Meditations For Saturday Morning: Christ Taken Down From The Cross + Pitiful Lamentation Of The Blessed Virgin Marie + Why Are All Just Persons Afflicted In This Present Transitory Life
MEDITATION FOR SATURDAY MORNING
This day (after thou hast made the sign of the Cross, and prepared thy self here unto.) thou hast to meditate upon the piercing of our Saviors side with a spear. Of his taking down of the Cross. And withal of the pitiful bewailing, and lamentation of our blessed Lady. And of our Saviors burial.
THE TEXT OD THE HOLY EVANGELIST
Then the Jews (because it was the feast of Easter) that the bodies should not remain upon the Cross on the Sabbath day, (for that day of the Sabbath was very solemn among them) besought Pilate that there legs might be broken, and that they might be taken down from the Cross. Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other, that was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, and ſave that he was already dead, they brake not his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forth- with there iſſued out blood, and water. And he that saw it, bare witness, and his witness is true.
And when the evening was, come, there came a certain worshipful knight, called Joseph of Arimathia, (one that looked for the kingdom of God) and entered boldly unto Pilate, and demanded the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled, if he were already - dead..and called unto him the Centurion, and asked of him, whether he had been any while dead. And when he understood the truth of the Centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
There came also with him, one called Nicodemus, who was wont to resort to Jesus by night: and he brought with him of Myrrh, and Aloes mingled together, about a hundred pounds. And Joseph bought a linen cloth, and took down from the cross, and wrapped him in that linen with those sweet savors, according to the custom, which the Jews observe in the burial of the dead.
And in that place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid. There they laid Jesus, by reaſon of the Passover of the Jews: for the sepulcher was near.
And Marie Magdalene, and Marie the Mother of Joseph marked the place, where they laid him.
MEDITATIONS UPON THESE POINTS OF THE TEXT
Hether to (O my soul) thou hast celebrated the death and grievous pains of the son: It is now time for thee to begin to celebrate, and bewail the grievous sorrows of the mother. Wherefore down a while at the feet of the prophet Jeremiah, and taking the words out of his mouth, and deeply with a bitter, and sorrowful hart, say thus unto her. How happen it (O moſt innocent virgin) that thou art now alone? How is it (O lady of the world) that thou become a widow? What? have they set so sore a penalty upon thee, without having committed any offence at all? O most holy virgin, I would gladly comfort thee, and I know not how I would gladly eaſe ſome part of thy great griefs, and anguiſhes, and I know not which way O Queen of heaven, if the cause of thy sorrows, were the sorrows of thy blessed son, and not thine own, (for that thou didst love him more then thy self, ) his sorrows are now ended, for so much as his body suffer no more, and his soul is now altogether glorious. Cease therefore (I beseech thee) the multitude of thy sorrowful sighs, and bewailing, seeing the cause of thy sorrow is already ceased, and gone. When he wept, thou did weep also: reason it is therefore, that thou should rejoice with him, now that he rejoices. Shut up the springs of thy most pure eyes, more clear than the waters of Esebon, and now ſore troubled, and dimmed with the showers of so many tears. The wrath and anger of almighty God, is now pacified with the ſacrifice of the true Noe. Ceaſe therefore the flood of thy most holy eyes, and let the earth be cleared again with new brightness.
The dove is now departed out of the ark, and when ſhe return, she will bring with her signs of the mercy, and clemency of Almighty God. Rejoice therefore Blessed Virgin, and comfort thy self with this hope, and cease now I pray thee, these thy mournful sobbing and sighs. Thy own dearly beloved son him self put thy doleful mourning, and tears, to silence, and invites thee to a new joy in his Canticles: saying: The winter is now past, the showers and tempestuous storms are ceased, the flowers do appear in our land. Rise up therefore my beloved, my darling, and my turtle dove, that abides in the holes of the rock, and in the clefts of the wall. That is to say, in the strokes and wounds of my body. Leave now this habitation, and come and dwell with me.
I see well O blessed Lady, that none of all these things are able to comfort thee: because thy sorrow, and grief is not hereby taken away, but only changed. One martyrdom I see is ended, and another now begins. The torments of thy hart are renewed continually, and though some go away, yet others do succeed with new kinds of torments: that by such changes, the torment of the Passion may be doubled unto thee. Hetherto thou hast lamented his pains, and sorrows: now thou laments his death. Hetherto thou hast lamented his passion: now thou laments thine own solitariness. Hetherto thou hast lamented his griefs, and troubles: and now thou mourn for his absence. One wave is past, and another comes on to overwhelm thee. So that the end of his pain, is the beginning of thine.
And as though this thy pain were too little, I see that these cruel tormentors prepare yet another pain for thee, no less than this. Close up thine eyes therefore blessed Lady: close them up out of hand I beseech thee: and look not upon that long terrible spear, which with great violence in the air, to strike the place where unto it is leveled. Now hast thou holy virgin thy desire fulfilled. For now art thou become a buckler to thy son, for so much as this blow strike not him, but thee. Thou did desire the nails, and thorns, and they were ordained for his body; but the piercing spear was reserved for thee. O ye cruel ministers? O ye hearts of iron? Were the pains, and torments to little (trowe ye) which his body suffered being alive; that ye would not pardon it even after it was dead? What fury and rancor of enmity is there so outrageous, but that it is pacified when it sees his enemy dead before him? Lift up your cruel eyes a little O you unmerciful and cruel ministers, and behold our savior: Behold I say his deadly face, his dim eyes, his falling countenance, his pale and wane color, and shadow of death. For though you be more hard, than either iron, or the Adamant stone yea though ye be more hard, than your own selves, yet it may be, that in beholding him, your fury and malice will be appeased. Wherefore are ye not contented the wounds ye have given to the son, but that ye will wound his blessed mother also: Here do wound with that spear: unto her ye give the stroke; and againſt her sorrowful hart threaten the sharp point of that cruel lance.
Now commeth the wicked minister with a long sharp spear in his hand, and pierce the very naked side of our savior with great fury. The cross shook in the air with the mighty force of the strook: and from thence issued water, and blood, wherewith are washed the sins of the world. O river that ronneſt out of paradise, and watereſt with thy ſtreames all the face of the earthel O wounde of the pretious ſyde of my ſweete Sauiour, made rather with his feruent loue towardes mankinde, than with the ſharpe iron of the cruell ſpeare! O gate of heauen! ô windowe of paradiſet place of refuge! tower of ſtrength 6 ſančtuarie of iuſt persons: sepulcher of pilgrims! neiſt of clea- ne douesi floriſhinge bed of the ſpouſe of Salomon! All hail wound of the precious side of our Savior, that woundeſt the har- tes of deuout perſons? O ſtrooke that ſtri- keſt the ſoules of the iuſt? O roſe of inſpe- keable bewtie O rubie of ineſtimable price! O entrance into the harte of my sweet Sa- uiour Ieſus Chriſt! O witnes of his loue, and pledge of euerlaſtinge life! Throwghe thee doe all living things enter into the Ark of the true Noé, to be preſerued from the floude Jatturdaiemorninge. flood. Unto thee do all .as are tempted repair : In thee doe all thoſe that are heauie, and ſad find comfort: by thee are the ſicke ſoap, perſons cured: throwgh thee doe ſinners en- ter into heaven: and in thee doe all baniſhed persons, and pilgrims, sleep sweetly, and take theire reſt. O furnace of loue?O howſe of peace? O treaſure of the Catholicke Church? O veyne of liucly water, that ſpringeſt vp euen vnto life euerlaſtinge. Open à moſtlo- uinge Lorde, I beſeache thee, this gate vnto me: receaue my harte into this moſt delite- full habitation: give me paſſadge through the ſame vnto the tender bowells of thy love: let me drink of this sweet fountain: let me be waſhed with this holy water: let me be ma- de dronke with this moſt precious liquor. Let my soul sleep in this sacred breast. Here let it forget all the cares of the world: here let it sleep: here let it eat: here let it ſinge ſveit- ly with the Prophet; saying: This is my resting place forever, and ever: here will I dwell: for this place have I chosen for my habitation.
MEDITATION ON HOW OUR SAVIOR CHRIST WAS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS AND OF THE PITIFUL LAMENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARIE
After this, consider how the holy body of our Savior was taken down from the cross: and how the blessed Virgin received it in her arms
Now the very same day in the evening, there came those two holy men, Joseph, and Nicodemus, who reared up their ladders unto the cross, and took down the bleſſed body of our Savior into their arms. The holy virgin then perceiving that the torment of the cross was now ended, and that the ſacred body of our Savior was coming towards the earth, she set her self in a readiness to give him a secure haven in her lap, and to receive him from the arms of the cross, into her own arms.
And so she wryngeth her hands very pitifully, and requeſteth of those noble men with great humility, and inſtancie, that for so much as she had taken no leave of her dearly beloved son, nor received those last embracin- #. of him upon the cross at the time of is departure, they would now suffer her to come unto him, and not encraſe her discomfort on every side. She beſeacheth them,that they would not deal ſo ſtraitly with her, as the enemies had done, taking her sweet son from her being now dead, as the enemies did, whiles he was yet alive.
O blessed Lady, how void of comfort art thou on every side. For if they deny thee thy request, thou wilt be ſore discomforted: and if they grant thee thy petition (according to thy earneſt deſire), yet shall thy discomfort be never awhit diminished, Thy miseries have no comfort at all, but only in thy patience. If thou go about on the one side to diminish. thy sorrow, on the other side it increases double. Now ye holy men, what will ye doe in this case? What is your beſt advice, and counsel, in this matter? To give a flat denial unto ſuch lamentable tears, and to ſo blessed a Lady, in so just and reasonable a request, were certainly an vnſeemlie act: and to grant her the thing she demaundeth, were to end her life.
You are afraid on the one side to discomfort her; and on the other side you fear also least perhaps you should be murderers of the mother, as the enemies were of the son. In conclusion the pitiful earneſtnes of the holy virgin overcome them, and thoſe noble men thought beſt, that considering her great doleful . wailing, and lamentation, it should be a greater cruelty to take her own dear son from her, than to bereiue her of her life.
And so they were enforced to grant her request. Now when the bleſſed virgin had by her pitiful interceſſion gotten the body of her dear son into her arms, what tongue is able to express the great inward anguish and sorrow which then she felt O ye angels of peace, weep with this holy virgin. O ye heavens, lament with her.
O ye stars of heaven, and all creatures of the world, accom- i. the bleſſed virgin Marie in her great eauines and doleful lamentation. The bleſſed mother embraceth the torne, and rent *: of her ſweete ſonne. She huggeth, and clip- peth him faſt to her breſt, (her ſtrengthe ſer- uinge her to this thinge onely:) She putteth downe her face betwene the thornes of his ſa- cred head.She ioyneth countenáce with coun- tenance. The face of the mother is embrued with the bloude of the ſonne: and the face of the ſonne is bathed with the teares of the mo- ther.
O sweet mother, is this happly thy ſweete sonne? Is this he, whom thou concea- uedſt with ſo great glorie, and broughteſt fourthe with ſo greatioye * Where are now thy former ioyes become? Whither is thy wonted gladnes gone Where is now that mirrour of beawtie, wherein thou diddeſt ſo often times beholde thy ſelfe? Now thouta- keſt no pleaſure to behold him in the face, becauſe his eies haue loſt their light Now it auayleth thee not to ſpeake, and talke with him, becauſe his eares haue loſt their hearin- get Now that tonge mouethnot, which was wont to vtter the wordes of heauen.
Now are thoſe eies dimmed,which were wont with thei- re ſighte to reioyce the whole worlde. How is it, that thouſPeakeſt not now (ê Quene of heauen?)How happeneth it,that verieſorrowe, and . thus tyed vp thy tége: Trew it is,that the . of the §. virgin was as it were domme for a tyme:but her harte might ſecretly with inward greife speak unto her sweete, and dearelie tà. onne, and ſaic wnto him, P iii;