Meditation: On Friday We Must Think Upon The Marvelous Charity Of Christ Our Lord. (ANON. 1596)
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple (detail)
On Friday we must think upon the marvelous Charity of Christ our Lord.
First or all, thou hast to consider what burning charity our Lord had, when to make thee an inheritor of his Fathers kingdom, he fled and lived in a strange country, and in his very infancy, both he and his mother passed their life in extreme poverty to escape Herod’s fury: In like manner, when any temptation assailed thee, flee thou into the loving heart of Christ, behold his wide and open wounds, and therein also look upon his unspeakable goodness and love. Contra wise have in mind thy own vileness, wickedness and lack of belief, that by this consideration thy proud and stout heart may be pulled down and provoked to love him again.
Secondly, ponder earnestly with thy self, the wonderful love he has to all men, whereas all those that are in misery. Be they never so great, he most lovingly willeth to come unto him, that he may comfort and ease them: Come (saith he) all you that live in heaviness, and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you: In like manner, come thou unto him with an assured hope, how heavily soever thy sins press thee down, fully assuring thy self, thou shalt certainly be holpen, so that thou be obedient unto him. Do also what thou art able, to have the love of God in thy self, who will cause that nothing that seem grievous or troublesome unto thee, according to the saying of Saint Bernard: He that loveth, accounted nothing hard to be done.
Thirdly, have in perfect memory with what burning charity the spouse of thy Soul wasted all his strength, and all those three hours when he hung upon the Cross, at which time his most sacred body was so dried up, that not so much as a drop of moisture remained in all his body. Thou likewise to answer some part of such wonderful love, serve him without any respect of sparing they self, and with a good will spend all thy strength in his love. But in any case beware thou take not all these pains in accomplishing thy own will and pleasure, and in fulfilling the wicked and naughty desires thereof.
Fourthly, bare well in mind with what great love he pronounced those seven words, which prayed the while he did hang on the cross, whereby he plainly showed that unmeasurable charity which lay secret in his heart; be thou likewise for Christ his love, so modest, advised, so true, so lovely, & gentle in words, that any man may well perceive that they heart hat contained in it the perfect5 love and fear of God.