Monday, April 10, 2017

The Lightning Storm



Christ Carrying the Cross is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, executed in the 1480s. It is at the Kunsthistorisches ("art history") Museum, in Vienna, Austria.

Here we have Richard Rolle's 14th century masterpiece of the Passion of Christ. Combine it with the drama of 




1. Sweet Lord Jesu Christ, I thank thee and yield thee grace for that sweet prayer and for that holy orison that thou madest before the holy passion for us on the mount of Olivet.

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary

2. Sweet Lord Jesu Christ, I thank thee and yield thee grace for that great fearfulness that thou hadst for our sakes, when thou became so full of anguish that an angel of heaven came to comfort thee, when thou sweatest blood for anguish.


3. I pray thee, Lord, and beseech thee, for thy sweet memory, that thou be mine help in all mine anguish and my temptations, and send me, Lord, the angel of counsel and of comfort in all my needs, that I may turn, through that sweat, out of all sickness of soul and body into life and health.  

 

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary


4. Sweet Jesu, I thank thee and yield thee grace for the pains and anguishes and shames and felonies that men did thee, and that by treachery; men binding thee as a thief, without mercy or pity. Lord, I thank thee for those sweet and piteous paces that thou wentest for love of us towards thine own pain and thine own death.

5. I pray thee, Lord, and beseech thee that thou unbind us of the bonds of all our sins, as thou suffered to be bound for love of us.


Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary

  
6. I thank thee, sweet Lord Jesu Christ, for the pains and for the shames that thou suffered before the high-priests and the masters of the Law, and thine enemies; for the buffets and for nakedness, and for many other shames that thou suffered. And, among other, I thank thee, Lord, for that look that thou looked to thy disciple that had forsaken thee, saint Peter; thou looked to him with a glance of mercy when thou wert in thy most anguish and thy most pain; openly thou shewed there the love and the charity that thou had to us, that neither shame nor pain nor anything else may withdraw thine heart from us, so far as in thee is. Sweet Lord, full of mercy and pity, may we through that blessed look of thine, turn to thy grace and repent us of our trespass and of our misdeed, so that with saint Peter we many come to thy mercy.
               
Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary

    
7. I thank thee, sweet Lord Jesu Christ, for all the pains and torments and scornings and slanderings and shames that men did and said to thee that night in that hard prison that they held thee in.

8. Lord, I pray and beseech that thou give me patience and strength for to withstand stedfastly against all the assailings and temptations of my foes and of mine enemies ghostly and bodily.

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary


9. Lord Jesu Christ, I thank thee for all the pains and shames that thou suffered before Pilate, and for all thy paces and thy steps that thou wentest for me in all that sorrow, now hitherward, now thitherward, now before one, and now before another.

10. I thank;  and I beseech thee, Lord, by all these pains and these shames and these grievances and the paces that thou wentest then in that same time for love of us, that thou guide and direct our goings and our steps to thee-wards, and to thy service.
   
Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary

11. Sweet Lord Jesu Christ, I thank thee for the pains that thou suffered for us, and for the sweet blood that thou bled for us, when thou wert so sore beaten and bounden to the pillar that the blood is yet seen on the pillar.

12. I pray thee and beseech thee as my dear Lord that that sweet blood that thou bled so plentifully for me may be full remission for my soul.

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary

  
  
13. Sweet Lord Jesu Christ, I thank thee for the pains and shames that thou suffered for us of thy sweet will, when thou were clad in purple for to shame thee, and with the crown of thorns for to pain thy sweet head, and when they kneeling in scorn called thee Lord, King, and Master:  and withal that on thy sweet face spitted so foully, and so foully defiled thy fair face with the foul spittle of the foul cursed Jews, and buffeted and smote and beat on thy sweet head withal:  And for thy bitter wounds I thank thee, for thy pains and for thy sweet blood that ran down and streamed from thy blessed face.

14. I pray and beseech thee, dear Lord, that thou defend us from sin, and from the shame that we have deserved for sin.

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary


15. Sweet Lord Jesu Christ,  I thank thee that thou wert so be-bled then, so crowned with thorns before all the folk, and thy sweet face so spitted on and so smeared with the foul spitting of their cursed mouths.  Then were thou on each side forced and hurried to violent death, and doomed to foul death of hangingblessed and thanked by thou!

16. I beseech thee, dear Lord, that of thy great mercy thou give me grace and wisdom for to judge and doom my self, for the salvation of my soul.

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary


17. Sweet Lord Jesu Christ,  I thank thee for the pains and the shames that thou suffered so sweetly and so gladly;  now for to drag thee, now for to push thee so shamefully; now for to smite thee, now for to beat thee so sore and so felly; and for to bear thine own rood on thy sweet naked backas it were a thief that bare his own gallows for to be hanged on it himselfto the mount of Calvary, where men executed wicked men and thieves, whether they were thieves or murderers:  and there thou suffered them to do thee on the cross.

Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus tibi quia per 
crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Pater noster.  Ave Maria. 

or 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You because
by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Our Father, Hail Mary

18. Dear Lord Jesu, mercy!  thou that art the well of mercy, why will not mine heart burst and cleave in two?  How shall it ever endure, when it runneth in my mind how woe-begone thou wert at thy stripping!  when the false Herod let take thy garment from thee, and it cleaved fast with the blood of that hard scourging to the flesh of thy body that sore was beaten and rawed, and rent thy blessed skin!  the garment cleaved to it, and was dried to it; thy flesh and was so tender, so sick and so sore, that they drew it off thy body piteously and painfully. . .  Ah!  Lord, I see thy red blood run down thy cheeks, streams after each stroke, before and behind.  Thy crown hath all rent the skin of thine head;  each thorn that is there pierceth to thy brain.  Alas!  that I should live and see my gracious Lord so suffering and so meek;that never trespassed, so shamefully bedight!  The moaning and the groaning, the sorrow and the sighing, the pain of his face!I would it were my death!  The Crown of all bliss, that crowns all the blessed, and is King of all kings, and is Lord of all lords, is by hell-hounds crowned with thorns!  The Worship of heaven, despised and defouled!  He that shaped the sun, and all that is aught, he of whose gift is all that is in earth,he had not where he might hide his head;  but is become so poor, to make us rich, that he goeth all naked, in sight of all the folk.
Ah! Lord, thy sorrow!  Why were it not my death?

19. Now they lead thee forth, naked as a worm, the tormentors about thee, and armed knights. The press of the people was wonderfully strong; they hurled thee about and harried thee so shamefully;  they spurned thee with their feet, as if thou had been a dog.  I see in my soul how ruefully thou goest;  thy body is all bleeding, so rawed and so bloodied; thy crown is so sharp that presseth on thy head; thy hair, all stickied with the blood, moveth in the wind; thy lovely face so wan and so swollen with buffeting and with beating, with spitting, with spouting;  thy blood runs down to it, so that I shudder at the sight: so loathely and so horrible have the Jews made thee, that thou art liker to a leper than to a clean man. The cross is so heavy, so high and stark, that they hanged on thy bare back, and trussed there so hard.  Ah!  Lord, the groaning that thou made, so sore and so hard did it rest on thy bones!  Thy body is so sick, so feeble and so weary, what with long fasting before thou wert taken, and all night awake without any rest;  with beating, with buffeting so greatly oppressed, that thou goest all stooping, and heavy is thy face:  the flesh where the cross rested is all rawed;  the veins and the arteries are wan and livid;  the pain of that burden oppresseth thee so sore that each foot that thou goest it pierceth to thy heart.  

20. Thus in this groaning and in this great pain thou goest out of Jerusalem towards thy death. The city is so great, the people so much, that the folk come running out of each street; then stand up the folk, and great is the reek, that men may wonder that think thereon.  With such a procession of worldly wondering, was never thief led to death.  Some there were of the common people that sighed sore and wept for thy woe, that knew thee so tormented, and that it was for envy; for the princes and the high-priests, that burdened men with the law, did thee to death for thy true sayings, when thou would reprove them of their errors.  They knew it was outrage and wrong that thou suffered, and followed thee weeping and sighing sore.  Then thou said a thing that afterwards came to pass:  thou bade them weep for themselves, and for the great vengeance that should fall for thy death on them and on their children, and on all the City that afterwards was destroyed, for the vengeance of their own guilt that they should be driven out of their place.

21. Ah!  Lord, the sorrow that fell on thy heart when thou cast thine eyes on thy mother!  Thou saw her follow after among the great press;  as a woman out of herself she wrung her hands, weeping and sighing she cast her arms about, the water of her eyes dropped at her feet;  she fell in dead swoon once afterwards for sorrow of the pains that smote to her heart.  The sorrow that she made, and her great dolour, increased many-fold all thine other pains.  So when she wist that this was so, then was her sorrow worse again, and thou also did weep for her;  so was the sorrow of you both, either for other, waxen many-fold with sorrow upon sorrow.  The love of your hearts that above all other loves was surpassing burning-keen, made you to burn, either for other, with sorrow unlike to any other woe;  as the love was surpassing, so was the sorrow peerlessit pierced to your hearts, as it were death. 

22. Ah!  Lady, mercy!  Why wert thou so bold as to follow so nigh among so many keen foes?  how was it that womanly cowardice or maidenly shame had not withdrawn thee apart?  for it was not seemly for thee to follow such a rout, so vile and so shameful and so terrible to see!  But thou had no care for the dread of any man, nor for aught else that could hinder thee, but, as if out of thyself for dolour and for sorrow of thy Son's passion, all thine heart was set firm.  The love of you both was so keen, either to other, and so burning-hot;  thy sighings were so fervent;  the dolour of your faces was deadly woe!  The love and the sorrow that pierced thy breast, hindered thee from recking aught of bodily dread, and of the world's shame, and of all manner of hindrances, so out of thyself hath thy sorrow made thee.

23. Ah!  Lady, for that sorrow that thou suffered for thy son's passionfor that should have been mine own, for I had deserved it, and much worse; I was the cause of it, and I was the guilty one. Since then the dear wounds are mine own right, get me one of them, for thy mercy!  a prick at mine heart of that same pain, a drop of that pity to follow him with.  Since all that woe is my right, get me of mine own, and be not thou so wrongful as to whithold it all.  Although thy woe be dear to thee, yet art not thou very rich?  share with this poor soul that hath little or none of it.  Thou that sighest so sore, give me of they sighings, that I, who began that woe, may sigh with thee.  I ask not, dear Lady, castles nor towers, nor other world's wealth, nor the sun nor the moon nor the bright stars, but wounds of pity is all my desire, pain and compassion of my Lord Jesus Christ. Holding myself worst and unworthiest of all men, I have appetite for pain, to beseech of my Lord a drop of his red blood to make my soul bloody, a drop of that water to wash it with.  Ah!  for that mercy, Lady, that art mother of mercy, succour of all sorrow, and cure of all ill, made the mother of all wretched and woeful souls, hearken to this wretch and visit thy child!  sow in mine heart, that is hard as stone, one spark of compassion for that dear passion, a wound of that pity to supple it with!

24. Ah!  Lord, that pain that evil executioners, so cruel and so keen, at the mount of Calvary, without mercy pained thee with!  They cast the cross down flat on the ground, and with strong ropes bound thine hands and thy feet, and laid thee thereon;  they drew and strained thee straight, on breadth and length, by hands and by feet;  and they drive in the nails, first in the one hand; then they draw hard, and after drive in that other.  The nails were blunt at the point, that they should burst the skin and the flesh;  they dug open thine hands and thy feet with the blunt nails, for the more pain.  Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos.

25. Glorious Lord, so dolefully dight, so ruefully strained upright on the rood, for thy much meekness, thy mercy, thy might, do thou mend all my misery by aid of thy blood!

26. Ah! Lord, the pity that I now see!  thy wounds in thy straining reach so wide;  thy limbs are so tender!  Thou liest, rawed and red, strained on the cross;  the sharp crown on thine head!  that presseth thee so sore;  thy face is so swollen that first was so fair;  thy sinews and thy bones start out so stark, that thy bones may be numbered;  the streams of thy red blood run as the flood;  thy wounds are bloodied and fearful to look on;  the sorrow that thy mother maketh increaseth thy woe!
 
27. Ah!  Lord, king of might, that wouldest leave thy might, and become as unmighty, my wrongs to right;  why do I speak thus and beat the wind?  I speak of the feelings of thee, and I find no taste; I blunder in my workings as a man that is blind:  I study in my thoughts, and waste all thy works.  It is the tokening of my death, and the filth of my sin, that hath slain my soul and choked it therein, and stoppeth all the savour, so that I may not feel thee, I that have so shamefully been thy traitor untrue.  It might be a prison, glorious Lord, to thy Godheadthe foulness of my shame, the sorrow of my soul, the filth of my mouth:  if I look thereon, it defileth thy name;  so may I in no manner taste the sweetness of thee, for I have lost through sin to have liking of such comfort; for I blunder gladly in lusts of many divers sins. But thou, glorious Lord, thou quickenest the dead, and hast converted many-fold and brought them to heavenly meed; those born blind thou enlightened, as I read in the Book:(it betokeneth ghostly works, no doubt).  Quicken me, Lord Jesu Christ, and give me grace that I may feel some of the savour of ghostly sweetness; lend me of thy light, that I may have somewhat of sight in my soul, to quench my thirst.  (But well I wot this that I have read, that whoso yearneth and seeketh aright, though he feel it not, yet hath he the love of thy Godhead, though he wot it not. This saying and others such set before us that if a man find no savour, let him think himself an outcast, rebuking and reviling and seeing his own weakness, and resigning himself as unworthy to have devotion, or any such special gift of our Lord God, whensoever he may find no devotion.  Then shall he soonest get the gift of his grace.)

28. Then there went after the cross many Jews enough, and raised it up, and lifted it up on high, with all the power that they had, and set it hard into the pit of the hole that was made before;  so that thy wounds burst and ran sore out, and thy body hanged all shakenwoe-begone was thee!  

29. Lord, woe was thee then, with the sore wounds of thy feet and of thine hands that were above all men's most tender, and that bare all the weight of thy blessed body that was so fair and so heavy.  That sore sorrow thy mother beheld that was so lovely so meek and so mild;  she fell down oftentimes, sighing now and then;  the sorrow pierced her breast, as it were death;  her head she hanged down dolefully, her hands she wrung, the tears were full abundant that there she wept. The sighings and the sorrows that she made there were an increase of thy woe, and made it many-fold more.  The place was so dreadful and full of groans, the foulness of the carcases smote in thy nostrils.  Thus pained was thou in thy five senses, to heal therewith our trespass that we with our senses have wrought.

30. Against that we trespassed with our seeing, thou would of the Jews beblindfolded.

31. Against the sin of our nostrils, the smell of the carcases as thou hanged on the rood smote in thy nostrils, so that it was to thee full grievous.

32. Against our tasting, thou tasted of the gall, so weak wert thou made of thy great bleeding.

33. Against lecherous hearing, that we have grieved thee with, thou would hear with thine ears much wrong;  when men accused thee falsely of sin, shouting out at thy crowning in scorn and hatred, and said, Hail be thou, king!  and spitted in thy face;  the hearing of the foul cry when they all cried, Do him on the rood!  the cross shall be his doom!  and also when they said, He could save other men;  let him save himself now if he can! By the hearing of these and of other wicked words, thou would in that sweet sense for us be pained.  

34. Against the sin of feeling and of evil goings, thy hands and feet were pierced with hard nails, and from the head to the feet, with crowning and scourging, with buffeting and beating, with spurning and thrusting, with hard cords knitting, and on the cross straining, thou would, glorious Lord, for me be hard pained.  There hanged thou so poor and so woe-begone, that of all this world's goods, that were all thine own, thou had nought but a poor cloth to cover thy limbs.  Thou art King of kings and Lord of lordshell and heaven and all this world are all thine ownthou would in time of thy death be so poor for my sake, that thou had not so much earth that thou might die on it;  but, on the hard rood, hanging in the air, there was thy deathbed dolefully dight:  the rood had a foot of earth, or little more, that it stood upon, and that was to thy pain!  By thee it was sorrowfully said, glorious Lord, that foxes have their dens, and fowls have their nests, but thou at thy death had nothing to rest thy head upon!

35. Jesu, why is not this the death of me?the dolour and the sorrow, when I think in my thought how sorrowfully thou spake when thou said, All ye that pass by this way, stay and behold if ever any pain that ever any suffered, or any wordly woe, be like the sorrow that I suffer for sinful man's sake!  Nay, Lord, nay!  there was never none so hard, for it was peerless:  of all pains that ever were, was never one found so hard.

36. And yet thou said, Lord, so sweetly and so meekly, vinea me electa, ego te plantavi, that is My dear vineyard, saidst thou (that is, My dear chosen), have I not myself planted thee?  Why art thou so bitter?  Popule meus, quid feci tibi?  that is, My sweet, what have I done to thee?  have I angered thee, that thou dost me this woe?  Have I not given thee all myself;  and all that ever thou hast; and life without end, if thou wilt take it; my body for thy food;  and myself to death on the rood;  and promised thee all myself in heaven, for thy meed?  Have I with my good deed hurt thee so sore, or with my sweet persuasion grieved thine heart?

37. Lord, thou besought thy Father in heaven for the foul traitors, the tyrants, the tormentors, that he should forgive them thy death, and all that they trespassed;  and thou said that the wretches wist not what they did:  and also to the thief that hanged by thy side, that had done theft ever since he was able, that he should be in bliss with thee that same day.  Thou said not that he should have long pain for his sin, but at the first asking that he craved for mercy, and knew thee for God, and his own trespass, at once thou gave him the grant of grace and mercy, for to be in bliss without any longer delay.

38. Lord, thou art the well of mercy, for thy mercy say to me that am thy thief what thou said to him (the good thief)for I have stolen thy good deeds, and used thy grace amiss, the wits and the virtues that thou hast lent to me.  Thou that wert so gracious and so courteous and so mild to grant him that grace in thy greatest woe; now that thou art in bliss there is nought that grieveth thee(but our misdeeds are what hinder thee)nor art thou dangerous nor strange to seek a boon of, but manifold more gracious;  for seldom do men see any man that is not more gracious in his happiness than in his greatest woe.  

39. Ah! Lord, thy mother was woe!  and thou for her also was woe!  When she should thee forego, and thou took thy leave, entrusting her to Saint John as her son instead of thee to serve and care for her;  in token of it thou said, Woman, behold thy son! and to John, Behold thy mother!  Thou entrusted to a maiden a maiden to keep: thy wisdom would not leave thy mother by herself, but that there should be one assigned to her for comfort.

40. Ah! Lady, woe was thee when thou heard that word in thine heart! that sorrow might have been thy death,the sorrow of that leave-taking and of thy son's woe.  The tears of thine eyes ran full fast, thy sighings and thy sorrows rested full nigh to thy heart;  thou fell down sorrowing, with all thy limbs relaxed;  thine arms fell beside thee; thine head hanged down;  thy colour waxed full wan, thy face dead-pale:  the sword of thy son's woe struck through thine heart.  Animam tuam pertransibit gladius:  that is, the sword shall glide through thine heart. 

41. Ah!  Lady, no tongue may tell that sorrow that thou suffered there at that same exchange; when thou should take another instead of thy son, thy flesh and thy blood;  a mortal man for almighty God, a disciple for the master,  John for Jesus Christ:  that exchange was as doleful to thee as a death-throe.  Lady, why had I not been by then and heard what thou heard, and seen that same sight, and taken my part of thy much sorrow, if I might perchance have slaked thy woe? For men say so,that it is often solace to have company in pain. 

42. Lord, after that, thou cried so dolefully on the rood, and said that thou thirstedas was little wonder.  Then to thee was given to drink vinegar and gall, by them for whose sake thou would bleed thine heart-blood.

43. Ah! Lord, thou took it and tasted thereof; for thou would be pained for us in each sense.  That thirst was two-fold;  in body and in soul.  Thou thirstesth with a great yearning after the amendment of them that did thee to death, and also for the souls that were then in hell, that had in their lives kept thy laws.  Blessed is that same man, glorious Lord, sweet Jesu, that may suffer anything in his life for thy sake, of bodily pain or any world's shame;  or, for the love of thy name wholly forsake any fleshly lust, ghostly or bodily; or may in any point follow thee with the shadow of the crossthat is, sharp living.

44. Ah!  Lord, the pity, the deadly dolour that ought to sink into many hearts, when that men think on that word that thou said on the rood, and to the Father so ruefully made thy moan:  Eloy, Eloy, Lamazabatani:  that is, My God, my dear God, why hast thou altogether forsaken me, that thou sparest me nothing?

45. Glorious Lord, thy manhood for us was all-forsaken; so vile a death and painful never man suffered.  Thy Godhead willed it for sinful man's sake, without any sparing of thee that was so woe-begone:  never was martyrdom nor bodily pain like thine!  Thy manhood was so tender, both ghostly and bodily;  and the pain nevertheless above all pains!  The dignity so excellent, the Father's Son, of heaven!  between two thieves thou hanged on the cross, and that in mid-worldit was no privy shame.  As the chieftain of all thieves, in the midst of them thou hanged all naked;  thy skin drawn asunder, and each limb from other;  the sharp crown on thine head that thou was crowned with!  Thy wounds were so dreadful and so wide-drawn;  the blood that thou bled was doleful to see.  The sorrows of thy mother was to thee more pain than all bodily woe;  that surpassed all other:  the loss of men's souls that pained thee so!

46. Lord, of thy much mercy heart may not think, nor that endless love and lovely pity that thou settest on the good that follow thy will: when thy sorrow was so much for them that were thy foes.

47. Lord, I will in my heart take the rood-foot in mine arms, as thou lay there flat upon the ground with the stench of the dead men's bones that lay there so dreadful under thy nostrils:  nothing shall grieve me then nor change mine heart, so that it shall be to me for great comfort with happy thought.  I will not upward cast a glance to see that glorious sight, thy wounds to behold:  for, glorious Lord, I am manifold guilty, and the cause thereof, and am unworthy to see that sight.  

48. I would lay me flat on the ground among the dead, that lie there so foul, and, to keep the virtue and the grace of thy blood, never will I thence rise nor go any whither till with thy precious blood I become all red, till I be marked therewith as one of thine own, and my soul be softened in that sweet blood.  So may it come to pass, glorious Lord, that mine hard heart may open therewith, that is now hard as stone, becoming all soft and quick in the feeling.

49. Lord, thy sweet passion raised the dead out of their graves, and they walked about;  it opened hell-gates;  the earth trembled therewith;  the sun lost his light;  and my sorry heart, that is of the devil's kin, harder than the stone that clove at thy death, cannot feel one little point of thy passion, nor do I rise with the dead in pity of it, nor am I rent as the temple, nor tremble as the earth, nor open the gates that are so hard fastened!

50. My Lord, is now the malice of my evil heart more than the virtue of thy precious death that wrought such wonders and many as one moreand the memory thereof stirreth not my heart?  Why, Lord, a drop of thy blood to drop on my soul in mind of thy passion may heal all my sore, supple and soften in thy grace what is so hardand so to die when thy will is.  

51. I wot well, glorious Lord, that my heart is not worthy for thee to come and lie therein;  it is not of the dignity of thine holy sepulchre in which, in thy manhood, thou wert enclosed;  but, Lord, thou lighted to hell, to visit and to set it right; and in that same manner I ask thee to come.

52. I know well, glorious Lord, that I was never worthy to be thy mother's companion, to stand at thy passion with her and with John;  but, Lord, if in that manner I may not be there for my great unworthiness to see that holy sight, yet I hold me worthy for my great trespass to hang by thy side as the thief hanged.  So, Lord, if in virtue of my worthiness I may not be there, I ask in virtue of my guilt to share thy death;  so that though I be not worthy that my heart be visited, yet my need and my wickedness ask that thou set it right.

53. Come then, at thy will, heavenly physician, and visit me so soon as thou knowest my need; kindle in my heart a spark of thy passion, of love and of pity, to quicken it with;  so that all-burning in love above everything, I may forget all the world and bathe me in thy blood.  Then shall I bless the time that I feel me so stirred by thy grace, that all worldly weal and fleshly liking contrary to the thought of thy death pleasure me not. 

54. When, Lord, thou had committed into thy Father's hands, at the point of death, thy glorious spirit, and said, Pater in manus tuas, etc., that is, Father, into thy hands I commit my soul;  then, in true tokening of our souls' healing, that all was fulfilled in the bliss of thy blood, thou saidest at the last,  Consummatum est, that is, All is ended. Then fell down thine head, and the spirit went out.  Then the earth trembled;  the sun lost his light;  so that all-mirk was the weather, as it had been night;  the dead rose, in witness that they knew the Godhead;  then the temple was cloven, the rocks were riven.  With a sharp spear they struck thine heart;  the blood and water went out thereof.

55. Thus, glorious Lord, it stirreth in my mind:  I see thy blood pour out of hands and of feet, thy side pierced with the spear, thy wounds dried and all run out, thy body all be-bled, thy chin hanging down and thy teeth bare;  the white of thine eyes is cast upward, thy skin that was so lovely is become all pale, the crown on thine head is fearful in my sight, the hair is clotted with the blood and bloweth all about.  The memory of that matter, I would it were my death!

56. Lord, I see thy mother stand by thy side;  she sobbeth and sigheth and falleth down:  John on the other side is so full of sorrow.  They wring their hands and make much dole.  When they look upward the sight of the rood pierceth to their hearts, as it were death.  They fall down, weeping and groaning full soreand I am reason of every woe.

57. Lady, for thy mercy, since I deserved all that befell thee, and all is my right;  grant me, of thy grace, a sight of thy sorrow, a particle of thy pain to occupy me with, that I may in a particle feel somewhat, and a part of thy sorrowall of which I have made! 

58. Ah!  Lord, they cast lots on thy clothes (as the Book said long before), and left thee naked between two thieves;  so foul as thy death was, never man suffered.  Then began the folk to flock towards the town from the mount of Calvary where thou hanged on the rood.  That sight is so wonderful, they flowed so thick, each man to his own home, each his own way.  Then was thou in thy Godhead full swiftly at hell, to glad the souls that looked for thy coming.  The bliss and the gladdening, the mirth and the liking, that they then had, no man may tell with tongue!  Thou opened hell-gates, Lord, through thy might, and took out of pain many that were there;Adam and Eve, and all that were dear to thee, that had in their lives kept thy laws.

59. Lord, after that, Joseph of Arimathy took leave of Pilate to take thee down as it were at time of evensong, with help of Nicodemus, of thy mother and of John, that stood there sorrowfully. They took thy blessed body off the rood, they straightened thine arms that were become stark, and stretched them down by thy sides.  They bare thee to the place that thou were buried in;  they washed off the cold blood and made thee clean; they laid thee in the sepulchre that was new, that Joseph had ordained for himself;  they anointed thee with ointment that smelled sweet.  The sorrow that thy mother had, is sorrow indeed to hear!

60. Lady, the tears that there thou wept, made thy breast and thy cheeks all wet.  Thou fell down at his feet, and kissed them full sweet, and ever, as thou kissed, sore thou wept!

61. Then was there ward set of armed knights, to keep the sepulchre till the third day.

Here endeth the meditation of Richard, Hermit of Hampole, on the Passion of the Lord:  who died in the Year of the Lord 1348.

No comments:

Post a Comment