JESUS PRAYS IN THE GARDEN.
Jesus, knowing that the hour of His Passion had now come, after having washed the feet of His disciples and instituted the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, –wherein He left us His whole Self– goes to the Garden of Gethsemani, whither He knew already His enemies would come to take Him. He there betakes Himself to prayer, and lo! He finds Himself assailed by a great dread, by a great repugnance, and by a great sadness: He began to fear and to be heavy, and to grow sorrowful. (Mark xiv. and Matt. xxvi.). There came upon Him, first, a great dread of the bitter death which He would have to suffer on Calvary, and of all the desolations by which it would be accompanied. During the actual course of His Passion, the scourges, the thorns, the nails, and the rest of His tortures came upon Him but one at a time; whereas, in the Garden, they all came upon Him at the same time, crowding into His memory in order to torment Him. For His love of us He embraced them all; but in embracing them, He trembles and is in agony: Being in an agony, he prayed the longer. (Luke xxii. 43).
There comes upon Him, moreover, a great repugnance to all He has now to suffer; so that He prays His Father to deliver Him from it: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass away from me. (Matt. xxvi. 39). He prayed thus to teach us that in our tribulations we may indeed beg of God to deliver us from them; but we ought at the same time to refer ourselves to His will, and to say, as Jesus then said: Not, however, as I will, but as thou wilt. Yes, my Jesus, Thy will, and not mine, be done. I embrace all the crosses that Thou wilt send me. Thou, innocent as Thou art, hast suffered so much for love of me; it is but just that I who am a sinner, and deserving of hell, should suffer for love of Thee that which Thou dost ordain.
There came upon Him, likewise, a sadness so great, that it would have been enough to cause Him to die, had He not, of Himself, kept death away, in order to die for us after having suffered more: My soul is sorrowful even unto death. (Mark xiv. 34). This great sadness was occasioned by the sight of the future ungratefulness of men, who, instead of corresponding to so great a love on His part, would offend Him by so many sins, the sight of which caused Him to sweat streams of Blood: And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. (Luke xxii. 44). So, then, O my Jesus, it is not the executioners, the scourges, the thorns, or the Cross, that have been so cruel: the cruelty lies in my sins, which afflicted Thee so much in the Garden. Do Thou give me, then, a share of that sorrow and abhorrence which Thou didst experience in the Garden, that so, even to my death, I may weep bitterly for the offence that I have given Thee. I love Thee, O my Jesus: do Thou receive with kindness a sinner who wishes to love Thee. Recommend me, O Mary, to this Thy Son, Who is in affliction and sadness for love of me.