JACOPO DI CIONE
San Pier Maggiore Altarpiece:
The Nativity 1370-71
Of the Nativity of our Savior Christ
THE XVI. MEDITATION.
Of the Journey of our blessed lady the Virgin from Nazareth to Bethlehem
THE I. POINT
First, for the foundation of the meditations ensuing, I will consider, how the word incarnate being in the womb of his mother, would make the newest, most admirable, and holiest entrance into the world, that ever was, or shall be, painful to himself, and profitable to us, to settle the foundation of that Evangelical perfection, which he was to preach. SO that his first, entrance into the world, was (as St. Cyprian seethe) a pattern of our first entrance into Christian religion, that his Disciples might enter by the way he entered, exercising those virtues that he exercised. And to this end he left all that the world loveth, and seeketh, and and seeketh. and sought forth all that which the world abhorreth, and flyeth. And therefore to be born, he disposed how to get out of Nazareth, to leave those commodities that he might have had, being born in the house of his mother, and among his kindred, and friends, where he could not have wanted the shelter of some warm lodging, and coverture, besides some daintiness for his nourishment, which John Baptist failed not of, being born in his fathers house. But he abandoned it all, demonstrating how much he abhorreth the pampering of the flesh, and what a lover he is of poverty: seeing he forsook that little that his poor mother had,and like a stranger would be born in Bethlehem, and in such a season, when all things should be wanting unto him. With this example I will confound myself, for being so great a lover of mine own commodities, and delicacies, that not only I do not fly from them, but I carefully seek for them, and if I find them not, I afflict myself.
O Jesus of Nazareth, flourishing with the flowers of celestial virtues, which comment out of Nazareth to abandon the flowers of earthly delights; I humbly beseech thee, by this thy coming from thence, that thou wilt be pleased to favor my imbecility, that I may renounce the flowers, and flatteries of my flesh, desiring only the flowers of thy virtues, with the which thou mayest so adorn my soul, that thou maiest vouchsafe to be born therein, Amen.
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