Meditation in the Garden of Gethsemane
by Patti Gallagher Mansﬁeld
We are in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. He has called us friends and He has a prophetic word to speak to us. Let’s begin by reading Mark’s account of the agony in garden.
And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mk 14:32-39, RSV)
In Luke’s account we read, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.”
Watch and Pray!
Jesus is true God and true man. Here in the Garden we hear the cry of His human heart, reaching out to His friends to stay with Him, to be close to Him, to support Him by their presence, by their love, by their prayer. even the three who were with Him on Mt. Tabor, who witnessed His glory, fell asleep and left Him alone in His agony. Soon, we’ll be going to Calvary where Jesus was crucifi ed and shed His blood. But He began shedding His blood here in the Garden. “Watch and pray!” Jesus cries out. “Be on the alert! The spirit is willing but the fl esh is weak. Could you not watch one hour?” This cry of Jesus is a prophetic word for us. one hour! one hour to be with Jesus. one hour to strengthen the bonds of love and friendship. one hour for intimacy with the Lord. If we’re not faithful to spending at least one hour a day watching and praying, how will we ever be able to withstand what is to come?
The Lord still has much to do with and through us and He wants us to get ready. How? First, we must be humble and pure of heart. We must desire Jesus above everything. Isaiah 26:8 says, “Your Name and your title are the desire of our souls. o Lord, it is you who have accomplished all that we have done.” Two concrete ways to grow in humility and purity of heart is to appropriate the blood of Jesus in the sacrament of reconciliation and the Holy eucharist. Get ready to be useful
Settle It Now!
St. Alphonsus Ligouri tells us that we should determine ahead of time to accept the manner of our death. “If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8). Settle it now.
Blessed John Paul II said, “The believer who has seriously pondered his Christian vocation, including what Revelation has to say about the possibility of martyrdom, cannot exclude it from his own life’s horizon.” Whether or not we shed our blood, every one of us will be called to be a martyr, a witness.
“Tremble before him all the earth” (Ps 96:9). In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked the guards, “Whom do you seek?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” When he said, “I am he,” they fell to the ground like dead men. Tremble before Him all the earth. The Lord says, “This is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Is 66:2). Trembling before the Lord refers to much more than a physical response; it’s a spiritual response that acknowledges His holiness. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:30).
Jesus is saying to us today, “My friends watch and pray. Get ready by purifying yourselves in my blood. Settle it now. Alive or dead, you belong to me. Be in awe of me. Tremble before me. Be afraid of touching my glory and spoiling the beauty of my work. Keep your head to the ground just like I did when I knelt in this Garden and said, ‘Not my will, but yours be done.’”