From Words of Encouragement, 1934
Notes of Instructions delivered by Rev. Daniel Considine, S.J.
To some of us will come at times some taste of that horrible perplexity Our Lord had in the Garden of Olives. At times it will seem almost impossible to do what we know God wants us to do.
There was a moment when Our Lord seemed to waver and balance as to whether He would go on with His Passion. It must cost us something, if we mean to do something memorable for God. That is the time of the greatest anguish of mind, when we are balancing the question. Thereafter came that complete calm which Our Lord never lost during His Passion, save in that moment of His dereliction on the Cross.
The devil does his best to mislead us. He says, if you were able to do it, you wouldn’t have all this extraordinary difficulty. On the contrary, the disturbance comes from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and they wouldn’t make such a stir if the matter were not so important.
Therefore, when we have to take resolutions which cost us much, let us look at the Garden of the Agony, and take comfort from Our Lord. And observe, all was in the natural course of events, God allowing creatures to work out their designs. We need not think He interposed to provide special ignominy for Our Lord.
As soon as the conflict had ceased, and Our Lord had fully accepted the sacrifice, He was perfectly self-possessed. Let us too be calm, and united with God, and that will give us strength to endure that suffering we had dreaded and shrunk from. To all outward appearances Our Lord’s life was a failure; so will it often be with us. Yet it is just then we are most like Him, and in our very failure will He our success in the sight of God.
Our Lord’s agony was an anticipation of suffering: especially helpful in these days, so full of subjective troubles. ‘My soul is sorrowful even unto death.’ ( Matt. xxvi, 30).
A sadness of itself such as to produce death. His soul, generally in such peace and calm, was taken possession of by suffering that was enough to take His life. What was the cause? The knowledge, the anticipation of His Passion. He began to fear and to be heavy (Mark xiv. 33.) -a sickness of heart- agony-fear. Jesus was mortally sad. This fact ought to be of the greatest comfort and consolation to us.
To find a parallel to our sufferings in the Blessed Son of God! It is a lifelong asset of consolation that can’t be prized too highly.
If that most perfect soul of Our Lord could, without grossest injustice, be so dimmed by sadness that there and then the soul might have parted from the body, what right have you or I to think our lot hard? Whatever our trial is, the thought ought to follow us all day, whether our trouble be physical or mental. When I am sad, I am only undergoing the same experience as my Lord and Master.
Much less is it wrong that I should undergo this sadness. It is the very best proof of love I can give Him, and if it knits me nearer to Him, I ought to look upon it as a gift from God.
There are so many of us over whose life hangs a continual shadow. Our lives wrecked-everything gone wrong-got myself into such a mess-impossible I can do anything for God. Jesus in that mortal sadness showed the depth of His love for us more than at any other time.
I am probably never serving God so well as when I am bearing the Cross, standing under its shadow. Some of us think that if we feel sad when we have something to do for God which is hard and unpleasant, we are doing wrong.
If my sorrow comes from anticipated trouble, my Lord’s sorrow was from the same cause. . . . The devil likes us not to humble ourselves, because when the saints did it they were exalted as if they were walking on air. . . .
When Our Lord came to grips with His pain, He did pray, “If it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.” (Matt. xxvi. 39.). When we have no courage, the devil says go back. No; go on. It is nonsense to say the mortifications of the saints cost them nothing.
To feel dreadfully afraid, and as if we cannot do what we have made up our minds to do, proves nothing. Remember Our Lord’s prayer. Finding Himself in this dreadful depression, He set Himself to pray, and cast Himself down on His face.
The repulsion was so great, it set up a kind of wrestling – a struggle, that brought a pressing of the blood from the veins in such abundance that it soaked His garments, and dropped on the grass.
Some people think that the saints drank down pain like a sweet draught. A mistake. Our Lord shrank from the pain presented to Him. The use of the will had to be so strong that His whole Body was bathed in blood.
He began to be afraid.( Mark xiv. 33). Fear seized upon Him by His own permission. He was pale, and shudders went through His Body. There is nothing so terrible as to see a man afraid. They seem to lose the power of guiding themselves.
It might have seemed impossible that Our Lord should have felt fear. If, with great reverence, we could watch Him-how He stoops for love of us!
Learn from this that fearing our trouble is no sign of unfaithfulness to God.
Meanwhile He prays. His very trial consisted in putting aside the consolation He might have had. What makes our darkness so dense is that God does not let us have the consolations we had expected to feel in time of trial.
An angel appeared, strengthening and comforting Him. We come away from the Tabernacle perhaps without an atom of consolation or sweetness, but He always strengthens us.
No matter what sins you may have committed, He forgives you all; and no matter how late you come to His service; He will in one moment help you to amend the past.
True beauty comes from within. If that beauty is lacking, no exercise program, eating plan, or wardrobe update can put it there. No interior decorating scheme can give it to me. “The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4 – Emilie Barnes http://amzn.to/2sKSwHf (afflink)
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This Lent, I have been so drawn to Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden, and this post gave me much food for thought and good medications for my mental prayer. Thank you as always.
That is very intense but very reassuring. The blessed Sacrament gives strength but not always sweet consolation that is something to ponder. Thank you.
Fr Angelo said:
beauty comes from within…the life of grace….meditation on the Passion….