• Sarah Raad


Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Christ was alone so that we never would be.

The Agony in the Garden (Giovanni Bellini)

From today – Holy Thursday – there will be three days until the Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord. From today, my prayers are threefold...

Firstly, I pray for the intentions of those who I know and love. Secondly, I pray for the intentions of those who I do not know and yet who I love as my neighbours. Thirdly, I pray for the intentions of my Beloved – “‘but not what I will but what YOU will.’” (Mark 14:35).

Tonight, in a Garden, two thousand years ago – after the most blessed and remarkable meal of all time – my Beloved knells alone in a Garden and prays. He calls on His Father using the word “Abba”, which though translated to “Father” could equally be translated to the more familiar, “Daddy”. He called on His Daddy to take His cup away using His perfect prayer…

“He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.’” (Mark 14:36).

And what did Abba, Daddy, reply to this MOST PERFECT PRAYER? What Did Christ – this Son of God, this Second Person of the Holy Trinity – hear in response to this perfect prayer? NOTHING… He heard NOTHING! He heard terrifying, empty NOTHINGNESS.

One of the Dogma of our Faith is that Christ is simultaneously Perfect Man and Perfect God. His HUMANITY is EQUAL and coexistent with His DIVINITY.

In that Garden, though He could foresee every torment He would endure, when He spoke to His Father, who is THE OTHER PART OF HIMSELF – for in the Creed we declare Christ “CONSUBSTANTIAL with the Father” – He heard NOTHING.

God was alone that night in that Garden…

Even His friends slept.

Some time ago, when my grief for my lost baby at its pinnacle, my greatest anguish was my loneliness in my grief, for I felt that others slept while I grieved.

Grief and sorrow make a lonely place.

How lonely was God – whose very essence is LOVE, whose very existence is RELATIONSHIP – how lonely was my Beloved that night?

During His human life, His Father had previously spoken aloud three times…

The First time Abba spoke was when Christ was Baptised… “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw Heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from Heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:10-11).

The second time Abba spoke was when Christ was transfigured… “While He yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; HEAR YE HIM.’” (Matthew 17:5, emphasis added).

And the third time Abba spoke was when Christ predicted the manner of His death… “‘Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.” (John 12:27-29).

But on this LONELY night, three nights before His resurrection, all alone in that Garden, Christ heard only the terrifying emptiness of NOTHING…

And for this great sorrow, my soul weeps for He whose very essence is COMMUNION and RELATIONSHIP and LOVE. My Beloved suffered ALONE that night… For. My. Sake. So that I would never feel alone again.

I read a short anecdote the other day prepared by a priest I do not know, who reflected on what the angels might have spoken to Christ about during that evening of silence in the Garden… He suggested that the angels spoke to Christ about ME, they spoke about YOU too…

And for that – my little insignificant offensive worthless sinful soul – God separated Himself from Himself, and endured the agony of that grief and death… So that I never would.

Oh, my Beloved… Let me sip from Your Bitter Cup – for of it I am most worthy – and YOU are not worthy of it at all…

For you heard NOTHING for MY SAKE.

Oh, my Poor Poor Beloved…

How I wish to help you now…

For with sorrow, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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