MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: Then Jesus Went Forth, Carrying His Thorny Crown, & Purple Garment. I

VALDÉS LEAL, Juan de 
Ecce Homo 
1657-59
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.

Fr. Francois Coster S.J. 

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