Reflection – Watching in the Garden of Gethsemene


Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Grief and anguish came over him, and he said to them, “The sorrow is so great that it almost crushes me.  Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He went a little farther on, threw himself face downwards on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me!  Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, “How is that you three were not able to keep watch with me even for one hour?  Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Once more Jesus went away and prayed “My Father if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”  He returned once more and found the disciples asleep; they could not keep their eyes open.

Again Jesus left them, went away and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  Then he returned to the disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look!  The hour has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the power of sinful men.  

(Matthew 26: 36-46 )

Having read Matthew (above) think about the following:

“The most frightful and unbearable feeling is rejection, knowing that we are not accepted. It is like being “a stranger in the nest,” experiencing psychological death.  When I say “Father,” I seek to express the conviction that there is someone who accepts me absolutely. My moral situation matters little. I can always trust that there awaits a parental lap to receive me.  There I will not be a stranger but a child, even if prodigal, in my Father’s house.” (Leonardo Boff)

A Blessing

May you be blessed in the holy 

names of those who carry our

pain up the mountain of transfiguration.


May you know tender shelter and healing

blessing when you are called to stand in 

the place of pain.

May the places of darkness within you be

surprised by light.

May you be granted the wisdom to avoid

false resistance  and when suffering 

knocks on the door of your life, may

you be able to glimpse its hidden gift.

May you be able to see the fruits of 



May memory bless and shelter you with the 

hard earned light of past travail, may

this give you confidence and trust.

May a window of light always surprise you

May the grace of transfiguration heal your wounds.

May you know that even though 

the storm might rage you not hair of your head will be harmed.

(John O’Donohue)

Think about suffering and its lessons:

The road of suffering is narrow and difficult. But it is not the same since Jesus travelled it. A bright light illuminates it. And even though it leads to Calvary, it doesn’t end there. It ends at Easter. Those who suffer with him on earth will share his glory in heaven.

When Death Comes (Mary Oliver)

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

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