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Friday

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A Devout Exercise of the Purgative Way
Appointed for each day of the week
by Denys the Carthusian

Of Our Lord's Passion
 
Behold and see, my soul, how much and how dearly Christ, God's only
begotten Son hath loved thee. He was made man for thee; and for thee he died a most bitter death. His sufferings verily were all the sharper from the tender fashion of his making.

See how those ruthless men seized Him and held Him, Christ Jesus, the
most loving Son of God! See how thy bound Him and dragged Him off. They plucked his beard and his hair, they blindfolded his lustrous eyes. They spat in his sweet face and struck his ruddy cheeks and holy lips, mocking and blaspheming as they cried: "Prophesy unto us o Christ who is he that struck Thee". Then, see how thy led Him bound like a robber before Pilate, bore false witness against Him, the Holy of Holies, God's only Son. See Him sent to Herod and how He is sent back to Pilate. They stripped Him shamefully before the whole crowd, tied Him to a pillar and scourged Him with grievous stripes till his bones showed through the flesh. He was crowned with sharp thorns which pierced into his sacred head, and they put a purple garment on him in mockery. Watch then, as they strike his thorn-crowned head with a reed, till the blood from his forehead courses down his face, fills his eyes, oozes into his mouth and ears; and then bending the knee before Him in mockery they say: "Hail, King of the Jews"!

My soul, behold how in such a plight, Jesus was led to the people,
"bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment": his face all dappled in blood, as the lowest of men. Recall how the raging and maddened crowd yelled out: "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" See Him as He standeth before Pilate and Herod and saith never a word, with his head bowed, the image of a patient and most meek lamb. He is condemned to death by Pilate, and see Him as they lead Him away bearing his own cross between two thieves and raise Him aloft amongst criminals. His whole body was stretched out cruelly to the dislocation of his members, the opening of veins, the numbering of all his bones. They gave Him gall and vinegar to drink and then cruelly mocked Him saying: "Let Christ the King of Israel come down now from the cross. If He be the Son of God, let Him come down. He saved others, Himself He cannot save".

Remember how hanging in agony on the cross, Christ spoke seven words, saying: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do". To the thief he said: "This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise". To his most sweet mother He said: "Woman, behold thy son", and to the disciple John: "Behold thy mother". To his Father He cried: Eli, Eli lamma sabacthani? That is: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Later, He said: "I thirst"; when they had given Him vinegar, He said: "It is finished". And lastly: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit"; and so "bowing his head, He gave up the ghost". Oh, what was his sorrow for his sweet mother! How lovingly and patiently did He not pray for his executioners! And though he suffered agonies of thirst in his body, He thirsted yet more after our salvation, so that He suffered more in soul by his compassion than by his bodily pains.

O my soul, be not ungrateful nor unmindful of all this. Behold who is He
that suffereth for thee. See the width and depth of his sufferings. Strive to follow in his footsteps. Learn to suffer patiently and to rejoice in adversity. In every temptation have recourse to the memory of these things: grave them deep on thy heart, and time and again call them back to mind.

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