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Holy Week

Jesus Suffered For You. Here’s How You Can Comfort Him

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak is available to speak at your parish or conference

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak discusses how we can help Jesus in His agony in the garden

Today is the anniversary of a sad episode in the life of Christ:

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:36-46)

While the worst was certainly yet to come, Jesus was deserted by His closest friends when He needed them the most. Sad, isn’t it? All He asked them to do was to keep Him company in His agony. We all know that feeling. The companionship of a close friend when we are suffering can make the difference between hope and despair. Those of us who have lost loved ones know this feeling well. The fact that our friends are with us is more important than what they say.

You have an advantage over the sleeping apostles in that you know what would happen to Jesus the next day. They didn’t fully understand what would be taking place over the next few days. Maybe if they did they would have stayed awake. Don’t you wish you could go back in time and comfort the Lord in His hour of need?

You can!

Because Jesus is God, He is aware of all past and future events. As a result, while He was in Gethsemane, He knew everything that you would ever do. Unfortunately, this means that all of our sins contributed to His agony. On the other hand, He was also able to see all of our good acts as well. Although it can be difficult to grasp this concept, any act of kindness you direct to Jesus today was foreseen by Him as He suffered in the garden two thousand years ago. How’s that for powerful?

Today, you have the opportunity to comfort Jesus. You can spend time with Him in prayer, sit with Him in Eucharistic adoration, accept your suffering patiently, be kind to others or read Scripture. We aren’t being asked to change the course of history, but simply to spend time with Him. Peter, James and John fell asleep and missed their chance…

Will you fall asleep too?

(Gary Zimak is a Catholic speaker and author who travels throughout the United States and Canada giving inspirational talks and leading parish missions and retreats. Click HERE to invite Gary to speak at your parish or conference or to inquire about his availability.)

Easing The Suffering Of Jesus…Today!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak reveals some practical ways that we can ease the suffering of Jesus

On this holy and sad day known as Good Friday, we will have many opportunities to reflect on the suffering of Christ. While this is a great idea and something that we all should do, we need to be careful. We often have the tendency to treat Our Lord’s suffering as something that happened two thousand years ago and something that was caused by some really nasty people who are no longer alive. While this line of thinking is partially true, it ignores two very important facts:

1. Ultimately, all sinners are responsible for Jesus’ suffering. That means that we share in the blame.

2. Even though Jesus’ Passion took place two thousand years ago, there is something that we can do to ease His suffering TODAY.

On the night before He died, Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Scripture tells us that “He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground” (Luke 22:44). Why was He suffering so greatly? In his book, Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton Sheen expressed the opinion that Jesus was in agony because He saw all of the sins that were committed in the past and will be committed until the end of time. This means that when we hear of Our Lord’s suffering on the night before He died, we should realize that our sins were a contributing factor to his distress.

On the other hand, since He was God, it follows that Jesus would also be able to see all of the good things that would be performed over the years. Therefore, while He was in the garden, Jesus would have known every time that we turned away from sin or performed an act of kindness. Therefore, we still have the ability to ease His suffering in the Garden.

So what can we do about this? For one thing we can recognize that our sins caused Jesus a great deal of mental and physical pain. This should result in some degree of sorrow and a desire to do better in the future. Secondly, we can do something to ease the Lord’s pain. Here are some steps that we can take:

1. Pray – What did Jesus ask Peter, James and John to do while He was suffering in the garden? He asked them to stay awake and be with Him as He suffered. By praying every day, we do just that.

2. Turn Away From Sin – We should ask the Lord each day for the grace to resist temptation and turn away from sin.

3. Trust – Jesus told St. Faustina, “You will give me great pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of my grace”. Do you trust Him enough to let Him handle your problems?

4. Surrender – The most basic way to surrender to the Lord’s will is to accept everything that happens to you today and not complain. When was the last time you tried this?

5. Show Mercy To Others – “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). In her diary, St. Faustina wrote of three ways that we can show mercy to others:

a. By Deed (Anything we do to alleviate the suffering of another)
b. By Word (Anything we say to alleviate the suffering of another)
c. By Prayer (Praying for one another)

Jesus suffered and died so that you could go to Heaven. By doing some simple things today and in the future, we have the ability to lessen the intense suffering that Jesus experienced because of our sins. Don’t waste the opportunity!

Making The Most Of Holy Week


 

As Lent draws to a close, it’s quite possible that full scale panic may begin to set in as you realize that you haven’t done all that much to take advantage of the season. If so, my advice to you is simple…

DON’T PANIC…IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

If you’re reading this, I’m fairly certain that you’re still alive (if not, I’d like to hear from you!) which means that you still have time to make some spiritual progress before Lent is over. The fact that you realize you haven’t done as much as you could have is a BIG step and is one that many people never seem to make. So let me be the first to congratulate you for having the desire to become a better person.

Two of the big themes during the Lenten season are awareness of our sinfulness and repentance. Naturally, we need to be aware of our imperfections before we can work on them. Take a minute and think about one or more ways in which you fall short of God’s plan for your life. Let me help you out with a few ideas…

Impatience
Anger
Excessive Worrying
Lack Of Charity
Over Sensitivity To Criticism

If you’d like to read more about these bad habits, you can do so here. Although this list is not all encompassing, every one of these bad habits will keep you from getting closer to Christ. Do you sometimes fall victim to one or more of these bad habits? Me too! Now what can we do about it? The first thing is to thank God for revealing this knowledge to us. Many people go through life without ever becoming aware of these issues. Secondly, I’d like to call attention to the fact that your Lenten journey just produced some fruit. Becoming aware of our own sinfulness is a BIG step to growing in holiness!

In a few days we’ll enter into Holy Week. During this Sunday’s Mass, we’ll hear the Passion of Our Lord proclaimed during the Gospel Reading (Luke 22:14-23,56). We’ll hear the details of Jesus’ last supper with the Apostles and witness the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The peace of that moment will be shattered by an argument as to which of them should be regarded as the greatest. We’ll listen with sadness as Jesus is not only betrayed by Judas, but by Peter. We’ll get to participate (reluctantly) by joining in with the crowd who wanted to put Jesus to death by proclaiming “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”. In commemoration of His death, we’ll kneel and acknowledge the supreme sacrifice made by the Lord on our behalf. Jesus’ lifeless body will be laid in the tomb and the story will end…for now.

Thankfully, the story will have a happy ending. The Lord will rise from the dead 3 days after that and complete the work of our redemption. In a little over a week, we’ll celebrate that joyous occasion. In the meantime, we’re asked to reflect on our own sinful behavior and resolve to make some changes. We’re also called to pick up our crosses and travel this final journey with the Lord.

As we commemorate the final week of Jesus’ life on earth, let’s make a serious attempt to rid ourselves of our bad habits and become more like Him. I’d also encourage you to participate in the activities of the Paschal Triduum, which begins on Holy Thursday and concludes on Easter Sunday. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, to remember the death of Our Lord on Good Friday and to celebrate His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. Whether you’ve done a little or whether you’ve done a lot during Lent really doesn’t matter at this point, as we can’t change the past. What matters is that we look ahead to this holiest of weeks and try to improve as we travel the journey along with Christ.

Here’s wishing you all a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter!

We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:4-5)