Lives of the Saints

There is Something About Mary Series – Aligning Our Will With God’s

Day Thirteen: Ponder, Pray, Reflect, Act

Ponder:  The unwanted gift of suffering.  God does not cause suffering, but He allows it to help us grow.  Today we see how aligning our will with Gods can allow for redemptive suffering.

After the opening prayers of the rosary, we announce the first mystery and read the relevant Scripture passage slowly with attention, a lectino divina style of praying the scriptures.  Pause for a few moments of silence and then recite the indicated prayers (#5 below) while meditating on that mystery.  You may make a prayer request at the beginning of each decade or offer a Hail Mary for a specific person. 

Pray:  The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden.

Jesus prays in Gethsemane on the night before his death.  The fruit of the mystery: Conformity to God’s Will.

Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” Luke 22:39-46

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, in the agony in the garden for us (who suffered agony in the garden for my sins).  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Pray for us Mary, Mother of Sorrows, That we may humbly embrace God’s will in all things.   


Reflect:  Stay awake. Jesus said it three times. But his disciples could not. They let him down. Imagine how alone he felt that night in the garden. Have you ever been in agony—physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological? Multiply that by infinity and take it to the depths of eternity, and we may get a small glimpse of what Jesus was experiencing that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He entered the psychological and spiritual space of the sinner.   St. Paul says that Christ became sin.  That is his mission: to bring light and forgiveness of God into the depths of god forsakenness.  He sweats blood and enters in a state of alienation from God, and he feels the suffering of the lost.  He prays “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” Showing us the temptation to avoid following God’s will, knowing he would die on the cross.  Yet struggling against every instinct in his body, he demonstrates fortitude, aligning his will with that of the Father: “Yet, not my will but yours be done.”  This is a guide for our own prayers. It is the key to lasting joy and peace to unequivocally trust in divine providence.  We see how Christ accepts His human will and aligns it with His Father’s during this mystery.  He shows us that His death is redemptive and is an example of how we can suffer well.

Act: We rarely disobey God because we are evil, but because we rely on our own nature rather than aligning with God’s will.  Today I will practice the spiritual exercise of self-denial to help strengthen me against my weaknesses.  I’ll make a small sacrifice, give up a cup of coffee, “not my will but yours be done.”

Inspire with your life.

Words convince the mind, but actions change the heart.

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