FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Olives
1st Prelude. Imagine you see Jesus in His agony bathed in blood.
2nd Prelude. Beg for courage and perseverance in the spiritual combat.
POINT I. “Being in an agony, His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground”.
CONSIDERATION. The Saviour’s death upon the heights of Calvary before the world became a striking proof of His divinity. The Roman centurion, says St. Mark, “seeing that, crying out in this manner, He had given up the ghost,” said “Indeed this man was the Son of God.” And the soldiers who were with him watching Jesus said the same thing. His death was not, then, preceded by that agony which is the strongest proof of man’s impotence — struggling in vain against his dissolution. But Jesus, choosing to submit to all our humiliations and sorrows, anticipated the time of His agony. He suffered it before His other torments. And it was the more terrible and cruel because it was not the effect of physical exhaustion, but of an interior struggle between feeling and the will.
APPLICATION. What a great proof of love, and what a profitable lesson, Jesus teaches us by this! To soften the agony of death for us, and to merit for us the grace of supporting it with patience and resignation, He voluntarily endured, and offered to His Father for us, the most painful of agonies. Have I really understood this love? And what effect has it produced in me?
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “As drops of blood trickling down upon the ground.”
CONSIDERATION. This bloody sweat, of which there are few examples in history, makes us understand what was passing in the soul of Jesus during His agony of nearly two hours; it shows us how great was the terror and suffering He endured, and especially how violent was the battle going on in His soul between nature repulsing with terror the chalice of bitterness, and the will firmly resisting the repugnance of nature.
APPLICATION. Most certainly Our Lord could have avoided this terrible and humiliating agony, but He chose to submit to it for our instruction and encouragement. Let us learn from it never to fall back from the execution of any duty, however painful it may be; and if we cannot get through it without great repugnance, and in spite of ourselves, as it were, let us be consoled by the thought that this natural dislike does not destroy the merit of what we do or suffer for God. Jesus has assured us of this in His own Person, and how encouraging it is!
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.”
CONSIDERATION. The humble supplications of Jesus in His agony were not in vain. An angel came to visit Him, who strengthened His body, restored the vigour He had lost in His agony, and also fortified His soul, praising His resignation, and showing Him all that His Passion should do for His Father’s glory, and for the happiness of men. What Jesus as man had conditionally asked for, was not in truth given to Him, but His prayer obtained a wonderful and consoling answer.
APPLICATION. Behold what will infallibly be the fruit of your recourse to God in your troubles and anguish. Never do we pray in vain. If you do not obtain release from a heavy cross which weighs on you, the angel of divine consolation will shed the unction of grace in your heart. You will feel within you fresh strength and vigour of soul. Your cross will appear light to you. You will bear it with sweet resignation, sometimes with sensible joy, always with a fresh increase of merit. You will have obtained what you asked for.
COLLOQUY with Jesus in agony.