Agony in the Garden
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According to all four Gospels, immediately after the Last Supper, Jesus took a walk to pray. Each Gospel offers a slightly different account regarding narrative details. The gospels of Matthew and Mark identify this place of prayer as Gethsemane. Jesus was accompanied by three Apostles: Peter, John and James, whom he asked to stay awake and pray. He moved "a stone's throw away" from them, where he felt overwhelming sadness and anguish, and said "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as You, not I, would have it." Then, a little while later, he said, "If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, Your will be done!" (Matthew 26:42; in Latin Vulgate: fiat voluntas tua). He said this prayer thrice, checking on the three apostles between each prayer and finding them asleep. He commented: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". An angel came from heaven to strengthen him. During his agony as he prayed, "His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44).
In Roman Catholic tradition, the Agony in the Garden is the first Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary and the First Station of the Scriptural Way of The Cross. Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for the sufferings of Jesus during His Agony and Passion. These Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ do not involve a petition for a living or dead beneficiary, but aim to "repair the sins" against Jesus. Some such prayers are provided in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See in 1898) which also includes prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.
In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparations, Pope Pius XI called Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ a duty for Catholics and referred to them as "some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury" with respect to the sufferings of Jesus.
Catholic tradition holds that Jesus' sweating of blood was literal and not figurative.
In the Catholic tradition, Matthew 26:40 is the basis of the Holy Hour devotion for Eucharistic adoration. In the Gospel of Matthew: "Then He said to them, 'My soul is very sorrowful even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.'" (Matthew 26:38) Coming to the disciples, He found them sleeping and, in Matthew 26:40, asked Peter:
- "So, could you not watch with Me one hour?"
The tradition of the Holy Hour devotion dates back to 1673 when Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque stated that she had a vision of Jesus in which she was instructed to spend an hour every Thursday night to meditate on the suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
There are a number of different depictions in art of the Agony in the Garden, including:
- Agony in the Garden – an early (1459-1465) painting by the Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini
- Agony in the Garden – a painting by romantic poet and artist William Blake, c. 1800, conserved at the Tate Britain in London
- Agony in the Garden – a painting by the Italian artist Correggio, dating to 1524 and now in Apsley House in London
- Agony in the Garden – a painting by the Italian artist Andrea Mantegna, dating from 1458–1460 and conserved at the National Gallery in London
- Agony in the Garden – a painting by Andrea Mantegna, dating from 1457–1459 and conserved at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours
- Christ on the Mount of Olives – a painting by Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, c. 1605
- Christ on the Mount of Olives – a painting by Paul Gauguin, 1889
- Christ on the Mount of Olives – an oratorio by classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven
- "Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)" – In the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus sings this song in which He confronts God about His coming fate, ultimately accepting it by the end of the song. An orchestral reprise is heard after the crucifixion in the form of "John Nineteen: Forty-One".
A medical interpretative hypothesis of hematidrosis has been advanced in the scientific literature, according to which the great mental anguish that Jesus suffered to the point that His sweat became blood is described only by Luke the Evangelist because he was a physician.
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- Matthew 26:46; Mark 14:41; cf. John 18:4: "Knowing all that was going to happen to Him"
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