"Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ 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.’ Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’"

Matthew 26: 36-46 (NRSV)

Jesus did not take his mother to the Garden of Gethsemane - and those he took were not particularly effective in offering him support. Was their weariness simply post-Passover meal fatigue - or the sloth of despair? And what of Mary on this last night of her son's earthly life?

The night before any ordeal brings with it overwhelming fear. Even if people have been told what to expect, imaginations can run riot - thoughts become confused and fearful. For those who wait alongside in the long watches of the night, hearts are heavy and filled with a yearning that what is to come can be by-passed yet knowing that it has to be faced.

Pray for those facing a long night of watching and waiting

     Mary, Star that shines in the darkest night,
     you could not take away the anguish of your Son
     yet would have enfolded him in the depth of your heart.
     Cast your gentle light on those who will watch and wait this night -
     enfold them too in your love and compassion.   

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