Ave Maria Meditations
Could you not watch one hour with Me? (Mt. 14:34)
The need for prayer in order to follow the Lord closely:
Jesus looks at us with a gaze of expressive simplicity on that night. He looks into souls and hearts in the revealing light of Divine Wisdom. The spectacle of all men’s sins, of the sins of his brothers, files past before his eyes. He sees the deplorable opposition of so many who scorn the happiness he offers them, the uselessness of the generous sacrifice He will offer in vain for so many more. He feels great loneliness and moral pain because of this defiance and lack of response to such an outpouring of Divine love.
Three times he looks for those three disciples of his to accompany him in prayer: “Watch with me, be at my side, do not leave me alone”, he has asked them. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. Perhaps in that state of tremendous helplessness He seeks a little company, a little human warmth. But his friends abandoned the Friend … That was a night when they should have stayed awake, to have prayed. And they slept. They still did not love enough, and allowing themselves to be beaten by weakness and sadness, they left Jesus alone. In them the Lord found no support; they had been chosen for this and they had let him down …
We must always pray, but there are moments when this prayer has to be intensified. To abandon it would be like abandoning Christ, leaving ourselves at the mercy of the enemy. Why do you sleep? He asks them – and he asks us too – Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation. For this reason we say to Jesus: 1f you see me asleep, if you discover that I am afraid of pain, if you notice that I stop when I see the cross more closely, do not leave me! Tell me, as you told Peter, James and John, that you need my affection, my love. Tell me that in order to follow you, in order never to abandon you again into the hands of those who plot your death, I have to overcome my drowsiness, my passions and my comfort …
Our daily meditation, if it is true prayer, will keep us alert in the face of the enemy who never sleeps. And it will make us strong so as to endure and defeat temptations and difficulties. If we were to neglect it we would find ourselves in the hands of the enemy. We would lose our joy and we would be left without the strength to accompany Jesus. Jesus wants us to accompany him today. Without prayer how difficult it is to accompany him! Our own experience tells us so. Yet if we become strong through our daily relationship with Him, we will be able to tell him in all certainty: Even though I die with you, I will not deny you.
Peter could not fulfil his promise that night because, among other things he did not persevere in prayer as the Lord had asked him to do. After his repentance, he would be faithful to his Master, even giving up his own life for him some years later.
Fr. Francis Fernandez (In Conversation with God)
“My Heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death.
Could you not watch one hour with Me?” (Mk 14:34)
Meditation: The Wound of Rejection
On this Holy Thursday night Jesus showed us the very ‘depth of His love’ by giving us the complete gift of Himself and His total love in the Holy Eucharist. Then He appealed to his apostles for the first holy hour of prayer when He took them into the garden in the middle of the night, and asked them to watch and pray with Him. As He started to pray, He began to sweat blood.
The agony He suffered was the realization that the Holy Eucharist would be rejected by so many and appreciated by so few. To reject the Holy Eucharist is to reject Jesus Himself. He saw down through the ages how He would be left alone, spurned and avoided by men in so many tabernacles of the world, while He comes to bring so much love and so many blessings. How few would believe in His Real Presence; and fewer still respond to His appeal to be loved in the Blessed Sacrament. And His Heart was “filled with sorrow to the point of death.”
The blood He sweated was grief poured out from a broken Heart caused by the sorrow of His Eucharistic love being so rejected. Then an angel brought Jesus indescribable strength and consolation by showing Him every holy hour that you would ever make. At that moment in the garden, Jesus saw you praying before Him now and He knew that His love would be returned.
This is why your visit today is so important to Him. Your holy hour consoles Him for those who do not love Him and wins countless graces for many to be converted to Him. He sees you before Him now and forgets the rejection of the world. Here we offer to Jesus any rejection we may receive from others that He may be loved by all men in this Most Blessed Sacrament.
Fr. Martin Lucia (Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament)
0 Jesus, grant that I may fathom the immensity of that love
which led You to give us the Eucharist.
“Having loved His own in the world, He loved them unto the end” (Jn.13,1-15), and in those last intimate hours spent in their midst, He wished to give them the greatest proof of His love. Those were hours of sweet intimacy, but also of most painful anguish. Judas had already set the price of the infamous sale; Peter was about to deny his Master; all of them within a short time would abandon Him.
The institution of the Eucharist appeared then as the answer of Jesus to the treachery of men, as the greatest gift of His infinite love in return for the blackest ingratitude. The merciful God would pursue His rebellious creatures, not with threats, but with the most delicate devices of His immense charity.
Jesus had already done and suffered so much for sinful man, but now, at the moment when human malice is about to sound the lowest depths of the abyss, He exhausts the resources of His love, and offers Himself to man, not only as the Redeemer, who will die for him on that Cross, but also as the food which will nourish him. He will feed man with His own Flesh and Blood; moreover, death might claim Him in a few hours, but the Eucharist will perpetuate His real living presence until the end of time.
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene OCD (Divine Intimacy)
“Behold this heart which has so loved man and which has spared itself nothing even to exhausting and spending itself to give witness to this love; and in recompense for the most part I have received only ingratitude.”
One day, when, according to her custom during the octave of Corpus Christi, St. Margaret Mary was deeply engaged in devotions before the Blessed Sacrament, the divine Savior appeared to her, showed her His Heart burning with love, and said: “Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this sacrament of love. And what is most painful to Me is that they are hearts consecrated to Me. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be appropriated to a special feast to honor My heart by communicating on that day and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered.”
(From the visions of this saint, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus spread worldwide as did the need for regular holy hours of reparation in adoration of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament.)
My soul is sad, my heart is breaking tonight.
Could you not watch and comfort me until light?
Am I alone surrounded only by night?
Could you not watch one hour with me?
Could you not keep awake for one hour with me?
Is it so hard that you should do this for me?
I die for you that you might always be free.
Could you not watch one hour with me?
And so I weep, and there is no one to hear,
I am in pain; will no one witness my tears?
I am your God and as my Passion draws near,
could you not watch one hour with me?
(song from A Day With Mary apostolate)