CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
We now come to consider the separate sufferings Jesus Christ endured in His Passion, and which had been foretold for many ages by the Prophets, and especially by Isaias, in the fifty-third chapter of his Prophecy. This Prophet, as St. Irenaeus, St. Justin, St. Cyprian, and others say, spoke so distinctly of the sufferings of Our Redeemer that he seems to be another Evangelist. Hence St. Augustine says that the words of Isaias, which refer to the Passion of Jesus Christ, call rather for meditation and tears than for explanations of sacred writers; and Hugo Grotius records that even the old Hebrews themselves could not deny that Isaias (especially in the fifty-third chapter) spoke of the Messias promised by God. Some have wished to apply the passages of Isaias to persons named in Scripture and not to Jesus Christ; but Grotius answers that there is no other to be found to whom these texts may be referred.
Isaias writes: Who hath believed our report; and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? (Is. liii. 1). This was fulfilled, as St. John writes, when the Jews, notwithstanding all the miracles which they had seen wrought by Jesus Christ, which proved Him to be truly the Messias sent by God, would not believe in Him: Whereas he had done so many miracles before them they believed not in him: that the word of Isaias the prophet might be fulfilled, when he said: Lord, who hath believed our report; and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? (Jo. xii. 37, 38). Who will believe, says Isaias, what has been heard by us; and who has recognized the arm, that is, the power of the Lord? In these words he foretold the obstinacy of the Jews in not choosing to believe Jesus Christ to be their Redeemer. They fancied that this Messias would exhibit upon earth great pomp, and the splendour of His greatness and power; and that, triumphing over all His enemies, He would thus load the people of the Jews with riches and honours; but no, the Prophet adds these words to those above named: He shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground (Is. liii. 2). The Jews thought that the Saviour would appear like a cedar of Libanus; but Isaias foretold He would show Himself like a humble shrub, or a root which grown in arid soil, stripped of all beauty and splendour: There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness (Is. liii. 2).
He then goes on to describe the Passion of the Lord: We have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him (Is. liii. 2). We desired to recognize Him, but we could not, for we have seen nothing but a Man despised and vile upon the earth, and a Man of Sorrows: Despised, and the most abject of men –a man of sorrows; whereupon we esteemed him not (Is. liii. 3).
Adam, through his pride in not obeying the Divine commands brought ruin upon all men; therefore the Redeemer, by His humility, chose to bring a remedy for this great evil, and was content to be treated as the lowest and most abject of men; that is, by being reduced to the lowest depths of humiliation. Therefore St. Bernard cried out: “O Thou Who art lowest and highest! Thou humble and sublime One! O shame of men and glory of Angels! None is loftier; none more humble!” If, then, adds the Saint, the Lord, Who is higher than all, has made Himself the lowest of all, each one ought to desire that all others should be preferred to himself, and fear to be preferred to any. But I, O my Jesus, fear lest any should be preferred before me, and desire to be preferred above all. O Lord, give me humility. Thou, O my Jesus, with such love, hast embraced contempt to teach me to be humble, and to love a hidden and an abject life; and shall I desire to be esteemed by all, and to display myself in everything? O my Jesus, grant me Thy love; it will make me like to Thee. Let me no more live ungrateful for the love Thou hast borne to me. Thou art Almighty; make me humble, make me holy, make me all Thine own.