MEDITATION ON The Nativity Of Our Savior Christ: Of The Circumcision Of Our Savior, On The Eighth Day. POINT II ~ Luis de la Puente
RUBENS, Peter Paul
THE XX. MEDITATION
Of the Circumcision of our Savior, on the eighth day.
THE II POINT.
1. Secondly, I will consider the heroical acts of virtue, which our Savior Christ exercised in his circumcision: which in him was not alone an exercise of suffering as in other children, which want the use of reason; but it was a work of most excellent virtue. First, it was obedience to the law: for albeit that as he was God, and the supreme law over, he might have dispensed with himself herein, and had sufficient cause therefore, being not obliged by the rigour of the law, for that he was not conceived by the work of man, nor with the debt of contracting original sin: yet for all this, he would of his own will obey they painful, and rigorous precept, protesting therewithal that he would observe all the old law: for (as St. Paul sayeth) every man circumcising himself is a debtor, obliged to accomplish the whole law how burdensome soever it be: and therefore this blessed child offered himself at that time to undergo this heavy burden, setting this whole law (as himself sayeth by the Prophet David) in the midst of his heart, to the end to give unto us a perfect pattern of obedience.
O my soul, why doest not thou offer thyself to beare the burden, and sweet yoke of the new law, when thy Savior offereth himself to beare for thee the most heavy burden, and insupportable yoke of the old law! If he for thy example obeyeth in hard things whereunto he is not obliged: why doest thou deny to obey him in those easy things that he hath commanded thee? Pardon (o Lord) my disobedience, and aid me to follow the example which thou gavest me, observing thy law in such sort, as thou always observedst it, Amen2. The second virtue was humility, for albeit this our Lord could not accoumpt himself as a sinner, seeing he neither was, nor could be so; yet he would be held for such, subjecting himself to Circumcision, which was the sign of sinful children; so that such as saw him circumcised might have said that he was a sinner: which he ordained for the confusion of us, who being sinners will not seem so to be, but take upon us the mask of being righteous. Therefore (o my Soul) seeing that by verity itself thou art humbled, be humbled also by charity: and seeing thou knows thyself to be worthy of humiliation for thy sins, desire with thy Lord, to be humbled although thou wert without sin.
3. The third virtue was patience, for other children wanting the use of reason, fear neither circumcision, nor the knife, nor the wound, and until the blow light upon them, they feel it not: but this blessed child as perfect man, knew what was in hand, and naturally feared the blow, and the wound, yet for all this, he was as quiet, without moving himself, as if he had not known it. And though when he felt the wound, he wept like a child, and greatly lamented through the delicacy of his complexion, yet in his heart he was glad, for shedding his blood with such dolor, delighting in this affliction to accomplish the will of his Father for our good.
4. The fourth virtue, was, most fervent charity, shedding that little blood with so great love, that if need had been to shed all presently, he would have effected if it: & had it been convenient to receive forthwith many other, and much greater wounds, he would have offered himself for the love of his Father, and for our good.
O immense charity! O invincible patience! O profound humility, and perfect obedience of my Redeemer! O sovereign virtues where with is weaved the priest like garment of our high priest JESUS, much more precious then purple in grain, then Hyacinth, and wreathed Holland! O high priest that on this day didst cloth thyself with this garment to offer this sacrifice of the morning, and didst afterwards again put it on upon the Cross, to offer the sacrifice of the evening: Invest me with such another, that O may offer up my body, and soul a living host, holy, and pleasing to thy sovereign majesty. I am ashamed (O Lord) to see myself so naked of these four virtues, let thy grace aid me, ti invest me with them, and to cover my nakedness, Amen.
~ Luis de la Puente