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Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives


V/. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R/. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

From the Gospel according to Mark 14: 32-36

And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and Jesus 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, to you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will".


Jesus experienced fear, anguish and sorrow, even to death. He took with him three companions, but soon they fell asleep, and he began to pray alone: "May this hour pass from me, take away this chalice from me.... Yet, Father, may your will be done".

He had come into the world in order to do the Father's will, but never before had he tasted the full depth of the bitterness of sin, or felt so helpless.

In his Letter to the Catholics in China, Benedict XVI recalled the vision in the Apocalypse of St John where the apostle weeps before the sealed book of human history, the "mysterium iniquitatis".

Only the Lamb that was slain is capable of removing the seal. In many parts of the world, the Bride of Christ is undergoing the dark hour of persecution, as Esther once did when threatened by Haman, as did the "Woman" of the Apocalypse when threatened by the dragon. Let us be watchful, and let us accompany the Bride of Christ in our prayer.


Jesus, Almighty God, you chose to become weakness because of our sins, you recognize the cries of the persecuted, which are the echo of your agony. They ask: Why this oppression? Why this humiliation? Why this prolonged servitude?

The words of the Psalm come to mind: "Awake, Lord, why do you sleep? Awake! Do not cast us off for ever! Why do you hide your face, why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we lie prostrate in the dust, our body cleaves to the ground. Rise up, come to our help!" (Ps 43: 24-26).

No, Lord! You did not have recourse to this Psalm in Gethsemane, but you said: "Your will be done!".

You could have summoned twelve legions of angels, but you did not. Lord, suffering makes us afraid. We are tempted once again to grasp at easy means of success. Help us not to be afraid of fear, help us to trust in you.


Pater noster, qui es in clis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in clo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

Stabat mater dolorosa,
iuxta crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.


Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana