+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: THE 39. MEDITATION OF the third word of christ

WITZ, Konrad 
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 the cross of Christ no sinners are tolerated, no light behavior is committed, nor no pleasures are sought after. Here is, whatsoever the world abhor, poverty, subduing of the flesh, contempt, and reproach: and all things are wanting, which the world desire and esteem, Come thou to the Mother of Christ, as near the Cross as thou can; because this way only leads those that weep and mourn unto Heaven; whilst others, laughing, jesting, and blaspheming, fall down into Hell: And pray the virgin Mother to assist thee at the hour of thy death, and comfort thee in thy troubles, who with such constancy did suffer the sorrows of her Son. 


Therefore when Jesus saw his Mother, and the Disciple whom he loved, standing, he said to his Mother: woman, behold thy Son. 

Consider first, the good order in our Lords words, first, he prayed his Father for the salvation of sinners; next he gave spiritual goods to the Thief, and assigned him Paradise; & lastly, he give temporal comfort to his dearly beloved Mother. That thou should learn: first, why Christ came into the world, and died upon the Cross, to wit, to save sinners, of which number thou art one. Secondly, that thou should be careful of the Salvation & perfection of thy neighbors, before thou apply thy mind to worldly things. 

Consider secondly, that he, who from his childhood had followed Christ, and had dedicated his youthful years unto our Lord, stood by his Cross, when all the rest hid themselves, and did receive for his reward the commendation of constancy, and the keeping of the Virgin Mother, that thou from thy infancy should honor Christ, and his in other and should suffer the yoke of our Lord even from thy youth. 

Consider 3. with what eyes the moſt loving Son beheld his most dear mother, & with what countenance she beheld him again, Love and pity lifted up the Mothers eyes to her Son; and presently grief & plenty of tears cast them down again. Think thou with thy self, what the heart of the Son spake to the heart of the Mother; & what the heart of the Mother answered to the Son. Have compassion on them both, & to their speeches join thy petitions. 

Consider fourthly, that John called not himself by his own name, but the Disciple whom Jesus loved; that thou should always set before thine eyes the benefits, wherewith our Lord hath prevented thee, and declared his singular love towards the. 

Conſider fifthly, that that our Lord both by his countenance & words, made his last will and testament for his Mother and his friends. For beholding his Mother & his Disciple, he gzue vico them himself, and alithac belonged unto him; his crown of thorns, his nails, his ſpic- tings,! nis bloud, his contempo of the world, his mockings and shames; that we should not abhor these cnſignes of Christ, but think there are great treaſures hidden in them and seek them by all diligence & labor; and that his Mother might bee moved by them to take compassion upon us; and that we (being ſignified in John) Arould vie them in our prayers to God, and X 3 of the and to the virgin his Mother, and should beleech them by these spitting, by these nails and by this blood. Also by his words he bequeathed his Disciple to his mother, and his mother to his Diſciple, and to all vs. 

Conſider sixthly every word of this testament: Woman: he say not Mother, but Woman: fi: fi because hec would not give occasion to his enemies to mock her. Secondly becauſe he would not assist his Mothers heart with a name of !cuc. Thirdly, chat he might ſhewe that this was the ot whom God spake long before: I will put enmity between thee and the woman, the Mail bruise thy head: for now the body of Christ taken of

Pasſion of Chriſt. 463 of the Virgin, and given by the Virgin to subdue the power of the Devil, did bruise the head of the Serpent. Fourthly, that we might know the cooltancy of his Mocher, to whom the pro- pleſie of Sa'omon agreed : who 1.2ll finde a valiant wo- Pro, 31. man ? Behold: it is not (faith he ) an equall change to take the Son of man for the Son of God; or the Son of a Fisher-man for the Son of so great a King: but the quifte ought to be free, both because it was of necessity, and because it came from the Son; and alſo because in him all man-kind was commended. Son: I have hitherto loved this John, and X4 in of the ha M. The Ifo. in him all Chriſtians; I have counced them iny children;] hauc provided for them as for children; and I have fed them with my fcfh & blood. Therefore, O my Mother, do thou account thein as thy children for my fake. Thy: so love thein, as if thou hadft borne chein in thy womb. This recommending of the Son was of great force with the Mother. Be thou therefore confident in the benignity of this Virgin, and fly unto her,  as unto thy niother in all thy necessities. 


Then he said to his Disciple, behold thy Mother, and from that hour the Disciple took her his own. 

Confider First, that John, who for love of Christ had forsaken both Father and Mother, had he a far more worthy mother given unto him: for so our Lord had said He shall receive a hundred fold. 

Consider secondly, that virginity and all chastity is cómnended by our Lord, and that the wantonness of the flesh is repressed through the passion of Christ, and the help of the Mother of God. 

Consider thirdly, the piety of Chriſt towards his Mother ; that through the grace of Chriſt thou mayett obta'ine the guift ofpiety towards God and thy Parents. 

Conſider fourthly, the words of our Lord. Behold: a great bencfice, that he God and man fhould both have one parent, Mother : whom thou may ít rcuerence, louc, and defend; to whom thou mayeit flyc; in whoinc thon ir.aycît baue hope; who ſhall be a Mediator between me, and you my Children, by whome I will accept your prayers, Thy: ſhe is not only patron of all mankind, but of thecalſo, as ſhe that lovech thee, and gave her only begotten Son to dye for thee, suffering him to be crucified, whipped, mocked and liainc for thee. 

Conſider fiftly, that John being poor, who had forsaken all, and vowed poverty with the rest of the Apostles, and had left himself nothing, received this new Mother, not into his houses, lands, or possessions, but into his dutiful care, service, and protection, Therefore he took care for her, that she should want nothing, providing sufficiently for her out of the alms of Chriſtians. Pray thou our Lord to command his Mother, to be also thy Mother, that thou may defend her honor, increase her glory, and standing with her by the Cross, may receive the gifts and benefits of the Cross.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.


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