REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
Pilate, seeing the Redeemer reduced to that condition, so moving, as it was, to compassion, thought that the mere sight of Him would have softened the Jews. He therefore led Him forth into the balcony; he raised up the purple garment, and, exhibiting to the people the body of Jesus all covered with wounds and gashes, he said to them, Behold the Man: Pilate therefore went forth again and saith to them: Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. Jesus, therefore, came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment; and he saith to them: Behold the man. (John xix. 4, 5). Behold the man!–as though he would have said: Behold the man against whom you have laid an accusation before me, and who wanted to make Himself a King. I, to please you, have sentenced Him, innocent though He be, to be scourged– ‘Behold the Man, not honoured as a king, but covered with disgrace.’ Behold Him now, reduced to such a state that He wears the appearance of a man that has been flayed alive; and He can have but little life left in Him. If, with all this, you want me to condemn Him to death, I tell you that I cannot do so, as I find not any reason for condemning Him. But the Jews, on beholding Jesus thus ill-treated, waxed more fierce: When, therefore, the chief priests and servants saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him! Crucify him! (John xix. 6). Pilate seeing that they could not be pacified, washed his hands in the presence of the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. And they made answer, His blood be upon us, and upon our children. (Matt. xxvii. 24, 25).
O my beloved Saviour, Thou art the greatest of all kings; yet now I behold Thee the most reviled of all mankind. If this ungrateful people knows Thee not, I know Thee; and I adore Thee as my true King and Lord. I thank Thee, O my Redeemer, for all the outrages Thou hast suffered for me; and I pray Thee to give me a love for contempt and pains, since Thou hast so lovingly embraced them. I blush at having in time past loved honours and pleasures so much, that for their sake I have often gone so far as to renounce Thy grace and Thy love. I repent of this above every other evil. I embrace, O Lord, all the pains and ignominies which will come to me from Thy hands. Do Thou bestow upon me that resignation which I need. I love Thee, my Jesus, my Love, my All.
But while Pilate from the balcony was exhibiting Jesus to that populace, at the self-same time the Eternal Father from Heaven was presenting to us His beloved Son, saying, in like manner: Behold the man. Behold this Man, Who is My only-begotten Son, Whom I love with the same love wherewith I love Myself: This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. Behold the Man, your Saviour, Him Whom I promised, and for Whom you were anxiously waiting. Behold the Man Who is nobler than all other men, become the Man of sorrows. Behold Him, and see to what a pitiable condition He has reduced Himself through the love which He has borne towards you, and in order to be, at least out of compassion, beloved by you again. Oh, look at Him, and love Him; and if His great worth move you not, at least let these sorrows and ignominies which He suffers for you move you to love Him.
Ah, my God and Father of my Redeemer, I love Thy Son, Who suffers for love of me; and I love Thee Who with so much love hast abandoned Him to so many pains for me. Oh, look not on my sins, by which I have so often offended Thee and Thy Son: Look upon the face of thy Christ. Behold Thine Only-begotten, all covered with wounds and shame in satisfaction for my faults and for His merits pardon me, and never let me again offend Thee. His blood be upon us. The Blood of this Man, so dear unto Thee, Who prays to Thee for us, and impetrates Thy mercy, let this descend upon our souls, and obtain for us Thy grace. O my Lord, I hate and abhor all that I have done to displease Thee; and I love Thee, O infinite Goodness, more than I love myself. For love of this Thy Son give me Thy love, to enable me to conquer every passion, and to undergo every suffering in order to please Thee.