Could you not watch one hour with me? (MT 26:40)
Since my childhood, I have been deeply moved by this call. As a little girl, when I couldn’t sleep, I would pore over my Children’s Illustrated Bible, and the picture I couldn’t tear my eyes away from was the one of Jesus, shedding tears and sweating blood as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. His three trusted friends slept. I longed to be there, awake with Him.
Three years later, I suffered tragic loss and deep grief, and couldn’t sleep for the sorrow. During that time, I prayed to Jesus of Gethsemane and told Him I wanted to find some way, through prayer, to be with Him in the Garden and to stay at His side there… consoling Him. Night after night, I was drawn by His Mercy to that contemplative thought. And as I prayed to Him, Jesus of Gethsemane consoled me. He really never is outdone in generosity… or in mercy.
Saint Faustina, the “Apostle of Divine Mercy,” recognized the power of time spent in prayerful contemplation with Jesus in Gethsemane. She wrote in her Spiritual Diary (#1394), “I spent the whole night with Jesus in Gethsemane.” Faustina was deeply consoled and helped forge her very saintly journey of conveying God’s mercy… by consoling Him there.
In that same spirit and to celebrate Divine Mercy in a special way, Catholic Holy Hour is offering a free guided Holy Hour with the Divine Mercy of Jesus in Gethsemane. You can sign up here.
During this time that celebrates Divine Mercy and Paschal joy, we are called to offer all our prayers in a spirit of reparation and great love to Jesus of Gethsemane… yes, Gethsemane. As gardens and altars everywhere flower in Paschal beauty; as we joyfully proclaim, “He is Risen, indeed!” and as we harvest the fruit of the Glorious Mystery of the Resurrection: Faith… we still spiritually linger to watch and pray with Jesus in The Garden.
After all, this Mount of Olives where He has His Agony is the same Mount of Olives where, 40 days after the Resurrection from the Garden Tomb… Jesus will ascend into heaven… reminding us that no time spent lovingly in Gethsemane will ever lead to fruitless depression. No Gethsemane moment in our own life will be bleak if we offer it in sacrificial love to the Holy Gardener. Rather… it will be the very path to heaven! May the most beautiful Easter flowers be the ones we bring to Our Lord in Gethsemane. And in honor of the Feast of Divine Mercy… we will immerse ourselves in the boundless mercy to be found in The Garden.