MEDITATION ON THE PASSION: And Going A Little Further, He Fell Upon His Face
ROBBIA, Andrea della
Agony in the Garden
And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Mt.xxvi.
Consider first the ceremony which Christ used in this prayer: For he knelled down on the ground, as one guilty of death for thy sins; he fell down upon the earth, prostrating himself, to be sacrificed for thy salvation, & representing whose person e had now taken upon him) the most abject estate of sinners, who as they are unworthy to look up to Heaven, so laying upon the earth with the weight of their sins, they are worthy to be trodden & trampled upon by all men.
Consider secondly his wonderful affection in this prayer, and the force of every word, (My Father) that is, I am thy Son, that must suffer most bitter pains for most wild men: O father, wilt thou not spare me thy only begotten Son? (If it may be) he understandeth that saving Gods justice, there was no redeeming of man-kind, but only by the death of the son of God.
Consider here in thy mind the love of God, who spared not his own Son, that he might spare thee. (Let pass from me) This prayer was to escape so cruel a kind of death. Yet in these words there lyeth hidden some secret meaning, as if he should say, I would not that this affliction should remain in me, but that the fruit thereof may pass unto all Christians: I will drink, and they shall be satisfied: (This Cup) he calleth his passion a cup, as that which containeth the cause of all our joy. And even as those torments made Christ as it were drunk with the greatness of his love, so all just men are made drunk with the heat of the love of God through the mediation an merit of the passion of Christ.
In this place we may call to mind the qualities of excellent wine, when men drink plentifully thereof: for by wine the inward parts of man are warmed, it maketh men merry, it causeth sleep, it lifteth up the heart, it maketh men eloquent, & it is drunk with ease and pleasure.
Apply all these things to the passion of our Lord, which Christ began with great charity, sustained with cheerfulness, & as one besides himself became foolish to the Gentiles, & scandal to the Jews, and so his charity was not only diminished by his pains (as in men it often happeneth) but rather inflamed, even as stones by rubbing was hot: And to be brief, our Lord was laid asleep in death. If thou, when suffereth any thing for Christs sake, doth feel the like affections in thy self: be thou assured that the passion of Christ shall bring much profit unto thee.
Consider thirdly the forsaking his own will in so hard a case, and offer thyself ready for all things, and desire of God to grant thee a will indifferent in all occasions.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616