+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Sixth Mediation Of His Agony & Bloody Sweat
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. Lk.xxii.
Consider first, that though in Christ the divine nature was joined with human nature, into the same person; yet in this time of his passion he took no comfort at all from thence.
Consider secondly how great and grievous those torments were, that man was not sufficient to mitigate them, but that it was necessary for an Angel to come from Heaven.
Consider thirdly what was the cause why Christ would be comforted by an Angel; to wit, because he would know to suffer with us, when we are afflicted, and teach us not to have recourse to frail and vain delights, such as are commonly drawn from creatures; but unto spiritual, angelical, & heavenly things.
Consider fourthly that God never forsaketh them, that trust in him. For although he do not always free us from our troubles, yet he doth ever give us his grace and strength, that we may be able to bear them.
Consider fifthly that Angels are always present at our prayers, therefore thou must be careful and diligent to worship them being present, in a religious and comely manner, and pray unto God according to the Psalm (in the fight of Angels I will sing unto thee.)
Consider sixthly how the Angel did comfort Christ; for he did it not by any inward comfort or grace, (because Christ admitted no comfort in all the time of his passion) but used some outward words, wherein he propounded unto him, both the absolute necessity of such bitter pains, and the great profit, that shall come thereby, and also the resolute will of his Father, & the oracles of the Prophets, & c.
Consider seventhly whether there be any thing, wherein thou mayest comfort and confirm Christ, and encourage him to do something for thy sake: which will be effected, if he shall see thee behave thy self well, & wisely to employ the talent, which he hath delivered unto thee, and that thou dost endure thy labors courageously: For then he will behold thee lovingly & exalt thee to higher honor. In he mean time do thou pray unto Christ, to comfort and instruct thee, not only in outward words, but especially in inward virtue and wisdom.
This agony was a certain inward striving, not of the flesh against the spirit, but of nature against Death: and in all this bitter time Christ was to fight in three several conflicts, and he was superior in every one.
First with nature, abhorring to die so cruel a death.
Secondly with the justice of his Father, exacting grievous punishment.
Thirdly with the most cruel enemy of man-kind.
But he began with the battle against nature, that thou mayest know how to behave thy self in thy conflict for thy salvation: that is, that first of all thou must endeavour to subdue thy inclination, & to restrain thy desires, which being overcome, thou shalt find God pacified, and the Devil will fly from thee.
Consider first with what contention, & with how great labor Christ thy Captain doth fight; and doest thou hope to be saved without fight?
Consider secondly that in this agony he prayed longer, because thou must continue longest in prayer in time of affliction.
Consider thirdly what that is, which he desired in his long prayer? not that the cup might be taken from him for he had before used shorter words to that end) but, since he must needs suffer, that thou mightest obtain profit by his torments. Admire here that excellent love of Christ, who alone is the true comfort of Angels. Lament for thy sins which were the cause of his suffering, stir up also in thy self the other affections of love, confidence, & commiseration, whereof this place administer abundant cause.
And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. Lk.xxii.
Consider first by the quality and quantity of his sweat the grief, of thy Spouse without which neither the blood could issue with the sweat, nor yet so great plenty, as should fall down to the ground.
Consider secondly that our Lord both began, & ended his passion with a prodigious effusion of blood & water: That thou shouldest know, that the divine nature did bring this chiefly unto Christ, at that time, that he might the longer be able to suffer those most bitter torments, which human nature all alone could never have endured.
Consider thirdly that blood issued issued out of every part, both because every member of the Church, of which number thou art one should lament the death of Christ; also because every Christian might gather on drop of his blood, to wash away their sins, and also that thou mayest know, how liberally he offereth his blood for thee, by as many fountains, as he hath members.
Consider fourthly how much this great effusion of blood and water did weaken the most tender body of Christ.
Consider fifthly that it ran down upon the earth, to take away the sins of men, which are addicted too much to the pleasures of the world.
Consider sixtly that the drops ran down upon the ground, that thou mayest understand, that thou must make hast, if thou wilt be partaker of this precious blood, which no sooner issueth forth, but that in runneth away most swiftly.
Therefore except in this life thou doest gather, and lay up some of this blood, it will all run away after thy death, so as none will be left for thee.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616