+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Tenth Meditation Of The Ear Of Malchus Being Cut Off
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
Christ Taken Prisoner (detail)
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. Jn.xviii.
Consider first: the fervour of the disciples, who being but a few in number, feared not to oppose themselves against two companies; and to adventure present danger in defense of their Lord: that thou spare not thy self whensoever Christ his cause shall be handling.
Secondly: (And behold) a new thing that the Apostle of our Lord should use his sword: Christ taught mildness, not fight, which nevertheless is to be undertaken, when Gods glory is in danger.
Thirdly Peter the chief of the Apostles drew his sword, whose office is to cut off the rotten members from the body of the Church with his spiritual sword.
Fourthly, he cut off the right ear, because all which are excommunicated by Peter, are excluded from the divine promises of heavenly things, & they keep the left ear with which after the pleasures of this life, they may hear the malediction of the severe Judge.
Fifthly: (Malchus) (which name signifieth King) is the servant of the wicked Priest: for they which in this world are delighted with vain titles of honors, are indeed the bond slaves to vices.
Sixtly the power of Christs word (suffer these men to go away) For by the power thereof all that great company of men did his disciples no hurt at all.
Consider seventhly the goodness of Christ, who would not suffer Peter to do any more harm, least by his passion which ought to profit all men, he should seem to have hurt some man.
Pray thou unto Christ never to deprive thee from the hearing of heavenly things, nor to shut thy ears against good things, but rather to open the ears of thy heart, that thou being deaf to the babbling of wicked men, mayest hear what our Lord shall say unto thee.
Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Jn.xviii.
Consider first (suffer now) that is, it is enough, proceed no further with thy sword and defense. He doth not reprehend the fact of Peter, but he saith it is enough, that thou in thy defense and in thy wrath mayest keep a mean: according to that, Be angry and sin not.
Secondly consider these four reasons, by which he admonished Peter not to go about to hinder his passion. Thou mayest learn hereby the willingness of Christ to suffer, who used so many reasons that he might be permitted to suffer. But thou doest avoid al troubles for Christs sake, & seek out all reasons that thou mayest suffer nothing.
Thirdly (which shall take the sword) that is, they which by their own authority shall use the sword, not receiving from God, deserve by law to be put to death; and although they escape the sword of men in this world, yet they shall perish with that sword which keepeth the entry into Paradise: Learn to leave all revenge unto God.
Fourthly consider the great multitude of Angels, which are always ready to help good men, that thou mayest learn to trust in God, which hath assigned so many Angels to have care over thee: For Helizeus had experience in himself of that which Christ here affirmeth of himself:
Consider fifthly (the Cup which my Father hath given unto me:) He calleth his passion a cup, thereby diminishing rather then increasing the greatness thereof, that thou shouldest not lightly complain of the grievousness of thy miseries: He acknowledgeth that his father gave it him; because thou shalt not ascrib thy afflictions to men or to devils, but to God alone, which blessed Job, who was vexed both by devils & men; Our Lord hath given, our Lord hath taken away, & know that God doth not leave to be a father, when he doth afflict, but rather sheweth himself to be a Father when he chastiseth.
Sixthly consider that the Scriptures are fulfilled by the passion of Christ, & are likewise fulfilled by thy passions: For through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.
Give thanks to Christ, who with so ready & so prepared a mind came to his passion for thy sake. Stir up his love in thee, & pray him that he will stir up in thee a desire to suffer for his name, and that in all things, which shall happen unto thee, thou mayest find out the reason that it was just which thou didst suffer.
And when he had touched his ear, he healed him Lk.xxii.
Consider first, with what great benignity Christ cured the ear of this malepert Soldier , and cruel enemy, whom he foresaw would be never the better for such a benefit, that thou mayest learn to be readier to mercy, then to severity; and to do good for evil, though thy adversary deserve it not.
Secondly the force of the touch of our Saviours hand, that thereby thou mayest know the virtue of the body of Christ: For if the only touch of his hand did restore his enemies ear, will not his whole body received in the Eucharist cure both the body & soul of his friends?
Thirdly that Christ being ready to suffer, did heal the ear; for this is one of the chief fruits of the passion of our Lord, to make our souls capable of the word of God, & to cure them through Faith and Sacraments. Therefore God would admonish his enemies by this his last miracle before his death to open their ears to hear the word of God, and by hearing to lay aside all malice.
To be brief, admire the bounty of God, & pray him that he will show thee the like mercy, for thy innumerable sins.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616