Three years ago I began my
own “Agony in the Garden.”
It began when my doctor said
the words “multiple sclerosis.”
Since then, I have known fear,
doubt, sadness and sometimes peace.
Three years later I’m still in that garden.
Some days I staunchly pronounce,
“Your will be done.” Others I beg “that
this cup pass without my drinking it.”
Most days I’m somewhere in the middle.
As a lifelong Catholic, I’ve always
been well aware of Jesus’ Agony in the
Garden. I have heard it proclaimed
each year during Holy Week. I have
studied it during 16 years of Catholic
education. But I never really “got” it
until I was there myself.
But I get it now when Jesus wonders
how the disciples can sleep when he’s
being weighed down by such a heavy
burden. And I know what it’s like to
have those surrounding you lash out in
helplessness, denial or anger against
what is oppressing you—just like Peter
and the disciple who struck the high
priest’s servant (Luke 22:50-62).
At some point in our lives we will all
experience our own personal Gethsemane.
It might be an illness, a troubled
relationship, a death, personal problem
or some other difficult situation in
our lives. The key, however, is how we face this struggle. Granted, none of us
will be faced with a situation quite like
that of Christ. But we can look at his situation
as an example of how to face our
And this means that, just as we do
every Easter season, it is important for
us to look toward the Resurrection and
the hope that it brings. We are, after all,
an Easter people.
Facing Your Own Issues
This month, as we remember Christ’s
crucifixion and rejoice in his resurrection,
make an effort to confront your
own personal Holy Week and find ways
to rejoice in your Easter moments.
Recognize your own Gethsemane
issues. We all have our own agonies in
the garden with which we struggle.
There are those things we encounter
that we would much rather not face.
What are those issues for you? How are
you dealing with them? Do you need
someone’s help to deal with those issues?
Share your story. The thing that
has helped me most is talking to other
people who are going through the same
thing. I have also taken comfort in sharing
Get it out. If you’re struggling with
a particular problem, write down what
that problem is and all the ways you can
face it. Sometimes getting it out and
down on paper can be very therapeutic.
If you’re still having trouble, talk to
someone. It could be a spouse, friend,
sister or brother or your parish priest.
Or ask your doctor to recommend
someone for you to talk with.
Rejoice in the Resurrection. Keep
reminding yourself that, despite the
horror of Christ’s crucifixion, it was followed
by his Resurrection. Keep your
eyes on the prize. Look for the hope in
your own life and situations. And rejoice
in those resurrection moments, be they
a positive medical report, an unexpected
opportunity or a sense of peace and
acceptance of a certain situation.
Stick with it. There’s a reason why
we celebrate Easter every year. It serves
as a constant reminder for us. Therefore,
realize that many struggles are
ongoing. As I said before, three years
later I’m still struggling to come to
peace with my situation.
The key is to have hope. And that
is always possible. Jesus showed us
Next Month: Show Off Your Faith