Pilate's Second Interrogation of Christ (detail)
The 27 Meditation of the third accusation of our Lord before PilateThen when the high Priests and the Ministers saw him, they cried, saying crucify him, crucify him.
Consider first, the people holding their peace, and inclining to commiseration, the Priests and their ministers, and flatterers were not pacified. That thou maist know first, that no man is moved more hardly to repent his sins, then he, which sinneth of set purpose and malice. For they which fall through weakness and ignorance, are sooner recalled, and deserve pardon; but they, which wittingly and willingly are civil, are rather hardened & obdurate, then any way amended by admonitions. 2. That the enemies of Christ and of his Church, are never the better for being used gently & courteously. For these kind of men are to be subdued by threatenings, terrors & constancy, & not by sufferance.
Consider 2. that even as these wicked men did upon the sight of the blood of Christ thirst after his death, like dogs upon the sight of the blood of a wild beast: So thou ought to be inflamed with the love of the passion of our Lord by the contemplation of his pains, that the fire of Devotion may be enkindled in thy meditations.
Consider thirdly how the words of these wicked people did pierce the bowels of thy Lord (crucify him, crucify him) of which he foretold in the Prophet: I have left my house: I have given my beloved soul into the hands of her enemies: my inheritance is made unto me like a lion in the wood. Suffer with thy Lord, and lament thy sins, which continually send forth the same cries, and are blood suckers, instantly crying Bring, Bring.
IIPilate said unto them, take yes him and crucify him: for I find no cause in him.
Consider first that Pilate being moved with disdain, answered somewhat sharply unto the Jews. Admire thou thy own coldness, who art a Christian, & knowest the dignity of Christ, and the greatness of his pains, and doest confess, that thou wert the cause thereof, and yet art not moved, neither with commiseration towards Chriist, nor with disdain against thyself. Learn justly to be angry at them, which go about to incite thee, and others unto sin: that is to say, at the Devil, and his ministers. Say unto him, if thou wilt offend the goodness of God, I find no cause in him, but of love, reverence, and thanksgiving.
Consider 2. Though Pilate was loath tho pronounce the sentence of death against our Lord; yet he did not hinder his death, but would put it over to other men. Whom thou doest imitate, as often as thou leavest to the will of others that mischief, which thou thyself darest not commit.
Consider 3. That this wicked President, after all this grievous punishment, found no cause in him, either of death, or stripes. Do thou inquire the cause in the opened bowels of Christ, to wit, his burning love, which cut & brake asunder this sack of his body, & poured forth his blood so plentifully. What will the holy Angels do which were astonished in the nativity of this Lord, at the wonderful love which caused almighty God to take upon him a frail and infants body. How will they be amazed both at this love of God, which for man was content to be esteemed a worm, rather then a man, & to be the scorn of men, and the outcast of the people, & the scum and laughing stock of all men; & also at the raging malice of the Jews, who would never be satisfied with the pains and punishment of their Messias, which so many ages before was expected, & promised unto them; and likewise at the hardness of thine own heart, which is not soften and melted with this burning charity of thy Creator. Admire thou these things, and pray thy Lord to inflame thy heart with the love of him.
The Jews answered him: we have a law, and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
Consider first, the proud answer of the Jews (we have a Law) They believed in the law, which they had in writing; and did not fulfill it in work. Those men do imitate them first, which boast of the word of God, and continually object the same, and are wholly in the commendation of faith: when in the mean time they do nothing worthy neither of faith, nor of the holy Scriptures, nor yet of a Christian man. Secondly, they which place all piety in outward ceremonies only, and not in the worship of God, & in brotherly charity.
Consider 2. That according to the Law Christ ought to die. For the whole law of Moses, and of the Prophets, foreshadowed the death of Christ; for all the sacrifices of the old Law, were shadows of the sacrifice of the Cross: and all the Prophets referred their prophecies to the death of the Messias. Therefore the Jews said true, but not according to their own intention, whose meaning was, that the sin and blasphemy of Christ deserved death by the Law, that thou maist learn, that God turneth to thy good those things, which are badly spoken or done by the wicked: and also that thou shouldest draw goodness even out of wicked men.
Consider thirdly the cause of his death (Because he made himself the Son of God.) A most true cause of death: First if thou doest consider, God the Father; for the Son of God, being made man, made man the Son of God, assuming human nature into one person of the Son of God. For we should never have come into grace with the eternal Father, but by the death of that man, who was the true and very Son of God Secondly, if thou consider the Jews; because he lived the life of the Son of God. For therefore their envy was exasperated to the death of Christ, because his most Holy life reprehended their wicked behaviors. Take thou heed, that never any other fault be noted in thee, but only that thou art the son of God. For if thou doest suffer for that cause, thou art happy, and the faithful Disciple of Christ. And because the Son of God did undergo this death to make thee the Son of God, pray him that he will lighten thy soul with his Grace, and exalt thee to be the Son of God, and after this life by communicating his Divinity unto thee, he will number thee amongst the Sons of God, and grant thee thy portion among his Saints, which shall be called the sons of God.
Fr. Francois Coster S.J.