Golden Chain 11221
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AUG. When our Lord had given the cup to His disciples, He again spoke of His betrayer, saying, But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me, &c.
THEOPHYL. And this He said not only to show that He knew all things, but also to declare to us His own especial goodness, in that He left nothing undone of those things which belonged to Him to do; (for He gives us an example, that even to the end we should be employed in reclaiming sinners;) and moreover to point out the baseness of the traitor who blushed not to be His guest.
CHRYS. Yet though partaking of the mystery, he was not converted. Nay, his wickedness is made only the more awful, as well because under the pollution of such a design, he came to the mystery, as that coming he was not made better, either by fear, gratitude, or respect.
BEDE; And yet our Lord does not especially point him out, lest being so plainly detected, he might only become the more shameless. But He throws the charge on the whole twelve that the guilty one might be turned to repentance. He also proclaims his punishment, that the man whom shame had not prevailed upon, might by the sentence denounced against him be brought to amendment. Hence it follows, And truly the Son of man goes, &c.
THEOPHYL. Not as if unable to preserve Himself, but as determining for Himself to suffer death for the salvation of man.
CHRYS. Because then Judas in the things which are written of him acted with an evil purpose, in order that no one might deem him guiltless, as being the minister of the dispensation. Christ adds, Woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.
BEDE; But woe also to that man, who coming unworthily to the Table of our Lord, after the example of Judas, betrays the Son, not indeed to Jews, but to sinners, that is, to his own sinful members. Although the eleven Apostles knew that they were meditating nothing against their Lord, yet notwithstanding because they trust more to their Master than themselves, fearing their own infirmities, they ask concerning a sin of which they had no consciousness.
BASIL; For as in bodily diseases there are many of which the affected are not sensible, but they rather put faith in the opinion of their physicians, than trust their own insensibility; so also in the diseases of the soul, though a man is not conscious of sin in himself, yet ought he to trust to those who are able to have more knowledge of their own sins.
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THEOPHYL. While they were inquiring among themselves who should betray the Lord, they would naturally go on to say to one another, "You are the traitor," and so become impelled to say, "I am the best, I am the greatest." Hence it is said, And there was also a strife among them which should be accounted the greatest.
GREEK EX. Or the strife seems to have arisen from this, that when our Lord was departing from the world, it was thought that some one must become their head, as taking our Lord's place.
BEDE; As good men seek in the Scriptures the examples of their fathers, that they may thereby gain profit and be humbled, so the bad, if by, chance they have discovered any thing blamable in the elect, most gladly seize upon it, to shelter their own iniquities thereby. Many therefore most eagerly read, that a strife arose among the disciples of Christ.
AMBROSE; If the disciples did contend, it is not alleged as any excuse, but held out as a warning. Let us then beware lest any contentions among us for precedence be our ruin.
BEDE; Rather let us look not what carnal disciples did, but what their spiritual Master commanded; for it follows, And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles, &c.
CHRYS. He mentions the Gentiles, to show thereby how faulty it was. For it is of the Gentiles to seek after precedence.
CYRIL; Soft words are also given them by their subjects, as it follows, And they that exercise authority upon them, are called benefactors.
Now they truly as alien from the sacred law are subject to these evils, but your preeminence is in humility, as it follows, But you shall not be so.
BASIL; Let not him that is chief be puffed up by his dignity, lest he fall away from the blessedness of humility, but let him know that true humility is the ministering to many. As then he who attends many wounded and wipes away the blood from their wounds, least of all men enters upon the service for his own exaltation, much more ought he to whom is committed the care of his sick brethren as the minister of all, about to render an account of all, to be thoughtful and anxious. And so let him that is greatest be as the younger. Again, it is meet that those who are in the chief places should be ready to offer also bodily service, after our Lord's example, who washed His disciples' feet. Hence it follows, And he that is chief as he that does serve. But we need not fear that the spirit of humility will be weakened in the inferior, while he is being served by his superior, for by imitation humility is extended.
AMBROSE; But it must be observed, that not every kind of respect and deference to others betokens humility, for you may defer to a person for the world's sake, for fear of his power, or regard to your own interest. In that case you seek to edify yourself, not to honor another. Therefore there is one form of the precept given to all men, namely, that they boast not about precedence, but strive earnestly for humility.
BEDE; In this rule however, given by our Lord, the great have need of no little judgment, that they do not indeed like the kings of the Gentiles delight to tyrannize over their subjects, and be puffed up with their praises, yet notwithstanding that they be provoked with a righteous zeal against the wickedness of offenders.
But to the words of the exhortation He subjoins His own example, as it follows, For which is greater, he who sits at meat, or he that serves? But I am among you, &c.
CHRYS. As if He says, Think not that your disciple needs you, but that you do not need him. For I who need no one whom all things in heaven and earth need, have condescended to the degree of a servant.
THEOPHYL. He shows Himself to be their servant, when He distributes the bread and the cup, of which service He makes mention, reminding them that if they have eaten of the same bread, and drunk of the same cup, if Christ Himself served all, they ought all to think the same things.
BEDE; Or He speaks of that service wherewith, according to John, He their Lord and Master washed their feet. Although by the word itself serving, all that He did in the flesh may be implied, but by serving He also signifies that He pours forth His blood for us.
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THEOPHYL. As the Lord had denounced woe to the traitor, so on the other hand to the rest of the disciples He promises blessings, saying, You are they which have continued with me, &c.
BEDE; For not the first effort of patience, but long-continued perseverance, is rewarded with the glory of the heavenly kingdom for perseverance, (which is called constancy or fortitude of mind,) is, so to say, the pillar and prop of all virtues. The Son of God then conducts those who abide with Him in His temptations to the everlasting kingdom. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Hence it follows, And I give to you a kingdom, &c.
AMBROSE; The kingdom of God is not of this world. But it is not equality with God, but likeness to Him, to which man must aspire. For Christ alone is the full image of God, on account of the unity of His Father's glory expressed in Him. But the righteous man is after the image of God, if for the sake of imitating the likeness of the Divine conversation, He through the knowledge of God despises the world. Therefore also we eat the Body and Blood of Christ, that we may be partakers of eternal life. Whence it follows, That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. For the reward promised to us is not food and drink, but the communication of heavenly grace and life.
BEDE; Or the table offered to all saints richly to enjoy is the glory of a heavenly life, w herewith they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled, resting in the long desired enjoyment of the true God.
THEOPHYL. He said this not as if they would have there bodily food, or as if His kingdom were to be a sensible one. For their life then shall be the life of angels, as He before told the Sadducees. But Paul also says that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink.
CYRIL; By means of the things of our present life He describes spiritual things. For they exercise a high privilege with earthly kings, who sit at their table as guests. So then by man's estimation He shows who shall be rewarded by Him with the greatest honors.
BEDE; This then is the exchange to the right hand of the Most High, that those who now in lowliness rejoice to minister to their fellow-servants. shall then at our Lord's table on high be fed with the banquet of everlasting life, and they who here in temptations abide with the Lord being unjustly judged, shall then come with Him as just judges upon their tempters. Hence it follows, And sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
THEOPHYL. That is, the unbelievers condemned out of the twelve tribes.
AMBROSE; But the twelve thrones are not as it were any resting-places for the bodily posture, but because since Christ judges after the Divine likeness by knowledge of the hearts, not by examination of the actions, rewarding virtue, condemning iniquity; so the Apostles are appointed to a spiritual judgment, for the rewarding of faith, the condemnation of unbelief, repelling error with virtue, inflicting vengeance on the sacrilegious.
CHRYS. What then will Judas also sit there? Observe what the lay, was which God gave by Jeremiah, If I have promised any good, and you are counted unworthy of it, I will punish you. Therefore speaking to His disciples He did not make a general promise, but added, You who have continued with me in my temptations.
BEDE; From the high excellence of this promise Judas is excluded. For before the Lord said this, Judas must be supposed to have gone out. They also are excluded whoever having heard the words of the incomprehensible Sacrament, have gone backwards.
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BEDE; Lest the eleven should be boastful, and impute it to their own strength, that they almost alone among so many thousands of the Jews were said to have continued with our Lord in His temptations, He shows them, that if they had not been protected by the aid of their Master succoring them, they would have been beaten down by the same storm as the rest. Hence it follows, And the Lord said to Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired you, that he may sift you as wheat. That is, he has longed to tempt you and to shake you, as he who cleanses wheat by winnowing. Wherein He teaches that no man's faith is tried unless God permits it.
THEOPHYL. Now this was said to Peter, because he was bolder than the rest, and might feel proud because of the things which Christ had promised.
CYRIL; Or to show that men being as nought, (as regards human nature, and the proneness of our minds to fall,) it is not meet that they should wish to be above their brethren. Therefore passing by all the others, He comes to Peter, who was the chief of them, saying, But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.
CHRYS. Now He said not, 'I have granted,' but I have prayed. For He speaks humbly as approaching to His Passion, and that He may manifest His human nature. For He who had spoken not in supplication, but by authority, Upon this rock I will build my Church, and I will give you the keys of the kingdom, how should He have need of prayer that He might stay one agitated soul? He does not say, "I have prayed that you deny not," but that you do not abandon your faith.
THEOPHYL. For albeit you are for a time shaken, yet you hold stored up, a seed of faith; though the spirit has shed its leaves in temptation, yet the root is firm. Satan then seeks to harm you, because he is envious of my love for you, but notwithstanding that I have prayed for you, you shall fall. Hence it follows, And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren. As if He says, After that you have wept and repented your denial of Me, strengthen your brethren, for I have deputed you to be the head of the Apostles. For this befits you who are with Me, the strength and rock of the Church. And this must be understood not only of the Apostles who then were, but of all the faithful who were about to be, even to the end of the world that none of the believers might despair, seeing that Peter though an Apostle denied his Lord, yet afterwards by penitence obtained the high privilege of being the Ruler of the world.
CYRIL; Marvel then at the superabundance of the Divine forbearance: lest He should cause a disciple to despair, before the crime was committed, He granted pardon, and again restored him to his Apostolic rank, saying, Strengthen your brethren.
BEDE; As if to say, As I by prayer protected your faith that it should not fail, so do you remember to sustain the weaker brethren, that they despair not of pardon.
AMBROSE; Beware then of boasting, beware of the world; he is commanded to strengthen his own brethren, who said, Master, we have left all, and followed you.
BEDE; Because the Lord said He had prayed for Peter's faith, Peter conscious of present affection and fervent faith, but unconscious of his coming fall, does not believe he could in any way fall from Christ. As it follows, And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.
THEOPHYL. He burns forth indeed with too much love, and promises what is impossible to him. But it be him as soon as he heard from the Truth that he was to be tempted, to be no longer confident. Now the Lord, seeing that Peter spoke boastfully, reveals the nature of his temptation, namely, that he would deny Him; I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you thrice deny, &c.
AMBROSE; Now Peter although earnest in spirit, yet still weak in bodily inclination, is declared about to deny his Lord; for he could not equal the constancy of the Divine will. Our Lord's Passion has rivals, but no equal.
THEOPHYL. From hence we draw a great doctrine, that human resolve is not sufficient without the Divine support. For Peter with all his zeal, nevertheless when forsaken of God was overthrown by the enemy.
BASIL; We must know then, that God sometimes allows the rash to receive a fall, as a remedy to previous self-confidence. But although the rash man seems to have committed the same offense with other men, there is no slight difference. For the one has sinned by reason of certain secret assaults and almost against his will, but the others, having no care either for themselves or God, knowing no distinction between sin and virtuous actions. For the rash needing some assistance, in regard to this very thing in which he has sinned ought to suffer reproof. But the others, having destroyed all the good of their soul, must be afflicted, warned, rebuked, or made subject to punishment, until they acknowledge that God is a just Judge, and tremble.
AUG. Now what is here said concerning the foregoing denial of Peter is contained in all the Evangelists, but they do not all happen to relate it upon the same occasion in the discourse. Matthew and Mark subjoin it after our Lord had departed from the house where He had eaten the Passover but Luke and John before He went out from thence. But we may easily understand either that the two former used these words, recapitulating them, or the two others anticipating them: only it rather moves us, that not only the words but even the sentences of our Lord, in which Peter being troubled used that boast of dying either for or with our Lord, are given so differently, as rather to compel us to believe that he thrice uttered his boast at different parts of our Lord's discourse, and that he was thrice answered by our Lord, that before the cock crowed he should deny Him thrice.
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CYRIL; Our Lord had foretold to Peter that he should deny Him; namely, at the time of His being taken. But having once made mention of His being taken captive, He next announces the struggle that would ensue against the Jews. Hence it is said, And he said to them, When I sent you without purse, &c. For the Savior had sent the holy Apostles to preach in the cities and towns the kingdom of heaven, bidding them to take no thought of the things of the body, but to place their whole hope of salvation in l km.
CHRYS. Now as one who teaches to swim, at first indeed placing his hands under his pupils, carefully supports them, but afterward frequently withdrawing his hand, bids them help themselves, nay even lets them sink a little; so likewise did Christ deal with His disciples. At the beginning truly He was present to them, giving them most richly abundance of all things; as it follows, And they said to them, Nothing.
But when it was necessary for them to show their own strength, He withdrew from them for a little His grace, bidding them do something of themselves; as it follows, But now he that has a purse, that is, wherein to carry money, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, that is, to carry provisions in. And truly when they had neither shoes, nor girdle, nor staff, nor money, they never suffered the want of any thing. But when He allowed them purse and scrip, they seem to suffer hunger, and thirst, and nakedness. As if He said to them, Hitherto all things have been most richly supplied to you, but now I would have you also experience poverty, therefore I hold you no longer to the former rule, but I command you to get purse and scrip. Now God might even to the end have kept them in plenty, but for many reasons He was unwilling to do so. First that they might impute nothing to themselves, but acknowledge that every thing flowed from God; secondly, that they might learn moderation; thirdly, that they might not think too highly of themselves. For this cause while He permitted them to fall into many unlooked for evils, He relaxed the rigor of the former law, lest it should become grievous and intolerable.
BEDE; For He does not train His disciples in the same rule of life, in time of persecution, as in the time of peace. When He sent them to preach, He ordered them to take nothing in the way, ordaining in truth, that He who preaches the Gospel should live by the Gospel. But when the crisis of death was at hand, and the whole nation persecuted both the shepherd and the Hock, He proposes a law adapted to the time, allowing them to take the necessaries of life, until the rage of the persecutors was abated, and the time of preaching the Gospel had returned. Herein He leaves us also an example, that at times when a just reason urges, we may intermit without blame somewhat of the strictness of our determination.
AUG. By no inconsistency then of Him who commands, but by the reason of the dispensation, according to the diversity of times are commandments, counsels, or permissions changed.
AMBROSE; But He who forbids to strike, why does He order them to buy a sword? unless perchance that there may be a defense prepared, but no necessary retaliation; a seeming ability to be revenged, without the will. Hence it follows, And he who has not, (that purse,) let him sell his garment, and buy a sword,
CHRYS. What is this? He who said, If any one strike you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, now arms His disciples, and with a sword only. For if it were fitting to be completely armed, not only must a man possess a sword, but shield and helmet. But even though a thousand had arms of this kind, how could the eleven be prepared for all the attacks and lying in wait of people, tyrants, allies, and nations, and how should they not quake at the mere sight of armed men, who had been brought up near lakes and rivers? We must not then suppose that He ordered them to possess swords, but by the swords He points at the secret attack of the Jews. And hence it follows, For I say to you, that this that is written must, be accomplished in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors.
THEOPHYL. While they were contending among themselves above concerning priority, He said, It is not a time of dignities, but rather of danger and slaughter. Behold I even your Master am led to a disgraceful death, to be reckoned with the transgressors. For these things which are prophesied of Me have an end, that is, a fulfillment. Wishing then to hint at a violent attack, He made mention of a sword, not altogether revealing it, lest they should be seized with dismay, nor did He entirely provide that they should not be shaken by these sudden attacks, but that afterwards recovering, they might marvel how He gave Himself up to the Passion, a ransom for the salvation of men.
BASIL; Or the Lord does not bid them carry purse and scrip and buy a sword, but predicts that it should come to pass, that in truth the Apostles, forgetful of the time of the Passion, of the gifts and law of their Lord, would dare to take up the sword. For often does the Scripture make use of the imperative form of speech in the place of prophecy. Still in many books we do not find, Let him take, or buy, but, he will take, he will buy.
THEOPHYL. Or He hereby foretell to them that they would incur hunger and thirst, which He implies by the scrip, and sundry kinds of misery, which he intends by the sword.
CYRIL; Or else; When our Lord says, He who has a purse, let him take it, likewise a scrip, His discourse He addressed to His disciples, but in reality He regards every individual Jew; as if He says, If any Jew is rich in resources, let him collect them together and fly. But if any one oppressed with extreme poverty applies himself to religion, let him also sell his cloak and buy a sword. For the terrible attack of battle shall overtake them, so that nothing shall suffice to resist it. He next lays open the cause of these evils, namely, that He suffered the penalty due to the wicked, being crucified with thieves. And when it shall have come at last to this, the word of dispensation will receive its end. But to the persecutors shall happen all that has been foretold by the Prophets. These things then God prophesied concerning what should befall the country of the Jews, but the disciples understood not the depth of His words, thinking they had need of swords against the coming attack of the traitor. Whence it follows; But they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords.
CHRYS. And in truth, if He wished them to use human aid, not a hundred swords would have sufficed; but if He willed not the assistance of man, even two are superfluous.
THEOPHYL. Our Lord then was unwilling to blame them as not understanding Him, but saying, It is enough, He dismissed them; as when we are addressing any one, and see that he does not understand what is said, we say, Well, let us leave him, lest we trouble him. But some say, that our Lord said, It is enough, ironically; as if He said, Since there are two swords, they will amply suffice against so large a multitude as is about to attack us.
BEDE; Or the two swords suffice for a testimony that Jesus suffered voluntarily. The one indeed was to teach the Apostles the presumption of their contending for their Lord, and His inherent virtue of healing; the other never taken out of its sheath, to show that they were not even permitted to do all that they could for His defense.
AMBROSE; Or, because the law does not forbid to return a blow, perhaps He says to Peter, as he is offering the two swords, It is enough, as though it were lawful until the Gospel; in order that there may be in the law, the knowledge of Justice; in the Gospel, perfection of goodness. There is also a spiritual sword, that you may sell your patrimony, and buy the word, by which the nakedness of the soul is clothed. There is also a sword of suffering, so that you may strip your body, and with the spoils of your sacrificed flesh purchase for yourself the sacred crown of martyrdom. Again it moves, seeing that the disciples put forward two swords, whether perhaps one is not of the Old Testament, the other of the New, whereby we are armed against the wiles of the devil. Therefore the Lord says, It is enough, because he wanted nothing who is fortified by the teaching of both Testaments.
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BEDE; As He was to be betrayed by His disciple, our Lord goes to the place of His wonted retirement, where He might most easily be found; as it follows, And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives.
CYRIL. By day He was in Jerusalem, but when the darkness of night came on He held converse with His disciples on the mount of Olives; as it is added, And his disciples followed.
BEDE; Rightly does He lead the disciples, about to be instructed in the mysteries of His Body, to the mount of Olives, that He might signify that all who are baptized of His death should be comforted with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
THEOPHYL. Now after supper our Lord betakes Himself not to idleness or sleep, but to prayer and teaching. Hence it follows, And when he was at the place, he said to them, Pray, &c.
BEDE; It is indeed impossible for the soul of man not to be tempted. Therefore he says not, Pray that you be not tempted, but, Pray that you enter not into temptation, that is, that the temptation do not at last overcome you.
CYRIL; But not to do good by words only, He went forward a little and prayed; as it follows, And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast. You will every where find Him praying apart, to teach you that with a devout mind and quiet heart we should speak with the most high God. He did not betake Himself to prayer, as if He was in want of another's help, who is the Almighty power of the Father, but that we may learn not to slumber in temptation, but rather to be instant in prayer.
BEDE; He also alone prays for all, who was to suffer alone for all, signifying that His prayer is as far distant from ours as His Passion.
AUG. He was torn from them about a stone's cast, as though He would typically remind them that to Him they should point the stone, that is, up to Him bring the intention of the law which was written on stone.
GREG. NYSS. But what means His bending of knees? of which it is said, And he kneeled down, and prayed. It is the way of men to pray to their superiors with their faces on the ground, testifying by the action that the greater of the two are those who are asked. Now it is plain that human nature contains nothing worthy of God's imitation. Accordingly the tokens of respect which we evince to one another, confessing ourselves to be inferior to our neighbors, we have transferred to the humiliation of the Incomparable Nature. And thus He who bore our sicknesses and interceded for us, bent His knee in prayer, by reason of the man which He assumed, giving us an example, that we ought not to exalt ourselves at the time of prayer, but in all things be conformed to humility; for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
CHRYS. Now every art is set forth by the words and works of him who teaches it. Because then our Lord had come to teach no ordinary virtue, therefore He speaks and does the same things. And so having in words commanded to pray, lest they enter into temptation, He does the same likewise in work, saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me. He said not the words, If you will, as if ignorant whether it was pleasing to the Father. For such knowledge was not more difficult than the knowledge of His Father's substance, which He alone clearly knew, according to John, As the Father knows me, even so have I known the Father. Nor says He this, as refusing His Passion. For He who rebuked a disciple, who wished to prevent His Passion, so as even after many commendations, to call him Satan, how should He be unwilling to be crucified? Consider then why it was so said. How great a thing was it to hear that the unspeakable God, who passes all understanding, was content to enter the virgin's womb, to suck her milk, and to undergo every thing human. Since then that was almost incredible which was about to happen, He sent first indeed Prophets to announce it, afterwards He Himself comes clothed in the flesh, so that you could not suppose Him to be a phantom. He permits His flesh to endure all natural infirmities, to hunger, to thirst, to sleep, to labor, to be afflicted, to be tormented; on this account likewise He refuses not death, that He might manifest thereby His true humanity.
AMBROSE; He says, then, If you will, remove this cup from me, as man refusing death, as God maintaining His own decree.
BEDE; Or He begs the cup to be removed from Him, not indeed from fear of suffering, but from His compassion for the first people, lest they should have to drink the cup first drunk by Him. Therefore He says expressly, not, Remove from Me the cup, but this cup, that is, the cup of the Jewish people, who can have no excuse for their ignorance in slaying Me, having the Law and the Prophets daily prophesying of Me.
DION. ALEX. Or when He says, Let this cup pass from me, it is not, let it not come to Me, for unless it had come it could not pass away. It was therefore when He perceived it already present that He began to be afflicted and sorrowful, and as it was close at hand, He says, let this cup pass, for as that which has passed can neither be said not to have come nor yet to remain, so also the Savior asks first that the temptation slightly assailing Him may pass away. And this is the not entering into temptation which He counsels to pray for. But the most perfect way? of avoiding temptation is manifested, when he says, Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done. For God is not a tempter to evil, but He wishes to grant us good things above what we either desire or understand. Therefore He seeks that the perfect will of His Father which He Himself had known, should dispose of the event, which is the same will as His own, as respects the Divine nature. But He shrinks to fulfill the human will, which He calls His own, and which is inferior to His Father's will.
ATHAN. For here He manifests a double will. One indeed human, which is of the flesh, the other divine. For our human nature, because of the weakness of the flesh, refuses the Passion, but His divine will eagerly embraced it, for that it was not possible that He should be holden of death.
GREG. NYSS. Now Apollinaris asserts that Christ had not His own will according to His earthly nature, but that in Christ exists only the will of God who descends from heaven. Let him then say what will is it which God would have by no means to be fulfilled? And the Divine nature does not remove His own will.
BEDE; When He drew near His Passion, the Savior also took upon Him the words of weak man; as when something threatens us which we do not wish to come to pass, we then through weakness seek that it may not be, to the end that we also may be prepared by fortitude to find the will of our Creator contrary to our own will.
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THEOPHYL. To make known to us the power of prayer that we may exercise it in adversity, our Lord when praying is comforted by an Angel.
BEDE; In another place we read that Angels came and ministered to Him. In testimony then of each nature, Angels are said both to have ministered to Him and comforted Him. For the Creator needed not the protection of His creature, but being made man as for our sakes He is sad, so for our sakes He is comforted.
THEOPHYL. But some say that the Angel appeared, glorifying Him, saying, O Lord, Yours is the power, for you are able to vanquish death, and to deliver weak mankind.
CHRYS. And because not in appearance but in reality He took upon Himself our flesh, in order to confirm the truth of the dispensation He submits to bear human suffering; for it follows, And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly.
AMBROSE; Many are shocked at this place who turn the sorrows of the Savior to an argument of inherent weakness from the beginning, rather than taken upon Him for the time. But I am so far from considering it a thing to be excused, that I never more admire His mercy and majesty; for He would have conferred less upon me had He not taken upon Him my feelings. For He took upon Him my sorrow, that upon me He might bestow His joy. With confidence therefore I name His sadness, because I preach His cross. He must needs then have undergone affliction, that He might conquer. For they have no praise of fortitude whose wounds have produced stupor rather than pain. He wished therefore to instruct us how we should conquer death, and what is far greater, the anguish of coming death. You smarted then, O Lord, not from your own but my wounds; for he was wounded for our transgressions. And perhaps He is sad, because that after Adam s fall tile passage by which we must depart from this world was such that death was necessary. Nor is it far from the truth that He v. as sad for His persecutors, who He knew would suffer punishment for their wicked sacrilege.
GREG. He has expressed also the conflict of our mind in itself, as death approaches, for we suffer a certain thrill of terror and dread, when by the dissolution of the flesh we draw near to the eternal judgment; and with good reason, for the soul finds in a moment that which can never be changed.
THEOPHYL. Now that the preceding prayer was of His human nature, not His divine, as the Arians say, is argued from what is said of His sweat, which follows, And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
BEDE; Let no one ascribe this sweat to natural weakness, nay, it is contrary to nature to sweat blood, but rather let him derive therefrom a declaration to us, that He was now obtaining the accomplishment of His prayer, namely, that He might purge by His blood the faith of His disciples, still convicted of human frailty.
AUG. Our Lord praying with a bloody sweat represented the martyrdoms which should How from His whole body, which is the Church.
THEOPHYL. Or this is proverbially said of one who has sweated intensely, that He sweated blood; the Evangelist then wishing to show that He was moistened with large drops of sweat, takes drops of blood for an example. But afterwards finding His disciples asleep for sorrow, He upbraids them, at the same time reminding them to pray; for it follows, And when he rose from prayer and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping.
CHRYS. For it was midnight, and the disciples' eyes were heavy from grief, and their sleep was not that of drowsiness but sorrow.
AUG. Now Luke has not stated after which prayer He came to His disciples, still in nothing does he disagree with Matthew and Mark.
BEDE; Our Lord proves by what comes after, that He prayed for His disciples whom He exhorts by watching and prayer to be partakers of His prayer; for it follows, And he said to them, Why sleep you? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.
THEOPHYL. That is, that they should not be overcome by temptation, for not to be led into temptation is not to be overwhelmed by it. Or He simply bids us pray that our life may be quiet, and we be not cast into trouble of any kind. For it is of the devil and presumptuous, for a man to throw himself into temptation. Therefore James said not, "Cast yourselves into temptation," but, When you are fallen, count it all joy, making a voluntary act out of an involuntary.
Golden Chain 11221