Several years ago, I began writing a series of meditations on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I published them on the former Nomen Christi Apostolate website. The project went very well and was well received, but I never finished it. I did complete the Sorrowful Mysteries, which I will re-publish here, starting with "The Agony in the Garden" today. This Friday, I'll post the next Mystery and so forth on the remaining Fridays in Lent. I am doing some slight editing in this re-publishing. I will resume this project one of these days and complete all 20 Mysteries.
These meditations are very personal for me, since I draw on many of my own life experiences, including some of the most difficult. The only research I do is the reading of Scripture, since I wish these thoughts to be as original as possible. With each meditation, I am seeking to uncover a fundamental aspect or nature of the event and to show some practical application to our own daily lives. I hope you find these meditations enriching and please feel free to share them with others. Come back this Friday for the next one!
The Agony in the Garden
It seems strange that Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, would feel fear so intense, that it would produce the Bloody Sweat of His Agony. One might expect Him to approach His death with greater stoicism. Why would He suggest to the Father that this “cup” be taken from Him? What was the nature of this Agony and what do we have to learn from it?
Our Lord was fully God, but also fully man. His Agony shows us how very human He was and how much He understands our sufferings, particularly those of the mind. The drama in the Garden of Gethsemane comes down to the two qualities of God that are wholly unique: omniscience and omnipotence, the two things desired by Adam and Eve. This is another garden where the reverse struggle plays out, only now, the right choice is made. Rather than man attempting to assume the qualities of God, God assumes the weakness of man. This right choice is precisely the moment which leads to our Redemption, secured on the Cross, reversing the curse of our first parents. The moment before Our Lord was physically apprehended, presents the Mystery of the Agony in the Garden. This is where the final yielding of His Spirit occurred, when He speaks the words, “Thy Will be done.” All work begins in the mind and our Redemption was no exception. Once Our Lord was apprehended, there could be no turning back. He was then fully prepared to enter into His Passion.
Our Lord possessed in that garden, the complete knowledge of what awaited him. Man’s ignorance makes it easier for him to approach fearful situations. Complete knowledge made it excruciating for Christ. He also possessed the power to run away, the power to obliterate the enemy coming for Him. At the very moment when humanity’s Redemption was held in the balance, surely all hell’s power was leveled against this one Man. It must have been excruciating for Satan as well-never before or since would a task require more of him. If the right choice was made, so many souls would escape his grasp. So here may lie the nature of the Agony in the Garden: to proceed in spite of Divine Knowledge and to withhold Divine Power.
What must I do in spite of my fear and how must I withhold my power? It has been said that our age has no lack of virtue, only a lack of heroism. Dear Jesus, make me stand firm in my own little agonies, that I may receive the Redemption Thou hast so grievously won. Give me the courage to say, "Thy Will be done." Amen.