“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.
“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
The question I have been asking myself is what was Jesus thinking when going through this experience for our salvation that would cause him to sweat drops of blood. I think one answer could be “us” and our response to his message. Our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross was for the love of “us”; whether that be from the fall of Adam and Eve, to the generations beyond us today. God is infinite and therefore not bound by time. So, God and his perception of the past, present and future are all before him from creation to the end times. Also all actions of humanity are seen and known by him. Whether those actions be for him or against him is up to us with our gift of free will but as said before God knew our actions and sins.
I feel that while he was praying to the Father for the salvation planned ahead he saw all those that would sin against his love and choose through their sins to separate themselves from his love. I imagine that what Jesus might have been seeing is all those souls who would turn from him through sin throughout time. I meditate on the crushing pain he feels bearing the sins from the fall of Eden, seeing the travesties like the holocaust and martyrdom of His Saints throughout time, as well as the overwhelming number of sins that I, myself have and will commit. These and countless other sins are all the cause of His great anguish of his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane.
However, I also think that when the angel came to strengthen Him, he was reminded of all those who would choose him and respond to his love with love, to turn away from the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives. I think he saw in the garden the love like that of the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:1-7 throughout time. The love of Abraham, bringing forth God’s nation, the love of King David, leading God’s people, the love of the apostles and disciples from St. Peter to Pope Francis and the love of the communion of the Church who accepted and lived His message in their everyday lives.
I try to think about this in my meditations throughout the day and keep it personal when I say yes to God’s will or say “Jesus I love you”. It is very easy to let prayer become routine, so I strive to keep it intimate. After all, we are expressing that love to God here and now but at the same time, our daily expressions of love to God are known to Jesus not only here in this very moment but also in His agony in the garden all those years ago.
I think that God appreciates all love that we express to him and in the many different ways that they may take shape for each individually. For example, St. Martin De Porres believed that even scraping vegetable skins was a prayer if done for love of God. For St. Thomas Aquinas it was his love for deep contemplative thought on God’s divinity. And for Blessed Fr. Solanus Casey, he didn’t feel he could play violin well but would try his best in front of the Holy Eucharist alone at night with love in his heart. These personal little acts are seen and loved by our heavenly Father always and forever.
I will end with this short prayer from Padre Pio- “My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.”