Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Week: A Sermon on the Resurrection, part 6

Ver. 15. 'Jesus saith to her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?' She supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, 'Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where you hast laid Him, and I shall take Him thence.'

Still she weeps; so He begins with Quid ploras? asks the same questions the Angels had before; only quickens it a little with quem quæris, 'whom seek you?' So, Quem quaeris quaerit a te, Quem quaeris? Whom she sought, He asks her. 'Whom she sought.' Si quæris, cur non cognoscis? si cognoscis, cur quæris? saith Augustine. If she seek Him, why knows she Him not? If she know Him, why seeks she Him still? A common thing with us, this also; to seek a thing, and when we have found it, not to know we have so, but even Christum a Christo quærere, 'to ask Christ for Christ.' Which however it fall in other matters, in this seeking of Christ it is safe. Even when we seek Christ, to pray to Christ to help us to find Christ; we shall do it full evil without Him.

This quid ploras? it comes now twice. The Angels asked it, we stood not on it then. Now, seeing Christ asks it again the second time, we shall think there is something in it, and stay a little at it. The rather, for that it is the very opening of His mouth, the very first words that ever came from Him, that He spoke first of all, after His rising again from death. There is sure some more than ordinary matter in this quid ploras? if it be, but even for that.

Thus say the Fathers: 1. That Mary Magdalene standing by the grave's side, and there weeping, is thus brought in to represent unto us the state of all mankind before this day, the day of Christ's rising again, weeping over the dead, as do the heathen, 'that have no hope;' comes Christ with His quid ploras? As much to say, as ne ploras; `Weep not, why should you weep?' There is no cause of weeping now. Henceforth none shall need to stand by the grave to weep there any more. A question very proper for Easter-day, for the day of the Resurrection. For if there be a rising again, quid ploras? is right, why should she, why should any weep then?

So that this quid ploras of Christ's, wipes away tears from all eyes, and as we sing in the thirtieth Psalm, whose title is, the Psalm of the Resurrection, puts off our 'sackcloth,' that is our mourning weeds, girds us 'with gladness,' put us all in white with the Angels.

Ploras then, leave that for Good-Friday, for His Passion; weep then, and spare not. But quid ploras for Easter-day is in kind the feast of the Resurrection, why should there be any weeping upon it? Is not Christ risen: Will He not raise us with Him? Is He not a gardener, to make our bodies sown to grow again? Ploras, leave that to the heathen that without hope; but to the Christian man, quid ploras? Why should we weep? he hath hopes; the Head is already risen, the members shall in their due time follow Him.

I observe that four times this day, at four several appearings, 1. at the first, at this here, He asked her, quid ploras? why she wept. 2. Of them that went to Emmaus, quid tristes estis? Why are ye sad? 3. Within a verse following, the nineteenth, He saith to the Eleven, Pax vobis, 'Peace be to them:'4. And to the women that met Him on the way, cairete, that is, rejoice, be glad. So, no weeping, no being sad; now, nothing this day, but peace and joy; they do properly to this feast.

And this I note the more willingly now this year, because the last Easter we could not so well have noted it. Some wept then; all were sad, little joy there was, and there a quid, a good cause for it. But blessed be God That hath now sent us a more kindly Easter, of this, by taking away the cause of our sorrow then, that we may preach of Quid ploras? and be far from it. So much for Quid ploras? Christ's question. Now to her answer.

She is still where she was; at sustulerunt before, at sustulisti now--si tu sustulisti; we shall never get that word from her.

But to Christ she seems somewhat more harsh than to the Angels. To them she complains of others; 'they have taken.' Christ she seems to charge, at least to suspect of the fact, as if He looked like one who had been a breaker up of graves, a carrier away of corpses out of their place of rest. Her if implies as much. But pardon love; as it fears where it needs not, so it suspects often where it hath no cause. He, or any that comes in our way, hath done it, hath taken Him away when love is at loss. But Bernard speaks to Christ for her; Domine, amor quem habebat in Te, et dolor quem habebat de Te, excuset eam apud Te, si forte erravit circa Te: 'that the love she bare to Him, the sorrow she had for Him, may excuse her with Him, if she were in any error concerning Him in her saying.' Si tu sustulisti.

And yet see how God shall direct the tongue! In thus charging Him, prophetat et nescit, 'she says truer than she was aware.' For indeed, if any took Him away, it was He did it. So she was not much amiss. Her si tu was true, though not in her sense. For quod de Ipso factum est Ipse fecit, 'All that was done to Him, He did it Himself.' His taking away, virtus fuit, non facinus 'was by His own power, not by the act of any other,' et gloria, non injuria, 'no other man's injury it was, but His own glory,' that she found Him not there. This was true, but this was no part of her meaning.

I cannot here pass over two more characters of her love, that so you may have the full ten I promised.

One, in si tu sustulisti Eum, in her Eum, in her 'Him.' Him? Which Him? Her affection seem so to transport her, as she says no man knows what. To one, a mere stranger to her, and she to him, she talks of one thrice under the term of 'Him;' 'if thou hast taken Him away, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I shall fetch Him.' Him, Him, and Him, and never names Him, or tells who He is. This is Solæcismus amoris, an irregular speech, but love's own dialect. 'Him' is enough with love; who knows not who that is? It supposes everybody, all the world bound to take notice of Him Whom we look for, only by saying 'Him;' though we never tell His name, nor say a word more. Amor, quem ipse cogitat neminem putans ignorare.

The other is in her ego tollam: if He would tell her where He had laid Him, she would go fetch Him, that she would, Alas poor woman, she was not able to lift Him. There are more than one, or two either, allowed to the carrying of a corpse.

As for His, it had more than a hundred pound weight of myrrh and other odours upon it, beside the poise of a dead body, She could not do it. Well, yet she would do it though. O mulier, non mulier, saith Origen, for ego tollam seems rather the speech of a porter, or of some lusty strong fellow at least, than of a silly weak woman. But love makes women more than women, at least it makes them have…the courage above the strength, far. Never measures her own forces, no burden too heavy, no assay too hard for love, et nihil erubescit nisi nomen difficultatis 'and is not ashamed of anything, but that anything should be too hard or too heavy for it.'Affectus sine mensura virium propriarum. Both these argue dilexit multum. And so now, you have the full number of ten.

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