+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Third Meditation Of The Great Perplexity Of Christ In The Garden

GOSSART, Jan 
Agony in the Garden
c. 1510

The Third Meditation Of The Great Perplexity Of Christ In The Garden 

he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. Mt.xxvi.

Because that sins are first committed in heart before they be done in work, Christ would suffer the sorrows of  heart before the pains of body, that thou mayest know that he was grievously afflicted not only in body, but also in mind, and there are four principal kinds of sorrows assigned by the Evangelists, which Christ admitted of his own will in the Garden, and retained them even till his death.

The first was a certain terror and fear of the most grievous pains now at hand, and also of a most terrible death, which nature always abhors  beyond measure, & also of the sins of all man-kind which he took upon him in the Garden, and clothed himself therewith as with a garment weaved of all kind of filthiness, with which in the person of all sinners he must suffer the severity of God.

The second grief was loathsomeness, being weary of all things in this life, seeing himself forsaken not only of all men but also of his heavenly Father.

The third was sorrowfulness first, for the grievous sins which the Jews should commit in his death, and also for the small number of them which should be partakers of this his so great affliction, and likewise for the unfaithfulness of thee and of other Christians, who by their blasphemous words and grievous sins should shed and defile the most precious blood which he was now ready to offer for them.

The fourth was sadness, that is, a grievous trouble or anxiety of mind, when he saw there was no means for him to escape: For of the one side the commandment of his Father, and the great love of man-kind encouraged and pricked him forward; and on the other side nature feared and repugnaned.

These four afflictions Christ took upon him, that he might prepare a medicine for sinners who are troubled with the like passions: For they which are not content with any estate live in continual weariness and loathsomeness, & they which are always pricked in conscience live in perpetual sorrow; and they which are troubled with remembrance of death live in continual fear; and they pass their life in sadness and doubtfulness which know that their sins shall be examined by the strict judgment of Christ, which happeneth chiefly at the hour of death, when Christ our Judge standeth at our doors. Do thou pray unto our Lord that those his afflictions may bring unto thee fortitude, joy, alacrity, and security.

II

Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death Mt.xxvi.

Let us weigh every word wisely: for he doth not say my soul is fearful, or I am weary of life, or my soul is doubtful, least he should seem to go to his passion rather against his will, then willingly:but he said (it is sorrowful) not only for the sundry causes of sorrow, but that thereby he might show that he was very man that suffered.

My soul he doth not say I am sorrowful, because his will rejoiced and was desirous to die, but my soul, that is my nature, which never moved his will.

Again, My soul that is, grief hath inwardly entered into my soul; lest perhaps you might think through the continual contemplation of his divine nature, that he felt no grief in his soul.

Even unto death that is, either because that sorrow continued until his death, and no longer, or else because it was so vehement that mans nature could endure no more without peril of death.

Pray unto our Lord that this his sorrow may bring life unto thy soul.

III

And he was withdrawn away from them a stone' s cast Lk.xxii.

Consider first what every one must do in his troubles, to wit, he must stay, that is, expect patiently, and he must watch, that is, he must be careful that no evil happen unto him; for to an unquiet & troubled man many vicious and evil things are suggested.

Consider secondly how unwillingly Christ left his disciples.  For this word (drawn away) discribeth a violent pulling, and going, he went not far, but (as far as the cast of a stone) like as mothers are wont to go a little way from their young children, when they teach them to go, so as they may catch them again, when they are ready to fall.

All these things declare the love of Christ, and his grievous inward sorrows, by which he was moved to pray unto his Father, that he might have some comfort from him.

Be thou moved with the sorrows of Christ thy Lord, who was forsaken of all men, and because he loveth nothing better then to be with thee, apply all thy endeavours, that he may always remain with thee.

Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616

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