Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, the Passionists commemorate Jesus' Agony and Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, Sit here while I pray.
Mark 14, 32
The scene of the agony in the garden was an ancient olive farm where our blessed Lord frequently retired to pray to his Father. The time was about midnight on the eve of the first Good Friday. The paschal moon, filtering through the olive trees, spotlights this dramatic scene.
Our blessed Lord prostrates himself upon the rocky soil clutching at the very ground for support. He groans in distress and writhes in physical agony. His usual calmness deserts him as he keeps repeating the same prayer over and over again: Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Great beads of sweat appear on the face of Jesus as a shattering storm engulfs his soul. Gradually, the sweat turned in crimson as his prayer increased in its intensity. Soon, his entire body perspires...a sweat of blood.
What are the causes of this internal martyrdom of our Lord? What is this "cup" which he pleads with his Father to remove? He has just witnessed a "Preview of his Passion." Picture after picture, the various sufferings of the Passion flashed through his mind. The crucifixion, stark and terrifying, loomed up before him and caused his sensitive soul to recoil in terror. Once again he pleads with his Father, "If it is possible..."
Yet Christ did not run away from the Cross and the suffering that he knew awaited. Nor did he take the easy way out. He suffered this incredible agony in reparation for our sins. The conclusion is obvious. We cannot live a "comfort-at -all-costs" philosophy of life. To follow Christ calls for an unrelenting struggle with the tendencies to sin found in the make-up of each of us.
by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Come, let us adore Jesus Christ praying in the garden.
When Jesus arrived at Gethsemane, he said to his disciples:
Stay here while I go over there and pray.
Psalm 63, 2-9
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Reading: Hebrews 5, 7-8
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.
Lord Jesus, you taught us to watch and pray, lest we be overcome by temptation.
We confidently ask you: Lord, share with us your own spirit of prayer.
By your prayer in the garden, you prepared for your passion and death;
--- help us, your disciples, to be in intimate communion with our God in every event of our life.
In the garden , you persevered in prayer even when distressed to the sweating of blood;
--- grant that, by prayer, we may live with God despite distress and sorrow.
Lord, at your Father's bidding, you gladly drank the cup of your passion;
--- create in us a like thirst to do the Father's will.
Sustained by your prayer, you gave yourself up to those who seized you unjustly;
--- help us to find in prayer the strength to be faithful in trials and difficulties.
Lord our God,
in his agony in the garden,
Jesus, your Son, taught us by word and example
how to pray in time of trial.
Keep us always faithful to prayer,
that we may reap its rich harvest of grace.
We ask this though our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Read more......Meditations on the Passion