"Meditation Explained" and "The Agony in the Garden"
#1
I copied this directly from the book, so I apologize for any typos. If you catch any, please let me know so that I can correct them.

From Meditations and Reflections by the Daughters of Mary:



Meditation Steps Explained

Before beginning the actual meditation, there are some preparatory steps which help with recollection.

Place yourself In The Presence Of God:
     Think for just a few moments about the fact that God is everywhere. Not only does He see me now, but He is with me now, right here beside me.

Offer To God All Your Faculties:
     My Lord, I give to Thee my intellect, my will, all my senses. All I have is from Thee and belongs to Thee.

Meditation:
     Remember meditation is according to St. Francis de Sales, "the prayer of the heart."
     St. Teresa of Avila tells us, "For mental prayer, in my opinion, is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him Whom we know love us."
     A formal meditation, an outline, is not meant to be a burden but a help. Use the whole meditation or the parts that assist you.

Beginning:

I. Preparatory Prayer:
     Come Holy Ghost or Hail Mary or a prayer of your choice may be said to invoke assistance.

II. Prelude:
a) Composition of Place:
     Briefly set the scene. Picture with the imagination the mystery upon which you wish to meditate.

b) Ask:
     Request a particular grace that you wish to draw from this meditation. It can be a virtue that you are working on or that you know you especially need.

Middle:

     A meditation may have more than one point. The points are a breakdown of the topic upon which one is going to meditate. Division of points can be done by place, time or people.

A. Memory: (Imagination)
     This is a very important part of the meditation. The imagination must be used, or it easily wanders and leads us to dwell upon distractions rather than upon God. We use the imagination (or memory) to create a picture, to tell the story. It should be developed and used right at the beginning. Continue to develop it throughout the entire meditation.

B. Understanding:
     The imagination naturally moves the understanding. "Seeing" naturally prompts one to ask: Why? How come? Why is this happening? For what reason? What does this tell me? In the midst of asking and pondering, do not cease to use the imagination. Keep the "picture" in mind as you ponder and ask questions.

C. Will:
     The intellect naturally moves the will to respond. The imagination sees, the intellect ponders this, then the will is moved. What should we do? What can we do? What should I do? Again keep the "picture" in mind as you form your resolutions.

End:

Colloquy:
     This is a familiar, reverent conversation with God or the Blessed Mother or a saint. Speak in the first person, "I . . ." Use your own words. It is good to keep an image in mind as you address your words.

Resolution:
     Often the resolution is a part of the colloquy. It generally flows naturally from the familiar conversation with Our Lord. Go from the general resolution to the specific one. Be sure to be very specific, even to the point of including time, place and circumstances of carrying out your resolution.

Prayer:
     Say a Hail Mary or an Our Father or a prayer of your choice.

Spiritual Bouquet:
     This is a flower which you take from your garden of prayer. Its fragrance is to remind you of your resolution and thus assist you to carry out your resolutions. The spiritual bouquet can be an image from your meditation. It can be some reflection, some words from your meditation, or it can be a simple ejaculation.



A sample meditation from Meditations and Reflections:

Place yourself In The Presence Of God:
     Think for just a few moments about the fact that God is everywhere. Not only does He see me now, but He is with me now, right here beside me.

Offer To God All Your Faculties:
     My Lord, I give to Thee my intellect, my will, all my senses. All I have is from Thee and belongs to Thee.

Meditation:

I. Preparatory Prayer:
Come Holy Ghost or Hail Mary or a prayer of your choice may be said to invoke assistance.

II. Prelude:
a) Composition of Place:
     Briefly set the scene. A very large garden; enclosed on four sides by a high wall made of field stone. It is located in the Cedron Valley which runs North and South alone the East side of Jerusalem. The East is Mount Olivet, to the West is Jerusalem. The garden is across the brook of Cedron. The garden is somewhat of an irregularly shaped rectangle. Each wall is about 195 feet long. The garden opens to the South by a large gate. It contains many kinds of fruit trees but the olive tree dominates. In the garden is a building with an oil press to make olive oil. Gethsemani means "oil press." It is about a mile's walk from the Cenacle. There is a full moon and we imagine the night to be clear. It is after midnight. The garden is one of the holiest spots on earth. It is the place of Our Lord's agony.

b. Ask:
     Ask God to give you a new heart that you may compassionate your Jesus, Who is crushed by your sins and our ingratitude, so that from His Sacred Body there oozes forth the life giving oil which is His Precious Blood.

Middle:

A. Memory: (Imagination)
     What do I see? Imagine yourself in the Garden of Gethsemani. You are standing some distance from the gate but facing it. If you turn to your right and look up you can see the wall of Jerusalem and the Temple. The moon is full and bright. There is the noise of the movement of a group of men approaching the garden. You step back to your right and hide yourself in a grove of fruit trees. You will observe what transpires.
     A crowd of men arrives. There are twelve. It is Our Lord and the eleven Apostles. The mood is subdued. The face of Our Lord is sad. They have come from the Last Supper. After leaving the cenacle, they walked East along the wall of the city, down the side of the mountain on which Jerusalem is built, along the West side of the Brook of Cedron and across the bridge.
     Jesus is in front; Peter, James and John are at His side. The rest are somewhat behind Him. He enters the garden--stops--and turns. The eight having caught up, He says to them:
     "Sit you here . . ."
     As he speaks, He raises His arm--and turns and points to a huge rock in the distance inside the garden. He continues: ". . . till I go yonder and pray."
     He takes Peter, James and John with Him as the others find places to sit and wait. They walk in the direction of the huge rock. He stops about a hundred feet from it. He is silent for a moment. A flood of fear, sorrow and weariness invades His soul with extreme violence. He seems so grief stricken as to be almost paralyzed as was Jacob under the mysterious hand of the angel. "My soul," He says, with terrible sadness, "is sorrowful," He pauses a split second as if listening to a question, "even unto death."
     He turns to Peter, James and John. His face is already transfigured by sadness. Peter does not say, "it is good for us to be here." They are sad with a great sadness. "Stay you here, and watch with me." He goes to the rock. There is a kind of grotto. They can still see and hear Him. Jesus falls on His knees engulfed in the gathering storm of agony. He has before Him every detail of His Passion and death: the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross and His crucifixion. He sees perfectly the executioner holding the nail in his left hand and placing its sharp tip in the first fold of His wriest. [The executioner] raises the hammer and smashes it against the head of the nail. It is driven through the hand and pierces a great nerve center. The pain races like a bold lightning down His fingers, up His arm and explodes in His brain.
     He sees Himself stretch out the other hand. Every detail is before Him. He contemplates His Virgin Mother beneath the cross witnessing all His torments.
     He is overwhelmed with fear. To this fear is added the weight of the world's sins. He conceives in His Sacred Heart an infinite sorrow for our sins as if they were His. Yet, so many millions for whom He now suffers will be lost. To this is added the greatest of all his sufferings: the ingratitude of men. And not just of the wicket, but even the good will be ungrateful. How few will make a return of love. So great is the agony and so sensitive His Sacred Humanity that His body seems unable to continue in so great a torment. He falls flat on the ground--upon His face. He prays "with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to Him that was able to save Him from death." (Heb. 5:7)
     He raises Himself up on His knees and extends His arms heavenward. His human nature groans: "My Father, all things are possible to Thee; remove this chalice from me." He adds, "but not what I will, but what Thou wilt." He is covered with a profuse sweat. The beads of sweat are changing color. The streams are turning red like the water of the Nile before the Passover. The fear and the physical weakness brought on by the agony are causing the blood vessels to rupture so that His blood now mingles with His sweat. His whole body is covered with this bloody sweat. There is so much blood that it begins to coagulate. As it does, it forms large clots which fall to the ground. This hemorrhaging dramatically lowers His resistance. The whole surface of His body is tender and painful. His natural capacity to endure the wounds of His Passion is diminished. With a great desolation He is laid low.
     He rises from His knees, turns and goes to the place where He left Peter, James and John. They are asleep but His approach rouses them. Peter, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, looks up into the blood-covered face of Christ, His garments soaked and stained red. With a great shame, Peter lowers his eyes as Our Lord says: "Simon,--sleepest thou?" Peter [makes] no answer. Jesus turns to James and John who are now awake: "Could you not watch one hour with Me?" Are there tears in the eyes of the Beloved Apostle who a short while ago rested his head on the breast of Jesus? "They knew not what to answer Him." Jesus admonishes them gently but firmly: "Watch ye and pray,--that ye enter now into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
     Jesus turns from them. He withdraws to pray. On His knees He is plunged again into agony. "My Father,--if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done." His second request is softened. It is less direct. He readies Himself for the inevitable. His agony seems even worse this time than before.
     After a time, He gets up and goes again to Peter, James and John. Again they are asleep. He does not wake them but returns to His place of agony and repeats His prayer in the second form. He groans. "Being in an agony, He prayed earnestly." Will the agony cause His death? Without a miracle can His Sacred Humanity continue to endure this? Might He die before even the cross is laid upon His shoulder? His strength oozes from Him with His blood. He is surely close to death. That He might continue to suffer and that He might suffer still more, His Father sends an Angel to strengthen Him. It is the beloved Angel of the Agony. "And there appeared to Him an angel, strengthening Him."
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     With a gentle resignation and invincible courage, He rises for the last time. He goes to Peter, James and john, [who are] still asleep. With a gentleness of a father looking on his sons at night, He bids them sleep on: "Sleep ye now," He says, "and take your rest." And as if to give the reason they will need their strength, He adds, "Behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners."
     In silence His "little children" and intimate friends sleep on. He stands guard over them. One day they will glorify Him witih a great glory.
     After a time, the mob comes. He awakens the sleeping Apostles: "Arise up," He says, "let us God. Behold he that will betray Me is at hand and the Son of Many shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners."
     They get up. Rubbing the sleep from their eyes, they awaken the others and are pretty much together as Judas enters the Garden. The moon is bright and the sky is clear. But still amid the trees there are many dark spots in the Garden to hide, so they have come with torches and lanterns to search if necessary.
     With Judas are the Temple police, the servants of the Sanhedrin and a rather large contingent of Roman soldiers. The Temple police carry clubs and servants of the Sanhedrin [carry] short swords. The Roman soldiers are armed with their usual weapons. Judas has given them a sign: "Whomsoever I shall kiss," he told them, "that is He; lay hold on Him, and lead Him away carefully."
     With an evil boldness, Judas walks straight up to Christ. He motions towards Him with out-stretched arms. Jesus leans forward extending his own arms, and Judas kisses Him: "Hail, Rabbi." With great kindness and grace, Jesus speaks as if calling Judas away from the edge of the abyss of Hell which he is soon to plunge into: "Friend, whereto art thou come?" [The word "friend" means more than friend. It means a "comrade." Originally this word refers to one who shared the same room or soldier's tent; a mate, companion, associate.]
     Looking straight into his eyes, Jesus says: "Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"
Judas cannot look at Christ. He makes no answer but leaves Him and jons the mob: "And Judas also, who betrayed Him, stood with them." Our Lord moves toward them: "Whom seek ye?" "Jesus of Nazareth." "I am He."
     These words from the mouth of God drive back the mob: "They went backward, and fell to the ground." Again Our Lord speaks: "Whom seek ye?" Getting up from the ground and recovering from their fright, they say again: "Jesus of Nazareth." "I have told you that I am He. If therefore you seek Me, let these go their way." The police and the attendants approach and seize Him. As they do, the Apostles move into action. They are ready to fight to the death: "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" Without waiting [for] His reply, Peter, wielding his sword, rushes forth to protect Christ. Swinging wildly, he strikes the servant of the High Priest wounding his right ear. His name is Malchus. "That is enough," meaning: "Peter, stop this!" "Put up again they sword into its place. For all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me presently more than twelve legions of angels?" [A legion: 6,000-10,000]
     "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done? The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?"
     Jesus is saying: "Would you, Peter, again try to deprive me of My throne which is the cross? Would you prevent the salvation of the race to avoid suffering and death? How shall I draw all things My Sacred Heart if It is not opened on Calvary?  How shall I reach the cold hearts of men? Would you deprive Me of My saints by depriving them of the crucifix? Would you deprive Me of your own glorious death as testimony of your love for Me?"
     Jesus turns to the mob to surrender Himself. But He does not fail to rebuke their unspeakable wickedness and their unjust methods and hateful dispositions. Looking them straight in the face, he speaks: "You are come out as it were to a robber with swords and clubs to apprehend Me. I sat daily with you teaching in the Temple, and you laid not hands on Me. All this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. But this is your hour and power of darkness." The Apostles, seeing this, forget about Our Lord. They are filled with dread at what will happen to them since they cannot fight their way. They all flee. The Shepherd is struck and the sheep are scattered.
     They bind Jesus as if He were a common criminal--a thief or a murderer--and they lead Him away.
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B. Understanding:
     What does this tell me? Three things brought on the terrible agony: fear in the face of the terrible death He was to undergo, sorrow for sin, and crushing heaviness of heart caused by the indifference of men and especially by the indifference of those souls who would be members of His Mystical Body on earth.
     Think about these three things in going over the events of Gethsemani. Place yourself in the picture as you go over the events. Ask: Why did this happen? What made Him suffer so much? What is my part in this? What will I do? Will I sleep and run or will I stand by Him in Gethsemani and even unto Calvary?

C. Will:
     What should I do? My sins and my indifference have caused Jesus to suffer so much. If I could but grasp the malice of sin, I would not sin. Though I am weak, I do love and desire to love more and more this suffering Saviour. Yet I have caused His torment. Am I ready to die for Him? Am I ready to live for Him? Am I ready to persevere in praying for the grace to love Him? I desire, O Jesus, to watch with Thee and to console Thee. And how may I give Him some little consolation? It is not by fleeing from sin and all occasions of sin? It is not by own pursuit after holiness? "This is the will of God: your sanctification." Are not these Thy words? How important it is in these difficult days in which I live, that I strive for holiness. For if I do not strive to keep my will united to Thine, I may lose the graces that i so need in order not to fall away from my Faith. Yet, I know good intentions are not enough. But I am so weak and I so quickly turn from my resolutions. If I persevere in asking Thee for the grace to love Thee, I will infallibly receive it. Thou hast given me so many graces already. How amazing that I still have the Faith. Please, my Jesus, may I never abandon Thee. Peter, James and John, help me now to console my Jesus. I feel in me the weakness thou didst feel. But mine is greater. If you ask for me the grace to persevere in loving my Saviour, surely it will be given! Mother of Sorrows, help me to compassionate Jesus.

End:

Colloquy:
     O my suffering Jesus, I see myself beside Thee. Thou leanest upon a big rock. They face is covered with blood. My Jesus, what has happened to Thee? Why dost Thou groan so? O my Jesus, forgive me my sins and my indifference. How can I act as if sin is nothing or only the breaking of a law? How can I not listen to God's word which says: "Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me?" (Ecclus. 5:4)  The harm is done to Thee, O Jesus. This is the harm of sin, the way I behold Thee before me.

Resolution:
     Forgive me, my Jesus. Not only do I despise sin, but I long to ease the torment of Thy Sacred Heart. I give Thee my heart. Change it for me. Make it like unto Thine: meek and humble. As a token of my desire to love Thee more, I shall strive to accept with docile resignation, and even with joy, each little cross that Thou wilt allow to come my way. Most especially when__________, I shall__________.

     Give me the strength to carry out this resolution. When I falter, please help me to try again and persevere. Though I may see my extreme weakness, my strength is in Thee.

Prayer:
     Say a Hail Mary or an Our Father or a prayer of your choice.

Spiritual Bouquet:
     I will take with me a spiritual bouquet, a little reminder to help me keep my resolution.

     When __this happens__ at __this time__ I will remember the image of my Jesus leaning upon the rock all covered with blood and myself beside Him striving to console Him.

     When __this happens__ at __this time__ I will repeat to myself these words from my meditations: "I long to ease the torment of Thy Sacred Heart."
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#2
INPEFESS, I appreciate your taking the time to copy this excerpt for us.

May God reward your charity and thoughtfulness.


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#3
It appears to be a wonderful book of meditative material. Very edifying, indeed.
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#4
I wish I could meditate.  :(  My mind's always going at a million miles an hour, and I can never hold one thought for long enough to
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#5
(10-26-2010, 10:43 PM)paragon Wrote: I wish I could meditate.  :(  My mind's always going at a million miles an hour, and I can never hold one thought for long enough to

We bear the same cross.

Take heart, though. It can be done so long as you are patient, resigned to His holy will, and not anxious.

You might consider this book to help you. I have a very difficult time focusing my thoughts on anything and this method (the method of S. Francis de Sales and S. Teresa of Avila) has helped me tremendously.

+May God be with you.+
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#6
Thanks, I'll give it a try, although I have ADHD so I doubt I'll ever be good at it.  Sometimes I can't even kneel when I pray - I have to be walking around.  Being able to meditate at all would be great, though.

Quote:+May God be with you.+

Et cum spiritu tuo!  :)
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#7
(10-26-2010, 11:37 PM)paragon Wrote: Thanks, I'll give it a try, although I have ADHD so I doubt I'll ever be good at it.

Me neither. I have an attention deficit disorder as well and have a very difficult time focusing or collecting my thoughts. Even then, I can only focus them for a few moments before they scatter once again. It is a burdensome cross. But then again, which cross isn't?

Quote:Sometimes I can't even kneel when I pray - I have to be walking around.

Same here. I am constantly moving and the moment I stop moving, an incredible amount of internal tension begins to rise until I am exploding with energy and stress. These are the most difficult times to meditate. I often walk around while I say my rosary.

However, the first step is having a sincere desire to meditate. The rest is simply perseverance and resignation to God's will. 
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#8
(10-26-2010, 06:29 PM)DeVille Wrote: INPEFESS, I appreciate your taking the time to copy this excerpt for us.

May God reward your charity and thoughtfulness.

Thank you. May He be as generous with His grace to you as He has been to me.
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#9
It sounds like your concentration is at least as bad as mine.  :(  I'll pray for you - not that I'll be concentrating when I do it, but I'll do it anyway!  And thanks for the good advice!
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#10
(10-27-2010, 02:31 AM)paragon Wrote: It sounds like your concentration is at least as bad as mine.  :(  I'll pray for you - not that I'll be concentrating when I do it, but I'll do it anyway!  And thanks for the good advice!

Thank you. May God bless you for your charity.
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