From 11 PM. to 12 P.M.
Preparation Before Each Hour
O my Lord Jesus Christ, prostrate in your divine presence, I implore your most loving heart to allow me to enter into the sorrowful meditation of the twenty-four hours of your passion, in which, for love of us you wanted to suffer so much in your adorable body and in your most holy soul, even to death on the cross. O give me help, grace, love, profound compassion, and understanding of your sufferings as I now meditate this Hour.
For those hours which I cannot meditate, I offer you the will I have to meditate them; and I propose to meditate them with my intention during all the hours in which I must dedicate myself to my duties, or sleep.
Accept, O merciful Lord, my loving intention, and let it be beneficial for me and for all, as if I effectively and in a saintly way accomplished what I desire to do.
I give You thanks, O my Jesus. I thank You for calling me to union with You in prayer. To please You, I take your thoughts, your tongue, and your Heart. I want to pray with them. I want to fuse myself in your Will and in your Love. I extend my arms to embrace You, I rest my head on your Heart— and I begin….
The three hours of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
O my divine redeemer, Jesus, please take me with you, together with your three dear apostles, to assist at your agony in the Garden of Olives. Admonished by the sweet rebuke You gave to Peter and the other two sleeping disciples, I want to stay awake for at least an hour with You in Gethsemane; I want to feel at least one sharp pain of your agonizing Heart, one sigh of your labored breathing.
I want to fix my eyes on your divine face and contemplate how it turns pale, how it becomes troubled, how it is oppressed by anguish, how it bends low, even to the dust! O my suffering Jesus, I already see you staggering and falling, now to the left and now to the right. I see you join your loving, crippled hands. I begin to hear your moans, your cries of incomprehensible pain which you raise to heaven. O my Jesus, agonizing in the dreary Garden of Gethsemane, during this hour in which I will keep you company, make a splash, a stream of that adorable blood flow on me, which is streaming from all your adorable members.
O most precious bath of my greatest good, Jesus, who is agonizing for me, let me drink you to the last drop, and with you, drink at least one sip of the bitter chalice of my beloved. Let me feel inside of me the pains of his divine heart. Indeed, let me feel my heart broken by the sorrow of having offended my Lord, who reduces himself to the agony of death for me.
Yes, my Jesus, give me grace, help me to suffer, to sigh and to cry with you, at least for one hour in the Garden of Olives. O Sorrowful Mother, Mary, make me feel the compassion of your pierced heart for Jesus agonizing in Gethsemane. Amen.
My dear Jesus, my heart can’t bear it any longer: I look at you and see that you continue to agonize. Streams of blood are flowing from all over your body, and so profusely that, unable to stand any longer, you fall into a pool of blood. O my love, my heart breaks to see you so weak and exhausted! Your adorable face and your creative hands rest on the ground and become stained with blood. It seems to me that at the rivers of iniquity which creatures send you, you want to give rivers of blood to drown these offenses in it, and with this, give each creature the assurance of your pardon.
But, please, O my Jesus, rise; what You suffer is too much. Let it be enough for your Love! And while my lovable Jesus seems to be dying in His own Blood, Love gives Him new life. I see Him move with difficulty. He stands up, and soaked as He is with blood and mud, He seems to want to walk, but not having strength, He can barely drag Himself.
Sweet Life of mine, let me carry You in my arms. Are You perhaps going to your dear disciples? But what is not the sorrow of your adorable Heart in finding them asleep again! And You, with trembling and feeble voice, call them:
“My sons, do not sleep! The hour is near. Do you not see how I have reduced Myself? Oh please, help Me, do not abandon Me in these extreme hours!”
And almost staggering, You are about to fall near them, while John extends his arms to sustain You. You are so unrecognizable that if it were not for the gentleness and tenderness of your voice, they would not have recognized you. Then, recommending that they watch and pray, you return to the garden, but with a second wound in your heart. In this wound, O my love, I see all the sins of those souls that, in spite of the manifestation of your favors in the form of gifts, kisses and caresses, in the nights of trial forget about your love and your gifts, and remain as it were, drowsy and sleepy, thus losing the spirit of continuous prayer and watchfulness.
My Jesus, how true it is that after having seen you and having tasted your gifts, great strength is necessary to stand firm when deprived of them. Only a miracle can make such souls endure the test. So, while I sympathize with you for these souls, whose neglect, levity and offenses are the most bitter to your heart, I beg you: If they should take even a single step which could displease you in the least, surround them with so much grace that will stop them, so that they may not lose the spirit of continuous prayer.
My gentle Jesus, as you return to the garden, it seems that you cannot go on. Your face is covered with blood and dirt, but you raise it to heaven and repeat for the third time:
“Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass from me. Holy Father, help me! I need comfort. It is true that, because of the sins taken upon myself, I am nauseating, loathsome and the least among men before your infinite majesty. Your justice is roused to anger against me. But look at me, O Father: I am always your Son, who is one with you Please, Father, help me, have pity on me! Do not leave me without comfort!”
Then I seem to hear you, O my tender love, calling your dear mother for help:
“Sweet mother, hold me tightly in your arms as you did when I was a child. Give me that milk I used to take from you, to refresh me and to sweeten the bitterness of my agony. Give me your heart which was perfect contentment for me. My mother, Mary Magdalene, dear apostles, all you who love me: help me! Comfort me! Do not leave me alone in these extreme moments. Everyone, gather around me. Comfort me with your company and your love.”
Jesus, my love, who can bear to see you in such extremes? What heart could ever be so hard that it would not break, seeing you so drowned in your own blood? Who would not shed streams of bitter tears, hearing the sorrowful words with which you seek help and comfort? My Jesus, console yourself. Now I see the Father who is sending you an angel for comfort and help, so that you can come out of this state of agony and be able to turn yourself over to the Jews. While you are with the angel, I will go around heaven and earth. You will permit me to take this blood which you have shed, so that I can give it to all men as the pledge of the salvation of each, and bring back to you in exchange, the comfort of their affections, heartbeats, thoughts, steps and deeds.
My heavenly mother, I come to you so that together we may go to all souls to give them Jesus’ blood. Gentle mother, Jesus wants comfort, and the greatest comfort we can give him is to bring him souls. Mary Magdalene, come with us. All you angels, come and see how Jesus has been reduced. He wants comfort from everyone, and he finds himself in such a state of prostration that he will not refuse anyone.
O light of the sun, come to cast out the darkness of this night to give Jesus comfort. O stars, with your flickering rays, come down from Heaven. Come, to give Jesus comfort. Flowers of the earth, come with your fragrances. Birds, come with your singing. Come, elements of the earth, to comfort Jesus. Come, O sea, to refresh and wash Jesus. He is our Creator, our Life, our All. Come, all, to comfort Him, to give Him homage as our sovereign Lord.
But, oh, Jesus is not looking for lights, stars, flowers and birds. He wants souls, souls! My gentle good Jesus, here is everyone together with me. Your dear mother is near you. Please do rest in her arms. It will be a comfort for her as well, to press you to her bosom, for she has shared abundantly in your sorrowful agony. Mary Magdalene is here too, as well as all the loving souls of all centuries. O Jesus, please accept them, and say a word of forgiveness and of love to everyone. Bind them all in your love so that no soul may ever escape you again.
But, ah, it seems to me that You say, O daughter, how many souls flee Me by force and fall into eternal ruin! So how can my sorrow be soothed—if I love a single soul as much as I love all souls together?
Conclusion of the Agony
Agonizing Jesus, while it seems that your life is about to be extinguished, I can already hear the death-rattle of the agony. Your beautiful eyes are eclipsed by approaching death; all your most holy members have gone limp. Many times I can hear that you are not breathing. I feel my heart break for the pain. I embrace you and feel you are cold. I shake you but you give no signs of life. Jesus, are you dead?
Afflicted Mama, Angels of Heaven, come to cry over Jesus, and do not permit that I continue to live without Him. Ah, I cannot! I press Him more tightly to myself, and I hear Him taking another breath —and then, again, He gives no sign of life! I call Him: “Jesus, Jesus, my Life, do not die!”
But I already hear the clamor of your enemies, who are coming to take You. Who will defend You in your state?
Roused, He seems to rise from death to life. He looks at me and says:
“Child, are you here? Have you not been a witness of my pains and of the many deaths I suffered? Then know, O daughter, that in these three hours of most bitter agony, I have enclosed in Myself all the lives of creatures and have suffered all their pains and their very deaths, giving to each one my own Life. My agonies will sustain theirs; for their sake, my suffering and death will change into a fountain of sweetness and of life. How much souls cost Me! Were I at least requited! You have seen that while I was dying, I would return to breathe again: those were the deaths of the creatures that I felt within Me!”
My panting Jesus, since You also wanted to enclose my life in You, and therefore also my death, I pray You, for this most bitter agony of yours, to come to my assistance at the moment of my death. I have given You my heart as refuge and rest, my arms to sustain You, and all of my being at your disposal; and — oh, how gladly I would give myself into the hands of your enemies, to die in your place!
Come, O life of my heart, at that moment, to return to me all I have given You: your company, your Heart as bed and rest, your arms as support, your labored breath to alleviate my labors; in such a way that, in breathing, I will breathe through your breath which, like purifying air, will purify me of any stain, and will dispose me to enter the eternal beatitude.
Even more, my sweet Jesus, then You will give your very Most Holy Humanity to my soul, so that, in looking at me, You may see me through Yourself; and in looking at Yourself, You may find nothing for which to judge me. Then You will bathe me in your Blood; You will clothe me with the candid garment of your Most Holy Will; You will adorn me with your Love, and giving me the last kiss, You will let me take flight from earth unto Heaven.
And now I pray you to do for all the dying, what I have asked for myself. Hug them all in your embrace of love. And giving them the kiss of union with yourself, save them all and do not permit anyone to be lost.
My saddened, good Jesus, I offer you this hour in memory of your passion and death, to disarm the just wrath of God for so many sins, to obtain the conversion of all sinners, for peace among peoples, for our sanctification, and in suffrage for the souls of purgatory.
Now I see that your enemies are approaching, and you want to leave me to go meet them. Jesus, permit me to impress a kiss on your lips, which Judas will dare to kiss with his infernal kiss. Let me wipe your face, bathed in blood, which is about to be struck repeatedly and covered with spit. Press me close to your heart, and never permit me to be separated from you. I will follow you. Bless me.
Reflections and Practices.
In this third hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked for help from heaven, and his pains were so numerous that he even asked for comfort from his disciples. Now, do I always ask for help from heaven in any circumstance, pain or misfortune? And if I turn to creatures as well, do I do so in an orderly way, going to those who can piously comfort me? Am I at least resigned if I don’t receive those comforts I was hoping for, making use of the indifference of creatures to abandon myself even more in Jesus’ arms?
Jesus was comforted by an angel. Now, can I say that I am Jesus’ angel, by being near him to comfort him and take part in his bitternesses? In order to be able to be a true angel to Jesus, I must receive my pains as pains sent to me by him, and so, as divine pains. Only then can I dare to comfort a God so embittered. Otherwise, if I take pains in a human way, I cannot use them to comfort this Man-God, and therefore I cannot be His angel.
In the sufferings that Jesus sends me, it seems like he sends me the chalice too, into which I must pour the fruit of these sufferings. And these pains, suffered with love and resignation, will be transformed into the sweetest nectar for Jesus. And I will go to my suffering Jesus and offer the chalice that He sent me, and my sorrows now turned into sweetness. Like an Angel, I will bring it to his lips that He may drink it, to comfort Him and soothe Him. In every sorrow I will then say to myself, “Jesus is calling me to be an Angel close to Him. He wants my comfort and, for this reason, He makes me share in his sorrows.
Jesus, my Love, in my suffering, I search for your Heart to rest, and in your suffering I wish to make reparation with mine. In this exchange, may I be your Angel of consolation.
(Personal Offering and Thanksgiving)
Thanksgiving Prayer after each hour of Agony in the Garden
O my sweetest Lord, I thank you for being pleased to have me in your company at least for an hour during your tremendous agony in the garden. Oh, my good Jesus, how little comfort did you find in me. Yet, your infinite love and the overflowing charity of your merciful heart make you find relief even in the least act of compassion that the creature shows you. I will never forget the sight of your adorable person trembling, struck down, crushed, humiliated in the dust, and all covered with the blood you sweat, in the dark horror of Gethsemane! O Jesus, I have experienced that to be with you in your sufferings, to feel even one drop of the distressing bitterness of your divine heart is the greatest fortune which anyone can have on earth.
O Jesus, make me be captured with you, and dragged to the courts with you. Let me share in the abuses, the insults, the spit and the slaps your enemies are going to cover you with. Take me with you from Pilate to Herod and back to Pilate again. Tie me to the column with you, and let me feel a part of your scourgings. Jesus, pierce me with some of your thorns. Let me be condemned to death by crucifixion with you: you, as victim of love for me, and I as victim of atonement for my sins.
Give me the portion of the Cyrenian, to follow you to Calvary; and there, let me be nailed to the cross with you, and then agonize and die with you.
O sorrowful mother, you have given me help to sympathize with agonizing Jesus in the garden. Help me now to be crucified with you on the same cross of Jesus, and to know how to offer him the most worthy reparations with the same merits of his passion and death on the cross. Amen.
Thanksgiving after each hour
My Beloved Jesus, You have called me to this Hour of your Passion to keep You company—and I have come. I seem to have heard you, anguished and sorrowful, praying, making reparation and suffering. With the most loving, eloquent voices you were pleading for the salvation of souls. I tried to follow You in everything. Now, I owe You my heartfelt “Thank You” and “I bless You.”
Yes, O Jesus, I repeat my “Thank You” thousands and thousands of times. I bless You for all that You have done and suffered for me and for everyone. I thank You and I bless You for every drop of Blood You shed. I thank You for every breath, for every heartbeat, and for every step. I thank You for every word, glance, affliction, and outrage that You had to endure. In everything, O my Jesus, I intend to give You my “Thank You” and “I bless You.” O my Jesus, let my soul send forth a continuous flow of thanksgiving and blessings to You—to draw down upon all of us the abundant flow of your blessings and graces. Please, O Jesus, press me to your Heart, and with your most holy hands seal every particle of my being with your “I bless you”, so that nothing other than a continuous hymn to You may come from me.
So I leave my being within Yours, to follow you in all you do; better still, you will be so alive in me that I will leave my thoughts in you to defend you from your enemies, my breaths as a faithful companion, my heartbeat to recall my “I love you,” and to give you the love that the others refuse to give you; I will give you the drops of my blood to atone and make up the honor and regard that your enemies deny you with their insults and offenses. I will leave my entire being as a guard.
My dear love, while I must go about my duties, I will remain in your heart. I am afraid to leave It. Is it not true that You will keep me here? Our heartbeats will continually touch so that You will give me life, love, and close and inseparable union with You.
Jesus, if You see that I am about to run from You at times, let your heartbeat hasten in mine. Let your hands press me closer to your Heart; let your eyes look at me and pierce me with rays of fire so that I may feel your presence and immediately return to union with You.
O my Jesus, be on guard so that I may not exhaust You. I beg You to watch over me. O give me a kiss, embrace me, and bless me! Give me your most holy hands so that I can do all that I must do united with You! My Jesus, give me the kiss of Divine Love, embrace me and bless me; I will kiss your intoxicating Heart, and take my rest in You.