Via Media

Via Media

A different take

The Mental Sufferings of Our Lord During His Passion by John Henry Newman

There, then, in that most awful hour, knelt the Saviour of the world, putting off the defences of His divinity, dismissing His reluctant Angels, who in myriads were ready at His call, and opening His arms, baring His breast, sinless as He was, to the assault of His foe,—of a foe whose breath was a pestilence, and whose embrace was an agony. There He knelt, motionless and still, while the vile and horrible fiend clad His spirit in a robe steeped in all that is hateful and heinous in human crime, which clung close round His heart, and filled His conscience, and found its way into every sense and pore of His mind, and spread over Him a moral leprosy, till He almost felt Himself to be that which He never could be, and which His foe would fain have made Him.

thanks to Mary from Sydney

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posted March 4, 2004 at 9:09 am

That’s an interesting question in regard to The Passion, since Mel depicts Satan tempting Christ in the Garden (an effective image, I might add) whereas St. Thomas and others present Gesthemane as Christ’s supernatural will at odds with his natural will, both good, but in conflict due to his destiny.
This is different from the devil’s temptations of Christ at the beginining of His Ministry, because those are actual temptations, albeit extrinisic ones, as the Devil is actually there. Unlike us, Christ was not tempted intrinsically, since that means so measure of sin attaches to the temptation.
Yet Gesthemane was not properly a temptation, so though Mel (and the mystics who inspired him) may have had an actual insight there, the Gospel record makes no mention of a temptation, just a suffering.

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