Meditation Of The Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin, As Touching Her Soul, Above All The Quires Of Angels . And Of Her Essential Glory And Coronation. Point 1
ANDREA DEL CASTAGNO
Our Lady of the Assumption with Sts Miniato and Julian
Meditation Of The Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin, As Touching Her Soul, Above All The Quires Of Angels . And Of Her Essential Glory And Coronation.
THE I. POINT.
The first shall be to conſider, the glorious ascending and entrance of the Virgin, into the imperial heaven: for presently as she gave up the Ghost, her holy soule being now unloose from the body, in an instant it flew to heaven, and there was glorified, but meditating this after our manner, we may think how this succeeded, by little and little.
1. First, therefore I will ponder the sweet and mutual embracements betwixt the mother and the Sonne, in that first meeting, with ineffable joy. For there was accomplished that which was written. His left hand under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me: for whilst she lived in body, he suſtained her with the contemplation of the mysteries and works of his humanitie, signified by the left hand: but she dying, he immediately embraced, and eunironned her soul, with the clear sight of his divinity, figured by the right hand. O how joyful was that Blessed. soule in that firſs instant, and with what affection of mind did she repeat that of the spouse, saying. I have found him whom I so loved, I held him neither will I let him go, until he bring Cant, 3.4. me, and carry me with him unto the house of my mother that celestial Jerusalem.
Oh Sovereign Virgin, obtain for me such purity of life, and such fervor of charitie, that my soul departing forth of my body, it may immediately fall betwixt the arms of her beloved, and may ascend with him to the house of my mother, where thou my true mother doost in habit, rejoicing with thy Sonne, world without end, Amen.
2. Secondly I will ponder the noble troupe of the three Angelicall Hierarchies, which did accompany the B. Virgin, celebrating her assumption, saluting her (as S. Athanasius faith) with salutations of singular glory, and rejoicing to condućt her to their supernall cittie, congratulating her for the great wonders, which almighty God had wrought in her, and with one voice they all resounded the salutation of the Angel Gabriel, where in was contained an Epilogue of her excellencies. And I entering in spirit, amidst these Hierarchies, will likewise praise this glorious Lady, celebrating her triumph, as the Hebrews did the triumph of Judith, ſaying,
O glorious Virgin, thou art the glory of Ieruſalem, as well of the militant, as of the triumphant.Thou art the ioſe of Iſrael, as well of thoſe which see God by contemplation in this life, as of thoſe which behold him clearly in the other. Thou art the honour of our nation, becauſe thou hast always wrought manfully, having loved chastitle without ever knowing man: for this thou euer shalt be bleſſed, and for thy ſake, all thoſe shall be ...}. which shall be vnder thy proteſtion.
3. I will ponder thirdly, how this sacred Virgin aſcended, notcaried by the hands of Angels, as the beggar Lazarus was into Abraham's bosom, but by the hands of her owne Sonne, & betwixt his owne,armes repaying herein the ſeruices and cheriſhings which ſhee performed to him in his infancy, ſweetly bearing him in her arms. Hence proceeded the great admiration of the celeſtiall Hierarchies, when they ſaid. Who is this,that cometh up from the desert flowing with delights leaning vpon her beloued As if they had ſaid, Who is this who aſcendeth from the desert of the dry and barren world, where there is no other thing but labor and ſorrowe, and notwithstanding this,ſhee aſcendeth ſo rich, proſperous,andaboundant, full of ce- leſtiall delights,leaning not vpon her ſelfe, nor vpon the Angells, but vpon her own beloued?
4. In this manner did the ſacred Virgin enter into the imperial hea- uen, with vnſpeakeable joy and contentment to all the celeſtiall Citizens, and of the moſt holy Trinity. For the eternal Father, rejoiced to have with him his beloved daughter; the Sonne, to haue with him his moſt ſweet Mother; and the holy Ghoſt, toenioy in his company his beloved ſpouſe.O what joyful receauing! O what ſweet kiſſes of peace, O what amorous em- bracements! O what tender diſcourſes paſſed betwixt ſuch a daughter and ſuch a Father, betwixt ſuch a mother, and ſuch a Sonne, and betwixt ſuch a Spouſe with his eſpouſed, and betwixt the three divine perſons,to honour ſoe great a princeſſeſ All this am I to reverence with great silence and admiration, becauſe it is infinite more then I am able to conceive.
5. Of that which hath bin ſaid, I am to form an inward deſire to follow inſpirict the glorious Virgin in this journey, preſertly beginning to diſpoſe me therto. i. In hart forſaking the world,imagining that to me it is a deſert, and depriving myself of all ſenſuall delights which are in the ſame,ſo to become capable of ſpirituall.2.In procuring to aſcend euery daie, and to profitt in virtue, not relying on mine owne forces, nor putting my truſt in the arme offleſh, but relying upon the arm of almighty God, placing in him my whole confidence. 3. To procure always to rejoice in almighty God, and to delight in the things belonging vnto his ſeruice, to the end I may abound in his gifts and graces, and may be(as the Apoſtle 1.cori, 7 S. Paule Iaith) rich in Chriſt IE SWS, ſo that nothing be wanting unto me in any in any grace, expecting with great aſſurance, the daie where'n the glory of JESUS Chriſt shall be revealed unto me.