The Prayer of Gethsemane goes on to this day

In preaching the Lenten retreat to Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Wojtyla said “I would like us — as far as is humanly possible, and with the aid of grace — to share in the prayer of Christ himself.” (see Sign of Contradiction, chapter 17, “The prayer in Gethsemane”) He observes that Christ often went to pray alone during the night; but this time, after the last supper, he invited his apostles to pray with him. He has made them — and now all the baptized — sharers in his mystery. “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass me by.” Saint John Paul II explains — “This prayer is in fact the meeting between the human will of Jesus Christ and the eternal will of God. . . The son became man in order that this meeting might express all the truth of the human will and the human heart, anxious to escape the evil and the suffering, the condemnation and the scourging, the crown of thorns, the cross and death.” John Paul II then cites one of his favorite passages of scripture (Jn 3:16) “God so loved the world that he sacrificed his only begotten Son.” And thus in this hour — in the Garden — that eternal love “had to give proof of itself by the sacrifice of a human heart. And it does indeed give proof of itself! The Son does not shrink from giving his own heart, for it to become an altar, a place of complete self-abnegation even before the cross was to serve that purpose.”

All prayer is the meeting between the human will and the will of God. And “we are indebted to the Son’s obedience to the Father — ‘Your will be done.’ Obedience does not only mean renunciation of of one’s own will; it means opening one’s spiritual eyes and ears to the Love which is God himself, God who loved the world so much that for its sake he sacrificed his only begotten Son. ‘Here is the Man.'”

“After his prayer in Gethsemane Jesus Christ, Son of God, rises to his feet fortified by the obedience which has enable him once again to attain to Love, as a gift from the Father or the world and all mankind.”

“And now the Church seeks to recover that hour in Gethsemane — the hour lost by Peter, James and John — so as to compensate for the Master’s lack of companionship which increased his soul’s suffering.”

The desire to recover that hour has become a real need for many hearts, especially for those who live as fully as they can the mystery of the divine heart. The Lord Jesus allows us to meet him in that hour [and] he invites us to share the prayer of his heart.”

THUS — The prayer of Gethsemane goes on to this day. “Faced with all the trials that man and the Church have to undergo, there is a constant need to return to Gethsemane and undertake that sharing in the prayer of Christ our Lord.”


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