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MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION: THE SIXTH MEDITATION: How Our Lord Being At Supper Manifested The Treason Which Was To Be Committed Against Him

RUBENS, Peter Paul 
Last Supper 
1631-32
GOSPEL

When Jesus had said these things, he was troubled in spirit; and he testified, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, one of you shall betray me.  The disciples therefore looked one upon another, doubting of whom he spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him: Who is it of whom he speaketh? He therefore, leaning on the breast of Jesus, saith to him: Lord, who is it? Jesus answered: He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew to what purpose he said this unto him. For some thought, because Judas had the purse, that Jesus had said to him: Buy those things which we have need of for the festival day: or that he should give something to the poor. He therefore having received the morsel, went out immediately. And it was night.When he therefore was gone out, Jesus said: Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God also will glorify him in himself; and immediately will he glorify him. Jn.13.

FIGURE


Achitophel having been first councilor and very inward with King David, afterward conspired together with Absalon against him, and, procured with his consul to have him put to death.2Kings.15.17.

PROPHECIES 

For if my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it. And if he that hated me had spoken great things against me, I would perhaps have hidden myself from him. [14] But thou a man of one mind, my guide, and my familiar, Who didst take sweetmeats together with me: in the house of God we walked with consent. Psal.54

CONSIDERATIONS

1. He is troubled, which clearth the Heavens, maketh calm the Sea, allaieth the Winds, and comforteth and pacifieth every troubled and afflicted soul. Alas how hard is this your speech O most benign Lord, and how bitter are these meats which until the end of supper you have reserved for your Disciples: a little before you gave them honey and milk, by teaching them with your precious Body and Blood, but now they understanding that their loving Master, their Guide, and their Pastor, is by one of them to be delivered to death, you give them with these words most bitter gall and absinthe.

2. O poor Disciples which now are so sad,by understanding that one of you is to betray his master, how much greater would your heart grieve be, if you knew that within short time,you all are to abandon him and to remain alone like silly sheep without their shepherd. O what a supper is there now preparing for you,much more bitter then this, wherein you shall not eat with your master, neither the like food neither in company together with him as now you do: but severed a sunder, full of fear, weeping and seething; and then wanting the Bread of life, which now you have before you, you shall eat bread of sorrow moistened full often with most bitter tears. And you (good Jesus) which knew all this,how could you taste of the meat which in this supper was given you, perceiving poison which Judas kept in his heart, and the wicked thoughts which passed through his perverted mind? by means whereof no one morsel of meat entered into your mouth, which savored not of Treason, of Gall & Death yet for all this so great is your meekness that you suffer the hand of this traitor to go together with yours into the same dish and meat, and because you will not confound him in the presence of them all,you dissemble and cover the matter, admonishing him only with general speech that thereby he may acknowledge it, and retire back from committing so great iniquity.

3.Our most meek Lord is sad and troubled, not for fear of that, which he was to suffer, neither yet for the torments and grieves which were prepared for him, but for pure love and compassion of the Disciple which was to betray him, and so consequently to be lost. See with what words he exaggerate this fact, first by grieving sign of being troubled: then by saying that one of them was to betray him. First he is troubled because one is to be lost: for that he is as much grieved by loosing one, as with the loss of all: he being that good shepherd which for the recovery of one lost sheep, lest all the other in those Heavenly mountains , and came down to seek it out in this desert, with so great labor & travail. Secondly he hath cause to be troubled, because he is one of his, one I say of those whom he loved most tenderly and in whom he had more trust & confidence, and who had received of him greater graces and gifts.Thirdly he is troubled for the grievousness of the excess, which he is to commit: that is treason a sin most heinous & horrible. Fourthly for the great importance of the personage whom he was to betray, which was his most loving master his Lord and his God.

4. O most sweet Jesus , if you are so much troubled,and so sad, for one only traitorous act, committed by your Disciple against you: what trouble and sorrow may I think have brought unto your tender hart, so many treason of mine and so great injuries done against your divine Majesty, throughout my whole life? and if the loss of one only grieved you so much, what sorrow and cross was that which your blessed Soul continually did bare, by seeing so few which were to profit by your Blood, and so huge a multitude which despising it would be lost.

5. Consider how good and sweet is our Lord:and by how many ways and means he procureth to help a soul, before he condemneth it: seeing that for to recall Judas from so great wickedness,and to draw him unto penance he tried first to overcome him with love and with benefits, by receiving him unto his own table ,by washing of his feet,by speaking so lovingly unto him: Afterwards with making him ashamed,by laying down unto him the indignity of that fact,when as he said, He that puteth his hand with me in the dish, shall betray me: finally with threatening and with fear of pain, saying Woe to that man &c. On the other side, consider the hard hart and perfidious of Judas,seeing that, neither the familiarity and humility of Christ, neither the sweetness of his speech,neither his fatherly correction,nor finally the fear and terror of punishment,were of force to recall him from that wickedness which he had conceived in his hart.Woe to that soul which once begnnieth to give place to the Devil, & to severe himself from Christ,for that he wexeth so obdurate,that he maketh his salvation as it were impossible.

THE PRAYER

Thou, shalt pray unto Christ our Lord,that since that he like a good Pastor endeavored by so many means to reduce his Disciples from sin to repentance,he will vouchsafe also to retire thee from thy errors and imperfections, and withal give thee force, to resist and overcome all the suggestions and deceits of the enemy,which continually laith wait to deceive thy soul, & to make thee run headlong into the pit of sin,that being thus helped with his grace,thou mayest come unto that brightness wherewith the souls of his elect shall shine in Heaven.

DOCUMENTS

1.Then the traitor's hand is at table with Christ when being unworthy,we presume to approach unto his sacred Altar, for such on one side as friends make a show to desire to eat with Christ and on the other side with their sins betray him to his crucifiers.

2. We ought by imitation of the meekness of Christ,not to disdain, nor suddenly condemn,or desire that our neighbor or brethren should be punished,when they are imperfect, or when as they do us any injury, but we must procure to help them with loving affection, and pray for them that they may perceive their fault.

3. Let us consider that humility of Christ who would in the same table in the same dish, and of the same meat and chalice, participate with his poor Disciples: and let us be confounded when as we desire peculiar meats,and different for the common sort of others.

4. The Devil first put into the heart of Judas, thoughts of treason, and afterward entered into him for the executing of the deed. Let us procure to resist at the first evil thoughts and suggestions of the Devil, least that afterwards by delighting therein, by little and little we open the gates of consent and give the Devil entrance to rob & spoil our souls of the grace of God.

5. We must procure to do our works in the light, and not in the darkness of the night as Judas did, that is, let us not do any thing in secret which may not be done in the sight of all men: In like manner religious and spiritual persons in using their devotions must not do any thing which they would have secret or not known, unto their Superiors or ghostly Fathers: least by the subtility of the Devil, they incur some downfall as Judas did.

6. Let us be confounded that so smally we imitate the charity of Christ, being that he covertly corrected and by no means would make manifest his betrayer, we would have our own sins be hidden, and of the fruits of others we easily talk and would have everybody know them.

7. John, which is interpreted grace reposed on the bosom of Christ, to whom our Lord revealed the secret of his betraying, let us also price by purity of heart to be gracious in the sight of our Lord that we may be worthy by contemplation to repose ourselves on his sweet heart, and made partakers of his celestial secrets.

8. Christ called this Passion & humiliation, his glory and clarification, and that therewith he was to glorify God. O how different are the judgements of man & of God, for that men account their glory, to consist in honors, greatness, and prosperities of this life, but the eternal wisdom of God esteem it to be in the despising of a mans self, and in suffering.

Fr. Vincenzo Bruno S.J. 1599

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