Meditation on the Passion: For They Know Not What They Do

JACOPO del CASENTINO 
Crucifixion 
1340-45
For they know not what they do.

Consider first, that Christ, to whom all judgment is given, and whom his enemies had offended, did not take upon him the office of a Judge, or an accuser, but rather of a defender & patron. The Jews sought how to accuse him, and found nothing worthy of accusation in him. Our innocent Lord, that was offended, seeketh how to excuse the offense; and the malice of the offenee was such, that nothing could be alleadged for the extenuating thereof, but only ignorance. And yet this ignorance, being voluntary, could no more excuse the Jews, then him, who wittingly and willingly hideth his eyes, because he will not see him, whom he striketh, or killeth. If Christ then in the midst of his torments mitigate the sins of his torturers, will he not now before his Father excuse their sins, who call upon his name with faith devotion, and sorrow for their sins?

Consider secondly, that the Father answered not his Son by word; and yet Christ was heard for his reverence. For God when he denied his Son request, answered in the garden by an Angel” but, when he granted it, he answered not in word, but in deed. For first he restrained all creatures from rising against his enemies in revenge of his death, all which would have fought for their creator, if this prayer of Christ had not stayed them. Secondly, he reduced one of the Thieves unto penance. Thirdly, at the death of his Son he changed the mind of the Centurion, and others. Fourthly, upon the solemnity of Pentecost he converted sometimes three, & sometimes five thousand of the same Jews unto his faith. Therefore God the Father not by outward words but by inward consent answered his Son in this manner: O my Son, I grant that, which thou requirest, & laying aside all wrath, I open the fountains of mercy, and I offer grace, and pardon of sins, Justice, and adoption of children, as well unto these, who have afflicted thee, as also unto all the Nations of the world for ever and ever, so as they will admit mercy offered unto them. For I will compel none against their will, but I give power to all to return into grace and favor with me, if they will, and to be made the Sons of God, and to come into my in hesitance in Heaven, so as they will be partakers of the merit of this my Passion through faith and the Sacraments. Do thou cry out now with great affliction: great are thy mercies; therefore we give thanks to thee our Lord God. And pray him to bestow the gift of wisdom upon thee, that thou mayest know and admire his bounty and goodness; and driving away all envy, to give unto thee the virtue of charity, that thou mayest bee inflamed with the love of thy neighbor.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.

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