30 March 2023

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - March 30th



Consider first, how Pilate hoping now that the malice of the Jews would be so far abated as to insist no longer on our Saviour’s death, after they should see in what a barbarous manner he had been created in compliance with their passions, leads him out just as he was, with his crown of thorns upon his head and his ragged purple on his shoulders, and from an eminence shows him to the people with these words ‘Ecce homo!’ Behold the man! as much as to say, take a view of him now from head to foot; see how he is all covered with wounds; how his whole body is rent, torn, and mangled with scourges; his head and temples pierced with bloody thorns; face all black and blue, and his person quite disfigured! See how cruelly he has been handled in complaisance to you, though neither I nor Herod could find any crime in him! Let then this outrageous treatment he has received from the soldiers, let all this blood he has shed satisfy you; take pity on him now, at least, and cease to seek his death. But O! how vain it is to expect that men’s passions should be abated by giving way to them! Pilate imagined the sight of so much innocent blood already shed would extinguish the thirst of the Jews, whereas it increased it and made them the more eager after our Lord’s death. See, my soul, thou never suffer thyself to be imposed upon in the like manner by thinking to rid thyself the easier, hereafter, of thy troublesome temptations or passions, by making a kind of composition, and giving them at present what they crave. The more thou givest them the more they will demand and the more they will tyrannize over thee. It is not by yielding but by fighting resolutely against them thou art to conquer.

Consider 2ndly, my soul, thy Saviour presenting himself to thee upon this occasion with all his wounds and all the disgraceful attire of his ragged robes and thorny crown, with an ‘Ecce homo!’  Behold the man! But see thou look upon him with other eyes than those unhappy miscreants did, who only took occasion from the sight of his sufferings to cry out more eagerly, Away with, him, away with him; crucify him, crucify him!  O! behold the man, even the eternal Word of the Father, made man for the love of thee. Behold his head crowned with a wreath of sharp thorns piercing and entering in on all sides with excessive pains; behold his face bruised beyond measure, and all covered with blood and spittle; behold, through his ragged purple, the innumerable stripes and wounds of his mangled body! Behold and see to what a condition thy sins, and his own infinite charity, have reduced the Lord of Glory! Then see and consider what return thou wilt make him for all his sufferings, and for all his love. He desires no other return but that of thy heart but then it must be an humble and contrite heart; it must be a loving and obedient heart.

Consider 3rdly, the Eternal Father presenting his Son to us in his passion, all covered with wounds and imbrued in his blood, with another ‘Ecce homo!’ Behold the man! Setting before our eyes all that he has suffered out of pure love for us, representing to us his infinite goodness and mercy, and the heinousness of our sins and ingratitude to him; encouraging us to hope in him, inviting us to love him, and to detest our sins for the love of him, and offering us all good things through him; only desiring that we would cease to persecute him by sin. O give attention, my soul, to this loving voice of thy God, and to all the sufferings of his Son; but in return do thou also present him to his Father, with the like ‘Ecce homo!’ Behold the man! laying before him all that his Son has endured for thee in the whole course of his passion; and putting in thy claim to all that mercy, grace, and salvation which he has purchased for thee by all these sufferings. In particular insist upon this one favour to be granted thee, through his passion and death, that thou mayest never more be disloyal to him.

Conclude by representing all thy miseries and sins to thy Redeemer, and through him to his Father with another ‘Ecce homo!’ Behold the man! and begging a redress from him, and through his precious blood of all thy miseries, and the remission of all thy sins.

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