My soul is sorrowful, even unto death

One of my favorite saints, St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, once suggested somewhere in his writings that we should meditate on the Passion narratives of Our Lord on Fridays. Or was that St. Therese of Lisieux? Another favorite of mine, I’ve been studying her writings recently along with St. Max’s. I might get their suggestions mixed up at times.

Last Friday I started with the account in Matthew’s Gospel. I got as far as:

Matthew 26:38 Then he said to them: “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

(via Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version)

I’m a melancholic individual, sometimes depressed or sad for miscellaneous reasons. Sometimes for too long as I tend to dwell on things. I have contemplated suicide three times in my life (1985-86, 1994-95 and late 2005-early 2006. I may discuss them at some point (if I haven’t already, at the moment I didn’t feel like searching for any blogposts on the subject, but there is a post category on it so I must have…)

On the night He was betrayed, He was praying in Gethsemane, praying hard and was “sorrowful, even unto death.” He knew what was coming. He also knew, based on His nature, that He’d survive. And yet He was still “sorrowful, even unto death.”

Those words just stopped me cold and I couldn’t read past that. I’ve read those words numerous times before, and they’ve always brought some comfort. If Jesus can feel that way, that gives us some consolation. God knows everything, but knowing and experiencing something in His human nature AND in His divine nature I think divinizes the experience. We suffer, and are sorrowful so much so at times that our spirit embraces death. Not necessarily becoming suicidal, but the degree of severity to which we are suffering can be “like death.” We, as baptized Catholics, and thus members of the Mystical Body of Christ, can draw upon this when we “offer up” or pains. He knows about them. Not just because He is an omniscient God, but because He’d been there, He suffered them, too.. Our sufferings are gathered up into the Mystical Body, and as He suffered we can draw strength and courage from that.

Ask for the graces…

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"