A post about heaven just didn't seem fitting for today so instead I offer these two posts from my first year as a blogger.
The Two Gardens:
The fall began in the Garden of Eden; our redemption began in the Garden of
Gethsemane. Adam and Eve fell through the sin of pride, "...you will be like
gods". They went against God's will. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, in his
humanity completely surrendered his will to the Father, bitter though this cup
was. After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. When the soldiers came to
arrest Jesus, he did not hide. Rather, he handed himself over in complete
conformity with God's will. Both gardens contained betrayals. In Eden, Satan
tempted Adam and Eve and they betrayed God. In Gethsemane, Judas betrayed Jesus
(God) with a kiss. It is in Eden that Jesus and Mary are mentioned for the
first time in Gen. ch.3:15.
"I will put enmity between you and the
and between your offspring and hers;
will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."
gardens was a rejection of God by humans, but in the second garden was also the
ultimate acceptance and abandonment to the will of the Father - the beginning
of the atonement that ends on the cross, where Jesus, the new Adam, returns the
fruit stolen (an act of pride and rebellion) from the tree by giving his human
will to the Father in the greatest act of humility ever seen on this earth. It
is under the cross where Mary (the new Eve) unites herself intimately in this
act of humility by giving the beloved Fruit of her womb to the Father, never
asking why....just suffering with her Son.
The Olive Press:
At the base of The Mount of Olives lies Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus
suffered His agony. An intense spiritual agony beyond human comprehension. The
word Gethsemane means "olive press" and it was in this garden that Mercy was
pressed to the fullest limits. An interior crushing so severe that Our Lord
"fell to the ground and prayed if it were possible the hour might pass by him".
And so begins the ultimate struggle with darkness as the weight of humanity's
sins fell upon Him. A seemingly endless parade of human sin and corruption
closing in upon Him. Pressing. Crushing. What did He see in this dark hour? Did
He see the very depths to which human nature could sink? The pit of depravity,
perversion and vice upon vice? Likely He saw this and worse, for the pressure
grew so great that He sweat blood. Hematohidrosis.
Jesus suffered in his
humanity, because it was human nature that needed redemption. And yet, despite
the intensity of his suffering He still prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible
that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done." And Our Lord
drank the cup of staggering to its very dregs, knowing that by the acceptance of
this chalice even greater suffering would come upon him . Then, strengthened by
an angel, He stood up and went to meet his betrayer.
In my eyes, the two
greatest sufferings of Jesus were His Agony in the Garden and on the Cross when
He felt completely forsaken by the Father and endured what one might call, "a
living hell", for love of us. He became sin and took on all the sins of the
world for our sake. That is why it is so horrifying when someone refuses the
salvation that He gained for them; it's like a slap in the face of Pure
Most merciful Jesus, I thank you for everything you suffered for
us all. May all souls open their hearts to receive the mercy you long to pour upon
them. May your sufferings in Gethsemane obtain the grace of repentance for all
souls caught in the grip of mortal sin, for it was here in Gethsemane that mercy was pressed to its limits and it was here in Gethsemane that we learned that this mercy has no limits. Amen.
The "cup of staggering" is a term used in various biblical translations of the O.T. and refers to the Lord's wrath. In this post I used it in reference to Isaiah ch. 51 where the Lord speaks about the ransom of His people. See also The Cup of the Lord verses 17-33 . This "cup of staggering" is also mentioned in other books of the Bible. Jesus, Himself, took this cup from our hands and drank it to its bitter dregs.