Sunday, 12 March 2017

First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No. 233)

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.”

Jesus chose to leave Peter and the two sons of Zebedee while He advanced into the garden to pray. He clearly felt the need to be alone with His Father in His final hour. When He returned to find his disciples asleep, why did He challenge them? Did He really need their support to manage His sorrow and distress?

As humans, we all experience trials. We may receive support from our friends and family, but in the end, no one can walk our journey for us.

My friend who works in adult education told me the most stressful moment for educators can be handing back exam papers. Students who fail can become aggressive and cast around for someone or something to blame. Surely as adults we take responsibility for our own learning…or life's challenges? The educator could only provide so much support for the student; in the end no one else could sit that exam for them.

Jesus took complete responsibility for what He knew lay ahead. He drew on the only source of strength which could truly help; His Heavenly Father. He challenged His disciples to watch and pray, not for His support but for their own. They too had a difficult journey ahead.

'Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.' Matthew 26: 41 If Jesus needed His Father in his moment of greatest need, how much more do we?

No one can develop our spirituality for us. Why not use this time of Lent to draw on the strength of our Heavenly Father? The 10 Minute Daily Retreat will focus on the Scriptural Stations of the Cross, posting on Sundays and Fridays, and every day during Holy Week.

Let us stay awake together because we all know that "that our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak.” Matthew 26: 41