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Lent, Day 36

A friend shared this with me from a devotional book she's using this lent called, The Ignatian Workout for Lent by Tom Muldoon.  I thought it was a great devotion for the beginning of Holy Week.

Agony in the Garden
 Luke 22:41-45 is the reading.

 "For each of us, there comes a time when the certainties that have guided us in the past are unable to sustain us during crisis. What is remarkable about the synoptic Gospels is their inclusion of such a time in the life of Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemane He is fully aware of the mission the Father has entrusted to him: he heals the blind and the lame; he preaches the coming of the kingdom; he raises the dead to life; he predicts his own death. Yet in the garden, Jesus finds himself plunged into grief - a swelling, overwhlming rear that drowns whatever intellectal assent he has given to the Father's will. He knows that the Father has called him to witness to faith; he knows that there is resurrection from the dead; he knows that he is held int he loving embrace of the Father, even unto death; and yet he feels terrified.

There is a deep wisdom in feeling: a pre-rational, pre-intellectual grasp of the reality of things. The scientifically minded might point to the residue of our evolutionary past, perhaps recognizing that the limbic system (which governs the fight-or-flight instincts) has a hold on us otherwise rational creatures. What the perfectly human Jesus shows us is that such an experience of being overwhelmed is not antithetical to the life of faith; it can happen even in the climactic unfolding of it. Jesus is about to go to the cross and die and be raised to new life, and yet he is having a crisis of faith. This is good news, even though it is difficult good news - for we, too, who live by faith, will face times of terror and uncertainty.

 The temptation that Jesus faces is very real: will he love to the very end? Will he allow the Father to choose for him what must be done, even though he himself feels that there must be another way? Will he allow the logic of love to take its full course rather than a detour that allows him relief in the short term? Will he allow the Father to reveal his love right in the midst of agonizing suffering?"

Prayer: Meditate on a period of suffering in our own life. If you are in the midst of it now, make Jesus' prayer your own: "Remove this cup from me; yet no my will but yours be done.: What feelings stir in you as you consider these words?

 If this is a time not of suffering but of consolation, recall a past experience of desolation and recognize that others will happen in the future. What have you learned from your past? What do you want fo say to God?

May you experience God's love and presence this Holy Week, whether you find yourself in a time of consolation or one of suffering.

Posted by Laurie Weicher at 6:00 AM
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