So many times, I find myself quickly reciting the rosary, only passively considering the mysteries. I often pray the rosary hoping to make it through before I fall asleep, which tends to happen more than I care to admit.
Although, there is something comforting about falling asleep in prayer making it feel like less like a total failure of my prayer life.
Despite that, I do, on occasion, stay mostly awake during prayer. Once such time occurred recently. I made myself take the time to to consider and reflect upon each mystery of the Sorrowful Mysteries. Naturally being the first, the Agony in the Garden received most of my attention. How intense was the anxiety and fear that Christ must have experienced to drive him not only to sweat blood but also to ask, “My Father…let this cup pass from me,” not once, but three times?
Christ Jesus, who was without sin, asked his Father to allow the trials he was about to endure to pass from him!
Christ, both fully human and fully God, had his moment of anxiety and fear, just as we all do at certain times of our lives. It is not sinful to be afraid and be anxious about what’s going to happen. What is sinful is allowing that to consume your life and prevent you from doing the Lord’s will.
Now, I’m not referring to Clinical Anxiety, which is something else, entirely, and is out of our control. I’m referring to the excessive fear which we allow ourselves to dwell on and which prevents us from seeking out and doing what the Lord asks of us simply because we don’t want to undergo the trials it will entail or deal with any potential negative outcomes there may be.
Christ himself shows us that it’s not sinful to fear what’s next.
Jesus is scared, but it is important to note his words: “not as I will, but as you will.” What is being asked of me? Am I willing to make the sacrifices necessary to do it? Considering those questions will let me know if I’m truly following Christ or allowing my love of self to rule my life.
As we enter into the highest holy days of the Christian life, let us drink deeply this week of the cup God is giving us.