Which Apostle am I?
I am another follower of Christ who sleeps at Gethsemane. I leave my post time and again through human weakness, laziness and despair. I am St. Peter, who denies Christ in both my words and my actions. I am St. Thomas, who will not believe until I see.
I am another apostle of Christ, a weak human being, but I am an apostle who is called to become a saint, because I am called through grace to arise and enter into the passion and the victory of Jesus.
I leave my post in Gethsemane when I fail to have recourse to the Father through daily prayer. Christ rebukes me and says, “Rise and pray, that you may not enter into temptation.”
When I permit myself the luxury of becoming lazy in my prayer life, I give the devil free reign to tempt me with his subtle powers. I am strengthened to fight against temptation when I live daily life in constant contact and relationship with God. Christ asks me specifically, in my state of life, to watch with Him.
Will I deny Him this consolation during His time of greatest sorrow? Or will I remain with him, in my heart, soul and mind, and promise faithfulness to the end?
St. Thomas More writes,
“Christ knew that many people would be filled with terror when faced with the threat of being tortured, and He wanted to encourage them with the example of his own pain, his own sadness, his own incomparable humiliation and fear.”
When I experience pain, sorrow, and fear in my ordinary daily trials, I find strength through the example of Christ’s agony. Every humiliation and doubt which I experience has already been lived by Christ, and has been overcome! Though there are countless ways in which I can fall asleep at my daily post, the knowledge of Christ’s victory helps me to face the difficulties of life with renewed hope and vigor.
When I make the daily battle to wake up and face the day with a smile, I am following Christ. When I accept illness or fatigue with surrender, I suffer with Christ in the garden.
When I am patient and gentle with my children, persevering in my housework, compassionate to a friend, and forgiving to a persecutor, I live all of these virtues alongside of Our Lord, who experienced each sorrow to the fullest degree of human capacity.
As I develop a relationship of love and trust with Our Lord, I am better able to face the enemy who tempts me on every front. He tempts me to think that I am not enough, as a wife, mother, sister or friend.
He tempts me with the desire to live a life of ease and luxury, where I will not be threatened by confusing questions about the meaning of life. He tempts me into believing that I can never become more than who I am, and that I will always be limited by my pride and selfishness.
But most of all, he tempts me into spiritual sleep, a state of blissful ignorance of Christ’s sacrifice for me.
When I am spiritually sleepy, I do not mind being distracted from my deeper desires. When I don’t know what is going on around me, I can plead ignorance to the suffering of the world. I can stay inside my shell and live in peace and quiet. I can be one of the apostles who rests instead of wrestles with my sin.
But what does Our Lord say to the sleepy? Arise. Arise and pray. Pray that you may be strengthened.
Through prayer, we are given the strength and insight necessary to live our life with sanctity.
We may fail Jesus, and deny Him over and over as did St. Peter, but through repentance and great love we will rise victorious over sin. But we must arise from our slumber and accompany Jesus with great love. We must ask God to help us come into battle with the enemy, and not to fear the humiliations which the world will lay upon us.
He tells us, “Be confident, for I have overcome the world.”