Agony in the Garden

We all experience our own Garden of Gethsemane:

Matthew 26:36-42: “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’

He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress.

Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.’

He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.’

When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?

Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, ‘My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!'”

(Via USCCB.)

We can only imagine the suffering that goes into “My soul is sorrowful even to death.” And this is Jesus who is going through this pain, on the eve of His Crucifixion and death.

Our wills resist doing what needs to be done if it involves the least amount of pain and anguish. Our trials come and we feel so alone during them. We beg and pray that God would relieve us of the burden. Even when we have someone to share the pain with, the sorrow over enduring the trial is like a shadow enveloping us. The burden might be eased, but the trial of enduring still darkens our soul.

I am currently undergoing a trial at my day job. I cannot go into details but it keeps dragging on, seemingly without end, although it has only been a few weeks.

One thing that I have noticed more during this period than I have in previous trials in my life is the work of grace in my soul, and the mercy of God. I cannot explain, but whereas in the past I would be seriously stressing out, I am not so much now. Quite a lot has to do with my lovely wife’s support and her deep and abiding faith, but there have been other things coinciding during this time. It is almost as if God is telling me that He knew all along that this would be happening (of course He does, being omniscient) and has arranged certain things to help me not only cope, but spiritually grow and strengthen during this period.

Perhaps this all doesn’t make much sense as I have not written about what is happening. There will be a few blogposts coming up that will relate some of the “spiritual” events that have happened that have given me courage. And perhaps you, as well. For we are truly not alone when we suffer trials. Jesus is there awaiting our prayers. While we might not have the burdens lifted, we can know that He is there, shepherding us through (if we see with the eyes of faith).

Suffering is hardly ever desired (an understatement if there ever was one), but with a strong faith and friends to assist, people can learn and emerge stronger for it. It is a natural part of human existence. If that is accepted then perhaps it can actually bear fruit in one’s life.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

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