MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION: How Christ Our Lord Was Conducted To Annas.
Arrest of Christ
THE XIII. MEDITATION.
How Christ our Lord was conducted to Annas.
And they brought Jesus to Annas first for that he was father in law to Caiaphas who was the high Priest for that year: Simon Peter followed Jesus and another Disciple, and that Disciple was known to the high Priest, and went in with Jesus into the court, but Peter stood at the door with out: the other Disciple therefore went forth and spake to the Portress and brought in Peter: the high Priest therefore asked Jesus of his Disciples and of his Doctrine: Jesus answered him, I have openly spoken to the world, and have always taught in the Synagoge, and in the Temple, where all are wonte to do resort: Why askest thou me? Ask them that have heard me, for they know what I have spoken unto them. When he had said these things one of the ministers standing by gave Jesus a blow saying, answerest thou the high Priest so? Jesus answered him, if I have spoken evil, give testimony of evil, but if well, why strikest thou me? and Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas.
The Prophet Micheas speaking the truth unto King Achab, the false Prophet Sedechias rising up gave him a blow reprehending him for that he had said so.
1. He hath given his cheek to him that struck him, je shall be filled with reproaches,
2. They opened their mouth against me, & rebuking me they stuck me on the cheek.
1. Consider the triumph which these bloody persons made at the taking of our Savior, no otherwise then conquerors use to do when they have gotten their prey: See with what hast they conduct him towards the city, and to make more speedy dispatch they lead him out of the highways through sharp and rough places, now drawing him on one side, now on the other, and now with thrusts, now with strokes they hasten him forward. O what outrages suffered the most benign Jesus in that voyage, and how often times whilst they drew him hither and thither, being bound and not able to help himself, was he enforced to fall flat on the ground, whence when he could not so soon rise again, these wicked wretches haled him most cruelly on the earth.
2. The taking of our Savior was violent, dishonorable, and painful, first it was violent, for albeit he went willingly as a lamb to the sacrifice, nevertheless in respect of the rage and furious hast which his enemies made, he was rather trailed then led. Secondly this was done with great dishonor & ignominy, for that they led him half naked, and with his hands bound as though he had been a thief and malefactor. Thirdly it very painful as well to his most sacred body by reason of the strokes and torments which they gave him, as also to his most sweet heart for the injuries derisions and blasphemies which those devilish & venomous tongue diluter against him.
3. Consider now & that with great compassion of heart, with how great humility that most potent Lord, being abandoned of all his friends and compassed about with so many enemies, stood bound, with his eyes bent downward, and with virginal shamefastness before that arrogant and proud high Priest for to be examined and judge: he to whom the external Father had committed all judgment, and given all power both in Heaven and in earth. O sweet Jesus how stand you thus despised and forsaken? where are now your Disciples, and so many other to whom you did so singular benefits? O my only good, what ought I to do, seeing you for my sake to be brought to such dishonor and affliction? Than shall I suffer you to be bound with the bands of mine iniquities, and myself to be lose from the chains of your charity? Not so my Lord, but I will sit likewise on the ground with you, I will bind myself together with you, and I will keep you company in your travails, seeing that I see them so few in number which love you, and the other so great a company which hate you, & seek to take away your life.
4. Christ was calumniated of the Jews, that he thaught false doctrine, & that he seduced the people, to whom with much modesty he answering and alleging for testimony, not his Disciples, but the self same enemies of his which had hear him, was as a proud person sharply stricken by a wicked & impudent minister. The meek Lamb received most benignly that disgraceful stroke, he was not troubled, he was not moved to anger, neither let he lose his tongue to injuries words, neither stretched he forth his hands for any revenge, he commanded not the heavens to to send fire down upon that sacrilegious person, as did Elias did: neither desired he that wild beasts should come and devour him, as Elizeus did, neither yet that the earth should open and swallow him up, as Moses did to Dathan and Abiron, but suffering for us with great meekness that disgrace, answered benignly that wicked minister setting before his face his error, & bing ready to yield unto him his other cheek if he had requested the same.
5. O Jesus most meek Lamb, who can without tears consider your os great benignity and patience, that you suffered that most gracious face of yours, which the Angels desire to behold, to be of a most vile servant so shamfully stricken? go now thou proud and impatient man, who troublest thyself and wilt by no means endure the least word or displeasure, behold thyself in this most lively example of patience learn of him to be meek and humble of heart, & see how that in all the course of his Passion thou shalt not find that smooch as once he was moved against his enemies, but always showed them in words in countenance, and in deeds all love and benignity.
6. Consider the great indignity of this fact, whereof the Heavens had horror, and the Earth was amazed to see the boldness and malice of man and the patience and longanimity of God. The Lord is stricken of his servant, the Creator of his creature, the Ruler of the whole world before home do tremble the celestial and infernal powers, is stricken and dishonored of a most vile worm and dung of the earth. O unhappy hand, which was so bold as to smite that divine Face which is reverenced of the Seraphins and of all creatures. But alas this servant did smite Christ being passible not knowing who he was, how much greater therefore is the fault, and unhappiness of those which knowing their Redeemer who now reagents in Heaven, cease not with continual sins & offense to strike him, & to dishonor him.
Thou shalt pray unto Christ our Lord, since that he suffered for thy love, his most divine face to be wickedly stricken of a vile servant, that he will give the grace that by no temptations or diabolical suggestion thou maist be induced to do any injury or offense against his divine Majesty or against thy neighbor: & knowing the great band & obligation which thou hast towards him for so many graces and benefits which he hath bestowed on thee, he suffer thee not to render him ungratefulness, but that thou maist always love him with thy heart, praise him with thy mouth, and serve him faithfully with thy works even unto the end.
Fr. Vincenzo Bruno S.J. 1599