Monday, March 29, 2010

A Lenten Meditation

For a while now, I've been writing meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosaries. During Lent, I have been praying the Sorrowful Mysteries almost exclusively and they seem to have become a very deep part of me.

I was asked to give a guided meditation for a church group I used to be active in. Since the guided meditation was to be given during Lent, it seemed only natural to draw upon my own experience with the Sorrowful Mysteries for the talk. I would like very much to share the guided meditation with you, but I think it is too long to put into a single post in a blog. However, I would like very much to share the first part of it with you. It is on the First Sorrowful Mystery.

The First Sorrowful Mystery - The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane

It is dark and the sky is a strange color, like a storm is brewing. The air is still, close, almost suffocating. You are with Jesus and His disciples as they enter the Garden. He tells the other disciples to sit and watch, but He takes James, John and Peter aside. Imagine that you are one of these three disciples as you go with Jesus.

He seems so tense and upset; you’ve never seen Him like this before. He tells you that His very soul is so sorrowful that it almost crushing Him. Then He does something you have never seen Him do before. He asks you for help. Imagine that! Until now, He has always been the strong one, the one everyone else goes to for help. But now, in his humanity, He is so vulnerable that He is the one asking for help. He needs you to be “there” for Him. As He walks a short distance away, you can hear the anguish in His voice as He prays: “Abba, Father, all things are possible with You, please take this cup from me. As He struggles, all creation holds its breath, while Salvation hangs in the balance. What is Jesus going to do? Twice more He prays, and the struggle brings great drops of blood to His precious forehead. Finally, you hear the words “Lord, not my will, but Thine.” What a terrible price to pay for salvation.

Now imagine that you are with Him, right next to Him and you understand that the Father is asking you to give up your will. He is asking you to surrender everything to Him, even your very life. Yet, there is something that you are holding onto. Maybe the Lord is calling you to enter into some trial that you do not want to undergo. Perhaps He has called you into a situation where you are being treated unfairly. What do you do? Do you let your ego and pride get the better of you and storm off in a huff? Or do you remember that you have been called to accept this injustice by the one person who has endured the greatest injustice of all…suffering and death for our sins. Jesus is calling you to let go of something. It could be something intangible, like arrogance, or pride. Maybe He wants you to let go of the subtle insecurity that says “I can’t do that!” Perhaps it is fear that binds you. Perhaps it is a material thing, drugs, drink, or just watching TV when you should be praying. Or it could be even more subtle. Perhaps you are like Martha running around trying to do good in His name, when all He is calling you to do is to be like Mary and stop, and be content to sit with Him. Not necessarily because you need Him (which, of course, you do), but because He needs you. Imagine! Jesus needs us to spend time with Him for the sole purpose of being with Him and getting to know Him. But we can’t do that if we are hanging onto our own will. Maybe you’ve been wrestling with this thing a long time; maybe you’ve just become aware of it. Whatever it is, it stands between you and your relationship with God. Again, creation holds its breath as you pray, Father, let this cup be passed from me. What are you going to do? Are you willing, are you able to enter into this terrible struggle to finally say, as Jesus did before you, not my will, but Thine?

The salvation of the world does not hang in the balance, but your relationship with the Lord does. Are you willing to move forward into the unknown? Are you willing to be stripped naked as Jesus was so that there is nothing between you and God…nothing for you to hold onto but your faith in God? Are you able to let go of the deepest parts of your will to follow Him?

Now Jesus has been arrested. And like Peter before you, you are asked if you know Jesus. Do you? Do you really, really know Him? Have you taken the time to be with Him, so that you can get to know Him? Are you willing to stand up for Him when others may deride and scoff or perhaps hurt you in some way if you do? Or will you end up like Peter saying, “No…I never knew the man”. The choice is yours.


Sarah Harkins said...

Excellent meditation! I can tell you've spent a lot of time preparing this. What a great use of the talent God has given you!

dg said...

Humility doesn't consist in refusing a favor the King offers you, but in accepting such a favor..and delighting in it.

-St. Teresa of Avila