Thinking of the Agony in the Garden

On the first Saturday of Lent, I spent part of the evening crying. There were two things that held my attention, the Tabernacle behind the altar and a painting of Christ’s agony in the garden. These two images and memories are remaining with me this Lent.

I walk away from Adoration with more reflective questions than answers, all centered around Life, death, abortion, choice, free will, Sin, etc. Not only do I bring my Lenten intention to the fore, but I also bring the kids that I have for clients at my internship.

By remembering the Cross, the agony in the garden and all the events that led up to His Crucifixtion, I know that Christ understands many things. He understands abuse, neglect, an unjustified death, and not wanting to die.

The unborn do not ask to die, and Christ likewise told the Father “take this cup from me.”

The children never asked to be neglected, and Christ’s disciples all fled from His side at the time of His arrest.

The children never asked to be abused, and Christ was scourged, humiliated, and spat upon.

So I go to Christ in prayer and during Adoration and remind Him that He needs to make Himself known to the little ones; to let them know that He understands. So many times we think that God does not understand, but He really does, when we look at the Biblical accounts. He knows what it is like to be an unborn child, and one that others (Herod) sought to kill. He has been a child, growing up among peers. He knows rejection, each time He was chased out of a town or plotted against by the religious authorities. He knows joy and sorrow. He knows phyiscal assault, abject humiliation, nakedness, unbearable pain, and so much more.

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!”

un-musical Lent

I feel like I am going mad this Lent. I have no sound whatsoever; although I’m not fasting for television, I also stear clear of this. Melodies of hymns sung at Mass on Sunday haunt me throughout the week.

This is not to say that my prayer life is not improving. I’m having deep conversations with God, outside of Adoration.

I think it was Friday morning, when the melody of Hosea struck me more than it had all week. I started playing around with words and phrases. I ended up with a prayer-song to God, but I can’t replicate it here. I’ve since forgotten it. But below, I’ve put the verses and the ways I was playing around with them.

i love you
and seek your face
i long for you
and know your grace
i need you
and feel your healing presence

i love you
and seek your Life
i love you
and know your light
i need you
and feel your calavary

Joined to God Through Pain

Never before have I ever actually chosen to spiritually suffer through Lent. Typically, I choose a new practice like Adoration last year, in hopes of establishing something new into my prayer life. This year, however I have noticed that my fasting from listening to music of any form in hopes for the end to abortion, is plunging me into what I can only hope to explain as joining God in the pain.

Abortion, it’s so cold, lonely, and empty. It is a practice that purposefully and directly seeks to end life without a single hestitation or consideration of what God would desire. It is entirely selfish to commit abortion for the sake of financial security, convenience, and so forth. If a thought is given to the child or to God, it is hastily brushed away.

The pain garnered from the merest thought of abortion is not so easily brushed away. It tears at the soul. It’s not a physical pain. It is not a pain where I feel abandoned by God, rather I know that He’s suffering right next to me as I contemplate the meanings and implications and actions of abortion. He knows my pain, and in a small way, I know His.

It is like I am spending time with Him on this matter even if I am not fully aware of His Presence; there’s a veil, and only during Mass and the Consecration is it fully lifted. Then and only then am I able to have a sense of Peace. It’s not like other sensations of God’s peace that I have experienced. It is not warming. It is not clarifying. It is subtle.

While I remember the Resurrection, I am more earnestly reminded of the Agony in the Garden.
Evening Prayer Hymn from the Office for the Dead
For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be for ever blest:
Alleluia, alleluia!

Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou in the darkness drear their one true light:
Alleluia, alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine:
Alleluia, alleluia!

But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array:
The King of glory passes on his way:
Alleluia, alleluia.