"Stay with me. Remain here with me. Watch and pray. Watch and pray."
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He has said, "My soul is sorrowful even to death." Mt 26:38 When reflecting on this portion of the Gospel and this first of the Sorrowful Mysteries, I imagine Christ in such anguish. He prays, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will" Mt 26: 39 that He is being shown the most horrifying sins committed past, present, and future, and knows what incredible suffering He must endure to bring about our salvation.
"Oh Father, I know You can hear me. Is there any other way? Another prayer to pray? Father, if Your love permits, let this cup pass me by. Still let it be as You would have it, not as I."
-Danielle Rose lyrics
It is because of His fervent love for us that God has limited Himself by entering human form. He feels loneliness, sorrow, distress, and pain just as we do. Seeing the torture He was about to undergo physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually, He feels overwhelmed, yet even then He is completely obedient to His Father's will and plan for the salvation of the world.
I am always humbled and amazed by His willingness to undergo so much suffering for us. One morning while I was still in my freshmen or sophomore year of college, I had a very vivid dream. The minute details I wrote down in a prayer journal I haven't located, yet, but they aren't as important as the effect the dream had on me. I woke up feeling completely unworthy of God's love and at the same time acutely aware of His incredible mercy washing over me. At that moment, I had an epiphany that I wasn't anywhere near strong enough in my faith that I would willingly agree to suffer physical pain in order to atone for the sins of others.
The Scourging at the Pillar
Christ is brutally whipped by men who are trained in torture. He knows He is innocent, yet He accepts each blow because of our sinfulness.
Crowning with Thorns
He is given a reed as a scepter and royal looking cloak to wear over His bleeding body. They force a crown of thorns upon His head, piercing His scalp as our iniquities pierce His mind and soul. He endures their mocking, spitting, and humiliation for our sakes.
"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?"
It was actually the bones of Christ's wrists and ankles (not His hands and feet) that were pierced with nails to hold Him on the Cross. In the end, He became too weak to pull Himself up enough to take a breath, so He suffocated and died.
I invite you to reflect on all Christ suffered for your sins and mine, allow the sacrifice to sink in and become a growing awareness of God's mercy and unconditional love for each and every one of us. This posture of prayer and of the heart prepares us for the joy of Christ's Resurrection come Easter.
"Crucify Him...every child torn from the womb...Crucify Him...every judgment I presume...Crucify Him...every prisoner on death row...Crucify Him...Will you cast the first stone?...Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord, have mercy on us." -Danielle Rose
The following is the prayer I wrote for the Good Friday reflection for the Young Adult Ministry workday Lenten e-mail.
Is 52:13—53:12; Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9; Jn 18:1—19:42 Thirst
Forty days ago, we received an invitation to share the world’s hunger through fasting. Today we fast again. This time, we are reminded of the thirst for justice Jesus knew, as he uttered these words from the cross: “I thirst.” - Catholic Update: Lessons of the Heart
Let Us Pray:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You cry out to us each day,
hungering for our love,
our attention, our willingness
to accept Your mercy, forgiveness,
compassion, and healing.
Help us to answer Your call
and quench Your thirst
to be loved, adored,
praised, and worshiped by us.
Make us more aware of the deep thirst
in us for You alone.
Pierce our hearts with the power
of the thirst, the unfathomable yearning
to have Your unconditional love
acknowledged, accepted, and reciprocated
by each and every one of Your children. Amen.