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alone in the garden

April 21, 2011

The Triduum is upon us.

Holy Week is the busiest week of the liturgical year.  It usually ends up being one of my more spiritually challenging and physically exhausting weeks.  But the celebration is worth it.  With that in mind, the following is a personal reflection I wrote in 2000 about the Agony in the Garden.  I ran across it thumbing through my old journals in January when I was supposed to be packing.

There He wept, alone in the garden.  I had never heard such mournful sounds.  I knew not of His woes, only that they were great.  My heart throbbed with pity for this Man.  He knelt by a large rock, upon which He rested His hands. Hunched over, His head touching His hands, the Man’s body shook in grief.  I heard Him cry out, “Let this cup pass… but Father may your will not mine be done.”

In the darkness His cries lingered.  I was drawn to Him; I knew not why.  He heard my footsteps and looked up at me with eyes full of sorrow yet full of hope.  He beckoned me to sit on the rock.  As I sat, He began to pray.  I too bowed my head.  We prayed in silence, but soon the Man’s sorrow overcame Him.

“Come, my little one, let me see your face.”  He took my face in His hands and looked lovingly into my eyes.  I had never experienced such compassion.  So gentle were His hands as they tenderly held my face in front of His.

It was then that I noticed the warm dampness of His skin.  But it wasn’t sweat.  No, it was too thick.  Tears filled my eyes as I realized the gravity of His sorrow: He sweat blood.

“Little one, please do not cry for me.” He drew me into His arms and kissed the top of my head.

“But sir, you are in such pain.” I tried to protest.

“I think not of the pain; I think only of you.”

My tears mingled with His blood.  “Is it worth it?” I asked.  “Is whatever is causing you such agony worth going through?”

Again, He kissed the top of my head. “It is, my little one.  For you, it is.”

by Cecilia M. Schwartz

Holy Thursday, 2000

photo by Carl Heinrich Bloch c/o Full Circle

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