LEAVING JERUSALEM by the southeastern gate, Jesus and the disciples entered the Cedron valley, crossed the brook, and soon reached the Garden of Gethsemani, at the foot of Mount Olivet.
This grove of olive trees had been a favorite retreat of Jesus in happier days, but tonight it had no charm for Him, for His soul was troubled with His coming Passion.
On reaching the grove, He said to the disciples:
“Sit down here, while I go over yonder and pray.”
He took Peter and James and John and walked on with them a little way, then stopped and said:
“My soul is sad, even unto death. Wait here and watch with Me. Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Going off from them about a stone’s throw, He dropped to the ground and began to pray:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible to Thee. Remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou willest.”
An angel appeared to strengthen Him, and as He prayed He fell into a new agony of anxiety, accompanied by a bloody sweat. Returning to the apostles, He found them sleeping, and He said to Peter:
“Simon, dost thou sleep? Couldst thou not watch one hour? Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again He prayed, for a reprieve He knew He would not accept:
“My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.”
Once more He sought the disciples, but they were again asleep, and He returned to His prayers. Coming to the apostles the third time, He said with gentle irony:
“Sleep on now, and take your rest!”
Then, hearing someone approaching, He said:
“It is enough; the hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go. Behold, he who will betray Me is at hand.”
Meditation: The suffering of Christ in the Garden was purely internal. A t this point in His Passion no one had struck Him; no one had inflicted any external punishments upon Him. But His mental sufferings were intense. And they were brought on in great part by the repugnance and aversion He experienced for the sins He knew would be committed by all men of all ages. The ugliness of sin could make Our Lord suffer; but to us sin seems attractive. Perhaps I do not love God enough to realize the baseness of offending Him.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 247-248. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.