Agony in the Garden
In our prayer this week we personalize God’s saving activity: Jesus endures suffering for me. This focus is not meant to induce guilt and to inflict needless pain on us. Rather, Jesus’ offering is a sign of friendship with each of us, friendship that sacrifices for the other.
In your prayer, you may find yourself drawn to contemplate your own trials or the suffering of others, whether family, friends, or strangers. This is natural. However, the point is not to become absorbed in our own hardships but to embrace them as a source of compassion for the suffering of others.
The Grace I Seek
“I ask for what I desire. Here it will be to ask for sorrow, regret, and confusion, because the Lord is going to his Passion for my sins” (SE 193).
Read Matthew 26:36–46 (agony in the garden).
From Death to Life
Jesus Christ, may your death be my life
and in your dying may I learn how to live.
May your struggles be my rest,
Your human weakness my courage,
Your embarrassment my honor,
Your passion my delight,
Your sadness my joy,
in your humiliation may I be exalted.
In a word, may I find all my blessings in your trials.
—Blessed Peter Faber, SJ, Hearts on Fire
It's a tough assignment. (It was a tough assignment for Jesus). I am struck by how much I resist this, in a culture where I am trying to NOT feel bad about myself, NOT beat myself up.
But, really, this isn't about me. Is it? It's about compassion for the suffering of others.
I am thinking today of my Aunt Betty, who is, we believe, in the final process of dying. She is ready to go and will be relieved to be with Jesus. My cousin (at whose home she is staying, attended by Hospice 24/7) says the hard, agonizing part seems to be over and now she is quite peaceful. Death is the holiest of all journeys. For Jesus, for any of us. And we all go there. In our culture we seem to not remember, or not want to remember, that it is inevitable, but it is.
I have said often that I am not afraid to die, but I am afraid of being old, sick, alone. And that's what happened to Jesus, minus the old part. Write THAT down.