The Agony In The Garden
From "Mysteries of the Rosary" by Msgr. Edward I. Hession
“And falling into an agony, he prayed the more earnestly. And his sweat became as drops of blood, running down upon the ground.” Lk. 22:43
The Eucharistic Feast is done-
And Jesus Christ has left His All:
His Testament to men has made,
His Flesh and Blood to them has given.
The love commandment He has set
For those who are His followers.
And now to seal His Testament,
He goes forth to a painful death;
For greater love no man can have
Than to give his life for fellow man.
Then o’er the Brook of Cedron pass
The Master and His chosen few;
The time of darkness is at hand.
But ere He gives His life for men
The Lord must bear His agony.
He takes the Apostolic band
To share with them His last sad hours.
He bids the eleven watch and pray;
And taking Peter, James, and John,
Into the garden makes His way.
“My soul is sorrowful unto death,”
He whispers to His favored three,
“Stay here and watch.” And going forth
A full stone’s throw, He falls to earth.
Tomorrow’s Passion grips His mind,
The scourge, the crown of thorns, the cross,
But most of all the hate of men
Refusing to accept His grace,
Who scorn His generosity.
What greater sword could pierce the heart
Than love and kindness mocked and scorned?
Great drops of blood form on His Brow
To mingle with the globes of sweat.
The sins of mankind of all times,
Of ages past and yet to come,
He sees as causes of His pangs.
His human nature seems to cringe
And from His Soul comes forth the cry:
“O God, this chalice take from Me”-
It seems to great a load to bear;
“But not My Will, but Thine be done.”
“What love, O God, what love is this
The makes the Saviour suffer so?
O man, how can you sin and see
Your Saviour Jesus bending low?
“Your sins He sees, your wrongs He bears,
Your crimes have caused this agony;
It is for you He bends to earth,
To change to hope your misery.
“he sees the men who plot His death,
He feels the press of traitor’s kiss,
And yet for them He’s sweating blood;-
What love, O God, what love is this?”
* * *
And softly as the evening breeze,
A bright and mighty Angel steps
Beside the Saviour agonized.
He bears a chalice, golden, pure,
To catch each precious drop of Blood
Which from the Saviour’s Brow descends.
And raising up that Precious Blood,
Unto the Father, God of all,
He sends this begging, pleading prayer:
“O God of heaven, God of Might
Say, ‘Tis enough’, I humbly pray;
This Blood suffices in Thy sight
To take all stain of sin away.
“Look down upon Thine Only Son,
Behold His bleeding, sweating Brow;
The right to heaven’s already won
For men; O God, relieve Him now.”
A voice from out of Heaven comes,
And answers with majestic calm:
“By Will Divine it is decreed
That this, My Sole-Begotten Son
Shall pay the full price on the Tree.”
And Jesus, lifting straight His Head;
“Thy Will, and no My Own be done.”
And rising from the blood-stained ground,
He seeks some comfort from the three,
But finding them asleep, He chides,
“Could not you watch one hour with Me?
The spirit’s willing; the flesh is weak.”
And going froth, again He prays
And speaks the same resigning words,
“Thy Will, and not My Own be done.”
Another hour passed in prayer;
And once more Jesus seeks the three,
But heavy are their eyes and they
Are wrapped again in deepest sleep.
Once more He falls upon His knees,
And prays to do the Father’s Will;
His Will is set, and coincides
Exactly with the Father’s Own.
This victory won, the Father sends
An Angel pure to comfort Him,
To show the Son the wondrous things
That through His Passion would be wrought.
“O loving Jesus, I am come
To comfort Thee with sorrow torn;
Be mindful of Thy Father’s Will;
‘Twas for this hour Thou wert born.
“For three and thirty years thou’st lived,
To give a pattern from on High
How men should live their span of life;
Now Thou shalt show them how to die.
“Remember, Thou art not alone,
Thy Father’s always at Thy side;
Nor is Thy bleeding all in vain,
For men thou’lt open Heaven wide.
“O see the souls that Thou hast won
From out of Satan’s awful snare;
Behold the souls for Heaven made
Who will forever praise Thee there.
“Take strength, My Lord, a short time more
And victory over death is Thine;
The serpent’s head forever crushed,
If Thou perform the Will Divine.”
Now strengthened by the Angel’s words,
The Saviour rises from the ground,
One more returning to the three;
And gently touching each in turn,
He speaks with slow, determined words,
“Sleep now and rest, the hour is nigh-
The Son of Man shall be betrayed
Into the hands of sinful men.”
No sooner have the words been said,
When from the darkness, bearing brands,
Come forth an angry Jewish mob,
And aided by the soldiery.
The leader, under Satan’s sway,
Is Judas, once among the twelve.
His piercing eye seeks out the Lord,
And feigning friendship, greets the Chris
With traitor’s terrible embrace.
This is the sign that is to mark
The Master for His fiendish foes.
But even now the loving Lord
Addresses Judas as a “friend”.
And standing up before the band
He speaks to them majestically.
“Whom do you seek?” The answer comes,
“We’re seeking Jesus, Nazarene.”
“But I am He,” the Master says.
And as if struck by mighty blows
The crowd falls back, half paralyzed.
For Jesus wishes to make it known
The if He had desired it so
No power on earth could hold Him fast.
Most of the eleven, mystified,
Crouch fearfully beyond the ring
Of those who plot the Saviour’s death.
But Peter, staunch, impetuous
Draws forth his sword and strikes a blow
That cuts the ear of Malchus, slave
Unto the high-priest of that year.
But Jesus, with a slight reproach
Bids Peter sheathe again his sword,
Reminding him that by a word
He could call down Angelic hosts
To overthrow the enemy.
“O God of Heaven, bid us go
To join the Master, bound with cord,
To halt this crime of Deicide,
To rout these fiends who seize the Lord.
“Say but the word - send speedily,
And bid us strike; the crime’s too great
That man should kill his Lord and God -
O speak, great God, - Thy word we wait.”
But God, the Might God of all,
Who sees the souls of countless men
Brought back to Him when gazing on
The dying Jesus on the Cross,
(“And I, if I be lifted up,
Will draw all things unto Myself”)
Permits this heinous sacrilege.
The soldiers, priests and magistrates
Take Jesus, bound to Caiphas.
But the Apostles - where are they?
His favored friends, the chosen few,
Who pledged allegiance to the end -
Who swore they never would reject
Their Lord and Master? - They have fled
Into the darkness of the night,
And leaving the Master there alone.
Reprinted for Council 13307 with the permission of Abbey Press, Inc.