MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: For Behold The Days Shall Come, In Which They Shall Say Blessed Are The Barren, & The Wombs, Which Have Not Brought Forth, & The Breasts, Which Have Not Given Suck

SIMONE MARTINI 
The Carrying of the Cross 
1333

For behold the days shall come, in which they shall say blessed are the barren, & the wombs, which have not brought forth, & the breasts, which have not given suck: then they shall begin to say to the Mountains, fall upon us, and to the Hills , cover us.

Consider 1. the goodness of thy Lord, who in the midst of his pains, seekth by his admonition our salvation, and by the terror of future miseries endeavoreth to move us to penance. He speaketh also to women, not to men; 1. least because he was punished by men, he should seem to threaten revenge. Secondly that by these evils, foretold unto women, who had offended less, men might understand, that the like at the least should happen unto them. 3. By this prediction to comfort those women, which lamented so much the death & passions of our Lord; signifying thereby, both that he did unjustly suffer this death, which in a few years should be so deeply revenged; and also that they might escape this revenge, which would leave to be the children of this earthly Jerusalem, & convert themselves to the faith of Christ.

Consider secondly, whereas in former times the barren were accused, now the barren in Christ are blessed. For there is given to Eunuchs: that is, to them, which live chaste and single in the Church, a name better then from sons and daughters.

Consider thirdly, that in all troubles of this life we must say unto the mountains, fall upon us, and to the hills, cover us: that is to say, we have recourse to the help of the Saints, who in the Scriptures are called by the names of mountains and hills; as in Isaias: the house of our Lord shall be a prepared mountain:that is to say, Christ the head of the Church, in the top of the mountains, and he shall be elevated above the hills, exceeding in dignity and worthiness, all Saints, great and less.

Consider fourthly, although these predictions of our Lord pertain chiefly to the overthrowing of Jerusalem: yet they may and ought to be referred also to all sinners. who by their sins were cause of the death of our Lord, and yet are not made partakes of his merits, nor returned into God’s favor by his death. For they which now securely, and whom no danger will make to refrain from sins, shall then run into the dens and Caves of the earth, (as the Prophets have fore spoken) From the face of God, sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For there shall come a great day of wrath on them: and who shall be able to stand? The countenance of the Judge shall be terrible to the wicked, and his sentence intollerable. Then the barren shall be called blessed, that is, they whom the world accounted unprofitable; and the wombs which have not brought forth, that is, which have not followed the concupiscence of the flesh, but have subdued the vices of their belly and throat; & the papas which have not given suck. that is, the humble, and such as are not high minded. Pray thou thy Lord, that thou maist not fear the face of his fury in the day of wrath, and last revenge, & whilst time serveth be reconciled unto Christ.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J. 

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