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The Agony of Our Lord in the Garden

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The Agony of Our Lord in the Garden

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’ (Mt 26:36-39)

‘Remain here.’  Jesus’ instruction to Peter, James and John is clear.  In this crucial period of prayer that bridges his Last Supper and his arrest, Jesus, as true man, needs to accept the fate which, as true God, he knows awaits him.   The intensity of it is such that he sweats blood and yet three times he breaks from his prayer and goes to his disciples.  Why?

The disciples are willing, but their flesh is weak and they fall asleep, perhaps not realising how important their presence is to Jesus in his agony.  For although there is little the disciples can do, Jesus simply wants them to be there with him.

Lord Jesus, like your disciples, I too can underestimate how much you value my presence.  
When I listen, I hear you gently urging me, ‘remain here’,
For you love me so much that you gave your life for me:
Of course you want me to remain with you! 
But I, Good Lord, not loving you as I ought, 
Wander far from your gentle whisper
and forget the sweetness of your voice amidst the clamour of the day.
Help me, my Lord Jesus, to remain in you.
Help me to bring the gift of your love to others,
Remembering the value of simply being present to others in their need.  
Amen.
 

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