Christ Asks God-Father To Let Him Complete His Mission And Says That His Premature Death Will Create A False Meaning of His Redemption

The Mount of Olives

Then it was night, and Jesus walked alone, dressed in white like a dead man in his shroud; the disciples were asleep at the foot of the hill. Among the olives bent by a dismal wind Jesus walks with long strides shivering like them; sad unto death, his eye dark and shadowy, his brow bent, crossing both arms over his gown like a thief of the night hiding what he steals; knowing the rocks better than a beaten path, he halts in a place called Gethsemane. He bows on his knees, his forehead against the ground; then looks at the sky and calls: “My father!”

But the sky remains dark and God does not answer. He rises astonished, again walks with long strides, brushing the trembling olives. A bloody sweat flows down from his head cold and slow. He draws back, he descends and shouts in terror: “Could you not pray and watch with me?” But a deathly sleep overwhelms the apostles. Peter is deaf to his master’s voice, like the others. Then the Son of Man climbs up again slowly; like an Egyptian shepherd, he searches the sky to see if the Angel does not shine in the depths of some star. But a cloud the color of mourning spreads out like a widow’s veil, and its folds enclose the desert. Jesus was cold. In vain he called three times: “My father!” – The wind alone answered his voice. And the Earth trembled, feeling the weight of the Savior falling at the Creator’s feet.

Jesus said: “O Father, still let me live! Do not close my book before the last word! Earth is afraid to remain widowed when the man dies who speaks a new word; you have let only one word from Heaven, given forth by my mouth, fall on its withered breast. But this word is so pure and its sweetness is such that it almost intoxicated the human family with a drop of life and divinity, when opening my arms I said: ‘Fraternity’.”

“Father, oh! If I have fulfilled my grievous message, if I have changed the value of human Sacrifice, everywhere substituting the word for the battle, wine’s crimson waves for the red waves of blood; if I divided time into two parts, the one enslaved and the other free; – let us pour the half of blood of my body, of love and innocence on their head who shall come saying: ‘It is lawful for all to kill the innocent.’ We know that in the distance of ages there will be born harsh oppressors escorted by false philosophers, who will disturb every nation’s spirit by giving a false meaning to my redemption.”

“Liberating Father! If I set foot on this imperfect sphere, whose restless groaning called to me, it was to leave two Angels in my place whose footprints the human race would have kissed, happy Certainty and confident Hope who walk smiling in Paradise. But I am going to leave this wretched earth, having only raised the cloak of misery.”

So the divine Son spoke to the divine Father. He bows himself again, he waits and hopes. … But he gives up and says: “May your will be done and not mine, and for Eternity!” A deep terror, an infinite anguish redoubles his torture and his slow agony. For a long time he gazes, for a long time searches without seeing. The whole sky was black, like a funeral marble; the Earth without light, without stars, and without dawn, and without light of the soul, as it still is, trembled. – In the wood he heard steps, and then he saw the torch of Judas prowling.

Alfred de Vigny

Let’s make a resume of the semantic scope of de Vigny’s poem – the first paragraph: the divine Son appeals to the divine Father; second paragraph: “the Earth trembled, feeling the weight of the Savior falling at the Creator’s feet”; third paragraph: “Fraternity” as a basic principle of human life as the essence of Christ’s teaching; fourth paragraph: “There will be born harsh oppressors escorted by false philosophers who will give false meaning to Christ’s redemption” should Christ be taken away prematurely from his mission; fifth paragraph: Christ asks God for the chance to complete his mission; and the sixth paragraph: “Earth without light of the soul”.

The semantic nucleus of the poem, it seems, is formulated in the fourth paragraph, when Christ appeals to God, arguing that if his mission will not be completed it is his innocence, not his teaching will become the issue in history, and that this will make possible for the future oppressors and their propagandists to falsify the meaning of his redemption. In other words, these future (present for us today) tyrants will emphasize his innocence of what he was accused of by the Pharisees, his godly nature and his crucifixion and ascension instead of emphasizing his humanistic teaching. Of course, it is exactly what has happened in history. Christ’s point to God is that if he will be given more time more people will understand his message which is more important than he himself. In the fifth paragraph Christ elaborates it like this: “If I set foot on this imperfect sphere, whose restless groaning called to me, it was to leave two Angels in my place whose footprints the human race would have kissed, happy Certainty and confident Hope…”

For post-Christ power-keepers and decision-makers to concentrate, while confronting the Christian paradigm, on Christ’s legal innocence and godly nature is the only way to neutralize the radicalism of his humanistic message. The idea that “our god was violated” works for them because it mobilizes the masses to hate “enemies” who are the enemies of financial elite by reasons that has little to do with Christ’s murder, but with factual anti-Christian and anti-democratic injustice when the majority of people are repressed by various forms of austerity making them hungry, homeless, cold, sick and desperate. That’s what de Vigny’s Christ is talking about in the poem’s third paragraph: “This word is so pure and its sweetness is such that it almost intoxicated the human family with a drop of life and divinity, when opening my arms I said: ‘Fraternity’.”

Alfred de Vigny (1797 – 1863)
Alfred de Vigny (1797 – 1863)