Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From 11 P.M. to 12 P.M.
The third hour of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
My dear Jesus, my heart can't bear it any longer: I look at you and see that you continue to agonize. Streams of blood are flowing from all over your body, and so profusely that, unable to stand any longer, you fall into a pool of blood. O my love, my heart breaks to see you so weak and exhausted! Your adorable face and your creative hands rest on the ground and become stained with blood. It seems to me that at the rivers of iniquity which creatures send you, you want to give rivers of blood to drown these offenses in it, and with this, give each creature the assurance of your pardon.
But, please, O my Jesus, rise; what You suffer is too much. Let it be enough for your Love! And while my lovable Jesus seems to be dying in His own Blood, Love gives Him new life. I see Him move with difficulty. He stands up, and soaked as He is with blood and mud, He seems to want to walk, but not having strength, He can barely drag Himself.
Sweet Life of mine, let me carry You in my arms. Are You perhaps going to your dear disciples? But what is not the sorrow of your adorable Heart in finding them asleep again! And You, with trembling and feeble voice, call them:
“My sons, do not sleep! The hour is near. Do you not see how I have reduced Myself? Oh please, help Me, do not abandon Me in these extreme hours!”
And almost staggering, You are about to fall near them, while John extends his arms to sustain You. You are so unrecognizable that if it were not for the gentleness and tenderness of your voice, they would not have recognized you. Then, recommending that they watch and pray, you return to the garden, but with a second wound in your heart. In this wound, O my love, I see all the sins of those souls that, in spite of the manifestation of your favors in the form of gifts, kisses and caresses, in the nights of trial forget about your love and your gifts, and remain as it were, drowsy and sleepy, thus losing the spirit of continuous prayer and watchfulness.
My Jesus, how true it is that after having seen you and having tasted your gifts, great strength is necessary to stand firm when deprived of them. Only a miracle can make such souls endure the test. So, while I sympathize with you for these souls, whose neglect, levity and offenses are the most bitter to your heart, I beg you: If they should take even a single step which could displease you in the least, surround them with so much grace that will stop them, so that they may not lose the spirit of continuous prayer.
My gentle Jesus, as you return to the garden, it seems that you cannot go on. Your face is covered with blood and dirt, but you raise it to heaven and repeat for the third time:
“Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass from me. Holy Father, help me! I need comfort. It is true that, because of the sins taken upon myself, I am nauseating, loathsome and the least among men before your infinite majesty. Your justice is roused to anger against me. But look at me, O Father: I am always your Son, who is one with you Please, Father, help me, have pity on me! Do not leave me without comfort!”
Then I seem to hear you, O my tender love, calling your dear mother for help:
“Sweet mother, hold me tightly in your arms as you did when I was a child. Give me that milk I used to take from you, to refresh me and to sweeten the bitterness of my agony. Give me your heart which was perfect contentment for me. My mother, Mary Magdalene, dear apostles, all you who love me: help me! Comfort me! Do not leave me alone in these extreme moments. Everyone, gather around me. Comfort me with your company and your love.”
Jesus, my love, who can bear to see you in such extremes? What heart could ever be so hard that it would not break, seeing you so drowned in your own blood? Who would not shed streams of bitter tears, hearing the sorrowful words with which you seek help and comfort? My Jesus, console yourself. Now I see the Father who is sending you an angel for comfort and help, so that you can come out of this state of agony and be able to turn yourself over to the Jews. While you are with the angel, I will go around heaven and earth. You will permit me to take this blood which you have shed, so that I can give it to all men as the pledge of the salvation of each, and bring back to you in exchange, the comfort of their affections, heartbeats, thoughts, steps and deeds.
My heavenly mother, I come to you so that together we may go to all souls to give them Jesus' blood. Gentle mother, Jesus wants comfort, and the greatest comfort we can give him is to bring him souls. Mary Magdalene, come with us. All you angels, come and see how Jesus has been reduced. He wants comfort from everyone, and he finds himself in such a state of prostration that he will not refuse anyone.
O light of the sun, come to cast out the darkness of this night to give Jesus comfort. O stars, with your flickering rays, come down from Heaven. Come, to give Jesus comfort. Flowers of the earth, come with your fragrances. Birds, come with your singing. Come, elements of the earth, to comfort Jesus. Come, O sea, to refresh and wash Jesus. He is our Creator, our Life, our All. Come, all, to comfort Him, to give Him homage as our sovereign Lord.
But, oh, Jesus is not looking for lights, stars, flowers and birds. He wants souls, souls! My gentle good Jesus, here is everyone together with me. Your dear mother is near you. Please do rest in her arms. It will be a comfort for her as well, to press you to her bosom, for she has shared abundantly in your sorrowful agony. Mary Magdalene is here too, as well as all the loving souls of all centuries. O Jesus, please accept them, and say a word of forgiveness and of love to everyone. Bind them all in your love so that no soul may ever escape you again.
But, ah, it seems to me that You say, O daughter, how many souls flee Me by force and fall into eternal ruin! So how can my sorrow be soothed—if I love a single soul as much as I love all souls together?
Agonizing Jesus, while it seems that your life is about to be extinguished, I can already hear the death-rattle of the agony. Your beautiful eyes are eclipsed by approaching death; all your most holy members have gone limp. Many times I can hear that you are not breathing. I feel my heart break for the pain. I embrace you and feel you are cold. I shake you but you give no signs of life. Jesus, are you dead?
Afflicted Mama, Angels of Heaven, come to cry over Jesus, and do not permit that I continue to live without Him. Ah, I cannot! I press Him more tightly to myself, and I hear Him taking another breath —and then, again, He gives no sign of life! I call Him: “Jesus, Jesus, my Life, do not die!”
But I already hear the clamor of your enemies, who are coming to take You. Who will defend You in your state?
Roused, He seems to rise from death to life. He looks at me and says:
“Child, are you here? Have you not been a witness of my pains and of the many deaths I suffered? Then know, O daughter, that in these three hours of most bitter agony, I have enclosed in Myself all the lives of creatures and have suffered all their pains and their very deaths, giving to each one my own Life. My agonies will sustain theirs; for their sake, my suffering and death will change into a fountain of sweetness and of life. How much souls cost Me! Were I at least requited! You have seen that while I was dying, I would return to breathe again: those were the deaths of the creatures that I felt within Me!”
My panting Jesus, since You also wanted to enclose my life in You, and therefore also my death, I pray You, for this most bitter agony of yours, to come to my assistance at the moment of my death. I have given You my heart as refuge and rest, my arms to sustain You, and all of my being at your disposal; and — oh, how gladly I would give myself into the hands of your enemies, to die in your place!
Come, O life of my heart, at that moment, to return to me all I have given You: your company, your Heart as bed and rest, your arms as support, your labored breath to alleviate my labors; in such a way that, in breathing, I will breathe through your breath which, like purifying air, will purify me of any stain, and will dispose me to enter the eternal beatitude.
Even more, my sweet Jesus, then You will give your very Most Holy Humanity to my soul, so that, in looking at me, You may see me through Yourself; and in looking at Yourself, You may find nothing for which to judge me. Then You will bathe me in your Blood; You will clothe me with the candid garment of your Most Holy Will; You will adorn me with your Love, and giving me the last kiss, You will let me take flight from earth unto Heaven.
And now I pray you to do for all the dying, what I have asked for myself. Hug them all in your embrace of love. And giving them the kiss of union with yourself, save them all and do not permit anyone to be lost.
My saddened, good Jesus, I offer you this hour in memory of your passion and death, to disarm the just wrath of God for so many sins, to obtain the conversion of all sinners, for peace among peoples, for our sanctification, and in suffrage for the souls of purgatory.
Now I see that your enemies are approaching, and you want to leave me to go meet them. Jesus, permit me to impress a kiss on your lips, which Judas will dare to kiss with his infernal kiss. Let me wipe your face, bathed in blood, which is about to be struck repeatedly and covered with spit. Press me close to your heart, and never permit me to be separated from you. I will follow you. Bless me.
Reflections and Practices.
In this third hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked for help from heaven, and his pains were so numerous that he even asked for comfort from his disciples. Now, do I always ask for help from heaven in any circumstance, pain or misfortune? And if I turn to creatures as well, do I do so in an orderly way, going to those who can piously comfort me? Am I at least resigned if I don't receive those comforts I was hoping for, making use of the indifference of creatures to abandon myself even more in Jesus' arms?
Jesus was comforted by an angel. Now, can I say that I am Jesus' angel, by being near him to comfort him and take part in his bitternesses? In order to be able to be a true angel to Jesus, I must receive my pains as pains sent to me by him, and so, as divine pains. Only then can I dare to comfort a God so embittered. Otherwise, if I take pains in a human way, I cannot use them to comfort this Man-God, and therefore I cannot be His angel.
In the sufferings that Jesus sends me, it seems like he sends me the chalice too, into which I must pour the fruit of these sufferings. And these pains, suffered with love and resignation, will be transformed into the sweetest nectar for Jesus. And I will go to my suffering Jesus and offer the chalice that He sent me, and my sorrows now turned into sweetness. Like an Angel, I will bring it to his lips that He may drink it, to comfort Him and soothe Him. In every sorrow I will then say to myself, “Jesus is calling me to be an Angel close to Him. He wants my comfort and, for this reason, He makes me share in his sorrows.
Jesus, my Love, in my suffering, I search for your Heart to rest, and in your suffering I wish to make reparation with mine. In this exchange, may I be your Angel of consolation.