Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Agony in the Garden

Strangely enough there are objections and criticisms made by unbelievers in regard to the sufferings of Christ. There are some who believe that it is pathological and morbid to dwell on the agony of our Lord. There are others who say that there have been other martyrs who have suffered greater torments, and they cite cruel sufferings, sufferings that were prolonged for hours and even days, as in the case of the Jesuit martyrs here in New York state. They cite the sufferings of little children, beaten, starved, crying in a premature and horrible despair, and they say with Ivan Karamazov that "the whole world of knowledge is not worth that child's prayer to 'dear kind God,' who does not seem to hear it." They lose sight of the fact that in the Agony in the Garden, Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world and the sufferings due to those sins. He withdrew from His friends and disciples. The three He had with Him slept (for their eyes were heavy). But even if they had been with Him, He would have suffered all the desolation and the loneliness and the utter desertion that anyone has ever suffered in all ages. He suffered not only the despair of one but of countless millions. The accumulated woe of all the world, through all the centuries, He took upon Himself. Every sin that was ever committed, that ever was to be committed, He endured the guilt of it. In His humanity, He was the I.W.W. who was tortured and lynched out in Centralia and Everett, and He likewise bore the guilt of the mob who perpetrated the horror on their victim. There was never a Negro fleeing from a maniacal mob whose fear and agony and suffering Christ did not feel. He Himself, in the person of the least of His children, has been hanged, tortured, afflicted to death itself, and He has at the same time been the one who has borne the guilt of the evil done. "Him, that knew no sin, for us He hath been made sin." He has suffered long years of imprisonment in jail, innocent and guilty; He has suffered the woe of a mother bereft of her child, and of a child bereft of all solace. "Who does not suffer and we do not suffer," St. Paul cried, voicing the dogma of the Mystical Body. Who can measure the sufferings of Him Who died for our sins, in that hour He spent in Gethsemene, bent to the ground in His agony, His sweat becoming as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground, crying out "Father, if Thou wilt, let this cup pass from me!" It is Christ in His humanity Who suffered, and since then suffering and death can no longer be victorious.

From House of Hospitality, Chapter Fourteen By Dorothy Day