March 16, 2001
volume 12, no. 75

Jesus Endured Great Stress

    We hear a lot about stress these days. We hear how stress in our lives can actually lead us to serious illnesses. We hear that we should avoid stress as much as possible. We learn how we may avoid stress or at least reduce it in our lives.

    Jesus experienced stress, too! Everyday He met with people who did not believe Him, who rejected Him and were ungrateful for what He had done for them and who voiced negatives to Him. He had to have the patience of God to endure His trials with love and to return love for no-love. Though Jesus met with stress every day, we can readily accept that His greatest stress was endured in His Passion and Dying.

    I have been reading and meditating lately on Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsamane. Jesus said: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death” (Matthew 26:38). Our Lord’s agony involved great depression, sadness, fear and near-despair. We know that He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world. He took upon Himself every sin that had been committed, that was being committed and that would be committed. He took upon Himself, as though He were the sinner, ALL of our sins. He became the greatest VICTIM ever to live.

    So great was His agony that not only did He perspire, but, as Scripture states: “His sweat became as drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). The suffering He endured was so intense that it literally broke blood capillaries and blood oozed from His Body. His Holy Face, arms hands, neck, back bled from this unbelievably great suffering.

    Very few people have suffered like this throughout human history. Oh, yes! People, when ill or enduring great tension can perspire, but few have been so stressed in their sufferings as to literally sweat BLOOD.

    Jesus endured that for us. Yet not only did He suffer excruciatingly at the sight of our sins and knowing what He was going to endure, but when He went back to His apostles in hope of some comfort, they were asleep. Their spirit was willing, but their flesh was weak (cf. Matthew 26:41). Though Jesus had asked them to watch and pray with Him, they could not. The truth is that Jesus could have died from that agony in Gethsamane. That suffering or act was sufficient for our redemption. But Jesus wanted to give everything - every last drop of His Blood, so it was not to end until ALL was given and His last breath was drawn on the cross.

    It is ABSOLUTELY necessary for us to meditate on and consider the sufferings of Our Lord to adequately motivate us to avoid sin - ALL SIN.

    A favorite prayer of mine, which I usually pray after receiving Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist is the Anima Christi. In English, it is:

      Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
      Body of Christ, save me.
      Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
      Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
      Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
      O Good Jesus, hear me.
      Within Your wounds, hide me.
      Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
      From the malignant enemy, defend me.
      In the hour of my death, call me
      and bid me come to Thee,
      that with Thy saints, I may praise Thee forever and ever.
Please have a holy Lent! God bless you!

Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

For past columns by Sister Lucy, see GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER Archives

March 16, 2001
volume 12, no. 75
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