The 26 Meditation of Pilate his bringing forth of our Lord to the People.
Pilate went forth again, and said unto them: Behold I bring him forth unto you, that ye many know, that I find no cause in him.
Consider first, that when Pilate thought our Lord had been so cruelly used, that it would have moved a stony heart to compassion, then he brought him forth. yet going himself a little before, to prepare the hearts of the Jews to pity. The wicked judge doth herein condemn himself, when he confesseth him to be innocent, whom he had handled so cruelly, to please other men.
Consider secondly (Behold I bring) for it is a wonderful thing, that God, who hath bestowed upon men so many & so great benefits, should suffer so many wrongs and wounds by men. Admire thine own ingratitude. God hath brought thee into this world, adorned with all goodness: & thou brings him forth castest him out of thy heart, shamefully misused with thy grievous sins, & doest not suffer him to rest in thy house, which thou hast filled with theft and other sins. Do thou rather bring him forth to be praised and adored by the people. First by preaching him, & his will to the people, and then by thy good works, expressing his holy lie: That thou mayest say with the Apostles (And now I do not live, but Christ liveth in me.) And bringing him forth let all men understand, that there is no cause to be found in him, why he should not be admitted by all men, when as thous canst see nothing in him, but signs of love, blood shed for thee, stripes, and wounds, so as it may be truly said of him: In all his members Love engraved is.
Then Jesus went forth, carrying his thorny Crown, & purple garment.
Consider first, how thy Lord came forth amongst the people. Behold a high place, to which they ascended by twenty three marble steps, (which are kept till this day at Rome with great reverence,) and before that a most spacious Court, filled with many thousands of people, who had assembled themselves out of all Judea against the feast of Pasch. All these so soon as they espied our Lord coming forth with Pilate, came pressing nearer, that they might better behold this sad and horrible spectacle.
Go forth also, ye Daughters of Jerusalem, and behold King Salomon in the diadem, wherewith his Mother the Synagogue of the Jews hath crowned him. Go then also forth, O my Soul, & behold the Diadem, and the royal ornaments, which thy sins have set upon thy God. Mark attentively the whole body of thy peaceable King, cruelly torn with his enemies hands: that he might gain almost assured peace with God for thee, & for thy conscience.
Behold his crown woven of boughes, decked with thorns, and drops of blood in lieu of precious stones: His hands and arms carry cords instead of bracelets: His neck and all his body, is tied with a rope, instead of a belt, & chain of gold: The works of his apparael is scars & wounds: His divine countenance with phlegm, spitting, blood, & filth,is as it were painted, or masked, and disguised. Let these things move horror in others, & compassion in thee.
Mark the words of Isaias. He hath no beauty nor comeliness; we saw him, and he had no countenance: That is, he looked not like a man, and his countenance was as it were hidden, & looking down; we esteemed him as a Leaper. Do thou reverence this attire of thy Lord with the inward affection of thy heart, in which he fought against thy enemies, & got victory & glory for thee.
For even as thou esteemest those things, & deepest them carefully, by which thy friend hath given riches, & honor for thee; so thou doughtiest deligiously to meditate, worship, and embrace those spitting, whips & reproaches, which have brought abundance of so great goods unto thee.
For our Lord knoweth his own attire, and he will more easily receive thee coming in such garments, then in worldly pomp and bravery: And he had rather have thee to pray, and worship him in this poor array, then in all thy brave attire.
Consider secondly, that this sack of the body of Christ which came down from Heaven, full of grace and truth, is now opened, and torn if all parts, breathing out of his holy bowels a wonderful savor, so sharp, that it driveth away Devils; so piercing, that it entereth into stony hearts, and so sweet that it draweth the Eagles from all parts of the world. For when the body shall be, thither also will the Eagles be gathered. Purge thou the nostrils of thy heart,purge thou the filth of thy vices; that being stirred up with the sweetness of the savor of God, Thou mayest run into the sweet savor of these ointments. And pray unto our Lord to draw thee after him with his sweetness, & to instill into thy heart the love of his Passion, that thou mayest contemn the world in respect thereof.
(And he said, behold the man) by this word, Pilate endeavored to move some commiseration, showing first the bitterness of his punishment, as if he had said, know that he is a man and not a beast; if he have committed any fault, he hath paid well for it: therefore o men, take pity upon a man, it is the part of beasts not to spare the conquered.
And again, behold his is a man, & a most miserable man, whom ye have accused as King of the Jews; there is no cause, why yes should be afraid of this King, whom though the great deformity of his body, & cruel torments, yes can scare know to be a man.
Do thou apply these profitably unto thyself in this manner:
First (Behold the man) he is set before thee to imitate, in this habit, in these gestures, and in this shape of body, and mind. Abraham was proposed to our Ancestors for an example of life. Mark the Rock (saith Isaias) out of which eye were cut, Here a man is proposed unto thee, of whom our Heavenly Father saith: Hear him: and the Son of God: Learn yes of med, for I am meek and humble of heart. Look therefore not upon other mens manners, but upon this mans, upon this face of Christ: who although he be God, whose virtues and deeds thou canst not attain unto, yet he is true man, induced with the same frail and human nature like thee and other men. Thy first Father Adam made thee of a man like to foolish Beasts: if thou wilt return to the ancient dignity of human nature, join thyself with this man.
Secondly (behold the man) to whom thou maist fly in all thy necessities: these spitting are suffered for thee; this blood is shed for thee; and all these evils are endured for thy sake: both that thou shouldest take away thy sins, and cure thy wounds by these medicines, and also that thou shouldest pay them to the eternal Father for thy infinite debts.
Thirdly (behold the man) mark what thy sins have brought unto this man: thy pride hath caused these irrisions and this contempt; thy covetouness, this nakedness; thy drunkenness, this effusion of blood; thy lust, these thorns; and thy sloth, these bonds. O man, behold this man: but who art thou, and what is he? thou a man like a worm, he a man and God. O how great glory is due unto him, and how much shame unto thee? yet what is he become for thy sake? and what suffers, or doest thou for him, he is made a worm and no man, a scorn of men, and an abject of the people. And this, because he would carry thee up to God. But thou being careful of nothing less, then of exalting his glory, applyest thyself about thine own honor, wealth, and commodity .
Fr. Francois Coster S.J.