“The Garden of Olives was separated by a road from that of Gethsemani and was higher up the mountain. It was open, being surrounded by only a rampart of earth.”
It was about nine o’clock when Jesus reached Gethsemani with the disciples. Darkness had fallen upon the earth, but the moon was lighting up the sky. Jesus was very sad. He announced to the Apostles the approach of danger, and they became uneasy. Jesus bade eight of them to remain in the Garden of Gethsemani, where there was a kind of summerhouse built of branches and foliage.
‘” Remain here, while I go to My own place to pray.’ ” He said,
He took Peter, John, and James the Greater with Him, crossed the road and went on for a few minutes, until he reached the Garden of Olives farther up the mountain.
John asked him, who had always consoled them, how could he be so dejected. ‘ “My soul is sorrowful even unto death” He glanced around and on all sides saw anguish and temptation gathering about Him like dense clouds filled with frightful pictures. It was at that moment He said to the three Apostles: “Remain here and watch with Me. Pray lest ye enter into temptaton!”
He turned to the left from the Apostles and plunged down into a grotto formed by an overhanging rock. The Apostles remained in a hollow to the right above.
When Jesus left the Apostles, I saw a great number of frightful figures surrounding Him in an ever narrowing circle. His sorrow and anguish increased. He prayed. I saw the awful visions following Him into the grotto, and becoming ever more and more distinct. Ah! it was as if that narrow cave encompassed the horrible, the agonizing vision of all the sins, with their delights and their punishments, committed from the Fall of our first parents till the end of the world.
It was here on Mount Olivet that Adam and Eve, driven from Paradise, had first descended upon the inhospitable earth, and in that very grotto had they in fear and alarm bewailed their misery.
Jesus fell on His face, calling upon God in unspeakable sorrow and anguish. He saw in countless forms all the sins of the world with their innate hideousness.
From that point in the heavens in which the sun appears between ten and eleven in the morning, a narrow path of light streamed toward Jesus, and on it I saw a file of angels coming down to Him. They imparted to Him fresh strength and vigor.
The rest of the grotto was filled with the frightful and horrible visions of sin, and with the evil spirits mocking and tempting. From the cloud of temptations that encircled Jesus, I saw a stream flow toward myself, and in it were shown me, to my great consternation, all my defects of omission and commision. I struggled and prayed with Him, and with Him I turned to the consoling angels,
I saw the grotto around Him filled with frightful figures. I saw the sins, the wickedness, the vices, the torments, the ingratitude of men torturing and crushing Him, and the horror of death and the terror that he was to experience.
He prayed imploringly: ”” Abba, Father, if it be be possible, remove this chalice from Me! My Father, all things are possible to Thee. Take this chalice from Me!!”‘ Then recovering Himself, He added: “But not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”
I saw pressing around Him and assailing Him under the form of the most hideous specters. Wringing His hands, He swayed from side to side, and the sweat of agony covered Him. He trembled and shuddered. He arose, but His trembling knees could scarcely support Him. His countenance was quite disfigured and almost unrecognizable. His lips were white, and His hair stood on end.
It was about half past ten o’clock when He staggered to His feet and, bathed in sweat and often falling, tottered rather than walked to where the three disciples were awaiting Him. He ascended to the left of the grotto and up to a terrace upon which they were resting near one another. Exhausted with fatigue, sorrow, and anxiety under temptation, they had fallen asleep. Jesus went to them like a man overwhelmed with sorrow whom terror drives to the company of friends, and also like a faithful shepherdwho, though himself trembling to the utmost, looks after his herd which he knows to be in danger.
When He found the Apostles sleeping, He clasped His hands and, sinking down by them from grief and exhaustion, He said: “Simon, sleepest thou?” At these words, they awoke and raised Him up. He said:
“What! Could ye not watch one hour with Me?”
The Apostles were at a loss what to think. He who had always appeared surrounded by the light so well known to them … they would not have recognized Him as Jesus. John said to Him: “Master! What has befallen Thee? Shall I call the other disciples? Shall we take to flight? Jesus answered: “Were I to live, teach and work miracles for thirty three years longer, it would not suffice for the accomplishment of what I have to fulfill before this time tomorrow. Do not call the Eight! I have left them where they are, because they could not see Me in this suffering state without being scandalized at Me. They would fall into temptation, forget many things that I have said to them, and lose confidence in Me.
But you who have seen the Son of Man transfigured, may also see Him in this hour of darkness and complete dereliction of soul; nevertheless watch and pray, lest ye fall into temptation, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
When Jesus went back into the grotto He cast Himself face downward on the ground, His arms extended, and prayed to His Heavenly Father. And now began for His soul a new struggle, which lasted three quarters of an hour.
Angels came and showed Him in a long series of visions and in all its’ extent what He would have to endure for the atonement of sin.
They showed the beauty and excellence of man, the image of God, before the Fall, along with his deformity and corruption after the Fall.
They showed how every sin originates from that first sin; they pointed out the essence and signification of concupiscence, its terrible effects upon the powers of the soul, as well as upon the physical well-being of man; also the essence and signification of all the sufferings entailed as chastisements by that same lusting after pleasure.
All these tortures and afflictions which Jesus perceived interiorly
Before the soul of the Lord there passed in review all the future suffering , and the sight filled Him with such horror that a bloody sweat started from the pores of His sacred Body.
He saw the future sufferings of His Apostles, disciples, and friends, and the small number of the primitive Church. As her numbers increased, He saw heresies and schisms entering her fold, and the sin of Adam repeated by pride and disobedience in all forms of vanity. The tepidity, the malice, the wickedness of innumerable Christians; the manifold lies.
He saw the deceptive subtlety of all proud teachers; the sacrilegious crimes of all wicked priests with their frightful consequences, the abomination of desolation in the Kingdom of God upon earth.
The scandals of the ages down to our own day and evento the end of the world, I saw pass before Jesus’ soul in an immense succession of visions.
I saw all forms of error, proud fallacies, mad fanaticism,
false prophecies, obstinate heresies, all kinds of wickedness. The apostates, the self righteous,
the teachers of error,
and the pretended reformers.
They tore and divided the seamless robe of the Church.
Jesus saw them abandoning His wounded Bride like cowardly, faithless children who forsake their mother in the dead of night at the approach of the thieves and murderers to whom they themselves had opened the door.
They built upon the sand perishable huts of all kinds, without altar or sacrifice, the roofs surmounted by weathercocks, according to which their doctrines were ever changing; consequently they were ever in opposition to one another.
The sweat poured from Him in a stream of heavy drops of blood to the ground.
At that moment, the moon and the stars appeared suddenly to draw nearer to the earth, and I felt in that same moment that the night became brighter. I noticed on the moon what I had not seen before. It looked quite different.
It appeared to be much larger. In its’ center, I saw a dark spot. It looked like a flat disc lying before it.
In the center of this disc, there appeared to be an opening through which streamed light to the moon not yet full. The dark spot was like a mountain, and all around the moon was a circle of light of beautiful colors.
Jesus said that He was going to die. In another hour, His enemies would seize Him, drag Him before the courts of justice, abuse Him, deride Him, scourge Him, and put Him to death in the most horrible manner. He begged them to console His Mother. The Apostles kept silence, not knowing what to reply. They were so filled with grief and consternation at His words and appearance that they know not what to say.
It was quarter past eleven. I saw the Blessed Virgin overwhelmed with sorrow and anguish in the house of Mary Marcus. She was with Magdalene and Mary Marcus in a garden adjoining the house. She had sunk on her knees on a stone slab.
She felt only the sufferings of her Divine Son.
Again I saw Jesus praying. And now the abyss opened before Him and, as if on a pathway of light, He saw a long flight of steps leading down to Limbo. There He beheld Adam and Eve, all the Patriarchs and Prophets, the just of the Old Law, His Mother’s parents, and John the Baptist. They were filled with longing so intense … awaiting His coming into that nether world … that at the sight of them His loving Heart grew strong and courageous.
His death was to open Heaven to these languishing captives! He was to deliver them from prison! It was for Him they were sighing!
The angels then pointed out to Him the multitudes of future saints who, joining their labors to the merits of His Passion, would through Him be united to the Heavenly Father. All passed before the Lord … all adorned with their sufferings and good works. Then did He behold the hidden and inexhaustible streams of salvation and sanctification that were to spring from the death that awaited Him as Redeemer of mankind.
The angels and the visions disappeared, and the bloody sweat poured from Him more copiously than before.
I saw it soaking His yellowish garment and moistening the earth around.
It was now dark in the grotto …