+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: THE 39. MEDITATION OF the third word of christ
Christ on the Cross
The 39 Meditation of the third word om the Cross.
And there stood by the Cross of Jesus, his Mother, and his mothers sister Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Consider first, that when the Apostles fled, the women followed our Lord even unto the Cross. And his Mother is first named, both because she was more fervent, then the others, and remained more constant: & also because it was strange, that a mother could indure so great torments, especially of such a Son; and lastly that thou mayest learn hereby, that it is not comely for womens modesty to be present at the death of guilty persons, and yet that it is very glorious for them to stay with the Mother of our Lord before the cross of Christ, and to set that always before the eyes of their soul.
Consider secondly, why the Mother of our Lord would be present at his execution: surely not of curiosity or lightness; but First, that she, who loved such a Son so dearly, and had followed him in all places, might not forsake him at his death. Secondly, to be ready to do him any service, or to give him any comfort, which lay in her power. Thirdly, that she might behold, not only the death of her son, but also the manner of the redemption of men; by the contemplation whereof she might inflame her zeal of the love of God.
Consider thirdly why Christ would have his Mother present at this spectacle. First, that she should be witness, that he had paid the price for the sins of all mankind. Secondly, that she might see the fervor of his love towards us, thereupon undertake to be our Patron . Thirdly, that the Queen of all the Saints should not be deprived of the crown due unto Martyrs, but that she should suffer the most noble martyrdom of all others. For other Martyrs suffered their own torments, inflicted upon them by the hands of the executioners. But the Mother of our Lord suffered the torments of her son being derived unto her from the body of her son, as Simeon prophesied of her: And thin own soul shall a sword pierce. Fourthly that the presence of his mother might increase the matter of his pain. For the Evangelist did not without cause say (His Mother) signifying thereby the mutual affections of them both. Admire thou here two great lights obscured: Christ the greater light, the son of Justice, Which illuminateth every man coming into this world; and the lesser light, Mary, fair as the Moon, The Sun is made black (saith the Apostle) as a sack of haircloth; and the Moon is made all like blood, the mother bleeding with the blood of her son.
Consider fourthly, that she sat not idly; nor lay down, as half dead; nor ran up and down amazedly: but she stood. First for reverence unto her Son, whom she aw hanging straight upon the Cross for thy sake. Secondly, as one ready to obey, and do any service, Thirdly, constant, and of a good courage, with an assured faith of the redemption of man, and of the resurrection of her Son. Fourthly, as prepared herself to go up to the cross, and if need were, to suffer death for sinners.
Consider fifthly, that a few others stood by the cross with the Mother of our Lord, a Virgin, a Widow, and a Sinner, being sorrowful and destitute f all comfort: that thou mayest learn, First, that our Lord crucified on the Cross was given us by God the Father, to be a comfort to the afflicted, A Patron to Widows, & Orphans, and a preserver and protector of Virgins, Secondly, that Christ did communicate the feeling of the grief of his Passion especially to those, whom he loved most dearly. Mark therefore whether thou be moved with this passion or not, for thereby thou mayest understand how much he loveth thee.
Consider sixthly, There stood by the Cross of Jesus. Few do stand by the cross of Christ. Some only walk by it, and lightly pass over the mysteries of Christ: others stand a far off, looking so upon it, as if the mysteries of the Cross did not appertain unto them: others stand by the Cross of the Thieves, who suffer the troubles of their pride, their riot, their covetousness, & of their other vices. Near