Saturday, March 24, 2012

More Lenten Thoughts From More

From an apologetics standpoint, I must admit that I'd never considered his points here before:

Re: the bit in Luke's Gospel about an angel coming to strengthen Christ during the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:43):

Do you realize how intense His mental anguish must have been, that an angel should come from heaven to strengthen Him?

But when I consider this passage, I cannot help wondering what pernicious nonsense has gotten into the heads of those who contend that it is futile for anyone to seek the intercession of any angel or departed saint, namely, on the grounds that we cannot confidently address our prayers to God Himself, not only because He alone is more present to us than all the angels and all the saints put together but also because He has the power to grant us more, and a greater desire to do so, than any of the saints in heaven, of whatever description.

With such trivial and groundless arguments as these, they express their envious displeasure at the glory of the saints, who are in turn equally displeased with such men; for they strive to undermine the loving homage we pay to the saints and the saving assistance they render to us. Why should these shameless men not follow the same line of reasoning here and argue that the angel's effort to offer consolation to our Savior Christ was utterly pointless and superfluous? For what angel of them all was as powerful as He Himself or as near to Him as God, since He Himself was God? But in fact, just as He wished to undergo sadness and anxiety for our sake, so too for our sake He wished to have an angel console Him, for a number of reasons: both to refute the foolish arguments of such men and to make it clear that He was truly man (for just as angels ministered to Him as God when He had triumphed over the temptations of the devil, so too an angel came to console Him as man while He was making His lowly progress toward death) and, moreover, to give us hope that if we direct our prayers to God when we are in danger, we cannot lack consolation- always provided we do not pray in a lazy and perfunctory way, but rather imitate Christ in this passage by sighing and praying from the bottom of our hearts.

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