MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION: OF THE AGONY WHICH CHRIST OUR LORD SUFFERED IN THE GARDEN.
GIOVANNI DI PAOLO
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
OF THE AGONY WHICH CHRIST OUR LORD SUFFERED IN THE GARDEN.
And there appeared to him an Angel from heaven, strengthening him, and being in an agony, he prayed the longer, and his sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the earth.
The Patriarch Jacob seeing Esau coming against him, being fluff fear, by prayer made recourse unto our Lord, who sent an Angel to give him comfort, saying,if thou hast stood strongly against God, much more shalt thou prevail against man.
1. Sicvt aqua estusus sum, et dispersa sunt omnia ossa mea, factum est cor meum tan qua cera liquescens, in medio ventris mei, aruit tanquam testa virtus mea. I am poured orth like water, and all my bones are dispersed, my heart is made like melting wax, in the midst of my belly, my virtue is dried up like unto a baked earthen pot.
2. Vide per noceto, et ecce vir ascendens super Equum rufum, et ipse stabat inter mirteta que erant in profundo. I saw in the darkness of the night a man upon a red colored horse, which stood amongst the myrtle trees in the deep of the valley.
1. Consider first how thy God which only possesseth blessedness, and with his abundant consolations, rejoiced the Angels, and taketh glad every afflicted soul, taking on him the infirmity of thy flesh, and the anguish and bitterness of thy iniquity, sheweth himself in such sort to be man, that as it were forgetting himself to be likewise God, he consenteth to be animated and comforted of one of his creatures. O Angel of God, how do you comfort him, who is your true and only comforter? and how became you not astonished, seeing him under you upon the Earth, whom above you in Heaven with fear and trembling you adore and reverence? O how well my Lord said the Prophet of you, that you were made lesser then the Angels, seeing that of an Angel you would receive comfort & consolation. O good Jesu how much did you humble yourself for me, and in how base a room did you place yourself? truly as it is written, you took upon yourself our weakness and bore the burden of our sorrows seeing that to heal our infirmities, you would endure so great anguish, that it made you sweat blood, and for to cure our sorrow you would take upon you sucj pain and grief, that it brought you to death.
2. Consider my soul the extreme anguish wherein thy Redeemer findeth himself, for that representing unto himself in that instant those cruel pains and griefs which were prepared for his most delicate body, & likewise setting before his eyes all the wickedness & abominations of the world, for the which so much greater was his sorrow, by how much greater was his charity and zeal of his Fathers honor: more over seeing the ingratitude, of so many souls, which would neither recognize nor profit themselves by a benefit so great, & by a remedy so dear: and finally foretelling the horrible sin, and miserable dispersion of his people, which for their so intolerable impiety were to be punished so greiviously ousel: that blessed Soul was so straitned on every side, that the senses being troubled, and the strength of his most sacred Body being dissolved, that delicate Flesh opened itself in all parts, and gave the blood place to come forth and diffuse itself in so great abundance.
3. O most sweat Jesu, what affliction was that so great, what weight s heavy, and what infirmity so cruel which made you to sweat blood? Truly you unmeasurable charity & pity towards me was cause of so great anguish & affliction: and the heavy burden of my sins was that terrible press in which your most innocent flesh being pressed like grapes sent forth that liquour most precious and wholesome. Finally our mortal infirmity, was that which made you to take so sharp and bitter a medicine.
4. Have compassion O my soul on thy sweat Jesus, see how being not able to stand on his feet, he is fallen on the earth and from the head to the feet distilling streams of blood, hath none that will either gove him help, or wipe his divine face, or change his imbrued garments, or else so much as give him any refreshing in this his extreme need and seeing that thou sees him in so pitiful case for thy cause, if thou canst not together with him shed blood, at least shed tears of compassion, and if thy heart be so hard, and thy eyes so dry, that they can yield forth no tears: weep at least in desire, and offer that bloody sweat of thy Savior, to the self same Lord in lieu of tears.
Pray unto Christ our Lord by that most bitter anguish which he felt in the Garden, by that blood which he sweat forth, by that fervent prayer which then he made, and above all things for that infinite love, which induced him to all this, that he will grant thee the gift go prayer, that thereby in all thy necessities thou maist make thy recourse unto him, and that at the last hour of thy life, when the anguish of death shall oppress thy heart, he give the strength and confidence in his mercy, and vouchsafe to send thee his Angel, to defend thee from thine enemies, & to conduct thee securely unto the port of salvation.
1. Let us learn by the imitation of Christ, to deny our own proper will and conform it to his divine pleasure let us learn to overcome our sensuality and to subdue it to the spirit: let us learn to make recourse in our spiritual necessities unto most merciful Father: and finally let us learn to preserve in prayer, that we may merit together with Christ to receive comfort and consolation.
2. How great is the business of our redemption, seeing that it was cause sufficient to him to sweat blood which susteineth Heaven and earth: And contrawise how little do we esteem it, when as for our own salvation we will scarcly move our foot from the ground.
3. If the pains of this life are such, that the only consideration thereof sufficed to make Christ for to sweat blood: what bloody sweat would we pour forth, if we would deeply consider what pains are prepared in Hell, or else in Purgatory, seeing that without all comparison they far exceed all the pains of this world.
4. We ought to pray with such fervor of spirit, that we sweat blood with Christ, by earnest desire of suffering for his love, and to be configured to his most dolorous Passion.
5. If Christ being the strength of his Father, and a lamb most innocent who was sure of his own blessedness: yet notwithstanding by thinking of his future death, fell into so great sadness & agony, what sorrow & agony shall we suffer at the hour of our death, finding ourselves so infirm inspirit, so full of sin and so uncertain of our salvation? Let us therefore pray most instantly unto our Lord that we may deserve in that fearful passage, tone holpen and comforted of him as he was of his Father.
6. To Christ our Lord when he was in prayer, appeared an Angel that comforted him: even so the Angels likewise assist those which pray with fervor and devotion, & albeit that sometimes they obtain not their demands, for that peradventure it is not expedient yet nevertheless they are not deprived of Angelical comfort.