ON OUR SAVIOUR’S BURIAL
Consider first, how after our Lord had expired upon the cross one of the soldiers opened his side with a spear, making a wide and deep wound, out of which there presently issued blood and water, to wash and cleanse us from all our stains. See, my soul, how the heart of thy Saviour is now laid open for thee. O! enter into it in spirit, through this gate: O make it thy dwelling place for evermore. Consider in this mysterious blood and water issuing from the side of our Lord the heavenly sacraments, which issued from his wounds, (inasmuch as they have all their virtue from his sacred passion,) but especially the sacrament of his body and blood, and that of the sacred laver of baptism. See also here how our second Adam being now cast into the deep sleep of death, his side is opened to form from thence his Church, designed to be his everlasting bride.
Consider 2ndly, how Joseph of Arimathea, (who before durst not declare himself a disciple of Christ,) having obtained of Pilate leave to take away his body for decent burial, being accompanied by Nicodemus, and joined in this last duty by St. John and other disciples, unnailed the sacred body, and took it down from the cross. Run in, Christian soul, in spirit, and offer thy service upon this occasion; receive into thy arms the dead body of thy Redeemer, and lay it on the sacred lap of his Virgin Mother; and learn from her whole comportment at this melancholy ceremony the sentiments of a most affectionate devotion towards the passion and death of her Son. Join in embalming thy Saviour’s body and wrapping it up in clean linen, and laying it in a new monument, by learning the exercise of those virtues which are signified by those aromatical spices and perfumes, and by that clean linen and new monument. Especially whenever thou approachest to the body of our Lord in the blessed sacrament, see thou take along with thee the sweet odours of devotion, a pure conscience, and the cleanness of the new man.
Consider 3rdly, how our Lord lying now in his monument verifies that of the Psalmist, Ps. lxxxvii, ‘I am counted among them that go down to the pit; I am become as a man without help, free among the dead. Like the slain sleeping in the sepulchres, whom thou rememberest no more; and they are cast off from thy hand. They have laid me in the lower pit, in the dark, and in the shadow of death. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me,’ &c. Yes, my soul, thy Saviour lies now shut up in a lonesome monument in darkness, like one dead for ever! and as such is left and forsaken by his living friends and acquaintance. See thou leave him not, but stay with him, and watch at his sepulchre in prayer. Weep there over him with tears of compassion for his sufferings, of compunction for all thy sins, and of a tender love for his infinite goodness and his love for thee.
Conclude to keep thyself always near to thy Saviour, by daily meditating on his life and death; and thou mayest confidently hope that he will always be near to thee, both in life and death.