The 35. Meditation of the first word of Christ.

But Jesus said,

Consider first, what thy Lord in these great pains of the Cross did do, say or think, when as amongst all those torments he found no comfort, neither outwardly by men, nor inwardly in his own soul. If he moved his body, the wounds of the nails tormented him; if his head, the thorns ran in deeper and pricked him; if he stirred not at all, his torment was intolerable over his whole wearied body. Think thou upon these things in all thy labors and afflictions which thou sufferest for thy Lord. He reproved no man, although he were slandered divers ways. But because the mouth speaketh from the abundance of the heart, his words even upon the Cross were directed to thy profit and salvation, and do declare most manifestly, that he prayed to his Father incessantly for thee, when by reason of his torments he was not able to utter one word.

Consider secondly, his swan-like song, and note the last words of thy Lord, which he spake to thee at the point of death. For even as the voice of the Serpent, hissing out of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, instilled the poison of sin; so the last words of Christ from the Tree of the Cross were very effectual for our salvation, and full of burning fervor, as proceeding from the depth of infinite charity. He spake with a loud voice, and weeping tears; with great affection, and deep sighs; in few words, but with many tears, mixed with blood streaming down from his head. His tears watered his prayers, and his blood adorned them; his eyes pierced his Fathers ears, his sighs moved his heart. Do thou listen to these words, mark them diligently, and gather the fruit thereof. For by these seven words the words and forms of the seven Sacraments are sanctified, the seven gifts of the holy Ghost are obtained, and the seven deadly sins are driven away.

Consider thirdly, (but Jesus said) First whilst the Jews were busy in crucifying, tormenting, & mocking him, Jesus as if he had not marked these things, yea rather that he might render good for evil, said. Secondly, thee who hitherto in his own cause, to the admiration of all men held his peace, and could not be brought to speak, but being adjudged; and had also abstained from the most just defense of himself : now in the midst of his torments is not silent in thy most unjust cause, but being not entreated, entreateth, yea and entreateth with most effectual words. Jesus said: who? the Son of God. To whom? to God the Father. Where? upon the Cross. When? being ready to die, and his vital spirits being spent. How? not sitting, nor lying easily; but upright upon his feet, with his hands lift up and spread abroad, like Moses in former times, and all bleeding. For whom? for sinners, who were careless of their own salvation: for Christ and his friends pray for sinners, before sinners pray for themselves. What? he cravat mercy, offering his prayers and supplications, appealing from this cruel sentence of the Jews (his blood be upon us and upon our children) to a better sentence and full of mercy, and desiring, that this cruel sentence might be made frustrate. Before whom? openly, in the hearing of his enemies, to teach them mercy & sweetness; and in the presence of his Mother, and of his friends, both because they should be witness of his pardoning them, & also that they should never pray for the re edge of this sin, O excellent speech of highest merit, and worthy to be imitated by all men, full of labor, and charity, mercy, and piety. Have confidence then in Chris, and pray him, who by speaking first for sinner, before he spake for his Mother, left to us a tesitmony how much he esteemeth the salvation of sinners, that he will vouchsafe to have continual care of thee now in Heaven.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.


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