and as many creatures as live 
thereon obey and serve Me. Only these 
hardened sinners oppose Me, for I, Myself, 
have given them the faculty of free will. 



364 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Thou, therefore, O sun, withdraw thy 
pleasant splendour, make the whole world 
sad, and become the companion of the 
blessed Virgin Mother in weeping for My 
Son. Thou, also, O Earth, tremble with 
horror at such great wickedness and 
cruelty, and at the crimes of the evil- 
minded men whom thou bearest on thy 
shoulders ; be horrified at the wrong and 
contempt inflicted upon Me. Marvel at 
My patience, loving-kindness, and long- 
suffering, that I suffer these things so 
long ; shake with fear, and acknowledge 
thyself unworthy to drink in the precious 
Blood of My Son. And you, ye hard 
rocks, chastise and reprove the hard- 
heartedness of the Jews, and of all sin- 
ners, whom these fearful torments of My 
Son cannot soften, nor move their hearts 
to know Him, and receive My grace. O 
most cruel death, thou devourer of life, 
that hast not spared even My only Son. 
This malice shall fall back on thine own 
head ; thou shalt be caught in the net 
which thou hast stretched out for My only 
One: of a truth, thou shalt be slain by 
Him Whom thou hopedst to swallow up. 
Unjust and wicked are thy judgments. 
Thou hast devoured My Son along with 
tiie sinners of earth, because He wore a 
garment of earth, and the likeness of a 
sinner, although He was without sin. 
Therefore shall liis innocent death fall 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 365 



back upon thee; thy strength shall be 
broken, and thou shalt be cast down from 
thy lordship, because thou hast abused tt 
against right and reason. It is sin thou 
oughtest to correct, not to oppress the 
Just One. But thou hast smitten the just 
and good one along with the wicked. 
Thou hast a zeal, indeed, for justice, but 
not according to knowledge and right rea- 
son. The vengeance, therefore, whicli 
tliou hast wrongfully taken on My Son, 
shall deliver the whole human race from 
the punishment it deserves. And that 
thou mayest know that thou art conquered, 
and that through life all thy former power 
hath been taken away from thee, and that 
all thy dominion hath fallen back into no- 
thing, give up now the dead, whom hither- 
to, for so many ages, thou hast held cap- 
tive. For My Son, by the arms and power 
of His Cross, hath gotten Himself the vic- 
tory, and obtained possession of them, and 
hath acquired the right to set them free." 

Meanwhile, we may imagine what must 
have been this new sorrow of God's 
Mother, when she saw the elements and 
senseless creatures give forth such signs 
of sorrow and compassion for her Son. 
How did her still recent tears, that had 
sprung from her former consolation, now 
begin to flow afresh in sweet and abundant 
streams, when she found that she had now 
so many companions in her «orrow I 



366 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



Now the sun hid the brightness of his 
h'ght, because Christ, the true Sun of Jus- 
tice, had set over the whole world, and 
was hidden in darkness, and because the 
light of faith had failed above measure, 
save in the Virgin Mother, and in the 
thief, who confessed our Lord. The sun 
was also darkened, because he could not 
bear to look on the bitter passion, and 
contempt, and shame, and wrong, wliich 
those savage men were inflicting on their 
Maker. 



{( 



The Forty-sixth Chapter. 

My God, My God, why hast Thou for- 
saken Me f* 



ABOUT the ninth hour our Lord Jesus 
cried with a loud voice: "My God, 
My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ?" 
He cried with a loud voice, that He might 
easily be heard by all, and, at the same 
time, by this wonderful word, might shake 
off the slumber of sloth from our souls, 
and cause them to marvel and be aston- 
ished at God's immense goodness towards 
us. He saith, therefore: "My God, My 
God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? 



'^» 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 367 

Why ? For the sake of vile sinners, for 
the sake of wicked and ungrateful ser- 
vants, for the sake of sinful and disobedi- 
ent prevaricators, Thou hast forsaken Thy 
Beloved Son, and most obedient Child. 
That the vessels of wrath, Thy enemies, 
might be changed into the children of 
adoption, Thou hast slain Thy own Son, 
and, as a sinner, hast delivered Him over 
to death. O My God, why, I pray Thee, 
hast Thou forsaken Me ? For the very 
reason why men ought to praise and thank 
Thee, for the very reason why they ought 
to love Thee with everlasting love ; be- 
cause, namely, Thou hast delivered Thy 
dear Son to death for their redemption, 
and gladly sacrificed Him, for this reason 
will they draw matter for blasphemy and 
shameful reproach against Thee, saying: 
** He saith, He is the Son of God, and that 
He hoped in God. Let God deliver Him 
now if He will." Why, My God, hast 
Thou desired to spend so precious a trea- 
sure for such vile and adulterated mer- 
chandise ? 

Moreover, this word may be taken to 
mean that it was spoken by Christ against 
those who endeavour to lessen the glory 
of His Passion, by saying that it was not 
so bitter or terrible after all, because of 
the great help and support He derived 
irom His Godhead. Now those who say 
and think this, let thcui know that they 



368 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



renew His Passion, and crucify Him 
afresh ; and, therefore, to prove the error 
of these men, our Lord cried with a loud 
voice, and said: " My God, My God, why 
hast Thou forsaken Me ?" as if He said 
these words to His own divine nature, with 
which He formed one Person — and the 
Godhead of the Father and of the Son is 
one and the same — marvelHng, Himself, 
at His own love, which had so cast Him 
down, and worn Him away, and humbled 
Him, and that He Who bringeth help to 
all men, should have forsaken Himself, 
and exposed Himself to every kind of 
pain, led to do this, and conquered by love 
alone. 

Nor, again, should we be wrong, were 
we to interpret this word which Christ 
spoke out of the immensity and vehe- 
mence of His sorrow in this sense: namely, 
that this Spirit and inward man, taking 
upon itself God's severe judgment upon 
all sinners, and, at the same time, clearly 
seeing, and perfectly feeling and measur- 
ing in Himself the intolerable weight of 
His Passion, on this account cried out with 
sorrowful voice to His Father, and poured 
forth tender complaints, because He had 
been plunged into these horrible torments; 
as if His Father's goodness had become 
so embittered against the sins of men, that 
in the heat of justice He had utterly for- 
gotten the inseparable union between His 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 369 

passible Humanity and His impassible 
Godhead, and therefore, in the fiery zeal 
of justice, had delivered His passible na- 
ture wholly up to the cruelty and malignity 
of savage men, and had given it over to 
them, that they might waste it away, and 
bring it down to nothing. For this rea- 
son, then, He said: "My God, My God, 
why hast Thou forsaken Me ?" 

This word hath, besides, an inward 
meaning ; according to which Christ, in 
His sensitive parts, made complaint to His 
Father, that He had been forsaken by 
Him. For as many as contend for His 
honour, and bear in patience the adversi- 
ties of this world, our tender God so 
moderateth and tempereth their crosses 
and afflictions by the inpouring of His 
Divine consolation, that by this sensible 
grace He rendereth their whole cross well 
nigh insensible: but He left His own Be 
loved Son utterly without any comfort, 
and so stripped Him of every consolation 
and light, tiiat He suffered as much in His 
human nature, as the Eternal Wisdom had 
determined and decreed, according to the 
rigour of justice, and as much as was re- 
quired, according to the same rigour, to 
atone for so many sins. And, indeed, our 
salvation was so much the more nobly and 
perfectly repaired, as it was accomplished 
and finished without any light whatsoever, 
in utter resignation and abandonment. 
24 



370 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

For the chief cause of Christ's Passion 
was to show clearly how great was the 
wrong and contempt brought upon His 
most high Godhead by the sins of the 
human race. 

Now, as Christ's knowledge was higher 
and more subtle than that of all beings, 
whether in heaven or in earth together, so 
much the greater, therefore, and heavier, 
was His sorrow and anguish. Nay, — and 
this is the most marvellous of all — what- 
ever afflictions have been experienced by 
all the saints, as Christ's members, existed 
in far greater abundance in Christ their 
Head, as in the source of all sorrow: but 
this, of course, I wish to be understood 
according to the spirit and according to 
reason. For all the saints that have ever 
been, have suffered no more than flowed 
in upon them through Christ united to 
them His members ; Who communicated 
to them His own afflictions. Truly it was 
He Who suffered in them, rather than they 
themselves. For He drew upon Himself 
the affliction of all the saints, out of His 
great love for His members, and marvel- 
lous compassion, and He felt them with far 
more interior agony than any of the saints ; 
nay, more than even the most blessed 
Virgin Mary, God's Mother, felt her own 
sharp sorrow and sickness of soul. For if 
an earthly father loveth his child so much» 
that in his fatherly compassion he taketh 



pf our Lord Jesus Christ, 371 



upon him his child's sorrows, so as to 
grieve for them as if he suffered them 
liimself, what must have been Christ's 
Cross and Christ's compassion, at the afflic- 
tion of His members, above all, of those 
who suffered for His Name's sake ? Of a 
truth. He bore clear witness to His mem- 
bers, how much He suffered from their 
afflictions, how great was His inward com- 
passion for their pains, when He took all 
their debt upon Him, and did away with all 
the punishments they had deserved, so 
that they might go free. The same is 
more than sufficiently borne out by the 
words He addressed to S. Paul, when He 
said: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou 
Me ?" For the persecution which Paul 
had stirred up against the disciples, that 
is, the members of our Lord, was no less 
grievous unto Him than if He had borne 
it Himself. Hence He saith to His friends 
and members: "He who toucheth you, is 
as one who toucheth the apple of My eye." 
For is there anything suffered by the 
members which the Head doth not suffer 
with them, Whose nature is goodness, and 
Whose property is to have mercy and to 
spare ? 

After our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary 

was of all the most desolate, because, above 

all others, He had given her a share of 

His own sorrow and abandonment, so that, 

o far as was possible, her cross might be 



37^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 

conformed to His own Cross and affliction, 
and that, at the same time, she might feel 
as great woe for the Death of so great a 
Son, as was pleasing unto God, and as be- 
came so great a Mother. Most true, there- 
fore, were the words which Isaias spake 
concerning her: "The Lord hath called 
thee a woman that is forsaken, and is in 
sorrow." Thus, too, our Lord's abandon- 
ment is spoken of in the person of Elias: 
" With zeal was I inflamed for the Lord 
God of Hosts, because the children of 
Israel have forsaken the covenant of the 
Lord. They have destroyed Thy altars, 
they have slain Thy prophets with the 
sword, and I, even I, am left alone, and 
behold they seek my life to take it away." 
Moreover, this word of Christ may be 
taken to express Christ's acknowledgment 
and confession of His own spotless inno- 
cence, and perfect justice, and also His 
wonder at the severe sentence of God His 
Father ; so that, in the excess of His won- 
der, He broke out into that sad cry: " My 
God, My God, why hast 71iou forsaken 
Me ?" My God, Whose nature is good- 
ness, and Whose property is to have mercy, 
and to help the oppressed and the inno- 
cent, why hast Thou suffered Me to waste 
away by a bitter death, giving Me over 
into the hands of My enemies, and de- 
livering Me over to their cruel will, al- 
though never, even for one moment, 1 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 373 

have departed from the path of Thy jus- 
tice, but have most perfectly performed all 
virtues, in accordance with Thy Divine 
will; as if He had said: "I, indeed, find 
no cause in Me, nor do I acknowledge any 
fault, by reason of which Thou oughtest, 
even for a moment, to forsake Me, for I 
have ever worshipped Thee and adored 
Thee with due homage. Yet, if Thou 
wishest to glorify Thyself through Me, 
and to declare unto men Thy Fat-lierly 
goodness, Thy Divine mercy, and Thy 
immense love, by this Thy abandonment 
of Me, Thy will be done ; into Thy hands I 
wholly commend Myself" 

Lastly, we may suppose that this word 
expresseth the twofold nature of Christ's 
Humanity, and therefore our Lord said 
twice: •* My God, My God." as if both His 
Manhood and His Godhead made com- 
plaint to God. First of all, indeed, His 
rational or inner nature cried out, both 
from the immensity of His anguish and 
from natural affection and love and com- 
passion towards His sensitive part ; " My 
God, why hast Thou forsaken Me, and left 
Me in such horrible pain and intolerable 
anguish, deprived of comfort and relief ?" 
Then, too, in its turn, His sensitive nature 
cried out from the agony of these unutter- 
able pains: " My God, why hast Thou left 
Me in such cruel torments ? Why hast 
Thou cast off from Tiiee, as if in anger, 



374 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



Thy purest instrument, whereby Thou hast 
worked so pleasantly, and delightfully, and 
marvellously, and which was ever obedient 
to Thee in all things ?" Of a truth, the 
greatness of Christ's inward and outward 
affliction no man hath ever known, save 
Christ Himself. Hence it is that no man 
knoweth how to compassionate Him. Yet 
He, besides all His own grievous torment, 
was compelled to feel and bear the sorrows 
and pains of all who suffer with Him. 
Now if many, not from grace but from 
nature, suffer not a few grievous things 
with a light heart, this is because they are 
hard as iron, and insensible, and therefore 
their hard and stony hearts are touched 
with no sorrow or compassion either for 
their own or others' afflictions. But Christ, 
because He was of all men the tenderest 
and most merciful, in nature, too, and cha- 
racter, and complexion, the gentlest and 
the noblest, had exceeding great compas- 
sion for Himself, for no one could measure 
or know the bitterness and weight of what 
He suffered, save Himself alone. Hence 
this twofold sorrow and pressure of Christ's 
Passion and compassion, like two sea- waves 
tempest-tossed, surging and striking one 
against the other, so beat against every 
part of Christ, inwardly and outwardly, 
and wore Him away, and racked and tor- 
tured Him, as to pass all understandings 
and indeed, that this was so, He Himself 



cf our Lord Jesus Christ. 375 

declared at the very outset of His Pas- 
sion, when the sensitive and rational parts 
of His nature, like two torrents, rushed 
one upon the other with mighty force, and 
so afflicted our Lord, that in His exceed- 
ing anguish His sweat was both of blood 
and water. For even as then His sensi- 
tive nature cried out from great compas- 
sion: "Father, if it be possible, let this 
chalice pass from Me ;" so, too, now it 
saith: "My God, why hast Thou forsaken 
Me ?" And even as His rational nature 
added: '* If this chalice cannot pass from 
Me, except I drink it. Thy will be done ;" 
so, too, now it crieth out: "Father, into 
Thy hands I commend My spirit." Now 
not a little weight was added to Christ's 
sorrows, because, even to His last breath, 
He had the sense of feeling in all His 
members, and this sense was alive and 
perfect ; nor was it dulled or extinguished 
by any stupor ; as may easily be seen 
from the fact that it was with a loud voice 
that He cried out, and gave up the ghost. 
And so, to the very last moment of His 
life, He suffered in like manner in a?\ His 
members. 



37^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Forty-seventh Chapter. 

yesus complaineth of His thirst. 

OUR most tender Lord was so ex- 
hausted and dried up by the exceed- 
ing great bitterness of His pain and anguish, 
and by His immoderate blood-shedding, 
that He cried out: " I thirst'* This is 
indeed a Httle word, but full of mysteries. 

First of all, it may be literally taken. 
For it is only natural, that all who are 
about to breathe their last should have 
thirst, and a desire to drink. But how 
great was the dryness felt by Him Who 
is the well-spring of living water, but Who 
was now exhausted and dried up by the 
heat of His burning love, when He could 
truly say: " Like water I am poured out ;" 
and again, " My strength is dried up like 
a potsherd." For not only did He shed 
all His own Blood, and pour forth what- 
ever He had of moisture by His tears, 
but the very marrow of His bones, and all 
His Heart's Blood, were consumed for our 
sakes by the heat and flame of His love. 
Rightly then, He said: " I thirst." 

Secondly, this word can be spiritually 
understood, as if Christ said to all in 
general; "I thirst for your salvation.'* 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 377 

Hence Bernard saith: "'I thirst,* cried 
Christ, not * I grieve.' O Lord, what 
dost Thou thirst for ? For your faith, 
your joy. I thirst because of the torments 
of your souls, far more than for those of 
My Body. Have pity, if not upon Me, at 
least upon yourselves." And again: "O 
good Jesus, Thou wearest the crown of 
thorns: Thou art silent about Thy Cross 
and Thy Wounds, yet for thirst alone 
Thou criest out, * I thirst.* What, then, 
dost Thou thirst for ? Truly for the re- 
demption of man alone, and for the joy of 
the human race." This thirst of Christ was 
a hundredfold more sharp and vehement 
than His natural thirst. He had, more- 
over, another kind of thirst, that is to say, 
of suffering more, and proving to us still 
more expressly and clearly His measure- 
less love, as if He said to man: "See how 
I am exhausted and worn away for the 
sake of thy salvation. See how horrible 
are the pains and torments that I suffer. 
The savage cruelty of men hath brought 
Me down well-nigh to nothing — the sin- 
ners of earth have drunk out all My Blood, 
yet still I thirst. Not yet is My Heart 
satisfied, not yet is My desire fulfilled, not 
yet is the flame of My love quenched. 
For if it were possible for Me, and pleas- 
ing to My Father, that I should be cruci- 
fied again even a thousand times for your 
salvation and conversion, or that I should 



378 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

hang here in all this misery and pain even 
until the last judgment day, most gladly 
would I do it, both to prove unto you the 
measureless love of My Heart for you, 
and to soften your stony hearts, and to 
excite you to love Me in return. This is 
why I hang here so thirsty by the fountain 
of your hearts, so that I may observe the 
devout souls that come hither to draw out 
of the bottomless well of My Passion. 
Therefore, the maiden to whom I shall 
say, " Give Me a little water to drink out 
of the pitcher of thy conscience" — the 
water, that is, of devotion, compassion, of 
tears and mutual love — and who shall let 
down her pitcher to Me, and shall answer: 
" Drink, my Lord ; and for Thy camels, that 
is, Thy servants, who carry Thee about 
daily on their bodies, and who, both by 
night and day, are held fast bound in Thy 
yoke, I will draw in like manner the water 
of brotherly love — that is, the maiden 
whom the Lord hath prepared for the son 
of My Lord, even the bride of the Word 
of God, united to My Humanity. And 
she shall be worthy to enter, like a bride 
with her Bridegroom, into the bed-chamber 
of everlasting rest, at the invitation of the 
Bridegroom, Who saith : •* Come, My 
blessed bride, possess the kingdom of My 
Father. For 1 was thirsty, and thou gav- 
est Me to drink." 

Thirdly, we may apply this word to the 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 379 



Father, as if Christ had said to His Father: 
'• Father, I have made known Thy Name 
unto men ; I have finished the work Thou 
gavest Me to do, and in Thy work I have 
spent My whole Body as Thine instru- 
ment. Behold ! I am all exhausted and 
worn away ; nevertheless, I still thirst to 
do and to suffer more for Thy honour. 
This is why I hang here stretched out unto 
the farthest breadth of love, for I desire to 
be an everlasting sacrifice, a sweet odour 
unto Thee, an eternal praise, and, at the 
same time, an everlasting atonement and 
salvation unto men." Thus, too, might 
this strong Samson have said: "Thou, O 
Lord, hast given into the hand of Thy 
servant this exceeding great salvation and 
victory, and yet, behold ! I die of thirst ;" 
as if He would say: " My Father, I have 
fulfilled Thy gracious will ; I have finished 
the work of man's salvation as Thou re- 
quiredst it, yet still I thirst ; for the sins 
whereby Thou art offended are infinite. 
Therefore I desire that the charity and 
merits of My Passion, whereby Thou art 
to be appeased, may be also infinite. And 
as I now offer Myself for the salvation of 
all men a peace-offering, and a living sacri- 
fice, so through Ivie may all men appease 
Thee, by offering Me to Thee as a peace- 
offering to Thy eternal glory, in memory 
of My Passion, and to supply for all their 
dcfecis.** How pleasing to the Fathei 



380 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



must have been this desire of love ! For 
what else was this thirst, but a certain 
sweet and deh'ghtful refreshment to the 
Father, both warm and healing, and, at 
the same time, the blessed renewal of 
mankind ! Or what other language doth 
this burning throat speak to us, than that 
of Christ's burning love, out of which, in- 
deed, measureless, and without bounds, 
He wrought all His works. Of a truth, 
this is the most noble sacrifice of our re- 
demption, this is that peace-offering which 
will be offered even till the last day, by all 
the good, through the Holy Ghost, to the 
most high Father, in memory of the Son, 
to the everlasting glory of the Adorable 
Trinity, and the admirable profit and fruit 
of salvation for mankind. Here, clearly, 
is the measureless treasure of our recon- 
ciliation, which upon earth never faileth, 
for it is greater than all the debts of the 
world. This is that measureless love, 
higher than the heavens, for it hath re- 
stored again the ruin of the angels ; deeper 
than hell, for it hath freed souls therefrom ; 
wider and broader than earth, for it is 
without end, and cannot be understood by 
any created understanding. Oh ! how 
sharp and vehement was this thirst of our 
Lord ! For not only did He then say 
once: "I thirst," but even still without 
ceasing He saith within our hearts, *• I 
thirst; woman, give He to drink." So 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 381 

great, I say, and so mighty is that thirst, 
that He asketh drink, not only of the chil- 
dren of Israel, but even of the Samaritans. 
And to each one doth He complain of His 
thirst. 

But what dost Thou thirst for, O good 
Jesus ? " My drink and My food," He 
answereth, " is that men should do My 
Father's will. Now this is the Father's 
will, even your sanctification and salvation, 
that you may sanctify your souls, by walk- 
ing in My precepts, by performing true 
works of penance, by adorning yourselves 
with all virtues, that as a bride made ready 
and adorned, you may be worthy to come 
to My supper in My Father's kingdom, 
and to sleep with Me as My elect bride, in 
the bed-chamber of My Father's Heart." 
Oh ! with what longing dotli Christ desire 
to lead all men thither. This is what He 
meaneth when He saith: "Wheresoever I 
shall be, there also shall My servant be." 
And again: '* Father, I will that even as 
We are one, they may be one." Oh I 
how beyond all understanding is this thirst 
of Christ 1 Oh ! what sweat and labour 
He underwent three and thirty years for 
the sake of this ! For this the marrow 
and blood of His very Heart were spent. 
See what our tender Lord saith to His 
Fatlier; " The zeal of Thy house hath 
eaten Me up." Of a truth. He would have 
suffered Himself to be crucified eveu q 



3^2 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

thousand times, rather than suffer one soul 
to perish for any fault of His. Oh ! how 
did this inward thirst afflict Him, when 
He thought that He had both done all 
that He could, and even a hundredfold 
more than He need have done, and yet 
that so few had been turned to Him, and 
gained by Him. His whole Body was 
now worn away ; all His Blood was shed ; 
there was nothing- left which He could do, 
and therefore He was forced to confess, 
and say: " It is finished ;" yet, by all His 
labours, and sorrows, and pains, He had 
brought no greater fruit, no greater gain 
to His Father than this. Of a truth, it 
was the bitterest of all sorrows, that in so 
hard a fight His victory had not been 
more august, and that He returned vic- 
torious to His Father with so few spoils. 
Wherefore, as many as refresh Him not 
by fulfilling His will, and earnestly per- 
forming whatever is pleasing and honour- 
able to Him, and by manfully and bravely 
resisting all that reason telleth them is 
displeasing unto Him, all these will with 
the damned hear Him one day say: " I 
was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink." 
Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. 

Fourthly, there is another inward mean- 
ing of this word ; namely, that Christ ut- 
tered it out of the love which inwardly 
drew Him towards all men ; thus declaring 
unto us His burning love, and opening 



of our Lord Jesus Chi'ist. 383 

His own Heart, as a delightful couch, 
whereon we may feed pleasantly, and, at 
the same time, inviting us unto it, saying: 
** I thirst for you." For as the draught 
which we drink is sent down through the 
throat with sensible delight, and goeth 
down pleasantly into our inward parts, and 
passeth into the substance and nature 
of our body, even so Christ, out of the 
burning thirst of His love, taketh spiritual 
delight in drinking in all men into Him- 
self, and thus receiving them, as it were, 
and sweetly swallowing them, and incor- 
porating them into Himself, and bringing 
them into the secret chamber of His lov- 
ing Heart. Wherefore He saith: " When 
I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw 
all things unto Me ;" that is, as many as 
suffer themselves to be drawn by Me, and 
subject themselves unto Me as obedient 
instruments, suffering Me to do with them 
according to My gracious will. But they 
who resist Christ, who suffer not them- 
selves to he licked up by the flame and 
heat of Christ's love, so that He may drink 
them in, and swallow them down into His 
bowels ; these, indeed, quench not His 
thirst, but give Him a bitter draught in- 
stead, even the works of their own self- 
will. And these, as soon as our Lord 
tasteth. He vomiteth out. 

Fifthly, this word may be taken to ex- 
press, what our Lord said to His sorely 



384 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

afflicted Mother, as she stood by the Cross: 
"O My sweet Mother, see into what need 
the Son of God and thy Son hath been 
brought down. I, indeed, created the 
seas, and the springs, and all moisture. I 
command the clouds, and they pour forth 
rain. To My angels I give to drink of the 
delights of heaven, and to My saints the 
cup of everlasting blessedness. To My 
friends still upon earth I give to drink of 
inward consolation, and to My disciples of 
Divine wisdom, and to all sinners I give 
the chalice of redemption. Yet there is 
not one, no, not one, who will refresh My 
tongue in this My bitter thirst." Oh ! 
how that word must have cut and pierced 
into the devout and heavy heart of the 
spotless Virgin, when she heard her only- 
begotten Son, Whom she had nursed on 
her virgin breast, complain of His thirst in 
His great need, and yet could not help 
Him. Peradventure, she answered Him 
thus: "O my sweet Son, I am seized with 
such exceeding and intolerable anguish, 
that I cannot help Thee. I am so cruci- 
fied with Thee by unutterable compassion, 
that r cannot move. I am now without 
any strength at all, because I see Thee, 
the only comfort of my heart, crucified so 
unjustly before my eyes, so shamefully 
despised, so cruelly slain: and yet I cannot 
die with Thee, nor bring Thee any help. 
1 am wholly melted away — the marrow of 



\ 



of our Lord Jesus Christ* 385 



my soul is melted. Thou seest, O my 
loving Son, that I am all melted by the 
heat of Thy love, and, like the grape, am 
pressed out by the grievous weight of Thy 
Passion. Therefore, draw me all into 
Thyself ; drink me in, swallow me, change 
me into Thy body, that I may be wholly 
Thy refreshment and relief in this Thy 
grievous thirst." 

Sixtlily and lastly, we may gather from 
this word that Christ afforded thereby 
great consolation to His loving Mother 
and all the saints, and lightened thereby 
the labour which they have borne for His 
sake, whether by action or by suffering. 
For even if their labour and affliction be 
small, yet is it altogether pleasing and 
delicious, like Christ, to take some sweet 
drink. For, on the Cross itself, He drank 
in with great delight all the compassion, 
sorrow, devotion, sighs and tears, which 
were the fruit of meditation upon the 
Passion. And all the persecutions, dis- 
tresses, afflictions borne for His honour, 
all the rigorous penances, fasts, prayers, 
watchings ; all the mortifications of nature; 
all the works of obedience and charity, and 
all the deeds to be performed in His hon- 
our even to the last judgment day ; all 
these our Lord Jesus drank in in a certain 
marvellous way, and swallowed them in 
His great thirst, and joined to His own 
Body, and united with His own works 

>5 



586 Meditatmis on the Life and Passion 



and cleansed in His warm Blood, and 
heated in the fire of His divine love, and 
perfected and finished, by His own merits 
and actions, whatever was imperfect and 
defective therein, and so at last offered 
them in the sight of His Eternal Father, 
and made them pleasing and acceptable 
unto Him. 



The Forty-eighth Chapter, 

yesus drinketh vinegar and gall upon 
the Cross. 

NOW after our Lord Jesus had uttered 
this word concerning His thirst, a 
certain man filled a sponge with vinegar 
and gall, and offered it to Christ's sacred 
mouth. And this, indeed, our Lord, ac- 
cording to David's prophecy, desired to 
taste, that He might suffer torment in all 
His members and senses ; and that the 
sin of Adam, which had been committed 
through the delight of taste, might be cor- 
rected by this bitter and unpleasant taste. 
But here, first of all, we may notice the 
spitefulness, and hardness of heart, and 
bitterness of the Jews, in that all these 
torments, and blood-sheddings, and cruel 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 387 

sufferings, which they had inflicted on our 
Lord, had not even yet quenched their 
blood-thirstiness. Tiiey saw Him now at 
the very point of death, yet in no way did 
they restrain their cruelty. It had been 
decreed, indeed, by Solomon, that those 
who were condemned should be refreshed 
by an aromatic and sweet draught, so tliat 
they might become unconscious of their 
pains ; but these wretches drank this wine 
themselves, and made up for Christ in- 
stead, as bitter a draught as they could 
think of in their poison-laden hearts. For 
they were, indeed, themselves vessels of 
gall and vinegar, full of hatred and spite ; 
nor could they draw therefrom aught but 
gall and vinegar. Oh ! how afflicted must 
our tender Lord have been. Whose nature 
is goodness, when He looked at the poi- 
sonous and bitter dregs, which were, in 
truth, the unquenchable fire of tiie cruelty 
and the stony and obstinate malice of the 
Jews, whereby they whom He had fed for 
so many successive years in the wilderness 
with the manna of heaven, wiiich had in it 
the sweetness of every taste, and whom 
He had embraced with such Fatherly love, 
and enriched with so many and such mar- 
vellous benefits, feared not in His extreme 
and greatest need to offer Him such a 
draught. Of a truth, this their envy and 
want of mercy was a greater torment to 
our Lord than the bitter draught itself. 



388 Meditatmts on the Life and Passion 

For the more virtuous a man is, so much 
the more is he grieved when he beholdeth 
malice and cruelty ; and the more clearly 
he perceiveth it, so much the more griev- 
ously is he thereby tormented in heart. 

But so far as relateth to the spiritual 
meaning, it was not only on the Cross that 
our Lord Jesus was tormented by the Jews 
with this bitter draught, but even now is 
He given, day by day, vinegar and gall to 
drink, by those who fear not to anger Him 
by their sins and iniquities ; but, above all, 
by all Christians, who know, indeed, the 
way of truth and will of God, and yet do 
not what they ought. Of these He Him- 
self complaineth, saying: "I planted thee 
a chosen vineyard, and I fenced thee round 
with the wall of faith, and I built in the 
midst of thee the high tower of My con- 
templation, and I gathered the stones from 
out of thee ; that is, the holy martyrs and 
doctors, who are the foundation stones of 
the Church, and who have taught thee the 
way of life and truth both by word and 
deed. What more ought I to have done 
to My vineyard, and I have not done it ^ 
How art thou turned into bitterness, even 
thou, to cultivate which I spent so much 
labour and zeal, and which I bought for 
Myself with so high a price ? I looked 
that thou shouldst bring forth the sweet 
grapes of burning love, the fruit of good 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 389 

works ; and thou offerest Me vinegar and 
gall, thorns and briars." 

But let us now see what kind of wine 
every man should offer to Christ, and what 
are the fruits which he should give Him 
out of his vineyard. The Scripture saith: 
" A good man, out of the good treasure of 
his heart, bringeth forth good, and a bad 
man, out of the evil treasury of his heart, 
bringeth forth evil." Some, therefore, like 
the Jews, offer Christ wine mixed with 
gall, These are those great sinners who 
still have the will to work evil ; who, al- 
though they perform good works, are all 
tainted with bitter gall, and contract the 
taste of the corrupt and filthy vessel in 
which it is contained ; and these, as soon 
as they touch Christ's palate, are spat out 
by Him. Of these Moses speaketh in the 
canticle of Deuteronomy: '• Their grape is 
the grape of gall, and the gall of dragons 
is their wine." And S. Peter saith to 
Simon Magus: " I perceive that thou art 
in the gall of bitterness, and thy heart is 
not right before God." • 

Others, indeed, offer wine to Christ, but 
it is corrupt, and acid, and bitter ; for it is 
turned into vinegar. These are those dis- 
solute and thoughtless men, who abstain, 
indeed, from deadly sins ; but even as they 
take no thought of daily venial sins, so 
tliey abound in them, and exceeding often 
fall into tliem. And tliis happeneth to 



390 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

them, because they look not into the deptns 
of their own souls, nor hearken to tne 
warnings and reproaches of the Holy 
Ghost — nay, inwardly, they are blind and 
deaf. These seek God with a torn and 
divided heart. For they have not wholly 
torn themselves from all that can come 
between them and God ; and although 
they receive from above a certain inward 
light, and their reason heareth witness to 
them that in certain things they offend 
God, and displease Him, yet still they will 
not forsake these things ; for they think 
that they can serve both God and the 
world. These, for the most part, are luke- 
warm, and slothful, and wandering in heart, 
and distracted ; and they continue luke- 
warm when reading, or meditating, or 
doing anything of this sort. This, more- 
over, have they done for a long time, so 
that they have become utterly vapid and 
sour. And this wine, in like manner, 
Christ voniiteth out, as He saith in the 
Apocalypse: "I would that thou wert 
either warm or cold, but because thou 
art lukewarm I will begin to vomit thee 
out of My mouth." And of these is it 
elsewhere said: "As vinegar to the teeth, 
and smoke to the e)es, so is the sluggard 
to them who have set him in the way." 

Thirdly, there are others who offer Christ 
w^ine out of their vineyard ; but as Isaias 
saith, their wine is mingled with water. 



of our Lord yestis Christ. 391 

Yet these are somewhat better, and are 
more watchful over their salvation, but 
their works are full of an exceeding- per- 
verse and strang^e intention ; as, for ex- 
ample, because they work out of fear, or 
for reward, or from custom, or to please 
men, or for their own private convenience, 
or for consolation, or to obtain some other 
gifts from God, or for other things of the 
same sort, wherein they seek themselves 
ratlier than God's pure honour, and to 
satisfy His will. These mingle water, as 
I have said, with their wine ; some more, 
some less, so tliat Christ taketh no great 
pleasure in drinking thereof. 

Fourthly and lastly, there are others 
who offer Christ Jesus most pure and sweet 
wine. These are the men who are truly 
dead and resigned, who in all their works 
look only to God's honour, and seek not 
their own selves in anything. These are 
the true sons of God, who have forgotten 
their natural generation, so as to deserve 
to have God for their Father: and they 
have received the Spirit of God as a sign 
and proof that they are the sons of God, 
in Whom also they cry: "Abba, Father;'* 
and this, of a truth, no man can say from 
the Spirit's witness and declaration, unless 
he is the son of God. These have no 
fear of death, nor of hell, nor of the enemy, 
nor of man, nor of gain, nor of loss. For 
they have given themselves wholly unto 



392 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

God, and utterly resigned themselves into 
His hands, and it is pleasing to them to do 
whatever God willeth both in time and in 
eternity ; for they have already broken 
through and overcome all servile fear, and 
mercenary rewards, being taken up and 
translated into the noble liberty of the 
Spirit. And therefore they have despised 
all things beneath God as dung, that they 
may gain Christ, and may be fit to receive 
Him for their reward. Already they are 
utterly dead to the world and to nature, 
that is to say, the flesh ; and therefore 
Christ liveth in them, and worketh with 
them all their works. It is He Who dig- 
geth, planteth, watereth, plucketh up, and 
giveth the increase ; while they, like good 
and obedient instruments, and a pliable 
soil, suffer their God to accomplish His 
own work within them and with them. 
These are like a watered garden, and a 
fat field, which the Lord hath blessed ; 
and they produce wine exceeding sweet, 
which maketh joyful the Heart of Jesus 
Christ. For they are cut off from their 
own natural and fruitless root, and are 
grafted into that noble Vine which spring- 
eth forth from the Father's Heart, and 
they draw their nourishment from that 
Heart. Lastly, these men so inebriate 
Christ, as easily to obtain from Him what- 
ever they will, so that He Himself con- 



of our Lord ^esus Christ. 393 

fesseth: " I am become like drunken men, 
and as one who is moist with wine." 



The Forty-ninth Chapter, 

*' It is finished.^* 

WHEN Christ had tasted the draught 
of gall, He spake the sixth word: 
" It is finished ;" signifying thereby that 
by His Passion had been fultilled all the 
prophecies, figures, mysteries, scriptures, 
sacrifices, and promises which had been 
foretold and written concerning Him. This 
is that true Son of God, for Whom the 
Father of heaven hath made ready a sup- 
per in the kingdom of His eternal blessed- 
ness ; and He sent His servant, that is, 
the human and servile nature of Christ, to 
call them that had been invited to the 
wedding. For Christ, according to the 
human nature which He had taken on 
Him, was not only a servant, but a servant 
of servants, and served all of us for three 
and thirty years and more in great labour 
and suffering. This He Himself telleth 
us through Isaias the prophet: "Thou hast 
made Me to serve in thy sins." And, in- 
deed, His whole life long He spent in 



394 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



this; namely, in inviting all men to His 
supper. For this He preaclied, He worked 
miracles, He went from place to place, He 
cried out, and proclaimed that the kingdom 
of heaven was at hand, and that every man 
should make ready for it. But they would 
not come. And when the Father of the 
household heard this, He said unto His 
servant: "Compel them to come in, that 
My house may be filled." Then that ser- 
vant thought thus with himself: How shall 
I be able, by subtlety and without violence, 
to compel these men to come, that both 
rebellion may be avoided, and yet the 
right and faculty of free will may remain 
to them untouched ? For if I compel them 
to come by chains of iron, and hard blows, 
and scourges, I shall have asses, not men. 
He said then within Himself: '• I perceive 
the condition of man, how he is given to 
love. Therefore I will show him such 
love as shall pass all his understanding, 
nay, than which none can be greater. 
Now if man will observe this, he will feel 
himself so caught fast in its meshes, that 
he will not be able to escape its heat and 
fire, and will be compelled to turn to God, 
and love God in return. For whitherso- 
ever he shall turn, he will ever be met by 
the immense benefits, the infinite good- 
ness, the marvellous love of God ; and, at 
the same time, the compulsion will grow 
strong with him to return love for this 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 395 



love, and it will so urge and impel him, 
that he will not be able to resist it, and he 
will feel himself gently compelled to fol- 
low." Now when this was done, this faith- 
ful and prudent Servant, Jesus Christ, said 
to His Lord and Father: " It is finished ;" 
I have finished the work which Thou gav- 
est Me to do. What more could I have 
done, and I have not done it ? I have not 
even one member left which is not wearied 
and troubled by labour and suffering. My 
veins are dried up, all My Blood is shed ; 
My marrow is spent. My throat is hoarse 
with crying. I have shown such love to 
man, that his heart cannot be human, no, 
not even of stone, nor that of a brute 
beast, but must be altogether devilish and 
desperate, if he be not moved at the 
thought of this. 

Moreover, this word of our Lord Jesus 
is a word of sorrow, not of joy. For our 
Lord spake it not as if He had now es- 
caped from all punishment. But " It is 
hnished," He said — all, that is to say, 
which had been fore-ordained and decreed 
by the Eternal Truth, that He should suf- 
fer. Besides, all the sufferings which had 
been inflicted upon Him by degrees, and 
one by one. He now sufTereth altogether 
at once with immense pain. Hitherto He 
had been tortured gradually, now in this 
meml)er, now in that, but now He under- 
goeth intolerable pain in all His members 



396 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



at once. Oh ! how those stretched-out 
arms were racked, although for so long a 
time they had been enduring pain ! How 
the cruel wounds of His hands and feet 
cut into the very marrow of His Heart, 
when the whole weight of His Body hung 
upon them ! Who, I ask, will have such 
a heart of adamant, as not to be moved by 
agony such as this ? Oh ! how short were 
the words which our Lord Jesus uttered 
on the Cross, yet how weighty with sacra- 
mental mysteries ! Now, of a truth, was 
fulfilled what we read in the book of 
Exodus: "And all things were finished 
which belons^ed to the sacrifice of the 



Lord." 



Moreover, by this word, our Lord de- 
clared the glorious victory of His Passion, 
how the old enemy, the envious serpent, 
was now conquered and beaten down, for 
it was for this that He had suffered. For 
this He had clothed Himself with the gar- 
ment of man's nature, in order to over- 
come and confound the enemy by the 
same arms by which that enemy boasted 
he had overcome man. This, I say, was 
the chief intention and scope of His Pas- 
sion, and now He confesseth that it is 
finished. Oh ! how marvellous are the 
mysteries and the victories comprised in 
this little but subtle word : " It is fin- 
ished" ! All that the Eternal Wisdom had 
decreed, all that strict justice had required 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 397 

for all and each, all that love had asked 
for, all that had been promised to the 
fathers, all the mysteries, figures, cere- 
monies foretold in .scripture, all that was 
fitting and necessary for our redemption, 
all that was required to wipe out our debts, 
all that contributed to supply for and re- 
pair our negligences, all that was glorious 
and loving for the showing forth of this 
noble love, all that we could desire for our 
spiritual instruction and information ; in a 
word, all that was good and fitting for the 
celebration of the glorious triumph of our 
marvellous redemption, all this was in- 
cluded in that one word: "It is finished." 
What, then, remaineth for Him, save to 
finish and perfect His life itself in this 
glorious contest; and because nothing more 
is left Him to do, to offer His precious 
soul into His Father's hands, when He 
had fought the good fight, and perfectly 
run the course of His life in all holiness ? 
It is just, then, that He should obtain the 
crown of glory, which His heavenly Father 
shall give Him on that the day of His ex- 
altation. 

Lastly, by this word Christ offered all 
His labour, affliction, and sorrow for all 
the elect, as the Apostle saith: "Who in 
the days of His Flesh offered up prayer 
and supplications with a strong cry and 
tears to Him, Who was able to save Him 
from death, and was heard for His reve- 



398 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



rence, for if the blood of bulls and of goats 
and the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer 
upon the unclean, sanctifieth to the purify- 
ing of the flesh, how much more shall the 
Blood of Christ, Who, through the Eternal 
Spirit, offered Himself without spot to 
God, cleanse our conscience from dead 
works to serve the living God, that is, in 
newness and Durity of spirit ?" 



The Fiftieth Chapter. 

*' Father^ into Thy hands I comi7iend My 

Spirit." 

AGAIN did our Lord Jesus cry with a 
loud voice, saying: " Father, into 
Thy hands I commend My Spirit." O all 
ye who love our Lord Jesus Christ, come, I 
pray you, and let us watch with all devo- 
tion and compassion His passing away. 
Let us see what must have been His sor- 
row, and anguish, and torment, and op- 
pression, when His most noble Soul was 
now at last compelled to pass away out of 
His worthy and most sacred Body, in 
which for thirty and three years it rested 
so sweetly, and peacefully, and joyfully, 
and holily, even as two lovers on one bed. 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 399 

How hard it was for them to be torn away 
one from the other, between whom no dis- 
cord had ever arisen, no strife, no quarrel, 
no treachery. Oh ! how grievous and un- 
utterable was that Cross, when His holy 
Body was forced to lay aside so faithful a 
friend, so gentle a householder, so loving 
a teacher and master ; and how great was 
the sorrow with which, in like manner, His 
noble and pure Soul was torn away from 
so faithful a servant, whose service had 
ever been obediently rendered, who had 
never spared any trouble, and shrunk from 
neither cold, nor heat, nor hunger, nor 
thirst ; and who had ever suffered both 
labour and sorrow in gentleness and pa- 
tience. Oh ! how great, how immense 
was this cross and affliction ! For, as the 
philosopher saith: "Of all terrible things 
death is the most terrible, by reason of the 
natural and mutual affection, which is ex- 
ceeding great, between soul and botly. 
How much greater, then, must have been 
the agony and the sorrow, when Christ's 
most holy Soul and Body .were torn asun- 
der, between which there had ever been 
such marvellous concord, such wonderful 
love ? With inward compassion, then, and 
anxious sorrow, let us mc(htate upon this 
pitiable separation; for Christ's Death is 
our life. 

Let us contemplate with all devotion, 
Iiou that sacred Body of His, the inslru- 



400 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



ment of our salvation, was plunged in 
agony, when all His veins were now dried 
up, and had nothing more wherewith to 
nourish themselves, and when all His 
nerves were contracted, and all His mem- 
bers, as if to bid a last farewell, were bow- 
ing themselves down to die with unutter- 
able pressure. Ah ! who can look without 
compunction, and sorrow, and compassion, 
upon Christ's most gracious face, and see 
how it is changed into the paleness and 
image of death ; how His eyes grow dim, 
yet still shed tears ; how His sacred Head 
is bowed ; how all His members show forth 
to us, by signs and movements, the love 
which they could no longer show by deeds. 
Let us compassionate Him, I pray, for He 
is our flesh and blood, and it is our sins, 
not His, for which He is thus shamefully 
put to death. O all ye who hitherto have 
passed by the Cross of Jesus with luke- 
warm or cold hearts, and whom all these 
horrible torments and pitiable tears, and 
His warm Blood poured forth like water, 
have been unable to soften ; let, at least, 
this sharp and loud voice, and this terrible 
cry of His, rend and pierce your hearts 
through and through. The voice which 
hath shaken the heavens and the earth 
and hell with fear, which hath rent the 
rocks, which hath opened the ancient 
tombs, and raised the dead, let this voice 
soften your hearts of stone, and uncover 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 401 



the old sepulchres of your conscience, full 

of dead men's bones, that is, of vicious 

actions, and call again your departed spirits 

into life. For this is that voice which of 

old cried out: "Adam, where art thou? 

What hast thou done ?" This is that voice 

which brought forth Lazarus from hell, 

saying: " Lazarus, come forth ; arise from 

the tomb of sin, and suffer thyself to be 

loosened from thy grave-clothes." Of a 

truth, it was not so much the cruelty of 

f lis pains, as the greatness of our sins, that 

made our Lord break forth into this cry. 

He cried also, to show that with Him was 

the empire over death and life, over tiie 

living and tlie dead. For, although He 

was all exhausted, and devoid of strength, 

and beyond the power of man had endured 

so long the bitter pains of death, yet He 

restrained death from putting forth its 

power against Him, until it pleased Him. 

He cried with a loud voice, in order to 

make earthly men, who seek nothing but 

tlie earth, shake with fear and trembling, 

and cause them to meditate and see how 

naked and helpless the Lord of lords 

passed away out of this life. He cried 

with a terrible voice, in order to stir up all 

tliose who live in luxury, and who have 

grown old in their filth, and who, like dead 

dogs, send forth a foul stink, and, like the 

beasts of the field, have grown rotten in 

their own dung, so that, at some time or 
36 



402 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



other, these wretched ones may rise from 
their lusts, and desires, and voluptuous- 
ness, and the delights of the senses, and 
see how the Son of God, Who never con- 
tracted even the least stain of filth, went 
forth to His Father; and with what labour, 
and pain, and agony. He departed from 
the light of day, and what anguish and un- 
utterable affliction He had to undergo be- 
fore He reached His Father's kingdom. 
And yet these men, by obeying the plea- 
sures of their flesh, and loosening the rein 
to the affections and desires of nature, 
think that they will be amongst the bless- 
ed, and will mount up to heaven. Our 
Lord also cried with a loud voice, that He 
might inflame the slothful and lukewarm 
to devotion and love. 

Moreover, He cried with a loud voice, 
as a sign of this glorious victory which He 
had obtained, when, having entered into 
single combat with His cruel and strong 
adversary, and having come down into the 
arena and battle-field of this world. He had 
put him to flight upon Mount Calvary, 
and stripped him of all his spoils, and left 
him naked. This victory, I say, and glo- 
rious triumph, Christ proclaimed with a 
loud voice, as a sign of triumph, and thus 
departing from the place of combat vic- 
torious and triumphant, and gathering to- 
gether the whole army of His merits. He 
departed to the place of all delights, even 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 403 



the Heart and Bosom of God His Father, 
commending both Himself and all His own 
thereto, as to a sure refuge, and saying: 
" Father, into Thy hands I commend My 
Spirit." 

From these words we may gather, that 
the Eternal Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, 
had been let down like a fishing hook, or 
ample net, by the Father of heaven, into 
the great sea of this world, to catch not 
fish, but men. Moreover, God let down 
this net on the right hand, where He knew 
it would enclose a vast multitude. Hear 
how He saith: "My Word, that goeth 
forth out of My mouth, shall not return to 
Me empty, but He shall do whatsoever I 
will, and He shall prosper amongst those 
to whom I have sent Him." And this net 
is drawn by the Father out of the salt sea, 
to the quiet shore of His Fatherly Heart, 
full of elect men, of works of charity, of 
penance, patience, humility, obedience, 
spiritual exercises, merits and virtues. 
For Christ drew into Himself all the afflic- 
tions and virtuous works of all the good: 
even as S. Paul saith: "I live, yet not I, 
but Christ liveth in me;" in like manner, 
Christ liveth in all the good, who are dead 
to this world, and who have submitted 
themselves as obedient instruments in 
Christ's hands. In these, I say, Christ 
iiveth, suffereth, and worketh. For what- 



404 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



ever good there is in all men, is all the 
work of God. 

Christ, then, feeling His Father draw 
Him, gathered together in Himself, after 
a certain marvellous manner, all the elect 
with all their works, and commended them 
to His Father saying: "Father, these are 
Thine ; these are the spoils which I have 
obtained as Conqueror by the sword of the 
Cross ; these are the vessels which I have 
bought with My precious Blood ; these are 
the fruits of My labours. Keep them in 
Thy name, whom Thou hast given Me. I 
ask not that Thou shouldst take them out 
of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep 
them from the evil." 

Thus, then, did Christ commend Him- 
self with all of His into His Father's 
hands. Come, therefore, O faithful and 
devout soul, and watch with exceeding 
earnestness the going in and the going 
out of thy Lord Jesus ; follow Him lov- 
ingly and longingly, even to the chamber 
and bed of delights, which He hath made 
ready for thee in His Father's Heart. O 
happy he, who could now be dissolved 
with Christ, and die with the thief, and 
hear from our Lord's lips that word full of 
comfort: "To-day thou shalt be with Me 
in paradise." And although this is not 
given unto us, yet whatever we can here 
obtain by labours, and watchings, and fasts, 
and prayers, let us commend all this with 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 405 

Christ unto the Father; let us pour it back 
again into the fountain, from which it came 
forth to us ; and let nothing at all remain 
to us of vain complacency ; nothing be left 
to us among men, by seeking any praise, 
or honour, or reward. But wiiatever our 
God hath vouchsafed to work in us, let us 
give it back again into His hands, and say: 
•' Of our own selves we are nothino-. He 
made us, and not we ourselves. All good 
things have been made by Him, and with- 
out Him nothing was made. When, there- 
fore, He taketh away with Him what He 
made Himself, we are simply nothing." 

Lastly, Christ commended His Soul into 
His Father's hands, to show us how the 
souls of holy and good men now mount up 
after Him to the bosom of the Eternal 
Father, souls wlio before this must all have 
gone down into hell ; for it is He Himself 
Who hath opened for us the way of life, 
and it is His sacred Soul which, by ren- 
dering the journey safe and secure, hath 
been our guide into the kingdom of 
heavei). 



4o6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



The Fifty-first Chapter, 
yes7is givetk up the Ghost. 

AFTER that our Lord Jesus had uttered 
the aforesaid word, He bowed His 
head and gave up the ghost. He bowed 
His head iirst to His Mother, and then to 
all men, as if to bid a last farewell ; as if 
to ask His Mother's leave to pass away, 
and to give both to her and to all men the 
kiss of peace. Observe here, O faithful 
soul, the unutterable love of thy God, how 
He loved us even to the end. See how, 
when all power of speech hath been taken 
from Him, and while His life is ebbing 
away, and death is already in possession ot 
all His members, nevertheless the latter, so 
far as they could, gave forth signs of love. 
See here the true Jacob blessing His chil- 
dren with outstretched arms, and gather- 
ing up His feet upon the bed of the Cross, 
as He passeth away to the Father. Be- 
hold Christ's gracious members now dead, 
yet still showing us the same love and 
good will as when alive ! His arms re- 
main extended to embrace us ; His eyes 
cast down to look upon us ; His head 
bowed low to kiss us ; His wounds open 
and gaping, that we ma^' enter in and take 



\ 



of our Lord Jesus Christ, 407 



refuge therein ; His head also, which be- 
fore He had lifted up to His Father, while 
offering Himself to Him with tears, He 
now bent down to us in love, as a most 
welcome messenger of our reconciliation 
with the Father, and in order to give us 
the kiss of peace as a sign of atonement. 

He bowed His head towards the earth, 
and turned away from the glorious title of 
the Cross, to show us how little He valued 
all glory and honour, and that He desired 
to close His life in all abject and lowly 
poverty, and that He suffered nothing of 
this world to cHng to Him. Thus, at the 
very end of His life, He taught us, that 
whenever we are honoured or praised by 
men, we ought to bow ourselves down to 
the earth, by making ourselves of no ac- 
count, and by saying within ourselves: 
" Why art thou proud, O dust and 
ashes ? " 

Thus, then. Life died upon the Cross, 
that He might give to us from the tree of 
the Cross the fruit of life. Thus was this 
most excellent ransom paid for us, and all 
our debts cancelled. And with the same 
faithfulness with which He had carried 
out His Father's embassy, and finished 
it, He returned to His Father, commend- 
ing His Spirit into His hands ; as if He 
would say: ''For Me, O loving Father, 
hast Thou cast away the debts of all men, 
and for Thy honour I have gladly taken 



4o8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

them upon Myself. I was made an exile 
from My kingdom ; I have been sold as a 
slave in foreign parts ; I have become a 
prisoner, and despised, and wounded, and 
1 have been put to a shameful death. I 
have suffered Thy anger to take ven- 
geance on Me, that, appeased by My 
agony and sorrow. Thou mightest take 
man back into Thy favour. I iiave satis- 
fied the requirements of Thy love and jus- 
tice, and the prayer of mercy I have ful- 
filled. I have exposed My whole self, and 
offered it — to Thee My will, to the Jews 
My Body, to sinners My Blood, to the 
executioners My garments, to My disciple 
My most loving Mother: and now I have 
nothing left, save My afflicted, and bur- 
dened, and care-worn spirit. Indeed, there 
is no place under heaven worthy of Me, 
except the heart of My tender and sorrow- 
ing Mother ; yet she, too, is overwhelmed 
by so much anguish and distress, that she 
can bear it no more; and truly My afflicted 
spirit is rather a trouble and a burden to 
her, than a comfort. Therefore I fly to 
Thee, for the torrent of Thy divine conso- 
lation can alone swallow up My sorrow and 
sadness, and now I commend My care- 
worn spirit into Thy hands. Enough, and 
more than enough, O most gracious Father, 
hast Thou made known Thine anger against 
Me, and inflicted on Me grievous svveat 
and labour in the work of others. Thou 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 409 

» ' ' ~ M il.- , » 

hast required of Me the payment of a debt 
which I had not contracted, and Thou hast 
left Me alone in My grievous torments. 
Now, then, at last, after Thou hast chas- 
tised Thine only Son, be mindful of mercy, 
open to Me Thy Fatherly Heart, and re- 
ceive My Spirit.** 



The Fifty-second Chapter. 
The veil qf the Temple is re7it in twain. 

THEN was the veil of the temple rent 
in twain, the earth trembled, the rocks 
were burst asunder, the sun was darkened. 
All these marvels and wonders took place, 
that both the heavens and the earth might 
reprove the unbelief of the Jews and all 
unbelievers, and that in like manner they 
migiit bear witness, by such clear signs, 
that Christ crucified was their Lord and 
God. For at the terrible cry of their Crea- 
tor all creatures trembled and groaned, 
desiring themselves to die with their 
Maker, as if they were wearied with serving 
any longer rebellious and ungrateful men, 
and that they were ready to fight for Him 
Who made them, and avenge His wrongs. 
And as a proof of this indignation, the sun 



41 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

changed colour, the earth trembled, and all 
irrational creatures, as if seeking for ven- 
geance, were moved by reason of their 
Creator. See here how great is His 
power, and strength, and majesty, Who 
but just now seemed so powerless, weak 
and abject — He showed forth a sign in 
heaven to show that He was the very Lord 
of heaven. He showed forth a sign on 
earth, to proclaim and announce that the 
earth was the work of His hands, and that 
it was subject to Him, and obeyed Him. 
He also showed forth a sign in the tem- 
ple, to prove that He was above the law, 
above all ceremonies, above all sacrifices, 
and that with Him lay the authority to 
abrogate the law, even as His had been 
the power to establish the same. There- 
fore it was that He rent the temple veil in 
twain, that the naked truth might be laid 
open, which hitherto had lain hidden under 
the veil and coverings of the latter; and, 
at the same time, that He might declare 
by this very fact, that mysteries, and 
figures, and prophecies had all been ful- 
filled and unveiled, when He Himself, the 
Eternal Truth, for Whose sake all things 
had been written, made Himself manifest 
on the Cross to the whole world. More- 
over, by the rending of the veil, He un- 
covered the Holy of holies, and showed 
that every kind of sacrifice that had been 
offered with the blood of sheep had now 



of our Lord y esus Christ. 411 

become old, and was abolished, and had 
lost all holiness. For Christ, the High 
Priest, entered by His own Blood into the 
now uncovered Holies, and offered Him- 
self without the city upon the Altar of the 
Cross openly for all the people, being 
made a greneral and everlastingf sacrifice to 
His Father for all mankind, above all, for 
those who sought after and desired Him. 

Now, therefore, I pray, let us compas- 
sionate our Lord God, Who made us ; 
otherwise the hard rocks and the elements 
will condemn us, for iliest: had compassion 
for their Maker. With devout tears and 
loving sighs let us beat our breasts, and 
say: " Oh ! what have we done, what have 
we done ?" He was, indeed, the very Son 
of God, and we sinners have crucified Him. 
Let us measure the greatness of our ini- 
quities by the power and dignity of Him 
Whom we have offended. For it is not a 
patriarch, or a prophet, or some common 
king of the Lsraelitish people, whom we 
have despised ; but it is Jesus Christ the 
Son of God, the King of kings. Whom we 
have crucified afresh. Whose Blood we 
have shed, and Whom we have pressed 
out, like the grape, under the heavy bur- 
den of our sins. With all sorrow, there- 
fore, and devotion, and compassion, let us 
celebrate His funeral. Who was slain for 
our sins, and Whom we confess that we 
ourselves have slain, \i it be possible, let 



4 1 2 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

us weep with all our members, for we are 
provoked to this even by the creatures that 
have no sense. Oh ! who can understand 
the pain and torment of the tearing asun- 
der of that knot, which that Holy Ghost 
had knit together, and in which Christ's 
noble Soul had been bound up with His 
worshipful Body in love, even as the lover 
■with the loved one. Who can marvel 
enough at that obscure eclipse of Christ's 
bright eyes, which by their look had given 
light to the earth, and, like two shining 
stars of the firmament, had enlightened 
the world with their rays, but wiiich now 
have become darkened in the black cloud 
of death. Of a truth it was no marvel 
that darkness covered the face of the 
whole earth, when the Sun of Justice was 
taken away from the earth, and had closed 
His eyes. 

O marvellous organ ! O delightful harp! 
O sweet sounding trumpet, thou living 
voice of Christ Jesus, whose melody hath 
given gladness to the Father, and joy be- 
yond measure to the angels of heaven, 
whose blessed sound hath taught the liv- 
ing, and raised the dead, and healed the 
sick, and refreshed the hungry, and put 
the demons to flight, and which still stir- 
reth up the slotiitul and them who sleep, 
and arouseth them to action ; who, 1 ask, 
hath imposed on Thee this hurtful silence, 
that, deprived of Thy honeyed words and 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 413 

sweet and pleasant sound, we should now 
have fallen so wretchedly into the sleep of 
death ? 

O glorious breast of Christ ! O couch of 
God ! O ark of heaven, wherein are hid- 
den all the treasures of wisdom and of 
knowledge, and are contained all riches of 
virtues and of graces, and which breathest 
the spirit of life into the face of all crea- 
tures ; who hath taken away Thy life ? 

O blessed hands 1 the instruments of 
the most high Creator, which by your very 
touch have cast out all diseases, and by 
which benediction hath been given to the 
world, who hath dared so inhumanly to 
fasten you to the Cross, forgetful of that 
great salvation, which hath been wrought 
through you ? O Jesus Christ, meekest 
Lamb, why are these cruel wounds in 'f hy 
hands ? He maketh answer by the Pro- 
phet: "These are the wounds wherewith 
I was wounded in the house of those who 
loved Me ;" that is, of tliose who by right 
and deservedly ougiit to have loved Me, 
and who seemed to love Me. 

O sacred feet of our Lord Jesus ! 
Columns of the temple of God, founded 
upon the bases of justice, polished, and 
adorned with the capitals of charity. O 
feet that have never wandered from the 
path of truth, but by your walk have 
shown to all the way of the highest per- 
fection, and have left to all for their ever- 



414 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

lasting instruction the footprints of double 
love ; who hath made you so stiff, so im- 
moveable ? Who is it that hath not feared 
to wound you, before whom that blessed 
lover Magdalen, obtained so rich a grace, 
beneath whom the sea stood still, and 
offered a solid path for them who walked 
thereon ! The very elements, as was tit- 
ting, here paid you reverence, and cruel 
men have nailed you to the Cross ! 

O glorious Body of Christ Jesus ! pre- 
cious ciborium of God, wherein the temple 
of the most holy and adorable Trinity is 
marvellously constructed, made by the mys- 
tery of the Holy Ghost out of the excel- 
lent nature of the most pure and noble 
Virgin Mother, adorned with the beauty of 
all virtue, who liath so pitiably destroyed 
thee, and laid thee low, and cast thee down 
even to the ground ? O filthy synagogue 
of the Jews ! which so many times hast 
turned aside in shameless impudence from 
the loving embraces of thy lawful hus- 
band, God the Most High and Might)', 
and hast been polluted by strange men 
and false idolators ; thou hast looked even 
upon this fair Joseph with lustful eyes, and 
hast desired to embrace and touch a sim- 
ple man, not believing Him to be the Son 
of God. But this Joseph is spotless and 
innocent, nor hath He ever hearkened to 
thy pestilential voice, nor given faith to 
thy false words, nor come down to tiiee 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 415 

from the Cross ; but as a proof of His in- 
violate innocence, He hath left His torn 
garment in thy hands, and hath fled naked 
out of thy filthy bed-chamber unto the 
Father, choosing rather to suffer the loss 
of His garment, that is, of His Body, than 
to stain His Soul. O Jerusalem, and all 
ye Israelites, who by the light of faith 
have reached unto the knowledge of God, 
and who yet have crucified your Lord and 
King by your deeds of evil, shed tears, 
weep and mourn. For what was once the 
place of peace, is now the valley of wicked- 
ness and the plain of battle and dissension; 
what was once the holy city, is now the 
hateful den of thieves ; what was once the 
chosen people, is now cast away and ac- 
cursed, as murderers before God. Behold 
the innocent Blood of your Brother, which 
you have taken upon your own heads, and 
which you have cruelly shed, crieth loudly 
from the earth to the Father of heaven 
against you. Sprinkle your heads with 
ashes, put mourning garments upon you, 
for in the midst of you the Saviour of the 
people of Israel hath been slain. Let your 
eyes fail and grow dim for weeping, for ye 
have rejected the only Son of the Most 
High King. 

Look now, O man, on the face of Christ 
thy Lord, on which the angels gaze with 
delight unutterable; see how it is all dis- 
figured, and pale, and filthy; and how there 



41 6 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

IS no more beauty in it. Turn here and 
there Christ's sacred Body, and from the 
top of His head to the sole of His feet, 
thou wilt find nothing but wounds and 
blood: yet, at the same time, impress upon 
thy heart this disfigured image of thy Re- 
deemer. Let this His pitiable face be 
ever before thine eyes, and let it be so 
fixed in thy feelings and thoughts, that 
hou mayest utterly forget all vanities- 



The Fifty-third Chapter- 
yesus is pierced with the lance 

y% FTER this, by reason of the Paschal 
/\ solemnity, on which it was unbecom- 
ing that the bodies should remain on the 
Cross, the Jews asked of Pilate, that the 
legs of those who had been crucified might 
be broken, and their bodies taken away: 
and when leave had been given, they first 
of all broke the thieves' legs. But when 
they came to Jesus, and saw that He was 
already dead, they brake not His legs; 
but one of tlie soldiers, Longinus by 
name, opened His right side with a lance, 
and straightway there flowed forth blood 
and water. O fearful cruelty of the Jews ! 



afour Lord yestis Christ 417 

O pitiless and unquenchable thirst, which 
after so much blood-shedding was still not 
quenched ! While His Body was yet alive 
ye heaped upon it torments greater than 
any tyrant would have done, and now when 
it is lifeless ye spare it not. This the Jews 
did out of craft and singular wickedness; 
for they knew that dishonour shown to the 
dead, would be held to be the same as if 
done to the living ; and they wished to per- 
suade all men that our Saviour's wicked- 
ness and guilt were so great, that they 
could not be adequately punished in His 
living Body, and therefore that it was 
necessary cruelly to torture His dead Body. 
They sought also by this to obtain the 
favour of the chief-priests, who wished to 
have sure proof of His death. 

Moreover, although our Lord's Body 
felt nothing of this, since it was dead, and 
without feeling ; yet in another certain way 
our Lord was afflicted thereby ; that is, in 
the same way in which He even now suf- 
fereth and is afflicted at the hands of many, 
who swear by His sacred wounds and 
Passion, and who, by their grievous crimes, 
both wrong and insult Him, more bitterly 
than they who crucified Him in the Body. 
For He receiveth thereby far more insult 
to His divine Majesty, wherein He is one 
with the Father and the Holy Ghost, than 
by those outward tormcncs inflicted oa 

Him during His Passion. 
it 



41 8 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Yet who can grasp in thought how fear- 
fully this lance pierced and wounded the 
devout soul of His tender Mother Mary, 
wliose soul and heart dwelt, indeed, in the 
Body of her dear Son, Who was her whole 
love and treasure ? For if we are to be- 
lieve Augustine, " there is more of the 
soul in loving than in living." Moreover, 
Bernard also saith: "Of a truth, O sweet 
Mother, the sword of sorrow pierced thy 
soul rather than the cruel lance tore the 
Body of thy Son, for therein was thy soul 
rather than His. Therefore art thou the 
chief of martyrs, for thy measureless in- 
ward sorrow surpasseth the outward tor- 
ments of the martyrs." 

We have a certain kind of figure of this 
in Saul, who was first chosen by God, but 
afterwards was cast off for his sins, and 
who is a type of the Jewish people. The 
Jewish people hath desired to pierce David 
with a lance, but David, that is the Soul of 
Christ, fleeth away through the gate of 
death ; and the lance remaineth fixed in 
the wall, that is, in the side of Christ's 
Body, which is sorely wounded thereby. 
So also we read of Absalom, that as he 
was hanging from the tree, he was pierced 
by three lances. And this, too, can be 
applied to Christ, Who was beautiful above 
the sons of men. For He, too, was pierced 
by three lances. The first was His great 
suffering from His outward affliction. The 



of our Lord Jesus Christ 419 



second was His measureless sorrow, aris- 
ing from His compassion for His tender 
Mother. Tlie third was His inward cross, 
because of our exceeding ingratitude, and 
because He foresaw that His bitter Pas- 
sion and immense labours and torments 
would be without effect for a great part of 
men. O, how many, alas! are to be found 
at the present day, who, like the Jews, 
persecute our Lord, and, moreover, when 
they have crucified Him, fearfully wound 
Him. This is done by those who, after 
that they have once crucified our Lord by 
deadly sins, and have witnessed signs and 
wonders ; after that their earth hath trem- 
bled at the voice and inspiration of God, 
and their stony heart hatli been softened, 
and the filthy sepulchre of their conscience 
hath been opened, and the foul bonesof their 
sins have been cast out by contrition and 
confusion ; after that tiie worms have been 
driven out by absolution and forgiveness ; 
after that they have received the enHght- 
enment of heavenly grace, and striking 
their breasts have said: "What have we 
done ? truly this was the Son of God Whom 
we have crucified !" again wound Christ, 
and persecute Him by shameful mockery 
and indignities. For is not this to mock 
Christ, when they confess His power and 
majesty, and then so lightly despise the 
commandments of so powerful and high a 
Lord, and resist His will ? 



420 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Moreover, the Evangelist saith of this 
lance, in a marked manner, not that it 
wounded Christ, but that it opened His 
side, signifying thereby that the gate of 
life was opened to us. For the wound in 
Christ's side is the gate of the Sacraments, 
without which we have no access to the 
life of bliss. Wherefore, also, the Evan- 
gelist addeth : " And straightway there 
flowed forth blood and water." From this 
it is easy to perceive, that although Christ's 
nature was mortal, yet in certain respects 
it was different from the nature of other 
men. For in others, when they give up 
their souls, the blood congealeth, but from 
Christ's side, not without miracle, as from 
a living well, there flowed forth true blood 
and water, thus showing Him to be the 
living well-spring from which the life of all 
of us hath flowed. Of this we read in 
Zachary: "In that day there shall be an 
open fountain for the house of David, and 
to those who dwell in Jerusalem, for the 
washing of the sinner, and the unclean 
woman." Now this is fulfilled by the 
Blood and water flowing from Christ's 
side. For by the Blood, which is the 
price of our redemption, we are washed 
from sins ; and by the water, which is the 
figure of our baptism, we are cleansed 
from all the stains of original sin, even as 
our Lord saith by Ezechiel: " I will pour 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 421 

forth upon you clean water, and ye shall 
be cleansed from all your iniquities." 

Christ's side was also, doubtless, opened, 
that we might have access and entrance 
into His Heart. Hence Augustine saith: 
" Behold the door in the side of the ark, 
through which enter in all the creatures 
that are saved Iroin the deluge. Behold 
thy source, thy father, who hath regene- 
rated thee to life ! For even as our 
mother Eve was formed out of the side 
of the sleeping Adam, so out of the side 
of Christ dead upon the Cross the Church 
arose." 

Lastly, Christ's side was opened, and 
straightway there flowed forth the Sacra- 
ments. From this is seen Christ's incom- 
prehensible love towards us, since He hath 
spent His whole self upon us. Nothing 
hath He hidden in His Heart, which He 
liath not wholly given to us. What more 
could He have done for us than He hath 
done } His own Heart He hath opened 
to us, as His most secret cliamber, wherein 
to introduce us as His elect bride. For 
His delights are to be with us ; and in the 
peacefulness of silence, and in silent peace- 
fulness, to take His rest amongst us. He 
hath given us, I say, His Heart fearfully 
wounded, that we may dwell therein, until 
utterly purified, and cleansed, and con- 
formed to His Heart, we may be made fit 
and worthy to be led with Him into the 



422 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

divine Heart of the Eternal Father. He 
giveth His own Heart to be our dwelling, 
and asketh in return for ours, that it may 
be His dwelling. He o^iveth us, I say, 
His Heart, even as a bed adorned with 
the red roses of His own purple Blood ; 
and He asketh in return for our heart, 
even as a bed decorated for Him with the 
white lilies of clean works. Who will dare 
to refuse Him what He Himself, in His 
rich bounty, hath bestowed upon us } Be- 
hold 1 He inviteth us into His sweet 
wounds, and into His loving and open 
side, even as into a rich wine cellar flow- 
ing with all delights, saying to us in the 
words of the Canticle: ** Come, My sister. 
My dove, into the holes of the rock ; that 
is, into My Sacred Wounds." Who hath 
a heart so iron and so stony, as not to be 
touched by such love and kindness, when 
He, Who is the King Almighty, immense, 
eternal, embraceth us with such mighty 
love, who are but dust and ashes ? And 
yet, Oh ! the shame, the sorrow ! we turn 
our hack upon Him, and despise so great 
a Majesty. This is why Augustine crieth 
out in the person of Christ: " Weigh witii 
thyself, O man, of what kind and how 
great was the suffering which I underwent 
for thy salvation. When thou wert still 
My enemy, I led thee back into My 
Father's favour. When thou wert wan- 
dering as a lost sheep, I sought thee for 



of our Lord Jestis Christ. 423 



long with much sweat and labour, and 
when I had found thee I brought thee back 
upon My shoulders with great suffering to 
My Father. I submitted My head to the 
crown of thorns, I laid My hands and feet 
open to the nails, I bent My whole Body 
patiently to scourges, I shed My Blood 
even to the last litde drop, I gave My 
Soul for thee that I might join thee unto 
Me by love ; and yet thou withdrawest, 
and art separated from Me. Lastly, I 
opened My Heart to thee, and gave thee 
the rosy Blood of My Heart to drink. 
What more askest thou of Me ? Tell Me, 
I pray thee, how I may soften, and turn, 
and draw thee to My love, and, of a truth, 
I will do it unto thee." 

Let us then approach with longing thirst 
and love unto this living well, for He will 
give unto us the water of life, and that 
freely, without price and without exchange. 
See ! how readily He inviteth us, saying: 
" He who is athirst, let him come ; and 
whosoever will, let him take of the water 
of life freely." See here the pure well 
springing forth in the midst of paradise, 
whereby the whole earth is watered. 
Come, then, with the loving soul of the 
Canticle, and in all the temptations, and 
miseries, and afflictions of this life, let us 
flee into the holes of the rock. *• Of which 
rock ?" thou askest. Of Jesus Christ our 
Lord. For He is the Rock, which was 



424 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



struck by Moses, that iS; by the Jewish 
people, by the rod of the Cross, and gave 
forth plentiful waters, so that we may draw 
not water only, but even, as the Scripture 
testifieth, oil from this rock. Hence the 
prophet Jeremias saith: " O ye that dwell 
in Moab, leave the cities," that is, the 
noise and disturbances of the people, " and 
dwell in the rock, and be like the dove 
that maketh her nest in the highest mouth 
of the hole," that is, in Christ's open side. 
Christ is the stone which Jacob the patri- 
arcii set up for a title, and over which he 
poured oil, for a sign of abundant mercy 
and loving-kindness. What can be want- 
ing to us in this rock ? Of a truth we are 
safe here, and secure from all our enemies. 
Here the old serpent, the trailing snake 
cannot come. Here we are lifted up from 
earth, and placed on the path of heaven. 
Let the world tempt, and enemies threaten, 
and the flesh complain, we have, indeed, 
no need to fear, for we are founded on a 
rock. Never are we so safe as in our 
Saviour's Wounds. '' I take," saith S. 
Bernard, borrowing from S. Augustine, •' I 
take with confidence what I want, I take it 
from the bowels of my Lord, for they over- 
flow with mercy ;" nor are the holes want- 
ing through which they flow: "They have 
dug My hands and My feet, and they have 
pierced My side with a lance ;" and through 
these holes I can suck honey from the 



A 



of ottr Lord Jesus Christ. 425 

rock, and oil from the liard rock ; that 
is, taste and see how sweet the Lord is. 
He thought of peace, and I knew it 
not. But an opening nail, the piercing 
nail was made for me, that I might see 
the will of the Lord. What do I see 
through the hole ? The nail crieth out, 
the wound crieth out that God is truly in 
Christ reconciling the world unto Himself 
The iron hath gone through His Soul ; it 
hath come near His Heart, so that He 
knoweth no more how to feel for my in- 
firmities. But the secret place of His 
Heart is open to me through the holes of 
His Body ; the great sacrament of love is 
open ; the bowels of God's mercy are open, 
wherein the Orient from on high liatli 
visited us. Why are Thy bowels seen 
open through Thy Wounds ? Why ? Be- 
cause in what could it shine forth more 
clearly than in Thy wounds, that Thou, 
Lord, art meek, and gentle, and of great 
mercy ? Augustine also saith: " Longinus 
opened for me Christ's side with a lance, 
and I have entered in." Here I dwell 
with confidence ; here I refresh myself 
with gladness ; here I rest in sweetness ; 
here I feed on delights. 

But oh ! what was the sorrow, what the 
pain with which God's worshipful Mother, 
the Virgin Mary, was seized, when she 
saw her only solace, and the whole delight 
of her heart, hanging dead on the Cross ? 



426 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

Oh ! how that fearful cry pierced her ten- 
der heart, when that same beloved and 
only-begotten Son of hers cried out with a 
loud voice, and gave up the ghost ! How 
was her soul then melted away in her 
burning love for Christ, even as wax is 
melted in the fire, and, like a seal of wax, 
received upon itself the pitiable image of 
her crucified Son ! For perfect love hath 
three conditions, or effects, or works. Its 
first work is forcibly to carry the lover out 
of himself, for love is strong as death, and 
even as death violently teareth away the 
soul out of the body, so doth perfect love 
draw a man utterly out of himself, so that 
in himself he wholly falleth away. An- 
other work of love is to attract, or inwardly 
draw. For as, in the first place, it draw- 
eth the lover out of himself, so, in the 
second place, it joineth and maketh him 
one with the beloved, and attracts him 
towards the beloved, even as our Lord 
saith to the loving soul : " With everlasting 
love have I loved thee, therefore have I 
drawn thee and shown pity upon thee." 
Now this is also done by love, so truly, 
that the lover liveth not where he standeth 
or walketh, but where he loveth. For 
where our treasure is, there also is our 
heart. And Augustine saith: "A man is 
such as the thing that he loveth." They 
who love earthly things are worms, not 
men. They who love the pleasures of the 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 427 



flesh, are beasts devoid of reason. They 
who love heavenly things are angels, for 
their conversation is in heaven. They 
who embrace God with perfect love, be- 
come God, as David said: " I have said, 
ye are Gods, and all of you sons of the 
Most High." For what God is by nature, 
that we are made by grace and transform- 
ing love. The third work of love is 
transformation itself; and this is its chief 
and peculiar work, and rendereth the lover 
conformed and like unto the beloved ; even 
as fire changeth into itself both iron, and 
whatever it can act upon. Hence also 
God, Who is uncreated love, in His im- 
mense and bountiful love, hath made man 
according to His own image and likeness ; 
and again, impelled by the same love, His 
most high and loving Godhead hath so 
cast itself down and humbled itself, as to 
take upon it the form and likeness of man, 
whom It loved so much. 

Thus, also, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as 
became such a Mother, loved her dear Son 
irom her very inmost heart, and surpassed 
all in love. Wherefore, utterly drawn out 
of herself by the force and efficacy of love, 
she was both rapt into Christ her Beloved, 
and so transformed by Him, that she be- 
came wholly like to Him. For, like soft 
wax, she was so impressed with the lifeless 
and crucified image of her Son, and made 
like thereto, being likewise crucified with 



428 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

her only begotten Son, wounded, slain, and 
fearfully tormented in every part together 
with Him, that she lived no more in her- 

If, but in Christ her Beloved, and He in 
her. For if the strength of Christ's love 
so absorbed S. Paul that he could say: " I 
live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ;" 
and again: ** I am fastened with Christ to 
the Cross, and I bear about the wounds of 
the Lord Jesus in my body ;" how much 

ore must we believe that this happened 
to the Blessed Virgin, whose love sur- 
passed the love of all men, even as the 
vast sea some little brook. Who, then, 
can understand those bitter pains and tor- 
ments, which that most sorrowing Mother 
felt, when the lance pierced Christ's ador- 
able side with a dreadful wound. Of a 
t uth, this was the sword of grief, of which 
just Simeon had prophesied long before. 
O blessed they, who are made partakers 
of this wound; whose hearts are so pierced 
by the blessed lance of Christ's love, that 
henceforth they glow with the everlasting 
fire of love I 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 42^ 



Tiiii Fifty-fourth Chapter. 
Jesus is taken down jr am the Cross. 

LET us now see how sad a funeral, and 
what mournful funeral rites the spot- 
less Virgin, and the other friends of our 
Saviour, celebrated over the dead body of 
Christ. Oh ! with what desire and devo- 
tion did the tender Virgin embrace the 
Cross of Christ her Son, and reverently 
receive the blood and water which flowed 
from His side. Oh ! how often did she 
stretch out her arms towards Him, and 
desire also to clasp and embrace Hun with 
her outward arms, Him Whom she had 
already impressed and engraven on her 
heart ! Oh ! with what devotion, and how 
lovingly did she fold Christ's now lifeless 
body, when it had been taken down from 
the Cross, in her maternal arms, and press 
it to her heart ! But, at the same time, 
how were all her bowels moved with fresh 
compassion ! How was her soul, like wax 
in the fire, melted in love, and her whole 
self dissolved in tears! O how she fell 
upon that disfigured face of His, as it lay 
there in its shame, and kissed it again and 
again, and not only washed it, but plenti- 
fully watered it with her warm tears ! 



4.3^^ Meditations on the Life and Passion 



And Christ's faithful lover, too, Magda- 
lene, how devoutly she fell at His feet — at 
which she had formerly obtained such grace 
— and washed them again in her tears, 
and kissed His sacred wounds, showing to 
His dead body the same kindness and love 
as when He was yet alive. How great 
was the compassion of all Christ's friends 
there present, and how burning was their 
love, so that they who stood by felt its 
heat, even as men are warmed by the fire 
near which they stand. Oh ! how sad were 
the tears that flowed in streams from their 
eyes over Christ's Body ! What groans 
and sighs they sent up to heaven ! How 
sad a funeral they justly gave our Lord ! 
No song was heard there, nothing but 
groans, and tears, and lamentations. Oh ! 
how did the worshipful Mother count each 
limb and wound, and look into it, and kiss 
it, weeping over each, and washing it with 
her tears ; nay, engraving each upon her 
own heart, and weighing with herself and 
measuring the pains of each limb, and 
heaving sighs such as pass our understand- 
ing ; and, at the same time, according to 
her heart's desire, making an ointment of 
the blood and marrow of her heart in her 
burning love, and anointing all His wounds 
and sores. Oh ! how did the burning 
tears flow down that tender Mother's sweet 
face, like gentle streams running one before 
the other, as if striving which should first 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 431 

reach Christ's Body ! Nay, saith blessed 
Augustine: "which of the angels could 
then have kept from tears, when he saw 
his King and Lord wasted away by so foul 
and shameful a death, and beheld, contrary 
to all nature, how the Maker of nature, the 
God Who cannot die, in a human nature 
sought after death ? How did the bright 
Cherubim and burning Seraphim marvel 
at this unutterable love, when they beheld 
that Life itself had died for love, that the 
dead might return to life; for these blessed 
and heavenly spirits saw before them 
Christ's Body so inhumanly torn, mangled 
and lifeless, as well as His tender Mother, 
as she stood there so anxiously embracing 
Him, all stained with His Blood, and shed- 
ding such streams of pitiful tears that she 
could not restrain them. 

And what shall we say of S. John ? 
Now, as we may imagine, he conformed 
himself to the sorrowing Mother in his 
own tears and sorrow, and became her 
most faithful companion. How gently and 
tenderly he exhorted her, now for a little 
while, at least, to lay aside her excessive 
grief, and leave off weeping. Oh ! how 
he, too, threw himself in his bitter anguish 
and distress of spirit on Christ's sacred 
breast, on which he had lately so sweetly 
rested, pouring back the v.^ater of loving 
tears into that well, from which he had 
drank the water of saving wisdom. 



43'' Meditations on the Life and Passion 



Then Joseph, and John, and the other 
friends of Jesus, earnestly besought the 
Blessed Virgin to suffer our Lord's Body 
to be arranged and made ready for burial, 
for the sun was nigh its setting. Then, 
too, did tliat tender Mother answer with 
words of lamentation: " Have pity on me, 
have pity on me, at least ye, my friends ; 
tear me not away so quickly from my be- 
loved Son ; take not away from me so 
hastily Him Whom I bore in my womb ; 
suffer me, at least, to enjoy Him dead, 
Whom I have not been able to keep alive. 
Let me, I pray you, show to His lifeless 
Body that love and tenderness which was 
not shown to His living Body during His 
Passion. Let me now water with my tears 
Him to Whom I was not allowed to give 
one drop of water, even during His cruel 
thirst. Let me for a while satisfy my soul 
with tears and sighs, since I am no longer 
able to find refreshment in His sweet pre- 
sence. Do not, do not, I beseech you, 
tear the Mother from her Son; take not 
so quickly from me Him Whom I have 
loved so long, or, at least, bury me along 
with my most loving Son." 

Thus were they sore distressed, for the 
sun now going down towards its setting, 
urged them on to the burial of His Body ; 
yet, as was meet, they were moved to 
compassion for the exceeding bitter sor- 
rows of His Mother, nor did they wish to 



fif our Ijyka yssus Christ, 43^ 

overwhelm her already too afflicted heart. 
Wherefore, for a little while, they allowed 
her love to work, that she might satisfy 
for a while, at least, her burning thirst. 
But afterwards S. John soothed her with 
sweet and prudent words, and prayed her 
to allow them to bury her Son, and she, 
not however without grief, consented. 
But oh ! how devoutly, how sorrowfully 
did she follow that sad funeral of her Son, 
holding His sacred head, her eyes fixed 
upon His face, while she kissed it times 
without number, and watered it with her 
tears 1 Whence, I ask, did that sad Mother 
have all those tears which she shed to-day } 
How could her tender heart bear this in- 
tolerable anguish and distress ? Of a 
truth, it was all her burning love, whicU 
was stronger than death itself. Oh ! with 
what grief and mourning she bade farewell 
to so dear and precious a treasure ! How 
lovingly she embraced His tomb, as if she 
would say, not indeed with her lips, — for 
how could she, plunged as she was in such 
anguish of soul ? — but in her heart: O 
sacred monument ! O happy tomb f O 
precious rock ! O pearl beyond all price I 
O admirable ciborium ! how noble a trea- 
sure, how excellent a prize, how immense 
a Lord dost thou contain } O elect vessel ! 
O happy creature, that art found worthy to 
receive thy Creator, and to give hospitality 
to the King of glory, lay aside now tUy 

s8 



434 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

natural hardness and roughness, and be- 
come soft, so as reverently to embrace the 
tender limbs of my beloved Son. O glo- 
rious ark ! O excellent temple of God, 
above all creatures the most like unto my- 
self! For even as I myself was chosen 
by God to bear His Son in my chaste 
womb, so hath He chosen thee to receive 
Christ's worshipful Body, the glorious in- 
strument of the most blessed Trinity, by 
which God worked so many marvels, the 
priceless treasure of the world, and its 
chief good, surpassing the heavens and the 
earth in its excellence and worth. And 
even as thou art new, nor hast ever been 
polluted by the contact of any body, so I, 
too, am pure and free from the touch of 
all creatures. Even as from thee, although 
closed, the Saviour of the world shall rise 
again alive, so from my closed womb the 
salvation of the world went forth. And 
even as thou art a rock solid and immove- 
able, so have I remained unchangeable 
and unconquered in faith and all virtue. 

Moreover, this sepulchre of our Lord 
hath a certain resemblance in form to the 
spiritual monument which the Blessed Vir- 
gin had made ready for her loving Son in 
her own heart. For as the sepulchre was 
cut out and polished with sharp iron, so 
the glorious Virgin suffered a fitting place 
to be cut in the inmost parts of her 
soul by the sword of sorrow, as a monu- 



•*. 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 435 

ment exceeding suitable for the afflicted 
and tortured Body of her Son; for God 
loveth a humble and broken heart. And 
as in this sepulchre no man had as yet 
been laid, so no strange love or affection 
had ever stained, even in the least, the 
Virgin Mother's tender heart. For she is 
that closed door, which to no man hath 
been ever opened, through which alone 
the Prince and the King of Israel hath 
gone forth. Moreover, the monument was 
in a garden ; and so, too, the spotless Vir- 
gin was the enclosed garden of her Be- 
loved, surrounded by the hedge of pru- 
dence and discretion, since she was full of 
such light and discretion, that never could 
aught of evil, even under the cloak of vir- 
tue, steal into her garden. Nor was there 
on any side of her garden even the least 
opening through which the hateful and 
impure serpent could only once cast his 
eyes, who had dared not only to enter into 
the glory of paradise, but even to defile it. 
And this garden was fruitful, and planted 
with the herbs of all kinds of virtues, so 
that there was no place for any kind of 
weeds to spring up. For the singular 
glory of this pure Virgin, the flower of the 
field, and the lily of the valley, grew there- 
in, even the excellent and aromatic flower 
of Jesse, on which the Holy Spirit hath 
rested, and the pleasant rose of Jericho. 
And, for a clear sign of her divine and 



43^ Meditations on the Life ana Passion 

singular benediction, there sprang up there- 
from that blessed Vine, whose branches 
stretch up on high, and whose smell driv- 
eth all poison and all serpents far away ; 
whose wine rejoiceth and warnieth the 
heart, and, according to the Prophet, bud- 
deth forth virgins. Our Lord's holy 
Mother had also a pure winding-sheet, 
that is, the garment of simple obedience, 
innocence and integral virginity. Nor 
were there wanting to her the aloe of 
bitter sorrow, and the myrrh of intolerable 
affliction. She had also a precious bal- 
sam, the ointments, and spices of all vir- 
tues. 

Thus, then, did she anoint and wrap 
Christ her Son, and bury Him in the 
sacred monument of her own heart. But 
now let us consider how sorrowfully the 
afflicted Mother departed from the monu- 
ment. How continual was her thouglit of 
Him Whom she had lost, and how price- 
less a treasure she had suffered to be hid- 
den under the stone. Oh ! how pitiably 
was she led away, all exhausted and worn, 
from the sepulchre, by S. John and her 
other friends. Of a truth, whosoever hath 
no compassion for one so afflicted, so sor- 
rowing, so grievously troubled, who is, at 
the same time, the Virgin Mother, nay, 
our Lady, is no living child of grace, but 
an abortion, senseless, and dead, and un- 
worthy, it is clear, to draw the milk of 



of our Lord yesus Christ. 437 

grace from his mother's breasts. But we, 
as hath been said, will, together with the 
Virgin Mother, bury Christ Jesus in our 
hearts, so that He may also rise again in 
us, and that we, by Him and in Him, may 
rise from all dead works, and with Him 
may mount up in all happiness to the 
glory of His Father, He Himself being 
cnr help, Who is blessed for ever. Amen. 



The Fifty-fifth Chapter. 

A devout Prayer for conformity to the 
sacred lije and crucified image of Jesus 
Christ. 

O UNITY above all understanding ! 
O adorable Trinity of God ! I be- 
seech Thee, by the Humanity of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, which He took upon Him, 
and which was crucified, bow down the 
abyss of Thy Godhead to the abyss of my 
lowliness, and driving away all my wicked- 
ness, create in me a clean heart, and renew 
a right spirit within me. 

O good Jesus, by that immense love 
which drew Thee from Thy Father's heart 
and bosom into the womb of the Virgin 
unstained; by Thy taking on Thee our 



438 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

human nature, in which Thou becamest 
my servant, and deliveredst me from ever- 
lasting death, draw me out of myself to 
Thee my God ; and may this Thy love, O 
my God, recover for me Thy grace, and 
perfect and increase in me whatever is im- 
perfect in me; may it raise up what is 
fallen down, restore what hath been de- 
stroyed, conform me to Thy most holy life 
and loving conversation ; and may it make 
me one with Thee, and enclose me within 
Thee, and engrave on the fleshly tables of 
my heart, and in all my behaviour, Thy 
holy life with all its virtues, as well as the 
goodness of Thy behaviour. Loosen my 
spirit, O my God, from all lower things, 
rule my soul, and, at the same time, work 
together with my body holy and just 
works. 

By Thy holy Nativity purify me for a 
new life. By Thy holy conversation per- 
fect me in all virtues. By Thy sacred 
doctrine, enlighten the eyes of my mind, 
and teach me the short and complete path 
of truth. By Thy lowly washing of the 
feet of Thy disciples, and even of him who 
betrayed Thee, cleanse and purify the feet 
of my Corrupt affections, and whatever in 
me hat > s leaning unto vice, and preserve 
them frorn being ever again defiled by 
filth. By the making ready of the Cena- 
cle, by the institution of the most excellent 
Sacrament, wherein out of love unutterable 



of our Lord "festis Christ. 439 

Thou hast given Thyself for our food and 
drink, form within me by Thine own power, 
and fit up for Thyself a fitting place, and 
make in me Thy cenacle, adorning it with 
all kinds of spices and flowers of virtues, 
that it may be worthy to draw Thee with- 
in itself, and this by Thy own merits, 
and gratuitous and condign preparation. 
Vouchsafe, also, to be Thyself both the 
house and the Master of the house, the 
Priest and the Sacrifice, the Giver and the 
Receiver, and change me wholly and con- 
sume me in Thy burning love, and trans- 
form me thereby, and make me one with 
Thee, that I may die to myself, and live to 
Thee alone; and be Thou Thyself Thy 
own praise before Thy most holy Father 
in heaven and on earth ; and grant, O 
Jesus, my sweetness and my life, that I 
may never be found ungrateful to this Thy 
love. By Thy immense lowliness, where- 
by Thou suffered St Thyself to be sold by 
Thy own disciple, grant me, O my God, 
that I may never sell Thee, my God, for 
any passing thing or mere empty breath of 
empty glory, and that I may try to bear all 
contempt of myself for the honour of Thy 
blessed Name with loving meekness, and 
that I may sell myself to Thee for the 
kingdom of heaven, which is ever to be 
bought, and give my whole self up to 
Thee by a certain divine commerce, since 
it is Thou Who sayest; "Son, give Me 



440 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

thy heart. I am wounded for the love of 
thee. Give Me thy heart, and I shall be 
healed ; give Me thy heart, and take Me 
as thy reward." 

By Thy intense sadness, distress and 
fear; by Thy devout prayer and humble 
resignation ; by Thy bloody sweat, grant 
that I may have ever recourse to Thee in 
all adversity and temptation, that I may 
trust in Thee alone, forsake myself, and 
offer myself in resignation to Thee. 

By that admirable love of Thine, where- 
by Thou sufferedst Thyself not only to be 
betrayed by Judas, but to be given up to 
Thine enemies ; grant me, O good Jesus, 
that I may never betray Thee either in 
myself or in my neighbours, nor refuse to 
mine enemies the offices and courtesies of 
love. 

By that love, whereby Thou desiredst 
to be taken and bound by wicked sinful 
men, absolve me from the bonds of my 
sins, and again bind me with the cords of 
Thy commandments and Thy counsels, in 
union with Thy gracious will, so that all 
the members of my body, and all the 
powers of my soul, may constantly perse- 
vere in the presence of Thy divine Ma- 
jesty, and never, at any time, be let loose 
through any fault of mine, to follow after 
the lustful liberty of the flesh. 

By Thy burning love, whereby for my 
sake Thou wouldst bear much reproach 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 44 1 

and confusion, and suffer Thyself to be 
inhumanly and cruelly treated, have mercy 
on my sinful and guilty soul, and unburden 
it from all its heavy load of sin, whereby, 
alas ! I have so shamefully disfigured Thy 
divine image, and wronged and contemned 
Thy holy Name in myself Grant, I be- 
seech Thee, O most loving Jesus, that I 
may gladly and willingly bear, for the 
honour of Thy sacred Name, all the shame 
and confusion that may come upon me. 

By that priceless love, whereby Thou 
didst not shrink from painful scourgings, 
forgive me, O most merciful Jesus, for 
having, alas ! times without number, 
scourged Thee by my own evil actions, 
and grant that I may ever confess Thee 
both in my heart and by my mouth, and 
that all my works may, by a pure inten- 
tion, be in harmony with Thy gracious 
will, and be done in accordance with the 
same ; and may the image of Thy coun- 
tenance persevere unhurt within me. 

By the loathsome and hateful spittle, 
with which for my sake Thou sufferedst 
Thy adorable and sweet Face to be defiled 
by the wicked Jews, forgive me, O kind 
Jesus, for having stained with numberless 
evil thoughts and impure desires, my own 
face in my own conscience, wherein Thou 
dwellest, and which ought clearly to reflect 
Thy shining countenance and image, and 
for having received Thy most sacred Body 



442 Meditations on the Life and Passion 



in the filthy spittle of a conscience stained 
with sin, and without reverence ; and grant 
unto me, at the same time, that I may 
never defile the fair face of Thine image 
within me by unclean actions and thoughts. 

By that love, whereby for my salvation 
Thou didst suffer Thy glorious Face, on 
which the angels desire to look, to be 
veiled with a filthy linen cloth, that the 
image of Thy divine countenance, which in 
my inward soul was hidden and darkened, 
might again be uncovered within me, and 
that th'" purity of Thy bright light may 
again arise within me, and shine once 
more ; by that love, I say, enlighten me 
inwardly with the pleasant liglit of Thy 
heavenly grace, and grant that Thy Face 
may henceforth be never clouded over 
within me ; but rather take away from my 
heart every veil of ignorance and sin. 

O most patient Jesus, Who for my sal- 
vation wast led from judge to judge, be- 
stow upon me, I beseech Thee, the light 
of truth ; rule all my actions, instruct my 
reason according to Thy gracious will, 
teaching it in Thy light how it ought to go 
forward in the royal path of virtue, and to 
pass from virtue to virtue. 

O Jesus, meekest Lamb of God, Who 
for my sake didst vouchsafe to be cruelly 
bound, and horribly scourged all over Thy 
fair Body, because I had abused my whole 
body and all my members by sin and hurt- 



I 



I 



of our Lord Jesus Christ. 443 

— - ■- ■ - — 

ful lusts, grant me, that I may expose and 
subject all my members to corporal suffer- 
ings, and patiently accept the scourges of 
Tiiy fatherly correction, nor ever scourge 
Thee by my vices or sins. 

O gracious Jesus, Who for the love of 
me didst vouchsafe to be crowned with 
thorns, that Thou mightest restore and 
mend Thine image in my soul which had 
been injured by sin, as that to which Thou 
hast united the whole of Thy blessed 
Trinity — for by the power of the Father 
Thou upholdest my memory ; by the wis- 
dom of the Son Thou art the light of my 
understanding, and by the love of the 
Holy Ghost Thou possessest and dwellest 
in my will, so that without Tliee I can 
retain nothing, understand nothing, do no 
good thing, but all this is done by Thy 
most holy Trinity, which hath made its 
own heaven within me, and whose king- 
dom is my soul. For which reason also, 
Thou sufferedst Thyself to be mockingly 
adored as a King, and Thy venerable Face 
to be defiled by the filthy spittle of wicked 
men, namely, that Thou mightest cleanse 
and wash Thy most holy Face within me, 
that had become defiled by sin. Where- 
fore, grant that I may adore Thee, my true 
God, in spirit and in truth, and hail Thee 
my King with due worship, and that Thy 
kingdom m.ay be founded and stablished 
in me, and may endure, so as to deserve in 



444 Meditations on the Life and Passion 

an eternity of bliss to receive the crown of 
life. 

O most merciful Jesus, Who, although 
innocent, wert sentenced to a cruel death 
for the race of man, inasmuch as I have 
not feared the judgments of Thy justice, 
grant that I may ever behold Thee sitting 
as Judge in my soul, which is Thy tribunal, 
where Thou mayest bring all my thoughts, 
and words, and works to judgment, my 
own conscience bearing witness against 
them — for, indeed, it biteth into me 
sharply, and accuseth me of all my vices — 
so that, at the last judgment, I may appear 
with a safe conscience, and bear with even 
mind the unjust judgments of men. 

O Jesus, gentle Sheep, Who for my 
sake wert pressed down under the heavy 
burden of the Cross, grant that I may 
gladly embrace the cross of penance, and 
make all crosses light by Thy Humanity, 
in union with t'le love of Thy Godhead, 
whereby Thou wilt unburden me of every 
load, and make me feel that Thy yoke is 
indeed sweet, and Thy burden light; and 
this will be more grateful and pleasing 
unto Thee, than if I cling to my own 
crosses, and persist in them according to 
the feeling of my impotent nature. 

O most merciful Jesus, Who wert strip- 
ped of Thy own garments, because I had 
lost the first state of innocence, and wert 
commanded to sit on a hard rock, while 



cf our Lord yesus Christ. 445 

the rough wind burned into Thy wounded 
Body, and Thou Thyself wert waiting for 
the Cross to be made ready for Thee, 
grant that, by a simple confession of my 
sins, I may put off and lay aside the old 
man, and be clothed in Thy sight with the 
garments of virtue, so that I may not be 
found naked, and that, stripped of all pass- 
ing and temporal things that might imperil 
my salvation, I may deserve to be founded 
and established in the rock, which is Christ, 
even in Thyself. 

O sweet Lord Jesus Christ, Who suffer- 
edst Thyself to be so inhumanly stretched 
upon the Cross, that all Thy bones could 
be numbered, grant that all my members, 
and all the powers of my body and soul, 
being ever stretched out, and raised up in 
worthy praise of thee, may be lovingly 
united to Thee, and that my nature may 
be so fixed in Thy love, that I may never 
depart from Thy commandments, but may 
remain fastened to Thy Cross by the nails 
of Thy fear. 

O unconquered Jesus, Who sufferedst 
Thyself to be raised up on the Cross, in 
order to draw all souls unto Thee, draw 
me wholly to Thee, that, lifted up from all 
earthly affections and desires, I may in 
spirit walk in the heavenly places, and 
there firmly abide in Thy heart, O Jesus, 
my life, my hope, and my salvation. Thou 
heaven of delight. Thou hope and refuge 



446 Meditations on the Passion of Christ. 



of sinners, and of all heavy laden and 
afflicted hearts. 

O most gracious Jesus, I beseech Thee, 
by the bitterness of the sorrows which for 
my sake Thou didst suffer on the Cross, 
and especially when Thy noble Soul went 
forth from Thy Body, have mercy on my 
soul at its passing away ; take it into Thy 
hands, and grant that the merits of Thy 
most holy Humanity may profit it, so that 
in me Thou mayest have peace, and joy, 
and delight, both in time and throughout 
all eternity. Amen. 



I 



5