Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The Agony in the Garden--Part Two of the Seven Bloodsheddings of Christ  

The month of July is set aside for special devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus. One of the devotions associated with the Precious Blood, is a meditation on the seven references in Scripture to the shedding of Christ's blood. In this second installment, I would like to reflect on the Lord's shedding of His blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.

From St. Luke's Gospel:
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. (22:44)
The Agony in the Garden is a beautiful illustration of the mystery of the Incarnation. As our Lord prays, we are shown that He is indeed a Divine Person who has taken on a human nature. In our finite minds we must speak separately of what is no longer separate--He is both God and man. In His humanity, he cries out, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me" (Lk. 22:42). In His divinity He speaks as one with the Father.

There is no disparity between His human and divine wills. They are completely united. Thus, this episode is truly a mystery. One which has proved to be a source of fruitful meditation for the saints including St. Thomas More. How fitting that he would know his own chalice that he must drink.

The intensity of our Lord's prayer is so great that he sweats drops of His Precious Blood. As fully human, He has the capacity to suffer. In His humanity, He shies away from the suffering He will endure, and He assumes the tremendous burden of human sin for which He will give His life on the cross.

Here in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see the first bloodshedding of His Passion. Interestingly enough it is not blood that flows from His being whipped, beaten, or even crucified. It is in the midst of prayer that great drops of blood pour forth like sweat.

We are with the disciples. We are asleep just a stone's throw away from our Lord. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We are not in prayer as we ought to be. Our thoughts are elsewhere. We do not recognize the times. Jesus has made it clear that He is about to be handed over to the Gentiles who will scourge Him and crucify Him. Maybe we are not able to conceive that He came to die for us. Maybe we want Him to be a different Savior who does things according to our way of thinking. Despite such light thoughts, we are heavy with sleep. Even when Jesus comes with intensity in His face to wake us from our drowsiness, we are not able to stay awake when He goes again to pray.

The answer to His prayer is not the removal of the cup, but the strength to drink the cup. The Father sends an angel to comfort Jesus. And He embraces the Will of the Father--"Nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done" (Lk. 22:42).

Next Installment: The Scourging at the Pillar

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The Circumcision

Posted by David at 12:45 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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