Sunday, March 4, 2012

Meditation on the First Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus' Agony In the Garden

I'm a little late on this one, but yesterday, March 3, was the First Saturday of the Month.  As I have mentioned previously,  Our Lady of Fatima has asked us, on the First Saturday of the Month to:

1.  Go To Confession.
2.  Receive Holy Communion
3.  Pray 5 decades of the Rosary and Meditate for 15 minutes on one of the mysteries of the Rosary.

This is to be done in reparation for the evil of the world and that the consecration of Russia be done to her Immaculate Heart.  I must add that the Consecration is the only solution to the crisis in which the world finds itself.  The solution is not political.  The devil is in that "solution."

I have chosen this month to meditate on the First Sorrowful Mystery, which is the Agony of Our Lord in the Garden.  The Book of Luke describes Jesus' agony as such (Luke 22:41-43):
And he was withdrawn away from them a stone's cast; and kneeling down, he prayed, Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.
 In contemplating Christ's agony in the garden the night before he was crucified, I always read these verses to mean that our Lord was in agony over the physical brutality he was about to undergo.  And that may have been part of it.  But I think his agony was caused much more by the thought that he was about to take the entire sin of the world - past, present and future - upon himself, and thus to enter into such horror and wickedness that we cannot even comprehend.  Just to feel a tiny fraction of the evil that is the sin of the world would kill any one of us.  Just think of some of the gruesome murders you have heard of, child abuse, the horrors of war.  Christ saw and experienced all of this in living color, sterophonic sound, 3D, with all the sights and smells and pain associated with this evil.  Men who have been to war and experienced the death and brutality associated with it have come back never to be the same.  Our Lord took all of this on himself and so much more, and presented Himself to the Father as the Redemptive Sacrifice to pay the price for all of the unspeakable evil in the world. 

Our Lord brought the three closest men with him to the garden:  Peter, James and John.  He walked away from them to pray to the Father and prepare Himself for what he was about to undergo.   Matthew 26:36-39 gives us this account:
Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me. And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 
 Here is the account of Christ's prayer in which he asks the Father to allow this cup of suffering pass from him.  He asks this not once, but twice more (Matthew 26:40-44):
And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak. Again the second time, he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done. And he cometh again and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word.
Total Innocence, Goodness and Purity was taking on the vast evil and filth of this world in order to redeem our souls.  Is there any sacrifice too big for us to make in comparison to this?  It is the reason the martyrs throughout history have gladly given their lives for their Savior.  There is nothing we can do that can begin to compare to the terrible agony and suffering which our Lord experienced starting in the Garden of Gethsemani.  But as we say at each Mass:  "Lord, I am not worthy, that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed."

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