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TENTH MEDITATION.

[§ 50.] OF THE PASSION OF CHRIST.

SWEET Jesus! Sweet in the bending of His Head in death; sweet in His outstretched Arms; sweet in His opened Side; sweet in His Feet fastened together with a nail!

He is sweet in the bending of His Head; for, inclining His Head on the Cross, He seems as it were to say to His beloved: ‘O My beloved, how often hast thou longed to enjoy the Kiss of My Mouth, addressing Me through My companions: "Let Him kiss me with the Kiss of His Mouth" (Cant. i. 1); I am ready, I incline My Head to thee, I offer thee My Mouth; kiss Me, and take thy fill; and say not in thy heart, "I seek not that Kiss, for there is no beauty and no comeliness in His Mouth, but I seek that glorious Kiss which the angel-citizens long to enjoy for ever." Err not thus, for unless thou first have the Kiss of this Mouth thou wilt never be able to attain to that other; therefore kiss this Mouth which I now 134 offer thee, for although it be without comeliness and beauty, yet it is not without grace.’

Sweet in the stretching of His Arms. For stretching out His Arms He lets us know that He, ay He, desires our embraces, and seems as it were to say: ‘O come to Me, you that labour and are burdened, and refresh you within My Arms, within My embraces; you see that I am ready to fold you in My Arms; come then, come all of you; let none fear he will be turned back, "for I desire not the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way, and live" (Ezech. xxxiii. 11), and "My delights are to be with the children of men”’ (Prov. viii. 31).

Sweet in the opening of His Side; for indeed that opened Side has revealed to us the treasures of His goodness, His Heart and His Heart’s love for us.

Sweet in the fastening together of His Feet with a nail; for by this He speaks thus, as it were, to us: ‘Lo now, if you think I ought to fly from you, and so are slow to come to Me, knowing that I am swift and fleet-footed as a hind; you see that My Feet are so fixed together with a nail that I cannot fly from you at all, because My pity keeps Me fastened tight. Nor can I flee from 135 you as your sins have merited, for My Hands, they too are fixed with nails.’

O good Jesus! O Lord all lowliness! O Lord all pity! O sweet in Mouth, sweet in Heart, sweet in Ear; unsearchably and unutterably pleasant; all merciful and pitiful, almighty and all- wise, all-bountiful yet not prodigal; O altogether sweet and kind. Thou alone art sovereign good, ‘beautiful among the sons of men? (Ps. xliv. 3), fair and lovely, and chosen out of thousands, and altogether to be desired (Cant. v. 10, 16). All beauty befits the Beautiful.

O my Lord, now my whole soul yearns for Thy embraces and Thy kisses; I seek nothing but Thyself, even though no reward were promised me. Let there be no hell, nor yet no paradise, still for Thy sweet goodness’ sake, still for Thine own Self’s sake, would I desire to cleave to Thee. Be Thou my only ceaseless meditation, Thou my only word, Thou my only work. Amen.

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