We all go through our own personal “Agony in the Garden” moments — nothing compared to Our Lord’s of course, but miserable all the same.
Pope Francis at the general audience reminds us of one key lesson Jesus gives us to get through those hard times.
After the Last Supper Jesus enters the garden of Gethsemane; and also here He prays to the Father. While the disciples are unable to stay awake and Judas is arriving with the soldiers, Jesus begins to feel “fear and anguish.” He feels all the anguish for what awaits Him: betrayal, disdain, suffering, failure.
But what does Our Lord do, which is so very different than what we often do? He invites someone into his agony.
He is “sad,” and there, in the abyss, in that desolation, He addresses the tenderest and sweetest word to the Father. “Abba,” that is, “papa” (cf. Mk 14: 33-36).
When we’re depressed or feeling blue, pray this prayer from Padre Pio
That one-word prayer is the secret to never suffering alone.
In trial, Jesus teaches us to embrace the Father, because in prayer to Him there is the strength to go ahead in pain. In hardship prayer is relief, trust, comfort. Abandoned by all and in inner desolation, Jesus is not alone, He is with the Father. We, instead, in our Gethsemanes often choose to remain alone instead of saying “Father” and trusting ourselves to Him, like Jesus, entrusting ourselves to His will, which is our true good. But when in time of trial we remain closed up in ourselves, we dig a tunnel within, a painful inward journey that goes in one direction: ever deeper within ourselves. The greatest problem is not the pain, but how it is faced. Solitude doe not offer a way out; prayer yes, because it is a relationship, it is entrustment. Jesus entrusts everything and entrusts all of Himself to the Father, taking to Him what He feels, leaning on Him in His struggle. When we enter our Gethsemanes – each one of us has his own Gethsemanes or has had them, or will have them – let us remember this: When we enter, when we will enter into our Gethsemanes, let us remember to pray like this: “Father.”