MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION: Of The Treason Which Judas Wrought Against Our Savior.
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
Christ Taken Prisoner (scene 7)
THE XI. MEDITATION.
Of the treason which Judas wrought against our Savior.
Then he cometh the third time to his Disciples, and saith to them, sleep ye now and take rest: it sufficeth, rise, let us go, behold he approacheth that shall betray me: And as he yet spake, behold Judas one of the twelve came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief Priests and the Scribes, and the betrayer of him had given them a sign, saying, whom soever I shall kiss, it is he, lay hold on him and leave him warily. And going before the others he approached to Jesus, & said, Hail Rabbi, & he kissed him: and Jesus said to him, friend, where unto art thou come, with a kiss doest thou betray the Son of man? Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and said to them, whom seek ye? they answered Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them: I am he. And having thus spoken unto them they went backward and fell to the ground. Again therefore he asked them whom seek ye? and they said Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus answered I have told you that I am he, If therefore you seek me let these go their ways.
Joan one of the Captains of King David, meeting with Amasa saluted him, saying: God save you my brother, & taking him with one hand by the chin as though he would have kissed him, with the other he trust him through the side with his dagger, and killed him.
1. Homo pacis mae in quo speravi, qui edebat panes meos, magnificavit super me supplantationem. The man with whom I had peace, in whom I trusted, who eat my bread, hath lifted up his foot against me to give me a fall.
2. Invaluerunt adversum the viri pacis tua, qui comdunt tecum ponent infidias super te. Men which have peace with thee, have prevailed against thee, they which eat with thee shall lay snares to entrap thee.
3. Oblatus est quia ipse voleit. He was offered up for sacrifice, because he would
1. Consider how our most amiable Lord, after that he had long time prayed unto his Father, in the end lifted up his reverent face from the Earth, and raised himself from Prayer. O how evil entreated and how greatly weakened were his sacred members by means of the extreme fear & anguish which in this troublesome conflict he had suffered. Most sorrowful Jesus therefore cometh with his eyes swollen and dimmed by the abundance of tears, and with his face all inflamed with his fervor of prayer, & as yet distilling drops of blood by extremity of his agony, and finding that his Disciples did sleep with fatherly pity he took compassion on of them, and said, sleep now, and repose yourselves a while. O goodness O sweetness, of our Savior: the most benign Jesus had commanded his Disciples to watch& the first time finding them sleeping he reprehended them lovingly, but the second time finding them in like sort, he supported with patience their weakness & infirmity: & for that he would give them no more cause of confusion he departed from them with silence. Afterward coming unto them the third time, and finding them yet a sleep, having compassion on their human frailty he gave them leave to repose themselves for a while, and he himself stood in manner of a good Pastor with great love watching over his little flock.
2. A little after this he awaken his Disciples and said unto them, it sufficeth, let us go, behold, that he which is to betray me is now at hand. Where thou maist consider how that Jesus having in his prayer showed the infirmity of his flesh, the hour of Passion being now come, he declared the promptness of his spirit, for that seeing his enemies come he retireeth not, nor hideth himself as the hireling doth, but as a true shepherd which more esteemed our salvation then his own life, goeth willingly to meet with them. O Blessed Jesus where is now that fear which a little before when your enemies were far from you, you were sad and sorrowful until death, and now that they are present and before your face roar like Lions for to shed your blood, you have no fear nor amazement but courageously go forth to encounter with them.
3. O sweet lover of men, what love hath in such sort swallowed up your heart that it enforced you to go so willingly unto death? Truly the unmeasurable love which you bear me, was cause of all this. But what am I good Jesus, that you the Lord of Lords and King of Heaven and Earth, will for me a vile worm offer and yield yourself into the hands of your most cruel enemies.
4. Consider how when as this most cruel beast the trait came, the most benign Jesus thrust him not away, but turning his most loving Face towards him, put forth his sweet mouth wherein was never found deceit, unto his mouth full of all filth and falsehood, and besides most benignly speaking unto him, said: friend where unto art thou come, as if he would have said: have I delivered this at thy hands, O Judas? peradventure sinned I against thee when I bowed my knees before thee, when I washed thy feet and gave unto thee for meat my precious Body and Blood? O Judas why hast thou esteemed me of more vile and base worth then thirty pence, why hast thou departed from me, and wherefore hast thou abandoned me the fountain of life, and hast adjoined thyself unto these salves of the Devil? Return O Judas unto thy heart, consider well what thou does, for that as yet the gate of my grace is open for thee, and I am ready to receive thee, if with sorrow and repentance of thy fault thou wilt return unto me.
5. See by how many means our Savior laboreth to mollify the obstinacy of this wicked heart: first with meekness, by suffering himself to be kissed of him: Secondly with kindness, in calling him friend: Finally with charity by setting before his face the brutishness of that fact to the extent he might beware of it, saying unto him, with a kiss doest thou betray the Son of man? Alas who could have any longer contain from tears, considering such in estimable benignity of Christ towards him which was to betray him? who can any more despair of the mercy of God O most sweet Lord, if towards a traitor an enemy a wicked and unfaithful servant you were so loving and amiable, what will you do to your dear friends, to those which with their whole heart dose you, desire you and serve you?
6. See how that army of the Devil remained all astonished at the presence of Christ, having no heart to lay hands on him until he gave them leave: and consider likewise if those meek words of Christ when as he offered himself to death, were so terrible unto his enemies that with great fear they fell backward on the ground: what will be, at the day of judgment when as Christ coming with all his Majesty and power to revenge himself of those which shall have offended him, shall thunder out over them that horrible sentence, gone cursed into eternal fire?
Thou shalt pray unto Christ our Lord, by that love which moved him to accept of that embarkment and kiss of Judas the traitor, and to offer himself for thee unto his most cruel enemies, to give the grace that thou maist also with the like willingness of mind accept of all such crosses as he shall send thee, as gifts granted unto thee for thy greater good, and that in the work of his service thou maist always walk with all truth & sincerity, and towards thy neighbor with sweetness and charity, rendering at all times good for evil unto those which offend thee.
1. In Laboring for virtue, and in difficult enterprises and travails for the glory of God and salvation of souls, we must not retire backward, but with courageous minds go against all temptations & difficulties, tolerating stoutly by this example of Christ, what soever shall either be said or done against us.
2. Judas because he left the company of our Lord, fell into such malice, that from an Apostle of Christ, then which thing none can be more holy, he became captain of the ministers of the Devil, and a traitor unto Christ himself” Even so they which once leave their vocation, ordinarily fall unto extreme wickedness.
3. We must walk in truth and sincerity toward God and our neighbor, not using deceit and dissimulation as Judas did, who with words saluted Christ as his master, & with a kiss betrayed him to his enemies.
4. We ought to bear with patience and meekness all decides and injuries done against us by whom soever, even by our friends, as Christ did by his Disciple.
5.We must not with evil or sharply reprehend our enemies, and calumniators, but sweetly and with loving affection correct them, as Christ did with Judas and the Jews.
6. They with a kiss betray Christ, which make a fein Confession or receive him unworthily
7. Let us beware of the world who is a traitor and a false friend, for by giving us riches he smileth on us: by giving us pleasure and solace he kisseth us: and by giving us honor he embraceth us: and after this sort by making unto us show of friendship, he betraieth us unto eternal death.
Fr. Vincenzo Bruno S.J. 1599