Saturday, February 28, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: Clothing Himself With the Sins of Humanity

"Jesus has returned to His place of prayer and another picture, more terrible than the first presents itself to Him.  All our sins with their entire ugliness parade before Him in every detail.  He sees all the meanness and the malice of creatures in committing them.  He knows to what extent these sins offend and outrage the Majesty of God.  He sees all infamies, immodesties, blasphemies which proceed from the lips of creatures accompanied by the malice of their hearts, and of those lips which were created to bring forth hymns of praise and benediction to the Creator.  He sees the sacrileges with which priests and the faithful defile themselves, not caring about those Sacraments instituted for our salvation as a means necessary for it; now, instead, made an occasion of sin and damnation of souls...

...Behold Him, before His Father the God of Justice, facing the full penalty of divine justice.  He, the essence of purity, sanctity by nature, in contact with sin! ...Indeed, as if He Himself had become a sinner.  Who can fathom the disgust that He feels in His innermost spirit?  The horror He feels?  The nausea, the contempt He senses so vividly?  And having taken all upon Himself, nothing excepted, He is crushed by this immense weight, oppressed, thrown down, prostrated.  Exhausted, He groans beneath the weight of divine justice, before His Father, Who has permitted His Son to offer Himself as a Victim for sin, as one accursed."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: Taking on the sins of the world

From St. Pio of Pietrelcina's Meditation on the Agony of Jesus.

"...He, the innocent Lamb, alone, thrown to the wolves, without any refuge...He, the Son of God...the Lamb dedicated voluntarily to be sacrificed for the glory of the same Father Who abandoned Him to the fury of the enemies of God, for the redemption of the human race; forsaken by those very disciples who shamefully flee from Him as from a most dangerous being. He, the Eternal Son of God, has become the laughing-stock of His enemies.

But, will he retreat?...No, from the very beginning He embraces everything without reservation.  Why then and whence this terror? Ah!  He has exposed His humanity as a target to take upon Himself all the blows of divine justice offended by sin.  

Vividly, He feels in His naked spirit all that He must suffer; every single sin He must expiate with each single pain, and He is crushed because He has given over His humanity as a prey to terror, weakness and fear."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: It Begins

"He is there to begin His dolorous Passion.  Instead of thinking of Himself, He is all anxiety, for you.

Oh, what an immensity of love does this Heart contain!  His face is covered with sadness and, at the same time, with love.  His words proceed from His innermost Heart.  He speaks with a profusion of affection, encouragement, comfort and in comforting gives His promise.  He explains the most profound mysteries of His Passion. 

...He is extremely sad; His soul is a prey of indescribable bitterness.  The night is advanced and bright. The moon shines in the sky, leaving shadows in the Garden.  It seems to throw a sinister brightness, a foreboding of the grave and dreadful events to come, which make the blood tremble and freeze in the veins - it seems as if stained with blood.  A wind, like a forerunner of the coming tempest agitates the olive trees and, together with the rustling of the leaves penetrates to the bones, like a messenger of death, descending into the soul and filling it with deadly grief.  

Night most horrible, like which there will never be another!

What a contrast O Jesus!  How beautiful was the night of Thy birth, when Angels, leaping for joy, announced peace, singing the Gloria.  And now, it seems to me, they surround Thee sadly, keeping at a respectful distance, as if respecting the supreme anguish of Thy spirit."  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Agony of Jesus: Opening Prayer

By Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, from his meditation on Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

"Most Divine Spirit, enlighten and inflame in meditating on the Passion of Jesus, help me to penetrate this mystery of love and suffering of a God, Who, clothed with our humanity, suffers, agonizes and dies for love of the creature!...

The Eternal, the Immortal Who debases Himself to undergo an immense martyrdom, the ignominious death of the Cross, amidst insults, contempt and abuse, to save the creature which offended Him, and which wallows in the slime of sin. 

 Man rejoices in his sin and his God is sad because of sin, suffers, sweats blood, amidst terrible agony of spirit.

No, I cannot enter this wide ocean of love and pain unless Thou with Thy grace sustain me.

Oh that I could penetrate to the innermost recesses of the Heart of Jesus to read there the essence of His bitterness, which brought Him to the point of death in the Garden; that I could comfort Him in the abandonment by His Father and His own.  Oh that I could unite myself with Him in order to expiate with Him.

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, may I unite myself with Thee to follow Jesus and share His pains and Thy sufferings.

My Guardian Angel, guard my faculties and keep them recollected on Jesus suffering, so that they will not stray far from Him."

It seems to me this is a good meditation with which to begin any Lenten practice including the Stations of the Cross or the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  From time to time during Lent, I will post short passages from this meditation with little or no comment from me.