Passio Domini Thursday Meditations
The Intensity of the Agony
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.
From the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark:
“And They came to a small estate called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Stay here while I pray …. And going on a little further he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible , this hour might pass him by. “Abba Father” he said. Everything is possible for you take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it.”
Ah, dear Lord, permit me to stay with You. May I share with You in sorrow; help me, my dear Lord, to understand in some way the interior anguish of Your Divine, loving Heart. Dear Lord, let me be some consolation to You, permit me to stay with You and watch with You.
Beginning of the prayers of the Rosary: Creed, Our Father, three Hail Mary’s …
1. The first cause of JESUS’ sorrow is His clear knowledge of the ignominies and tortures of His Passion, and their near approach.
His whole Passion is vividly before Him – the traitor’s kiss, the blow on the cheek, the unjust sentence, the blows, the kicks, vile spittle, the painful, laborious comings and goings form one tribunal to another, Pilate’s unjust condemnation, the way of the Cross, His Mother’s anguish, Calvary, the terrible crucifixion. He saw the soul of His dear Peter after his sin, the soul of the traitor Judas, the souls of those in succeeding ages who would ignore His love, trifle with it, and renounce Him. He saw all this and cried in anguish; “O my Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” Over and over again He says the words, as one by one the scenes of His sufferings pass before His mind – “Not as I will, but as You will.”
What can I do for my suffering Savior? He thinks of me, loves me delivers Himself up to this interior passion for me. What have I to give Him in return? How can I bring Him comfort?
Lord JESUS, my Master, I want to love You. I want to live only to You – make my will always one with Yours. Help me to conform my will wholly to Yours, to say with all my heart – “Not my will, but Yours be done.” In Your Sacred Heart let me find strength and courage to suffer with and for You. 0 sweet JESUS, my love and my only good! I beg and implore of You to give me grace never to seek rest or satisfaction out of You. You are my Eternal King!
Decade of the Rosary
2. Nearly an hour went by.
Then He rises and goes to the three Apostles. Still and unconscious they lie upon the ground, their garments drawn tightly around them, for the night is chill. They are asleep, and do not hear the faltering footsteps. JESUS looks upon them – His chosen ones, the stoutest hearts and most generous natures in the little band. They have left Him alone in His Agony. How often we leave Him alone when there is anything to be done or borne repugnant to nature, and show ourselves unwilling to suffer with Him. JESUS looks on them. Will He wake them? Or will He let them sleep on? There is no hesitation in our Lord’s mind. It would be kind to let them sleep, but kinder to rouse them and let them feel how little they can trust themselves – trust in their own strength. JESUS bends over them and says: “Simon could you not watch one hour with Me?” With a start, Peter came to himself, and looking into JESUS’ sorrowful face, has nothing to answer. He calls us also by name. He knows His own; knows what He has done for each.
Rousing the other two, JESUS says gently: “Pray, lest you enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The three determine to do better – they rouse themselves and begin to pray. They are humbled and sad at the sight of their Master; His face so pale, His limbs trembling, His breathing short. Much more intense is the suffering of soul than bodily pain, for the very reason that it is interior, mental; and it often communicates itself to the body as in our Lord’s case.
Now He shuns the company of His Apostles, now He goes to seek them, now He prays and complains of His abandonment. His whole nature is in a tumult of agitation and intense anguish. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me. Not my will, but Thine be done.” And being in an agony, He prayed the longer.
Lord JESUS, my Master, I want to love You. I want to live only to You. 0 Lord, Who in Your Agony did seek relief in prayer, grant, I beg of You, dear JESUS, that, after Your example, I may fly to You in every tribulation and trouble. Help me to conform my will wholly to Yours, to say with all my heart “Not my will, but Y ours be done.”
Decade of the Rosary
3. Again the second time He went and prayed, saying: “My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done!”
JESUS had offered Himself to take away the sins of the world, and now they all came distinctly before Him; every sin and every sinner. The second cause of His sorrow unto death: the sins of the whole human race with which He had clothed Himself, are upon Him. He feels their number, their shamefulness, their malice – and He is to be punished as if He had done all those wicked things – they are all His now. He has taken them upon Himself, and is going to answer for each one. All the penalty of sin He must bear, all the shame, all the horror. Oh, if we only knew what sin is to GOD – what it is to our Lord! We cannot. There is nothing we can compare it with – there are things we loathe, and fear, and hate, but not as our Lord hated, and loathed, and feared sin. Like burden it lay upon Him, yet, if He did not carry it, we should die and be lost forever. It was either the Cross for Him, or hell for us.
JESUS writhed, and trembled, and shook at the magnitude of the atoning suffering that Divine Justice required of Him for each soul. The repugnance, disgust, and aversion experienced by our Lord arose from the knowledge of the sins for which He was to suffer so much and so terribly. He saw and recognized them in all their dreadful multiplicity – the sins of all men and ages and races. He saw them in their shocking contradiction of GOD’s supreme authority, justice, beauty, and goodness. What a mingled torrent of sinful filth of all ages and races now poured down upon JESUS as He lay prostrate in agony! Once again JESUS cries and prays: “O my Father, if this chalice may not pass away, Thy will be done!”
Decade of the Rosary
4. The anguish of this second hour was most intense.
See what it cost Him. Red drops of blood stood upon His forehead and trickled down upon the ground. The mossy roots of the olive trees were watered with it, His garments were wet with it. What must have been the anguish of our Blessed Lord that night, when from every pore of His Sacred Flesh there issued drops of blood – a sweat so copious that, after soaking His garments, it trickled down upon the ground. JESUS was given up to a horror and dismay, which GOD in His mercy has spared the vilest sinner. The guilt of our sins He could not take, but He took the result of that guilt. “He was made sin for us,” says St. Paul. a suffering Sacred Soul, what was my share in Your intolerable anguish! What has been my return of love to You for bearing so much for me!
Again a second time JESUS seeks His chosen three. “He finds them sleeping.” We do not gather that our Lord did more this second time when He came to the three than awaken them. No words of His are recorded. So it is when our Lord has spoken to us already sufficiently and clearly, and we do not listen; charity sometimes compels Him to grow silent, lest we abuse more grace. The disciples knew not what to answer Him. Watch the distress of the disciples. They are awake enough to know that they have not carried out His injunction, but are still oppressed with heaviness of heart and drowsy sadness. We complain sometimes that we pray, and that no answer comes. But how often our Lord comes to give us the answer in abundant graces, and finds us sleeping, that is, careless in little things, negligent in attending to our religious duties, and therefore incapable of hearing Him or of speaking to Him.
O my Lord, open my heart to Your love. You are imprisoned in the tabernacle out of love for me. Inflame my heart with the fire of Your love. Create a clean heart in me, 0 JESUS, and renew a right spirit within me. Make me wholly Yours!
Decade of the Rosary
5. “And leaving them, He went again, and He prayed the third time, repeating the same words.” (Mt 26:44)
Let us contemplate our suffering Savior going now for the third time with feeble and faltering steps down the rugged path, back to the Grotto of the Agony. “What is man that You are mindful of him,” Lord JESUS? Why toil, why go painfully backwards and forwards seeking in vain to win me? Dear Lord, You were traveling in search of me when You did sit weary by the well But here You are seeking me, and never sitting down to rest; seeking me, a so painfully, and returning back to pray for me in agony. May Your toil not be fruitless! Holy Mother of God, be propitious to me. a Mother, I have need of You, show me the Blessed Fruit of Your womb, that all His labor for me may not be in vain.
If it is difficult to suffer, it is far more difficult to suffer willingly for those who show no gratitude for what we endure for them. Pain is relieved by the thought that it will profit those whom we love. Our Lord saw that for a multitude of souls what He was going to suffer would avail nothing; that they would be lost in spite of all He could do for them. And of those whom His pain would profit, how many were a drop in His bitter chalice! They would be saved indeed, but how poorly! He saw countless souls saved but by a hair’s breadth, and many souls, so precious in His eyes to wander astray and go to their eternal ruin. The loss of every soul gave Him infinite pain; He felt the loss of each one acutely.
Ah, Lord JESUS, where should I have gone in my hour of weakness had there been no Gethsemane? What help and consolation is wanting to me, now that I can draw near and cling to You in Your Agony, and gain light and strength from You, “Who loved me and delivered Yourself for me.” O Mary, My Mother, help me to love JESUS, Your Divine Son, with a strong, personal love. Therefore, Mother, teach me to know Him intimately.
Decade of the Rosary
All. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merit of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. And I ask pardon for those who do note believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.
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: Meditation on the Passion by Rev. Reginald Walsh, O.P.
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