MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: The Carrying Of The Cross
BENVENUTO DI GIOVANNI
Christ Carrying the Cross
The 31 Meditation of the carrying of the Cross.And the Soldiers took Jesus & pulling off his scarlet garment, they clothed him in his own vestments, & brought him forth that they might crucify him.
Consider first, that thy Lord, whom Pilate seemed hitherto a little to favor, is now destitute of all human aid & delivered up to the executioners; least thou shouldest be forsaken of God, & delivered up to the Devil. Behold his tender body, wounded in every part, & rubbed with their cruel hands. Thou canst not endure to be touched upon any light hurt: what pain then doest thou think our Lord endured by the rude & barbarous pullings of the soldiers?
Consider secondly,how the soldiers pulled off his garment, making his most chaste heart ashamed to be seen naked afore all the people. Behold how his purple garment cleaving to the congealed blood, being violently pulled off, did renew the wounds, make them bleed afresh, & pluck away the torn skin together with the flesh. But Christ put off this garment that he might with more alacrity take up the wood of the cross. For even as workmen, when they go about any great labor, put off their clothes, that they may work the more nimbly; so it is written of Christ, that in his passion he did four times out off his clothes when he was to effect any great work. That thou shouldest not be ignorant with how great desire he wrought thy salvation, First, when by his whipping he was to shed his blood for thee over his whole body. Secondly, when he was to receive a crown of thorns upon his head, to prepare an assured Kingdom for thee in Heaven. Thirdly, when he was to lay this wood of the Cross upon his shoulders, as the Scepter, or Soverignity of the Kingdom, or as the Key of David, with which he should open heaven for thee. Fourthly when he was to ascend that tree of the Cross, as the throne of Salomon.
Consider thirdly, that his own clothes were given him again, that his face being all polluted, and as it were disfigured with spitting, blood, and filth, yet he might be known by his accustomed apparel. But our Lord put on those vestments, that he might both consecrate unto God his vestments, the Church, and every member thereof, with his Cross, and his fresh bleeding Wounds; and also that he might teach us to endure the Cross and all afflictions. It is not read, that the Crown of Thorns was taken from his head; that according to the old Prophecy of David, (which Saint Justine complaineth was razed out by the Jews) our Lord might reign from the wood.
Consider 4. That our Lord was brought forth out of the city, that as one unworthy to die in the holy City, he might be put to death amongst the wicked. But our Lord went forth, 1. To treach, that he offered this sacrifice for the whole world, and not for the Jews only, for whom the sacrifice was offered in the Temple; yea rather that this sacrifice should not be profitable to the Jews so long as they trusted in their ancient rites & ceremonies: according to that saying: we have an altar, of which they have no power to eat, who serve the Tabernacle. Therefore he went forth carrying his Cross; that he might as it were with his sheep hook enforce thee, a stray sheep, to come home unto his fold. 2. That thou shouldest not think that Christ is found amongst the cares of the City, and multitude of business. He is abroad in quiet of conscience, in contempt and nakedness, and want of all things. Let us then go forth unto him (saith the Apostle) without the Tents, carrying his reproach. Fly the world, that thou maist find Christ.