Maundy Thursday: Vigil Option 1

Staying with Me

Picture 1: Agony in the Garden [2]

Set-up.
Light a candle at your prayer space and sit by it. Prepare some pen, paper, and some art materials. Have Picture 1 available for yourself.

Opening Prayer.
Allow yourself to sit in the silence. Then invite the Holy Spirit with “Come, Holy Spirit,” and ask for the grace to wait on the Lord. Open with a prayer. 


Reading I.
Read the passage slowly from Matthew 26:36-46 in Annex C. Try to picture yourself in the scene. Pay attention to the words in red; these are the words of Jesus. Note that there are moments where you’ll be asked to pause and reflect. This pause will give you time for the words to sink in. 

Reflection I.
Return to Picture 1. Jesus’ face is deliberately hidden from our view. We would normally expect Him to be looking upwards to His heavenly Father. Instead He is bent over with his face buried in His arms. Notice how tight His hands are clasped; the veins on His hands are clearly visible. Consider:

What do you think Jesus is feeling? Can you imagine the look on His face? 


Reading II.
Once again, read the passage slowly from Matthew 26:36-46 in Annex C. Try to picture yourself in the scene with Picture 1 in mind. Pay attention to the words in red; these are the words of Jesus.

Reflection II.
Return to Picture 1. Imagine yourself as one of the disciples. You are exhausted. You have wept so much after hearing that Jesus is going to be betrayed that you have fallen into a deep sleep. But He is still waiting for you in the garden. In some ways, we’re no different. Things seem dire. Jesus tells us to wait for Him. But we grow tired and instead fall into despair. So, we hide our face from God. Consider:

When have I been in this situation? Can I still believe in the Hope He has for me? If not, what are my struggles in believing this? 


Reading III.
Read only Matthew 26:39.

And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 

We may often hear repeatedly that in times of despair we should simply turn to God. But what if we just don’t want to? Or what if we think our despair is just too great for God? Look at Picture 1. Jesus knows. He knows what it’s like to feel alone; to feel despair; to feel betrayed; to feel abandoned. Even His closest companions who have walked with him for 3 years have fallen asleep. Yet, He offers His fears back to His Father. What about you?

Where have you placed your fears? Have you stayed awake? Do you believe even when you cannot believe?


Prayer Writing.
After consolidating your reflection, write a prayer for this Triduum. A prayer is a conversation with God. So, be free to speak with Him from your heart. 

In your prayer, share with Him your pain. It could be the pain of being far away from Him. It could be the pain of uncertainty of the future. I only ask that you be honest. 

Finally, ask for one grace you desire in this Triduum. It may be a grace to stay awake. Or it may just be a grace to listen to God in the silence.

After you have written your prayer, fold it and place it at the foot of the cross at your prayer space. This symbolises uniting your pain with His as He waits in the silence of the night.


(Optional)
Completing the Scene.
For the artist, you may also do a drawing of where you are in Picture 1. Are you close to Jesus? Or are you asleep? Or are you on your way to betray him? The drawing will help visualise your relationship with Jesus and accompany your prayer. Be as imaginative and creative as possible.

Share your artwork on social media with the hashtag #HOmeLYWeek


Thanksgiving & Closing Prayer.
After you have completed the activity, thank God for this time of prayer. 

Holy Week