Hematidrosis (a.k.a. “sweating blood”) is a rare medical condition that may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress.
Imagine the excruciating agony wrought by three hours of distress, anguish, and dread. For Our Lord, the agonizing thought of His forthcoming passion, to atone for our sins, caused Him to sweat blood as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane (prefiguring how His precious blood would be shed for us on the cross).
He beseeched God, “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me.” Christ knew that He would die for us – and yet He wants us to understand that in His human nature, He was filled with trepidation and pain. Immediately following this pleading, He says, “Not My will be done, but Yours”–with His self-renunciation and submission sealing our redemption.
He accepts His forthcoming Passion for our redemption.
For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. (John 3:16)
We have heard the story hundreds of times – the Last Supper of Holy Thursday, Judas slipping away…. Jesus and His three closest disciples: Peter, James, and John, go to the Garden of Gethsemane to prepare for His Sacrifice on Good Friday, through prayer. And yet, He prays alone, for they sleep on the job, as it were… as we often do, ourselves.
He says to them – and to us – “My soul is sorrowful unto the point of death. Wait here and keep vigil with Me.” He is wounded at their behaviour. “Couldn’t you even bear to stay awake with me for one hour?” As a human, Jesus felt forsaken and overwhelmed. He was pure and without sin; and He was bearing on His shoulders the sins of all the world.
Then followed the phrase we use so often as a reason (or is it an excuse?) when we shirk our duties, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”; whereas in reality it ought to be, “Not my will be done, but Yours.” The Father, who sent the angel to comfort Jesus, was His solace and succor, as He should be ours.
And He went away to pray for a second time. And again, He came back to find them asleep – and left them, to pray alone for a third time. Jesus suffered emotional, physical, and spiritual pain.
He went back to Peter and the sons of Zebedee, and said “You can rest and sleep now. The hour has come for the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Come! Let us go!”
Then came the betrayal by Judas. Jesus was brutally bound, like a common criminal, and led away. His hour had come.
Jesus obeyed God’s will. We, on the other hand, try to find loopholes that absolve us from our duties to God, to our fellow men, and to ourselves. Busyness, self-pity, illness, tiredness, joblessness, pressure of work, contrary people, financial difficulties… anything will do.
It’s never our fault, is it?
Sorrowful Mysteries: Tuesdays and Fridays
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