By Plinio Correa de Oliveira
“Then He says to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Stay you here and watch with Me.” (St. Matthew 26, 38).
“My soul is,” says the Saviour, and not “I am.” He wanted to stress that His torment was a totally moral one. The torment of the body had not yet begun. So much insistence is given in the Passion on the pains of the Body, and this is good.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus brought to the fore the pains of the soul of Christ, and this is excellent. The pains of the soul are more profound, more excruciating, and more noble than those of the body, for they go against the defects of the soul, the ones that offend God.
What did the soul of Christ suffer? What should we suffer? To suffer from seeing the will of the Eternal Father transgressed and Jesus, Our Lord, rejected, denied, and hated. To think of this, to realise its breadth and gravity, is to suffer within us the spiritual pains of Our Lord.
Jesus Christ and His Church are but one. Whenever we see an immoral billboard, hear of an unjust sentence, an institution or law opposed to the moral law, we should suffer. If we do not even have sufficient zeal or strength for this, we will “remain seated” and flee when the moment of danger comes.
“Sorrowful even unto death”: in other words, the height of sadness. The sadness of seeing the Law violated, the Church persecuted, the glory of God denied. This should bring us to an apex of sadness, and not only an emotional and passing insignificant sadness such as those coming from frivolous and impressionable souls like will-o’-the-wisps over bogs and cemeteries. This is an insignificant and superficial sadness that does not lead us to form serious resolutions, profound acts of zeal, nor effective renunciations of everything to live for the fight. A soul “sorrowful even unto death” is not consoled with magazines, clothes, restaurants, sight-seeing, legitimate bagatelles... or especially illegitimate ones! Such a soul will live in mortal sadness at the outraged glory of God and will only find solace in the interior life and in doing apostolate.
“Stay you here.” That is, do not mix with the lost children of Jerusalem, nor with the lukewarm who sleep a few feet away. “Watch with Me.” Yes, participate in My solitude, in My defeat, in My pain. Make this your glory, your joy, your wealth.