Friday, April 2, 2010

Ecce Homo

(An excerpt from the classic book, The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, by St. Alphonsus Liguori.)

Pilate, seeing the Redeemer reduced to that condition, so moving, as it was, to compassion, thought that the mere sign 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 went forth again to them, and saith to them: Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him. Jesus, therefore, went forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment; and he saith unto them: Behold the Man (John 19:4-5). 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 although He be, to be scourged: "Behold the Man, not honored 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 the officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him! Crucify Him! (John 19:6) 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 (Mt. 27:24). And they made answer, His blood be upon us, and upon our children (Mt. 27:25).
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 that 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 honored 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 that 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.

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