“So Jesus came,

and they with him,

to a plot of land called Gethsemani;

and he said to his disciples,

   ‘Sit down here,

   while I go in there and pray.’

But he took Peter and the sons of Zebedee with him.

And now he grew sorrowful and dismayed;

‘My soul,’ he said, ‘is ready to die with sorrow;

   do you abide here,

   and watch with me.’

When he had gone a little further,

   he fell upon his face in prayer, and said,

‘My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by;

only as thy will is, not as mine is.

Then he went back to his disciples,

   to find them asleep;

and he said to Peter,

‘Had you no strength, then, to watch with me

   even for an hour?

Watch and pray,

   that you may not enter into temptation;

the spirit is willing enough,

   but the flesh is weak.’”

(Mt 26:36-41)


“Decisions require prayer;

major decisions require intense prayer.”

(John Paul II to a group of American bishops, 10 June 1988)



“Only prayer can prevent all our great succeeding tasks and difficulties

   from becoming a source of crisis

and make them instead the occasion and, as it were,

   the foundation for ever more mature achievements…

Accordingly, and with a warm and humble call,

   I wish the Church and all its people to devote themselves to prayer

   —together with Mary the Mother of Jesus—

   as the apostles and disciples of the Lord did

      in the Upper Room in Jerusalem after Christ’s ascension.

Above all I implore Mary,

   the heavenly Mother of the Church.”

(John Paul II, Go in Peace, 14)



“The first series of petitions [of the Lord’s  Prayer]

   carries us toward him, for his own sake:

   thy name, thy kingdom, thy will!

It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love.

In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves;

the burning desire, even anguish,

   of the beloved Son for his Father’s glory seizes us.”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2804)


Take time to review and pray with

   the fourth section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.



“Silence is an indispensable condition

   for keeping things and pondering them in one’s heart.

Profundity of thought can develop only in a climate of silence.

Too much chatter exhausts our inner strength;

it dissipates everything of any value in our heart,

which becomes like a bottle of perfume

   left open for a long time:

only water remains with a slight touch of its former fragrance.”

(F Suárez, Mary of Nazareth, 154)


We need “this esteem for silence,

this admirable and indispensable condition for our spirit,

   assaulted as it is by such a deafening clamor…

O blessed silence of Nazareth!

Teach us recollection;

teach us interior life;

teach us to be docile to good inspirations

   and trustworthy spiritual guides.

Teach us the value of study,

   of meditation,

   of interior life,

   of the secret prayer that is only heard by God.”

(Paul VI, Address in Nazareth, 5 January 1964)


“For God alone my soul waits in silence;

   from him comes my salvation, …

   for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,

   my fortress; I shall not be shaken. …

O people … pour out your heart before him.

God is a refuge for us.”

(Ps 62:1,5,6,8)


“A constant danger with priests, even zealous priests,

is that they become so immersed in the work of the Lord

that they neglect the Lord of the work.

We must find time,

we must make time,

to be with the Lord in prayer.

Following the example of the Lord Jesus himself,

we must always go off to some place

   where we can be alone and pray.

It is only if we spend time with the Lord

   that our sending out to others will be also a bringing of him to others.”

(John Paul II, at Maynooth)


“A priest … must take care to find time

   to be alone,

   to be still,

   to be silent,

   to let himself pray and reflect on his life.

It is strange that the busy priest, no matter how busy he is,

   always seems to be able to squeeze more people into his time,

   but unfortunately the last person to get squeezed in

      is often the Lord himself.

If you do not offer Christ prime time,

if he is not top of your list of appointments every day

   you are heading for trouble.

The Lord always seems to be at the end of the line

   waiting to be seen,

   waiting to be heard by the feverish character

      who is so busy taking care of the Lord’s people.”

(G McGinnity, Christmen, 49)



“As the Beloved children of God, we are blessed. 

Children need to be blessed by their parents

   and parents by their children. 

We all need each other's blessings

   —masters and disciples, rabbis and students,

   bishops and priests, doctors and patients. 

If the fact of our blessedness is not just a sentiment,

   but a truth that shapes our daily lives,

   we must be able to see and experience this blessing

      in an unambiguous way.

“For me personally,

   prayer becomes more and more a way to listen to the blessing. 

When there is no radio to listen to, no TV to watch,

   no book to read, no person to talk to, no project to finish,

   no phone call to make, how does that make you feel? 

Often it does no more than make us so aware

   of how much there is still to do that we haven't yet done

   that we decide to leave the fearful silence and go back to work! 

It is not easy to enter into the silence

   and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of our world

   and to discover there the small intimate voice saying:

   ‘You are my Beloved Child, on you my favor rests.’

Still, if we dare to embrace our solitude and befriend our silence,

   we will come to know that voice. 

But if you develop the discipline

   of  spending one half-hour a day listening to the voice of love,

   you will gradually discover that something is happening

      of which you were not even conscious. 

You will discover yourself looking forward to the quiet time

   and missing it when you can't have it. 

The movement of God's spirit is very gentle, very soft—and hidden. 

It does not seek attention. 

But that movement is also very persistent, strong and deep. 

It changes our hearts radically. 

The faithful discipline of prayer reveals to you that you are the blessed one.

“One good way to listen is to listen with a sacred text:

   a psalm or a prayer, for instance. 

I spent many of my half-hours of prayer doing nothing

   but slowly repeating the prayer of St Francis:

   ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

   Where there is hatred let me sow love....’

In this way I also had a way to deal with my endless distractions. 

When I found myself wandering far and wide,

   I could always return to my simple prayer

   and thereby listen again in my heart to the voice I so much wanted to hear.

(H Nouwen, Life of the Beloved)


“We come apart to rest awhile in Christ’s company,

savor his peaceful presence and, above all,

let him speak.

He will speak, if we have ears to hear,

for grace has its times

and a time for retreat is a most sacred time

for the promptings of Christ’s spirit in our hearts.”

(G McGinnity, Christmen, 84))



“To show men how to praise him worthily,

God first praised himself;

and since he has deigned to praise himself,

man has discovered how to praise him.”

(St Augustine, quoted in Ap Const on the Divine Office)


“The Psalter is the book in which

the Word of God becomes man’s prayer.”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2587)


“The Psalms constitute the masterwork of prayer

   in the Old Testament.”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2596)


“Your prayer ought to be liturgical.

How I wish that you were given

   to reciting the psalms and prayers of the missal

   instead of private or special prayers!”

(St Josemaría, The Way, 86)


“All our Scripture, both Old and New Testaments,

is divinely inspired and is useful for teaching,

as the apostle says.

But the book of psalms is like a garden

   which contains the fruits of all the other books,

   grows a crop of song

   and so adds its own special fruit to the rest.”

(St Athanasius, quoted in Ap Const on the Divine Office)


“The psalms have the power

   to fire our souls with zeal for all the virtues.”

(Pope St Pius X, Apostolic Constitution on the Psalter in the Divine Office)


“I wept at the beauty of your hymns and canticles,

and was powerfully moved

   at the sweet sound of your Church’s singing.

These sounds flowed into my ears,

and the truth streamed into my heart:

so that my feeling of devotion overflowed,

and the tears ran from my eyes,

and I was happy in them.”

(St Augustine, Confessions)



The Difference

I got up early one morning

and rushed right into the day

I had so much to accomplish

That I didn’t have time to pray.


Problems just tumbled about me,

and heavier came each task.

“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered,

He answered, “You didn’t ask.”


I wanted to see joy and beauty

but the day toiled as gray and bleak.

I wondered, “Why didn’t God show me?”

He said, “You didn’t seek.”


I tried to come into God’s presence,

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

“My child, you didn’t knock.”


I woke up early this morning,

And paused before entering my day.

I had so much to accomplish that

I had to take time to pray.

(Author unknown)



Try turning the third person into second person (e.g. the Way of the Cross).



While she was close to death, lying in her sick bed, St Thérèse was asked:

‘I’m praying.’

‘What are you saying?’

‘Nothing. I’m loving him.’


“Lord, teach me to pray!

My Mother,

   may I learn to be silent,

   may I learn to be still,

  may I learn how to listen to Jesus!”


C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\RETREAT\crt_17AgonyintheGarden&Prayer.rtf

Revised 26 March 2005