Meditation For Monday Morning Of The Most Blessed Sacrament Of The Altar: And The Causes Wherefore It is Instituted
This day,when thou hast made the sign of the cross, with such preparation as shall hereafter be declared in the fourth chapter; thou hast to meditate upon our savior Christ washing of his Apostles feet: and upon the institution of the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
TEXT OF THE HOLY EVANGELIST
When the hour of supper was come, Our Savior Christ sat down at table, and his twelve Apostles with him. And he said unto them. I have had a great desire to eat this Passover with you, before my passion. And as they were eating, he said: verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him. Is it I, Lord. And he answered, and ſaid. He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he ſhall betray me. The son of man goeth his way, as it is written of him. But woe be to that man, by whom the son of man is betrayed. It had been good for that man, if he had never been born. Then Judas that betrayed him, anſwered and ſaid. Is it I, master. And he said unto him, Thou hast said.
When supper was done, he rose up from the table, and put off his garments: and taking a to- - Ioan. 13, E ij Meditationfor well, he girded him self with it. After that, he poured water into abaſyne, and tºm. to wash his disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel, wherewith he was girded. Then he came to Simon Peter. who ſaid to him. Lord, doſt thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said unto him: what I do, thou knowest not now: but thou ſhalt know it hereafter. Peter said unto him. Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus anſwered him.If I wash thee not, thou ſhalt have no part with me. Simon Peter ſaid unto him. Lord, not only my feet, but my hands, and head also. Jesus said unto him. He that is washed, needeth not to wash, saving only his feet: but he is clean every whit. And ye are clean, but not all.
For he knew, who should betray him.And therefore he said: year not all clean. So, after he had waſhed there feet, and had taken his garments, and was ſet down again: He said unto them. Know ye, what I have done to you? ye call me maſter,and Lord. And ye say well. For ſo I am in deed. If I then, being your Lord, and maſter, have washed your feet: ye ought also to wash one an others feet. For I have given you an example,that ye ſhould do, even as I have done to you. After our Saviour had thus washed there feet, he took bread, and when he had bleſſed, he brake, and gave to his diſciples, ſain- ge. Take, and eat: this is my body. He toke the Cup likewiſe, and when he had blessed it, he ga- E iij for ue it them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many, for the remiſſion of sins. So often as ye shall do this thing, do it in remembrance of me.
MEDITATIONS UPON THESE POINTS OF THE TEXT.
CONTEMPLATE now (O my soul) in this supper, upon thy sweet, and mild Jesus: And behold this wonderful example of inestimable humility, which he here shows unto thee, in rising from the table, and washing his disciples feet: O good Jesus, what is this, that thou dost? O sweet Jesus, what mean this so great abasing of thy divine majesty? O my Soul what would thou have thought, if thou had been there preſente, and haddeſt scene even almighty God himself, kneeling before the feet of men, yea before the feet of Judas? O Cruel Judas, why doth not this ſo great humility mollify thy stony hart: how is it, that it causeth not even thy very bowels to burst, and ryue in sunder, considering this so great and wonderful meekness? Is it possible thou traitor, that thou haſt conſpired to betray this most meek and gentle libe: Is it poſſible that thou shouldeſt not feel some remorse of conſcience, in beholding this example? O ye whyte, and beautiful hands,how could vouchsafe to touch such loathsome , and abominable feet O moſt pure, and clean hands, why diſdayned ye not to wash those very feet, that were all to be durted in fowle waics, whiles they trauayled to shed your blood: Behold here o ye blessed spirits, what your creator doth? Come ye, and behold even from the heavens, and ye shall see even the almighty him self kneeling before the feet of men ; and tell me, if ever he used the like kind of cour- reſie with you. O Lord, I have heard thy words, and I was afraid: I have conſidered thy works, and was wholly amazed. On ye blessed Apostles, why quake and tremble ye not, at the wonderful ſight of this so great humility? Peter what dost thou? what? Wilt thou condescend, that this Lord of majesty shall wash thy feet:
Saint Peter when he beheld our savior kneeling before him, wondered exceedingly, yea he was altogether aſtonied thereat, and began to say in this wise? What meaneth this o Lord. what? wilt thou waſhe my feet? art not thou the son of the living God? art not thou the creator of the world; the be- wtie of the heauens the paradice of the angels; the redeemer of men? the brightnes of the glory of the father; the fountaine of the wiſe.dome of God, which dwelleſt in the highest: And wilt thou(all this notwithſtanding) waſhemy feete? what?wilt thou (being a Lord of ſo great maieſtie,and glorie,take ſuch a vile and baſe office vpon thee wilt thou (I say) thus abaſe thy self, that haſt laid the foundation of the earth, and bewtefied the ſame with ſo manie wonders, that haſt encloſed the wyde worlde within thy hand,that moueſt the hea- uens, ruleſt the earthe, diuideſt the waters, or— deineſt the tymes, diſpoſeſt the cauſes, bew- tifieſt the angells, directeſt men, and gouer- neſt all thinges with thy wiſedome? Is it ſee- melie,that É. ſhoudeſt waſhemy feete?my- ne I ſaie, who am but a mortall man, a litle clode of earth and aſhes, a veſſell of corru- ption, a creature full freight with vanitie and ignorance, full of infinite miſeries, and § exceedeth all miſerie)full of ſinnes and yet all this notwithſtandings,wilt thou o Lords waſhe my feetcº what? wilt thou beinge the Lord of all thinges, abaſe thy ſºlfe vnder me, that am inferiour to them all 2 verelie the highnes of thy maicſtie, and the profunditie of my miſeries, do, as it were enforce me, that I cannot conſent to ſuch a deede. Leaue there- fore to my Lord) leaue (I praie thee) this baſe office for thy ſeruantes: laie downe the towell, and put on thy apparell againe, and fit in thy ſeate, and waſhe not my feete. Beware, that the heauens be not aſhamed of it, when they ſhall ſee how by this ceremonie, thou doſt ſet them benethe the earthe.For by doing this ſer- uyle office, thoſe verie handes, into whoſe po- wer the father hath committed the heauens, and all other thinges, ſhould be abaſed vnder the feete of men. Take heede, that all natu- rall creatures be not verie much agrieued, or rather in great diſdaine, to ſee them ſelues thus ſubjected vnder anie other feete, then thyne. Take hede alſo, leaſt the dawghter of kinge Sawle deſpiſe thee not, when ſhe ſhall ſee thee girded ... with this towell, after the maner of a ſeruant, and ſaie, that ſhe will not take him for her ſpowſe, and much leſſe for her God,whom ſhe ſeeth to attende vpon ſo baſe, and vile an office.
Such wordes, or the like, ſpake Saint Peter, as a man, that had not as yet anie taſt, or fee- linge of thinges apperteininge vnto almightic God: and as one that vnderſtode not what great great glorie laie hidde in this worke, which ſhowed to the eie ſo baſe and vyle. But our ſauiour who knew cit right well, and was with all deſirous to leaue vnto vs for a memorie at that tyme, ſuch a wounderfull example of hu- militie, ſatisfied the ſimplicitie of his diſciple, and went forwarde afterwardes in the good The greate worcke he had begonne.Here we haue to note carefulº. with all diligence, what a great and earneſt ...” care our faulour had, to make vs humble, in . . . that beinge now at the gate, and entrie into humble. c his moſt greuons, and bitter paſſion, wherein he knewe, he ſhould geue vs ſuch greate and wonderfull examples of humilitie, as might ſuffice to aſtoniſhe both heauen, and earth, he thowght all that not enowgh, but would furthermore adde this notable example alſo, beſides all the reſt, whereby this vertue of hu- militie might the better be commended vnto a sm. vs. O wonderfull vertue, how great muſt thy mendation riches be, ſeinge thou art thus commended of the ver- to vs: how can thy treaſures be but notoriouſ tué of hu- lie knowen, ſeinge thou art by ſo manie waies milic. ſet out vnto vs. O humilitie,that arte prea- ched, and tawght, in all the whole life of our Sauiour Chriſt, ſonge, and praiſed by the mouth of his owne moſt bleſled mother. O moſt bewtifull flower emonge vertues. O di- uine adamant, that draweſt vnto the, euen the creator of all thinges? Whoſoeuer he be that banniſheth the awaie, ſhalbe banniſhed awa- ye from almightie God, yea thowgh he be in Luc.I. for the higheſt place of heauen: And whoſoeuer he be, that embraſeth thee, ſhalbe embraſed of almightie God, yea althowgh he be euen the greateſt ſinner in the world.Great are thy graces; and merueilous are thy effectes. Thou pleaſeſt men, thou contenteſt the angelles, thou confoundeſt the diuelles, and byndeſt the handes of the creator:thou art the founda– tion of vertues, the deathe of vices, the glaſſe of virgins, and the habitation of the moſt bleſ- ſed trinitie. Who ſo gathereth without thee, diſparſeth : who ſo É. and not vpon thee, pulleth downe: And who ſo heapethver- tues together without thee, the duſt carieth them quite awaie, before the face of the wyn- **3, de. Without thee, the virgin is ſhut out of Eºc.7 the i. of heauen, and with thee, euen the • * * publike ſinner is receaued at the feete of Chriſt. Embrace this vertue of humilitie, O ye virgins, that hereby your virginitie maie be availeable vnto you. Ye that be religious per- ſons,ſee that you ſeeke earneſtlie alſo for this vertu,for without it your religion is but vai- ne,and to no purpoſe. And ye of the laietie, ſeeke no leſſe }. this vertue,then the religious doe,that by the ſame ye maie be deliuered from the ſnares of this ſinfull world.
9fthexi This beinge done, conſider alſo,how after ...; . our ſauiour had waſhed there feete, he wyped *... them cleane, with that ſacred towell, where- with the with he was girded: And lyſt vp the cies of thy towell, ſoule ſomewhat higher, and there ſhalt thou ſce ſee repreſented the miſterie of our redem- - ption. Conſider how that faier towell recea-Themiſte- ued into it, all the fylthe, and vncleannes of # º: thoſe feete, which were altogether verie foule i. #. and filthie. And as the feete were made cleane ted in the and faire, ſo the towell contrariewiſe ( after waſhinge he had wyped their feete with it, was whol- ...” liebeſpotted and defyled. Now what is more #. filthie, then a man conceaued in ſynne and fºre, what is more cleane, and j, than our Sauiour Chriſt conceued of the holie Ghoſte. My belbeloued is bhyte, and bell coulored (ſaieth Cantic.ſ. the ſobſº ) and choſen out emange thobſandes. This moſt ſweete and louinge Lord then, that was ſo faier, and ſo cleane, was content to re- ceaue into himſelfe, all the ſpottes and filthy- nes of our ſoules, (to witt,the paines which . deſerued) and that he might leaue our ſoules cleane and free from them, he him- ſelfe remained (as yee ſee him vpon the croſ. ſe) all beſpotted and defyled with the ſame. In ſo much that the verie angells were as it were aſtonied (and ſuerlie not without good cauſe) to ſee their Lord, and creator, ſo beraied with this ſo ſtrange fowlenes. And therefore they demaunded by the prophet Eſaie, ſainge wherefore doff thou (6 Lord) beare garmentes dyed Eſs.63. bith the colour of bloºd, all beftofred and berated like vnto them,that ſtampe grappes in the binºpreſe Now if this bloude, and theſe fowle ſpottes, be of others (to witt of our ſinnes) tell me o kinge of glorie, were it not more meete, that for men themſelues ſhould ſuffer according to there owne deſertes, then that thou O moſt in- nocente Lorde,ſhouldeſt be thus defyled,and tormented, for there ſakes f had it not bene more decent, that this filthines ſhould haue remained vpon his owne donghill, and not vpon thee, the mirrour of all bewtie? What a wóderfull pictie and cópaſſion was it, that mo- ued thee,to haue ſuch a feruent deſyre of the cleannes of my ſoule, that thou wouldeſt with ſo great charge,and loſſe of thine ownebewtie, beſtowe it vpon me; what man aliuewould ta- ke a fyne towell wrought with golde,and wype therewith a fowle ſluttiſhe diſhe, eſpetiallie ſuch a diſhe, as were greatdlic broken, and rente in manic places? Bleſſed art thou (o my moſt mercifull, and louinge Lord.) All the angells praiſe thee (o God) for euermore. For that it hath pleaſed thee to become, as it were; an outcaſt of the worlde, takinge vpon thee all oure filthines, and miſeries § are, the paines dew vnto vs for our ſinnes,) to deliucr vs quite, and make vs free from them.
After this, conſider thoſe wordes, wherewith our ſauiour made an ende of this hiſtorie:ſain- ge: I haue geucu you an example, that ye ſhoulde doe, euen as I haue done to you. which wordes are to be referred, not onelic to this matter, and example of humilitie, but euen alſo to all the other workes, and life of our ſauiour Chriſt. Forſo much as his whole life, is a moſt perfet pattern of all vertues, eſpetiallie of that vertu which which in this place i, repreſented vnto vs, to The life of witt humilitie, as the bleſſed marrir Sainét º Ciprian declareth more at large in theſe wor- º: #. des. It was cheiflie (faith he) a worke of great ne of all patience, and humilitie, that ſo high and ex-yºusºnd cellent a maleſtic woulde vouchſafe to come . downe from heauen vnto the earth, and clo- i. unnill- the himſelfe with our claie: and that he woul- stºrian. de diſſemble the glorie of his immortalitie, and become mortall, to the end, that being him ſelfe innocent, and faulltes he might be punniſhed for ſuch as were giltie. The Lord would be baptiſed of his ſeruante: he that ca- me to pardon ſinnes, would be waſhed with the water of ſinners: he that feedeth all crea- tures, faſted fourtie daies in the wildernes, and in the end ſuffered honger, which he did to this end, that all ſuch as had a hongrie appe- tite after godes worde, and longed after . grace, might be ſatisfied and furniſhed with the ſame. fi. fowght with the diuell that tem- pted him, and contentinge himſelfe with the vićtorie, offered his ennemie no further har- me, but by worde onelie. His diſciples hene- uer deſpiſed, as a Lord doth his ſeruantes: but enterteined them with great charitie, and be- neuolence : yea he vſed them louingly as brethern. Neither is it to be merueyled at, that he thus behaued him ſelfe towardes his diſciples, being as they were obedient: ſeinge he could ſuffer that arrant traitor Iudas ſo pa- tienlie, and beare with him euch till the end, for and ſuffer him being his ennemie, to eate to- ether with him at his owne table, and kno- winge full well, whereabowte he went, woul- de neuer diſcouer him, but was content to re- ceaue a kiſſe of him, euen of him (Iſaie) that had ſoulde him with ſuch a traiterous peace.
Moreover, with what great patience did he bear with the Jews until that present hour? how painfully did he labor to move those unbelieving harts with his preaching, to embrace the faith; what great trauaille took he, to allure thoſe ungrateful men unto him, with good works? how meekly anſwered he to ſuch as contraried him in his speech with what clemency bare he with the proud: with what a wonderful humility yielded he to the furious rage of his enemies, and persecutors? How traueiled he even until the very hour of his moſt bitter paſſion,to recover them,that had been the murderers of the Prophets, and heinous rebels against almighty God. In like manner at the very hour of his passion (before they came to the shedding of his most precious blood: and to put him to a moſt cruel death) how great were the opprobrious injuries they offered unto him? How patiently gave he them the hearinge i.” How great were the mocks, and tauntes, he suffered: How patiently did he bear the vile ſpit- tinge of thoſe infernal mouths, that had him self not long before, with the spittle of his own mouth restored a blind man to his perperſet fight: How ſuffered he their whippings, whose servants are wout in his name with mighty power to whip the very dinel- les? how was he crowned with thorns, that crown his martyrs with everlasting garlands? How was he ſmitten on the face with the palms of mens hands, that geueth the palm of victory unto such as be conquerors? How was he spoiled of his earthlic garmétes, that apparaileth the ſainétes with the garments of immortalitie? How was he profered moſt bitter gaul, that geneth vs the . of heaven? How was he offered vintner to drink, that geueth vs the cup of salvation he that was ſo innocent: he that was so just, or rather very innocence and juſtice it self, was accompted among theeues, the everlasting truth was accuſed with falſe witness, the judge of the whole world was condemned by wicked men, and the word of god received the ſentence of death with silence: Consider moreover, at what time the Saujout of the world was nailed upon the cross, and at the very hour of his death, when thc ſterres we- re obſcured, the clemcntes troubled, when the earth quaked, when the light was darkened: when the son turned away his eyes, and would not suffer his beams to shine upon the earth, lcaſt happelie it might see such a great cruelty: Consider (I ſhie) how even at this time our Savior did not so much as once open his mouth, or moue himself: how he would F for not at the very last hour, and point of death, discover the glory of his majesty, but suffered continually that extreme, and violent conflict, even until the end, intending thereby to leave unto us, an example of perfect patience.
Yea, moreover and all this, if those cruel bloody ministers,that crucified, and tormented his most blessed body, would have converted, and been penitent, he was ready to receive them to his grace, and favor, even at the very last instant: neither would he have shut up the gates of his church from any man. Now therefore, what thing in the world can possibly be of greater benignity, and patience, then the blood of Christ, that give thee life, even unto them, that shed the same blood: But such, and so great, is the patience of our sweet Savior Christ, which if it had not been such, and of so great power, the church had not had Saint Paul in it at this day. Hitherto be the Words of Saint Cyprian.