My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Words from the Cross

With His first Word from the Cross, Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. Thus, He begins His crucifixion emphasizing the mercy of our Heavenly Father. In the second Word, He  showed mercy to  Dismas, the thief who was repentant. Then, with the third Word, He entrusted His Mother to John, and thus to us, and entrusts us to her. We take note that this Word alone binds every follower of Christ to defend the honor of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. Think for yourselves the dismal situation today, in this bitter passion of the Church.

After these first three Words, comes the fourth, which breaks upon us like a storm at dawn, when the sun’s light is withdrawn and the lightning illumines the torrents of rain and the wind-whipped trees.

“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

At this very hour, at this very Word, the darkness of the eclipse began to ease. In Father Groenings’ words, it “marked a turning point in which error’s shadow was to recede before truth, and the day of salvation was to begin.

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

How are we to understand such a complaint? Is Christ doubting His Father? Modernists have implied such. What is the truth?

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The Carrying of the Cross, 2018

 

Once Pilate pronounced the sentence, Jesus was again stripped. This time the ragged mockery of a royal cloak (which had clotted to His wounds) was brutally removed and He was re-robed in His own garments and hastened away to take up His cross. Now, in those days, it was customary for there to be a delay between the sentencing and the execution.

“Since the advent of Tiberius to the imperial throne, criminals sentenced by the Roman senate were reprieved for ten days, and when the emperor had pronounced the sentence, even for thirty days.”  (Fr. Groenings,  “The Passion of Jesus and Its Hidden Meaning: A Scriptural commentary on the Passion”, TAN Books. Kindle Edition).

But the enemies of Christ could tolerate no delay, for they were afire to achieve their goal, the total destruction of the Son of Man and all He represented. In this, they are very like to the enemies of Christ in His Church today, who hasten in their mad rush to destroy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His beloved Church.

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A prayer in Gethsemane

“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26, 39)

Today, we will look at Our Lord’s Prayer in the Garden of Olives on that sad and beautiful night which began His Passion and saving death for us. Our basis for this is Father Groenings’ classic, “The Passion of Jesus and Its Hidden Meaning”, from TAN Books. It is available in Kindle and paperback.

As He left the Upper Room, Jesus led His disciples in a Passover hymn, the only time the scriptures record that He sang. When they reached the Garden of Gethsemane, He cautioned the disciples to “Watch, lest ye enter into temptation”. Taking Peter, James and John, He went a bit further and told them, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Stay you here and watch.” Going forward, He fell on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

Twice, Jesus interrupted this prayer to return to His apostles, and after each disappointment, returned to this same prayer, “not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”  Luke then tells us, “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”

This passage of the Gospel is one of the richest troves of wisdom for meditation available to us, particularly for times of severest trial and at the hour of death. By working on this now, we prepare ourselves for these inevitable times to come. The first and most obvious thing we all notice is that Jesus is alone in His agony, His closest friends are sleeping, unaware of His great agony of spirit nor even noticing His precious blood being shed.

Think on this. Christ prayed while they slept, unaware of the danger. We too, arise at night and pray for our sleeping brethren, who close their eyes to the danger and sleep on, oblivious. But we who know, must arise and pray with Jesus, our Lord and God. Father Groenings tells us that, “in a family, a single member who knows how to pray well, is often the greatest blessing of the rest. But if those must pray who are among the sleeping, how much more those who are among the dead, i.e., among sinners.” Yes, exactly!

Finally, Christ prayed while His enemies were banding together to take Him prisoner and deliver Him to death on the Cross. In this instance, we are shown the wisdom of Christ, His lesson for us especially at this time. His enemies were uniting in one satanic focus, to destroy Him. His response was to pray! Thus, Our Lord Jesus Christ shows us by His eloquent example that prayer is the primary, the essential weapon when we are attacked or when the Church is attacked by the dark powers of this world. The attack came from within – Judas – and from without – the synagogue of satan. Just as today. Just as today. These things never change. And prayer is the weapon given to us by Our Savior Himself. Without prayer, our other actions cannot succeed.

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Crowning the King of Martyrs

Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto Him the whole band; And stripping Him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews.  And spitting upon Him, they took the reed, and struck His head.  And bowing their knees, they adored Him.

Behold the Man, your King!

Even the pagan soldiers knew that a King must be invested with the symbols of his royalty, that is, draped with a royal mantle, crowned, and finally, given a scepter as a sign of his power and rule. And so the soldiers obliged this strange King, who had said “but now My kingdom is not from hence”. And so, what royal insignia might they find fitting?

The soldiers soon found a discarded scarlet rag of large enough size and after first ripping off His outer garment, they draped His now freshly bleeding shoulders in this dirty mockery of a robe. As we think on the vivid symbolism in this scene compare it to our Pontiff’s words and actions – what homage does he offer to the King of Kings? A royal robe?

Now, the Roman soldiers clearly understood the necessity of the Crowning, for their gods were always crowned, Apollo with laurel, Bacchus with grape vines, Jupiter with gold. And so a crown fit for this King must be found.

And the Jews too, understood that their high priest wore a tiara when he offered the sacrifice. And did not their bridegroom according to their custom, wear a diadem at his wedding?

And we who watch this scene, we also recall that in those days a conqueror was often crowned to celebrate his victory; how much more so then, this King who by His death and resurrection will conquer sin and death!

What crown for this Son of Man, who told Pilate, “Thou sayest that I am a King.”

What crown for this Priest, who sacrifices His own Body and Blood for the salvation of those He loves.

What crown for this Divine Bridegroom, about to redeem His Bride with His own Blood, giving His life for her that she may live.

Father Groenings tells us that no other mantle was befitting for the Redeemer of the world. He was the picture of the world’s sins, which were red as scarlet, but through Him were to become white as snow. The mantle should be red as a sign that His kingdom, founded in blood, was to be spread by means of blood, that is, by the blood of the apostles and of the martyrs. It was ragged and torn in token that, in imitation of Christ, His ministers would redeem the souls of men and subject them to Christ, not by means of gold and silver, but through the hardships of poverty.

Ed. comment: Today, I would add that the Lavender Mafia headed by Pope Francis has given a new meaning to the foul and ragged mantle with which the pagan soldiers humiliated our Lord Jesus Christ. For they have befouled His Church and humiliated this lovely Bride of Christ as never before in history. See here for a Lifesite News article on one example of Pope Francis’s choice of prelates. There are many others. Thus, the pope makes a mockery of the true King of Kings!

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In the Garden of Olives, a Prayer

“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26, 39)

“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

Today, we will look at Our Lord’s Prayer in the Garden of Olives on that sad and beautiful night which began His Passion and saving death for us. Our basis for this is Father Groenings’ classic, “The Passion of Jesus and Its Hidden Meaning”, from TAN Books. It is available in Kindle and paperback.

As He left the Upper Room, Jesus led His disciples in a Passover hymn, the only time the scriptures record that He sang. When they reached the Garden of Gethsemani, He cautioned the disciples to “Watch, lest ye enter into temptation”. Taking Peter, James and John, He went a bit further and told them, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Stay you here and watch.” Going forward, He fell on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

Twice, Jesus interrupted this prayer to return to His apostles, and after each disappointment, returned to this same prayer, “not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”  Luke then tells us, “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”

This passage of the Gospel is one of the richest troves of wisdom for meditation available to us, particularly for times of severest trial and at the hour of death. By working on this now, we prepare ourselves for these inevitable times to come. The first and most obvious thing we all notice is that Jesus is alone in His agony, His closest friends are sleeping, unaware of His great agony of spirit nor even noticing His precious blood being shed.

Think on this. Christ prayed while they slept, unaware of the danger. We too, arise at night and pray for our sleeping brethren, who close their eyes to the danger and sleep on, oblivious. But we who know, must arise and pray with Jesus, our Lord and God. Father Groenings tells us that, “in a family, a single member who knows how to pray well, is often the greatest blessing of the rest. But if those must pray who are among the sleeping, how much more those who are among the dead, i.e., among sinners.” Yes, exactly!

Finally, Christ prayed while His enemies were banding together to take Him prisoner and deliver Him to death on the Cross. In this instance, we are shown the wisdom of Christ, His lesson for us especially at this time. His enemies were uniting in one satanic focus, to destroy Him. His response was to pray! Thus, Our Lord Jesus Christ shows us by His eloquent example that prayer is the primary, the essential weapon when we are attacked or when the Church is attacked by the dark powers of this world. The attack came from within – Judas – and from without – the synagogue of satan. Just as today. Just as today. These things never change. And prayer is the weapon given to us by Our Savior Himself. Without prayer, our other actions cannot succeed.

Continue reading “In the Garden of Olives, a Prayer”