The Agony in the Garden is one of the most powerful scenes from the Gospels. Emotion, drama, doubt, and pain, all within these few verses. It must be an important event in the life of Christ, since it is covered in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Even the language used by Matthew and Mark is almost the same.
I recently stumbled across an excellent article by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser from a 2008 Catholic Update called, Agony in the Garden: Understanding the Passion of Jesus. If you get some time, I highly suggest reading this article.
After reading this article, though, a new thought crossed my mind about the Agony in the Garden, the idea God has a plan for all of us. Each of us is given purpose in life through the talents and free will God gives us.
Unfortunately, we can lose faith in the plan. We’re human, we are not perfect. We doubt ourselves. We overthink. We are scared of the difficulties which face us in the pursuit of God’s plan.
In the garden, Jesus shows he’s human. Despair and panic set in. The task he is sent to do becomes overwhelming just at the moment the final cards are to be played.
How often do we succomb to this feeling of doubt in our lives? Do we cower from the God-given talents we were blessed with? Do we justify and rationalize away hard part of God’s plan for us or do we simply veer toward the path of least resistance?
Shouldn’t this also be a part of Lent? A time to take stock in our spiritual self and reflect on how we’ve fulfilled God’s plan and the use of the talents He gives to each of us.
If Jesus would have stood up from his torment in the garden and walked away from his sleeping friends to a new (and easier, less dangerous) path, maybe stroll on down to Emmaus for some fun and relaxation, where would our hope for salvation be now? Salvation simply would not exist.
There is always an easier path in life. That path with the easy button. That path of least resistance. But, this path often lies outside of God’s planned path for us, This path doesn’t have the “deep theology of grace” that Fr. Ronald Rolheiser talks about in his article. This easy path doesn’t always contain the satisfaction and the joy of the well-purposed life.
Perhaps following the easy path versus God’s path, following the path of least resistance instead of the path requiring hard work to develop our talents, is a cause of the widespread lack of true and lasting life joy in modern society.
We need to listen to God’s plan.
We need to trust Him.
We need to sweat those drops of blood.
With gratitude to God, we should accept His mission.
Copyright 2014, Mike Hays