12 September 2016

‘Watch and pray’: the disciples’ experience at Gethsemane

The ‘Memory of Gethsemane’s Mystery’ turns 3. This Prayer offers the religious, the pilgrims and the local Christians a time for prayer and vigil before the Eucharistic Christ.

Christians in the Holy Land

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The Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. In the Basilica of the Agony, they have the opportunity to be in the place where Jesus suffered extreme anguish.

But in addition to visit this holy place and recall the night of Holy Thursday, pilgrims have the opportunity to experience prayer, the same to which the disciples were invited by Jesus:

Before Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, silence becomes prayer.

And the Gospel message is remembered through readings and singing.

In this place, Jesus reprimanded the apostles who were unable to watch and while He was sweating blood, he taught everyone that in prayer, you must obey God.

Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"After all, this is the ‘secret’ of this ‘hour’... We too are called to adjust our will to that of the Father. Sometimes this is not easy to do, but it is the most important thing we can do, because if we instead want God to attune to the wavelength of our will, our will is very poor, very weak."

Prayer continues outside the church, around the Garden of Gethsemane.

The faithful carry the Blessed Sacrament in procession with candles and torches, in an atmosphere reminiscent of what happened in that place.

SONIA VERVISKA
Polish pilgrim
"I have never participated in a celebration like this. It was amazing to follow the torchlight procession around the Church. The atmosphere was magnificent, too.”

The so-called ‘Memory of Gethsemane’s Mystery’ turns 3 in September and it offers an experience that takes you back thousands of years.

Br. BENITO JOSÉ CHOQUE, ofm
Guardian - Basilica of the Agony
"It is truly beautiful, because the Lord, as He did two thousand years ago, walks again through the Garden of Olives. It is the Lord, in His real presence in the Eucharist: body, soul and divinity that are present even now, among us."

The groups of pilgrims who wish to take part in liturgical celebrations, both at Gethsemane and in other Franciscan sanctuaries of the Holy Land are invited to visit the Christian Information Center website for information.