Meditation Of The Solitude Of Our Lady The Virgin: And Of That Which Was Done After The Burial Of Her Son. Point II ~ Venerable Luis de la Puente S.J.
ORLEY, Bernaert van Haneton
Triptych (centre panel)
1. The sacred Virgin, being entered into her habitation, and recollecting herself in some secret closet, she began to deplore her solitude and desolation, for she had her soul divided into many places, where the treasure if her heart was; One part was in the sepulcher with the body of her Son, meditating, and ruminating the dolors, which he had suffered in his passion. Another part was in Limbo, with the soul of the same Son, contemplating what he did with the Father, with whom her then conversed. But much more at this present was her heart possessed with sorrows, recalling them to memory and deploring their causes, beseeching the eternal Father, to apply the fruit of them to many, to the glory of him that had endured them.
2. Another part of the night, she spent in discoursing with those that kept her company, of the labors of JESUS Christ: especially the Evangelist St. John, recounted unto her the things which his master had done in the supping chamber; As, how he had eaten with them the paschal lamb, washed their feet, & instituted the most Blessed Sacrament of his body & blood, made unto them a most divine sermon & fore-telling unto them, what was to come: how he went to the garden of Gethsemane, & the sorrowful words, which he spake unto them, also how he withdrew himself three times from them to offer his prayer. Finally, how Judas came with a band of soldiers to apprehend him, the miracles which there he did, & how all his Disciples fled and forsook him. All theses things the Virgin hearkened unto, with great devotion and spirit, and conversed them, conferring them inwardly in her heart: but when she turned herself to contemplate the pains which herself had seen, she was wholly melted into tears, and spent the residue of the night in the meditation of them. O sovereign Virgin, I heartily wish to weep with thee, as the Prophet Jeremy, and to say. How dost thou sit in solitude, thou that wast the city full of people? How is the lady of the Gentiles become as a widow? Weeping she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks, there is none to comfort her of all her dear ones, all her friends have despised her, and are become her enemies.
Comfort thyself (O sovereign princess) left thy sighs and mournings cease, let the stream of thy tears be stopped, because the grain of wheat, which thou hast hid and sowed in the sepulcher, within three days will rise up alive with most glorious fruit, to render thee a hundred fold of consolation, for this thy sorrow and desolation.
3. I will ponder next, how in the same time wherein this good pastor, had laid down his life for his sheep, although he descended as low as Limbo, to give comfort and liberty, to this that were detained in that fold, yet was he not at all forgetful of those which were dispersed upon the earth, as sheep without a Pastor. For by the virtue of his omnipotency, he did inspire them, even from Limbo, that they should repair to the place where his mother was, to the end that she might comfort and strengthen them in this his absence. The first that came was St. Peter, all weeping and lamenting, for the triple denial of his master, and falling down before the Virgin, and before John his fellow disciple, he began afresh to renew his bitter tears, as well for those his denials, as for the torments of his master and for the discomfort of the mother, and of those others which there lamented. But the Blessed Virgin gently comforted him as she that knew full well the condition of God, which is to comfort those that weep. By and by entered in the other Apostles, whom the Virgin received with exceeding charity, like as the hen gathereth her chickens, under her wings, when they fly unto her for fear of the kite. She exhorted them, that they should keep their faith and hope of the resurrection of her Son: so as that was fulfilled which he foretold of his death and passion, so should that be likewise fulfilled, which he had foretold of his resurrection.
O sacred Virgin,how well dost thou begin to perform that office of a mother, wherewith thy Son encharged thee upon the Cross, gather me also under thy wings that the infernal puttocks may not presume to hurt me, Amen.
4. I may likewise ponder, the feeling which the blessed Virgin, and the Apostles had, when they observed that there number was diminished by the fall of Judas, and the infelicity of this miserable wretch, who if he had returned patiently unto our Blessed Lady, as St. Peter did, out of doubt she would have received him, and have comforted him: but his offense had now brought him unto that point, where there was no peace, nor could be ever capable of consolation.