The Servant.--Who will give my eyes as many tears as there
are letters, so that with bright tears I may write down the
miserable tears of the unfathomable heart-rending grief of my
Pure Lady and noble Queen of Heaven and Earth, touch my stony
heart with one of thy scalding tears, one of those which thou
didst shed in bitter distress for thy tender Child under the
wretched cross, so that my heart of stone may be softened, and may
hearken to thee; for heart-rending grief is of such a nature, that
no one can have a true knowledge of it, except him whom it
touches. Touch then my heart, O Lady Elect, with thy sorrowful
words, and tell me in short significant terms, simply as an
admonition, how it was with thee in thy mind, and how thou didst
support thyself at the foot of the cross, when thou didst behold
thy tender Child, the beautiful and tender Wisdom, so lamentably
Answer.--Thou shouldst hearken to it with sorrow and heartfelt
woe; for although I am now exempt from suffering, yet, at that
time I was not.
Before I had reached the foot of the cross, I had
endured many a great unspeakable anguish of heart, especially at
the spot where I first caught sight of the beating, kicking, and
ill-usage of my Child, on beholding which my strength forsook me,
and thus helpless was I carried after my dear Son to the foot of
But, in respect of what thou askest, how I felt in my
mind, and how I supported myself, listen to as much as it is
possible for thee to know; for the whole no heart that ever was
made can fathom. Understand, then, that all the sorrow that ever
could afflict a heart would only be as a drop in the ocean
compared to the unfathomable sorrow which my maternal heart at
that time endured; and, understand, at the same time, that the
dearer, the sweeter, the more precious the beloved one is, the
more insupportable is his loss and death.
Now, where on the whole
earth was there ever a more tender one born, a lovelier one seen
than my own best beloved one, Jesus Christ, by whom and in whom I
had entire possession of all that the world could bestow? I was
already dead to myself, and lived only in Him, and when at last my
own fair love was slain, then only did I utterly die; and, as my
only love was but one, and, moreover, dear to me above all other
loves, so my only sorrow was but one, and a sorrow above all
sorrows that ever were expressed.
His fair and gentle humanity
was, to me, a delightful spectacle; His dignified divinity was, to
my eyes, a sweet contemplation; to think of Him was my heart's
delight; to speak of Him was my pastime; to hear His sweet words
was music to my soul. He was my heart's mirror, my soul's comfort;
heaven and earth, and all that is in them, I possessed in His
sweet presence. Lo, when I saw my love suspended in mortal agony
before me, alas, the sight!
Alas, what a moment was that! How died
my heart within me! How was my courage extinguished! How did my
strength fail me! I looked up, but I could not help my child. I
looked down, and saw only those who so cruelly ill-used Him. O how
narrow then to me was all this world! I had lost all heart; my
voice had died from me; I had, moreover, lost all strength and
yet, when I came to myself, I raised thy feeble voice, and spoke
to my Child, complaining, such words as these: Alas, my Child!
Alas, thou Child of mine! Alas, my heart's delightful mirror, in
which I have so often taken delight to behold myself, how do I now
see Thee miserably suspended before me! Alas, thou treasure above
all this world!
My mother, my father, and all that my heart can
express (such art Thou to me), take me with Thee! Or, to whom wilt
Thou leave Thy wretched mother? Oh, who will permit me to die for
Thee, to suffer for Thee this bitter death? Oh, misery and
distress of a love-torn mother, how am I robbed of all joy, of all
love, of all consolation! Oh, thou greedy death, why sparest thou
me? Take, take away the poor mother with her poor Child; to her,
to live is bitterer than to die! Him, even Him, whom my soul loveth,
I see dying!
And as I thus lifted up my voice in lamentation, behold, my Child
consoled me very affectionately, and, among other things, said:
That in no other way might mankind be redeemed, and that on the
third day He intended to rise again and appear to me and His
disciples; and He said further: Woman, cease thy weeping; weep no
more, my fair mother, I will not forsake thee for ever!
And while my Child thus tenderly consoled me, and commended
me to the disciple whom He loved, and who also stood by, full of
sorrow (those words of His were conveyed to my heart in a tone so
lamentable, and so broken by sighs, that they pierced through my
heart and soul like a sharp sword), even the hard hearts of the
Jews were moved to compassion for me.
I cast up my arms and my hands, and, in the anguish of my heart,
would gladly have embraced my beloved, yet this I might not do.
And then I sank down, overwhelmed by my heart-rending grief, at
the foot of the cross and became speechless; and when I returned
to myself, and could do nothing else, I kissed the blood that
trickled down from His wounds, so that my pale cheeks and mouth
were all tinged with blood.
The Servant.--Ah, Thou unfathomable goodness, what infinite
torture, what infinite misery is this! Whither shall I turn, or to
whom shall I cast my eyes? If I look up at the beautiful Wisdom, I
only see woe and distress, at which my heart is like to sink
within me. They cry out and shout against Him outwardly, the agony
of death struggles with Him inwardly, all His veins are on the
rack, all His blood gushes away, it is nothing but ejaculations of
woe, and cheerless dying without recovery.
Then, if I but turn my eyes to His pure Mother, I see her tender
heart pierced, alas! with wounds as though a thousand blades had
transfixed it. I see her pure soul lacerated by woe. Never were
such gestures of misery and longing seen as hers; deprived was her
sick body of all strength, her fair countenance besmeared with
mortified blood. Oh, great misery above all misery! The torture of
His heart consists in the affliction of His sorrowing Mother; the
torture of His sorrowing Mother consists in the innocent death of
her beloved Son, more painful to her than her own death. He
beholds her and consoles her tenderly; she stretches out her hands
to Him, and would gladly die instead of Him.
Alas! which of the two feels here the most bitterly? Whose is the
greater distress? To both it is so unfathomable that there never
was any equal to it. Alas! the motherly heart. Alas! the tender
womanly mind. How was thy maternal heart ever able to support this
infinite sorrow? Blessed be that heart compared to whose sorrow
everything that ever was uttered of a heart's sorrow is only as a
dream to the reality.
Blessed be Thou, O rising blush of morning, above all creatures!
And blessed be the flower-enamelled rose-scented meadow of Thy
fair countenance, adorned with the ruby red blood of Eternal
Wisdom! Alas! Thou affable countenance of beautiful wisdom, how
dost Thou fade in death! Alas! Thou beautiful body, how dost Thou
hang suspended! Woe is me, Thou pure blood, how hotly dost Thou
run down on Thy pure Mother who bore Thee!
Lament, ye mothers, lament with me over this affliction! All ye
pure hearts, let this rose-coloured, pure blood which so be
sprinkles your pure Mother, go to your hearts!
Behold, all hearts, ye who ever had sorrow, behold and see, if
ever there was sorrow like unto this sorrow! Truly, it is a wonder
that our hearts melt not here for pity and compassion; so great,
indeed, was this distress, that hard stones were rent asunder, the
earth trembled, the sun was extinguished, because they would fain
show compassion for their Creator!