MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: Then Pilate Said Unto Him: Doest Thou Not Speak Unto Me? Doest Thou Not Know, That I Have Power To Crucify Thee, And Power To Dismiss Thee?

BOSCH, Hieronymus 
Ecce Homo 
1490s

Then Pilate said unto him: Doest thou not speak unto me? doest thou not know, that I have power to crucify thee, and power to dismiss thee?

Consider first, the pride of Pilate. First because he thought he was contemned by this silence of Christ, he threatened him with his power and authority. For a proud man is soon angry, and will not suffer indignity at another hand, and yet careth not what injury he offereth to them himself.Secondly, that he attributeth to himself the power, which he hath received from another: that thou mayest learn, first to refer all thy good things unto God from whom thou hast received them, least he take them from thee for thy ingratitude. Secondly to acknowledge those gifts, and to use them to the honor of thy Lord, least by abusing them thou be grievously punished. Consider therefore earnestly with thyself thine own wealth, authority, learning, strength of body, and thy other gifts; and how much good thou mayest do thereby, either for the increasing of Gods glory, or the salvation of thy neighbors; and how much good thou hast done: and labor instantly to do as much as thou art able; for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall be in Hell, to which place thou makest hast.

Consider secondly, that Pilate acknowledged free power in himself to crucify our Lord, and to dismiss him: That thou mayest learn, first, that thou doest not want free will to do well, or ill; and that thou mayest use it to the exercise of virtue, and not to commit sins. Secondly, that it is an evil freedom, whereby we may do evil; and an excellent necessity. which bringeth us to better things. Do thou then join thyself so unto Christ, that is shall not be in thy power to do ill, but that thou mayest will and do only good and virtuous things. For that is true Christian liberty, so to be able to work through virtue, and to effect those things, which reason & faith doth dictate; that we would not sin, though it were lawful, the will being so confirmed in good, that it cannot be diverted by any impediments, either of concupiscence, or any other thing.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.

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