Passio Domini Thursday Meditations
The Agony of Jesus ²
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Most Divine Spirit, enlighten and inflame me 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 the 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 You with Your 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 you to follow Jesus and share His pains and your sufferings.
My Guardian Angel, guard my faculties and keep them recollected on Jesus suffering, so that they will not stray far from Him.
Beginning of the prayers of the Rosary: Creed, Our Father, three Hail Mary’s …
1. Jesus went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him (Lk 22:39).
Entering the Garden He told them: “Remain here. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation!” Be on your guard, He seems to say to them, because the enemy is not asleep. Arm yourself against him beforehand, with the weapon of prayer, so that you may not become involved and led into sin. It is the hour of darkness. Having thus admonished them he separates Himself from them about a stone’s throw and prostrates Himself on the ground.
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 the 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, 0 Jesus! How beautiful was the night of Your birth, when Angels, leaping for joy, announced peace, singing the Gloria. And now, it seems to me, they surround You sadly, keeping at a respectful distance, as if respecting the supreme anguish of Your spirit.
Let us pray for all priests that they be men of prayer and watchfulness to be armed against all temptations, especially in the hours of darkness of faith.
Decade of the Rosary
In addition or in place of a decade of the Rosary there may be inserted a prayer from the Chalice of Strength booklet after each meditation.
2. “My soul is sorrowful even to death.”
Jesus seems to be at the extremity of suffering … He is prostrate with His face to the ground before the majesty of His Father. The Sacred Face of Him Who enjoys through the hypostatic union the beatific vision of the Divine Glory accorded to both Angels and Saints in Heaven, lies disfigured on the ground. My God! My Jesus! Are You not the God of Heaven and earth, equal in all things to Your Father, Who humiliates You to the point of losing even the semblance of man?
Ah Yes! I understand. It is to teach me, proud man, that to deal with Heaven I must abase myself down to the center of the earth. It is to repair and expiate for my haughtiness, that You bow down thus before Your Father. It is to direct His pitying glance upon humanity, which has turned away from Him by rebellion. It is because of Your humiliation that He forgives the proud creature. It is in order to reconcile earth with Heaven, that You abase Yourself down to it, as if to give it the kiss of peace. O Jesus, may You be blessed and thanked always and by all men for all Your mortifications and humiliations by which You have atoned for us to God to Whom You have united us in the embrace of holy love!
Let us pray for all priests that they be models of humility and self denial so that they be able to dedicate their lives selflessly and effectively to the sanctification of souls.
Decade of the Rosary
3. Jesus sees 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 the infamies, immodesties, blasphemies which proceed from the lips of creatures accompanied by the malice of their hearts, of those hearts and those lips which were created to bring forth hymns of praise and benediction, to the Creator. He sees the sacrileges with which priests and faithful defile themselves, not caring about those Sacraments instituted for our salvation as necessary means for it; now, instead, made an occasion of sin and damnation of souls. He must clothe Himself with this entire unclean mass of human corruption and present Himself before the sanctity of His Father, to expiate everything with individual pains, to render Him all that glory of which they have robbed Him; to cleanse that human cesspool in which man wallows with contemptible indifference.
He, essential sanctity, to see himself filthy with sin, even if only in outward appearance? This, No! This terrifies Him, makes Him tremble, crushes Him.
To find support in this terrible conflict He gives Himself over to prayer. Prostrate before the majesty of His Father, He says: “Father, take this chalice from Me!” It is as if He said: My Father, I want Your glory, I want Your justice to be fully satisfied. I want the human family to be reconciled with You. But that I, Who am sanctity itself, should see Myself defiled by sin, Ah! Not this! Take away, therefore, take away this chalice, and You to Whom all is possible, find in the infinite treasures of Your Holy Wisdom another means. But if You do not want this: “Not my Will but Yours be done!”
Let us pray for all priests that they be strengthened and perfected in their obedience to God, to the Holy Father and their bishops; that they pray in difficult times: “Not my Will but Yours be done!”
Decade of the Rosary
4. The prayer of the Savior seems to have no effect.
He feels as if He were about to die. With difficulty He raises Himself from prayer in search of comfort. He feels His strength ebbing away. Tottering and grasping He directs His steps towards His disciples. Again He finds them sleeping. At this His sadness becomes deeper, and He is content merely to awaken them. What confusion must have overcome them! But Jesus says nothing this time. He only seems immensely sadder to me … He keeps to Himself all the bitterness and pain of this abandonment and indifference. By His silence He seems to sympathize with the weakness of His own.
O Jesus, how much pain I read in Your Heart already full to overflowing with distress. I see You withdraw from Your disciples cut to the Heart. Ah if I could give You some relief, some comfort. But, not knowing what else to do I weep at Your side. The tears of my love for You and of my sorrow for my sins, conscious of Your suffering, unite themselves to Yours. They can rise to the throne of the Father and incline Him to have pity on You and on so many souls who are sleeping the sleep of sin and death.
Let us pray for all priests that they have a fervent devotion to Our Lord’s agony so that strengthened by His example they may not give in to discouragement and despair.
Decade of the Rosary
5. [Jesus prays]: “Father, if you are willing, take this chalice away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength. (Lk 22:43-44)
Behold [the Father] sends an Angel, an Angel-Messenger, to comfort Jesus. What motives of comfort, of relief does the Angel offer to the strong God, Lord of the Universe, the Invincible, the Omnipotent! But He has become subject to suffering, He has taken upon Himself our weakness; it is the man who suffers, and is in agony.
It is the miracle of His infinite love which makes him sweat Blood and brings upon Him this agony. The prayer to His Father has two motives, one for Himself, the other for us. His Father does not hear Him for His own sake, but wants Him to die for us. I believe that the Angel bows reverently before Jesus, before this Eternal beauty, now covered with blood and dust, and with deferential honor imparts that consolation of resignation of the human will to the Divine Will, beseeching Him for the glory of the Father and in the name of all sinners to drink that chalice which was offered to Him from Eternity for their salvation. He has prayed to teach us also that when our soul finds itself in desolation like His, we should seek consolation from Heaven only in prayer to sustain us in the sacrifice.
He, our strength will be ready to assist us because He had willed to take upon Himself our miseries.
Let us pray that there be many generous souls who by their sacrifices and prayers imitate the office of the angel to strengthen and to lift the burden of priests.
Decade of the Rosary
O Jesus, impart to me also that same strength, when my weak nature foreseeing future evils rebels, so that like Y au, I may accept with serene peace and tranquility all the pains and distress which I may meet on this earth of exile. I unite all to Your merits, to Your pains, Your expiations, Your tears, that I may cooperate with You for my salvation and flee from sin, which was the sale cause of making You sweat blood and which led You to death. Destroy in me everything that does not please You, and with the sacred fire of Your love write Your sufferings into my heart. Hold me so closely to You, with a bond so tight and so sweet, that I shall never again abandon You in Your sufferings.
May I be able to rest on Your Heart to obtain comfort in the sufferings of life. May my spirit have no other desire but to live at Your side in the Garden and unite itself to the pains of Your Heart. May my soul be inebriated with Your Blood and feed itself with the bread of Your sufferings. Amen.
If time permits, the leader (or each one Silently) can pray:
Jesus, I beg You for a drop of Your most Precious Blood in this hour of Your most bitter agony for [insert intention]
-for the Holy Church
-for our Holy Father
-for our bishops
-for the sanctification of priests
-for vocations to the priesthood and religious life
-for the conversion of sinners
-for our country
-for an end of abortion and contraception
-for an end of divorce
-for sanctification of family life
-for all who are dying
-for the Poor Souls in purgatory
( … for personal intentions)
Prayers for the intention of the Holy Father
Holy, holy, holy …
*Meditations taken from
The Agony of Jesus, by St. Padre Pio, Tan Books.
The texts of the Circular Letters are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without written permission.
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