+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Eleventh Meditation Of The Captivity Of Our Lord
UNKNOWN MASTER, Italian
Scenes from the New Testament: The Arrest of Christ
And Jesus said to the chief priests, and magistrates of the temple, and the ancients, that were come unto him: Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Lk.xxii.
Consider first what account was made of thy Lord, to wit, as of a thief, for the suppressing of whom there needed so great an army.
Secondly how he showed that he was no thief, as he which had hurt no man not lye hid like a thief, but had done good, and had taught nothing in secret, but always publicly, and called those men for witness thereof whom he saw stand ready to be the officers for his death, therefore he admonished them to call to remembrance the doctrine which had taught them, & to change their minds; for they should find nothing in it but holy, learned, & wholesome council.
Consider thirdly by what words he gave his adversaries power to rage against him, without which they could do nothing, and every word hath his force: (this is) as if he said, you care only for the present, & respect not the time to come, which is the property of sinners, not the of just men: (hour) all present time is short, all the pleasure of sinners passeth like an hour, also all the afflictions of the just passeth away: (your) this short time is granted unto you to do everything either for your salvation or damnation: I say this precious time which after this life will not remain, (and the power of darkness) that is to say a dark power, both because they deserve it through the darkness of their sins, & also because they, which use it, are carried to the darkness of Hell, & also because darkness remaineth in the power of the wicked, and, to conclude, because, power was given to the Devils, the princes of darkness to do all mischief unto Christ.
Consider therefore the multitude of the pains of Christ, and their greatness when it was permitted to wicked Spirits being practiced & most ready in doing hurt, to persecute Christ by these his most willing ministers. Admire here also this most willing permission of Christ, give him thanks & offer thy self ready to endure all labors and torments, for his sake & pray him that thy power may not be in darkness, but that all thy actions may be perfected with the light of faith and of his divine grace.
And apprehending him. Lk.xxii.
Consider first the wonderful insolence of these men in taking thy Lord, think of the greatness of their envy, whereby they desired to do all mischief unto Christ, and that our lord had given them power to satisfy their desires. The Apostle Paul was taken with great cruelty, pulled out of the Temple by force; presently beaten with their fists, & almost killed with stripes, but it was nothing to this cruelty, which surpassed all cruelty: Consider the ancient predictions of this his captivity: many clogs compassed me about, they took me as a Lion prepared for his prey, casting me down, they compassed me about; they compassed me like Bees, and they burned like fire in the thorns: being pushed I was overthrown, that I fell.
Secondly mark the words of the Evangelists: (a company, the tribune & Ministers) not a few, but the whole army labored for this captivity, every one went about some thing, (they came) they leaped with great violence as blessed Gregory Nazianzene affirmeth. (laid hands on him) not only apprehending him, but grievously beating him. (they held him) as St. Leo saith, they pulled him hither & thither, (and they bound him) O how many, cords were pulled, not by one, but by many, both because he should not escape, and also because being seen in such habit he might be judged worthily of death by all men. These bands were due unto thee for thy sins, & except thou be partaker of them thou shalt be bound with everlasting chains in hell. Suffer hen with thy lord, who was so cruelly bound for thy cause, and endeavor to be thankful, and pray him that by this captivity he will deliver thee free from all the power of the Devil, and from all bonds of evil desires, which according to the Devils will might draw thee into any sin, & restore thee to spiritual liberty, that being delivered out of the hand of thy enemy thou mayest serve him.
Then the disciples all leaving him, fled.Mt.xxvi.
Consider first, that here are two things declared, whereby thou mayest understand the great fury & cruelty which was used in taking Christ and carrying him away: One was the sight of his most ear Disciples, who were stricken into so great a fear, that although they burned in love with him, yet every one of them fled away: The other that a young man in one of the next houses being moved with the tumult rose out of his bed, covered only with linen, came forth to see what was done in the street, whom they thinking to be one of his Disciples, would have apprehended, but he leaving his linen, fled away naked, whereby thou mayest gather what a clamor they made, as if their prey were now taken; and how much they raged and desired to hurt all them, which belonged unto Christ.
Consider secondly that Christ was forsaken by all his friends and followers, and cruelly carried away by the hands of the wicked. Learn hereby not to trust in men which oftentimes in this life, and ever in death do forsake all men: and pray thy Lord that he never forsake thee; although thou be forsaken of all men, especially in the hour of thy death, when thou must go into a strange country without the company of any man with thee.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616