Man of Sorrows (left wing)
THE SECOND MEDITATION
How Christ Sent His Disciples To Prepare The Supper: And How He Took His Leave Of His Mother
How Christ Sent His Disciples To Prepare The Supper: And How He Took His Leave Of His Mother
And on the first day of the Azymes, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the pasch? But Jesus said: Go ye into the city to a certain man, and say to him: the master saith, My time is near at hand, with thee I make the pasch with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the pasch. Mt
Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the pasch? And he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith to them: Go ye into the city; and there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water, follow him; And whithersoever he shall go in, say to the master of the house, The master saith, Where is my refectory, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? And he will shew you a large dining room furnished; and there prepare ye for us. And his disciples went their way, and came into the city; and they found as he had told them, and they prepared the pasch Mk
And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go, and prepare for us the pasch, that we may eat. But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he entereth in. And you shall say to the goodman of the house: The master saith to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? And he will shew you a large dining room, furnished; and there prepare. And they going, found as he had said to them, and made ready the pasch. Lk
And when they went up the ascent to the city, they found maids coming out to draw water, and they said to them: Is the seer here? They answered and said to them: He is: behold he is before you, make haste now: for he came today into the city, for there is a sacrifice of the people today in the high place. 1 Kings 9
Rebecca appeared coming with a pitcher, which she carried on her shoulder: and she went down to the well and drew water. And I said to her: Give me a little to drink...And she said moreover to him: We have good store of both straw and hay, and a large place to lodge in. Gn.24
1. Consider how Christ our Lord even as he was in his whole life, so would he until his very death be most obedient, not omitting to observe whatsoever the law commanded to be done, until all were in him most perfectly accomplished: wherefore the day of Pasche being near at hand, the Disciples knowing that their master had never a proper dwelling, nor so much as any place where he might repose his head, came unto saying: Master, where pleaseth it you that we prepare to eat the Pasche? O poverty of the Son of God: O example of humility not heard of before: the Lord of the Whole world, whose feet is the Heavens and whose footstool is the Earth: He which feedeth the fowls of the air, and giveth food in due season unto all creatures, coming into this world: hath not so much as any one place, wherein to retire himself: and he needeth that others should lend him room & give him alms to buy a Lamb, that he might eat the Pasche, and remain one hour in comfort with his Disciples.
2. Consider on the other side, how in this his humility, there shineth out his divinity, seeing that from point to point he foretold his Disciples such things as were afterward to happen unto them: and in his extreme poverty he declared himself the Lord of all, changing the mind of the Jews, that the same refectory or dining chamber which he had prepared for himself& his household, he should grant,not only for that present, but dedicate it forever to the service of Christ: even as from the self same hour afterward,it was always a refuge and place of abode for the Apostles. Most happy Chamber consecrated by so high mysteries: but more happy householder which showed such obedience & charity to Christ, and lodging him in thy house,whereby thou deserved that he bestowed on thee another dwelling, without comparison far better,seeing that thou gave him one upon earth,and he gave thee one in Heaven: thou bestowed on him a temporal harbor: and he rendered to thee an eternal. O Redeemer of the world, seeing that thou so well pays and so largely rewards those which receive thee. I beseech thee vouchsafe to come and repose thyself in my soul, giving her grace worthily to receive thee, that she may be in manner of a chamber clean, and adorned,and may say with the Prophet. Paratum cor meum Dues, paratum cor meun. My hart is ready O God, my hart is ready: Into which your Master entering, may vouchsafe to supp with her, nourishing yourself of her,and feeding her with yourself the true Lamb and lively bread which came from Heaven, togive life unto men.
3. But what meaneth this sweet Jesus, that thou knowing that in the city of Jerusalem those ungrateful Jews have prepared snares for thee, and in manner of hungry wolves laid wait for to take and devour thee: why wilt thou O most innocent lamb go thither to cast thy self into their bloody mouths? and whereas thou now art in Bethania in the house of Martha and Magdalen thy well beloved disciples,where is also present thy most dear Mother: Why dost thou not keep this festival day with them,and give unto thy mother this small comfort, when as thou art within a few hours to be occasion of her so much bitterness? Wherefore doest cause so great trouble unto thy Disciples, by making them to prepare thee a place and provision for this supper finding here so great commodity and preparation of all things? and that which importeth most, they bearing thee here so great love and charity? for these thy faithful lovers if they had no other place for thee, they would give thee place in their own harts, that there thou mightest comfort thyself with thy Disciples,and they themselves also be comforted with thee.
4. Here thou mayest consider how that most fervent Disciple Mary Magdalen left nothing undone, whereby she might move her dear Master to remain with them,and when she could do no more, she all full of sorrow turned herself to entreat his mother, whom she knew full well to desire it much more then her self,and to be of great authority with her Son, that by her means she might obtain this most desired favor at his hands. Wherefore she also partly by this sudden resolution of her Son, and partly by seeing the great sadness which the very Disciples themselves could not dissemble: doubting least this should be his last departure: full of suspicion, approached unto her Son and with material liberty began to say, unto him: It should be great comfort unto us all,my Son,and especially unto me, that you would vouchsafe to remain here with us this EASTER and to rejoice us with your desired presence, seeing that so seldom we are worthy of it: and go not to Jerusalem amongst your enemies, who as you well know do now persecute you more then ever,and seek to put you to death: and if other women s children which dwell far off from their parents are commonly wont to go and visit them, that they may keep such Feasts with them: will you being in the self same house with me,now at this Feast forsake & abandon me? Consider I pray you those my travails past, which for your love at diverse times I have sustained, so great wearisome of my body,so grievous suspicions of my heart,so many perils,poverty and care which I have passed over with you now flying to one country, then to another: and let all this be of such value with you, that for recompense of these my sorrows,I may deserve to obtain now at your hands this small consolation.
5. The mournful mother having uttered these words,which in the end (being able to no longer to contain her self) she accompanied with tears:it could be no less,but that the tender heart of her most loving Son was much moved herewith, wherefore he spake unto her with words full of love and piety, saying: Although I know beloved Mother, that this which I have to say unto you, will cause you sorrow and anguish: yet not-withstanding, because I have elected you, not only for my Mother, but also for a companion of my travails and passions, that afterwards you may also be partaker of my consolations.I give you to understand how my Father will is, I go to suffer,and unto death, & now is the hour come wherein I must accomplish this office, for the which he sent me , and for the which I took of you this flesh: Now is the hour some wherein for the salvation of the world it is needful that all justice be fulfilled in me, neither can I make any longer delay:nor keep this Pasch with you:my Father having ordained it so,that in the same city where the true Lamb is to be offered up, in the self same also I should offer & eat the mystical & legal Lamb. Remain you therefore with my peace,& as I for obedience most willingly do embrace this Cross,even so I desire you to offer me with a prompt mind to my Fathers will.
6. Now think what a arrow that was and what manner of knife, which at this last word of the Son pierced the soul of the piteous mother:she desired and hartely wished to give some answer, but the vehemency of this grief did in such sort pinch her heart, that it left her no power to frame a word, but caused her to pour out from her eyes floods of tears: where thou mayest imagine what at this instant passed through the sorrowful heart of this virgin, what affections of resignation towards the divine Will: what affections of love and piety towards her Son, of the one part her will most desirous to obey, did provoke her to offer not only her son but likewise herself if need should so require, even unto death: on the other side calling to mind those reproaches, those mocking, those halings, and that contemptible death of her beloved son, with motherly piety all the bowels of her hart were moved:and so remaining in this sorrowful conflict,she knew not what else to do but weep:at length prevailed the desire of the fulfilling of the divine will, and son an instant making of herself & her son a courageous sacrifice unto the eternal Father, all human affection being set aside she answered in this manner. O what bitter grief do you give me, my Son: truly if it so please your Father I would give my life for you, or at least if it be necessary that you die, I would he were contented that I might likewise die with you, seeing that to live without you my life,it will be nothing else but a continual dying. But if this may not be, and if your Fathers will is, that I must live, and if he call you alone for mans salvation to death, go go my Son blessed of him and of me,go you for so many years ago desired of the whole world, and put in effect that which the obedience of you Father demands, and that which the Angels and all mankind wish and expect at you hands, & I in the mean while fraught with sorrow,will remain alone, weeping night and day, until the desired return of you my only weal.
7. Here now thou mightest have seen this Blessed virgin weeping with other manner of tears then Agar shed, when as she wept in the presence of her son, seeing him draw near to death, Moreover in this hard separation of such a mother fro such a son, who so entirely loved each other, thou mightest have seen other manner of lamentation, and other signs of love, then ever were seen betwixt those two most faithful friends David and Jonathan, when as thy were to depart one from another. Here likewise thou mightest have seen on the person of this Virgin, that great Patriarh Abraham standing with a kind of divine constancy, offering up with his own hands his only begotten son in sacrifice unto God. But in this oblation which this Blessed Virgin made of her Son, she far exceeded in fortitude and constancy that of Abraham,in so much as she was a woman, and a mother,and offered a son not only a man as Issac was, but a man that was alas God:and unto her not only a son but also a father and a spouse. Finally if great was the grief of this mother, great was also the sorrow of the their devout women and faith friends of JESUS where thou mayest consider what abundance of tears were shed,& how hard and sharp a thing it seemed unto them all,but particularly unto the afflicted mother,that her only Son , whom she loved more then herself,should go to yield himself into the hands of his most cruel enemies.Intolerable was this separation unto her, and to all the rest,and if it had been possible they would have hindered him from so hard an enterprise the zeal of his Fathers honor,& of our salvation which pricked him forwarded to give his life for us,wrought more in the hart of JESUS then could the tears of his mother,&the pitiful affections of his dear friends. Wherefore as soon as he had given them all his last farewell,& had taken of his mother the kiss of peace he went as a meek lamb,to be offered voluntarily to the sacrifice.
Thou shalt pray unto Christ our Lord, that as he sent his Disciples to prepare the Pasche in Jerusalem, and leaving in Bethania his Mother, with all the rest which loved him,went for obedience to his Father to celebrate the same amongst his enemies: even so by the grace of his holy spirit he prepare thy soul in such sort, that for his divine love, she being spoiled of all human affection and love of creatures, may neither in prosperity nor adversity seek or desire any other thing but that his good pleasure and holy will may always in her be most perfectly fulfilled.
1. They which for just cause might be excused from doing any work of obedience, yet notwithstanding for example of others do it: so much greater is this virtue in them, by how much more in this they are like unto Christ, who being not bound,yet nevertheless for our instruction submitted himself in all things to the obedience of the law.
2. In our temporal necessities we ought not be over careful, but confidently to trust in God, assuring ourselves that if we serve him faithfully, and seek before all other things his kingdom and glory, he will not fail to provide all necessary things for us: even as Christ not having either place or provision to celebrate the Pasche, yet had all things provided for him in due time.
3. Christ sent Peter and John to prepare the Pasche. By Peter is signified good action,by John devot contemplation: If we will prepare ourselves worthily to received the blessed Body of our Lord, we must prepare our soul, with virtuous works & devout prayers?
4. Into the house where into our Savior was to enter &make the Pasche, enter first a man with a pitcher of water, thereby to give us to understand, that when we are to receive our Lord in the blessed Sacrament, we must first with the water of tears and contrition, for our sins,wash and cleanse our soul from sin.
5. If we wul have our Lord vouchsafe to come and lounge with us, we must procure to make our heart a refectory or dining chamber, great and adorned great, by greatness of faith, by largeness of hope,and by breath of charity and adorned with variety of all sort of virtue.
6. Christ being called by the obedience of his Father to Jerusalem there unto be Crucified, departed from Bethania laving his mother and his friends with all other consolations which there he had: even so we for obedience of Gods divine precepts,and likewise to give obedience unto divine inspirations, when our Lord calleth us to Jerusalem, interpreted the vision of peace, that is unto a state of more perfection, wherein is found true peace: we must set aside and leave both parents, friends and all worldly comfort, and willingly run to embrace with Christ the Cross of obedience.
7. The kinfolks and friends of Christ were in Bethania which is interpreted the house of affliction, but his Persecutors and his Cross were in Jerusalem,which is called the vision of peace, wherein is signified unto us that amongest our kindred and allurements of the world,can be found nothing nut affliction of spirit: but by the cross of tribulation,and persecution,we shall come unto true and perfect peace.