+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Fifth Meditation Of The Second & Third Prayer Of Christ
VELDE, Adriaen van de
Agony in the Garden
The Fifth Meditation Of The Second & Third Prayer Of Christ
And he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt Mk.xiv.
Christ, acknowledgeth, that he hath not yet obtained that, which he prayed for, therefore he prayeth the second time: because thou shall not be grieved, if thou art not heard by & by, which art neither so worthy a person, nor so earnest a prayer.
Mark every word of this prayer, (Abba pater) that is, Father, father, which repetition is a sign of a most vehement calling to him which is far off, God truly is far off from sinners; wherefore we must say with David (Out of the depth I have cried unto thee O Lord, O lord hear my vice:) And because Christ in this place did represent the person of all sinners, which he had now taken upon him, know thou that our heavenly Father is a loving Father of all sinners, that whensoever thou shalt fall into a sin, thou shalt not be dismayed therewith. And he doth not a little comfort us, when he addeth (all things are possible unto thee) for nothing is impossible or hard unto God: & this word (if thou wilt) doth express that God can easily help us, and that he needeth not to work or labor, because by his will only he can do all things. And the reason why he will not, when we pray unto him, is, because through his continual love towards us, he guideth all things to our salvation.
Now join these three together (Father) which word importeth the love of God:(All things are possible) whereby is declared his omnipotence: (if thou wilt) by which thou seeth the easiness to perform it, & thereby thous shalt take a great comfort of the sorrows: It is the surest way in all prayer to lay aside our own will, for God will guide thee much better according to his will, when thou dost not interpose thine own judgment & senses.
Pray unto God that he will direct like thee unto a plough Ox, without thine own will.
Consider first how often Christ doth visit his Disciples, whereby he sheweth the passing grief of his mind, who received no comfort by his prayer, though he prayed with great affection, nor yet could be refreshed by the presence of his Disciples, even as sick folks are wont to turn this way, and that way to ease their weariness.
Consider secondly that Christ was never so troubled with any occasions, no not now, when he was ready to suffer, but that he always thought upon thy salvation: Yea& even now, when he is in Heaven, he hath his eyes always bent favorably towards thee.
Consider thirdly how little man can do without Christ, how soon he falleth asleep, how soon he fainteth if Jesus depart ever so little from him.
Consider fourthly what it is to have our eyes heavy, that is, when we are not so apt & ready to meditate on divine and heavenly things; by reason of earthly care which hinder the mind: As the immoderate desire of honor & riches, ambition, the vanities of this world, & such like affections of the mind: Therefore thou must pray unto God to take from thee that slouthfulness & heaviness, and accommodate thee to his own will.
Consider fifthly how much ashamed the Apostles were, who being admonished now the second time, could not yet contain themselves from sleep; wherefore amongst themselves they did carefully both accuse, and excuse their own infirmity: Note also this, (they did not know what they should answer unto him) For if the Apostles themselves, being men excelling others in sanctity, & holiness of life, in a matter of no great fault, wherein they might have alleged their own frailty, were so sorrowful, & knew not to answer: what answer wilt thou give to Almighty God, when thou shalt be cited before him for matters of great moment, and many grievous sins shall be objected against thee, which thou hast committed, not only by frailty, but also craftily & maliciously.
Consider sixthly that our Lord did not complain, that he was left alone in prayer and labor: Because thou shouldest resolve not to be grieved, if any time thou best enforced to take great pains, whilst others be idle. And pray unto our Lord, that he will stir thee up, when thou art slouthful.
Consider first that Christ runneth again to his Father, and craving still one and the same thing is not heard. This prayer comprehendeth the wonderful submission of Christ, yielding himself, and all that he had into the hands of his Father, taking it in no evil part, that he was not heard. Learn thou hereby not to be troubled in thy mind, when things succeed not according to thy desire, when thou hast done thy best endeavours.
Consider secondly the great necessity that Christ should suffer: For the eternal Father would never have suffered his son to have prayed so often unto him, if thy salvation might gotten by any other means.
Consider thirdly this manner of speaking (if it cannot pas, except I drink it) for he would be understood; that all the benefit of our Lord's passion should pass unto us, who are the members of his body, but as it were drawn through our mouth, that is through Christ, who is our head. Moreover as a potion is bitter & unsavoury to the taste, yet profitable for the members of the body: So the dolours of Christ were bitter unto him, and profitable unto us. And the passion of Christ passeth unto us, partly because his merit is communicated and imparted unto us, and partly because our tribulations & labors are sanctified. Therefore so often as thou shat suffer any adversity, so often do thou think, that thous dost participate with the passion of Christ. And pray him to mitigate thy miseries through his dolours, which he endured.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616