Maundy Thursday


Descending Theology: The Garden

by Mary Karr

We know he was a man because, once doomed, he begged for reprieve. See him grieving on his rock under olive trees, his companions asleep on the hard ground around him wrapped in old hides. Not one stayed awake as he’d asked. That went through him like a sword. He wished with all his being to stay but gave up bargaining at the sky. He knew it was all mercy anyhow, unearned as breath. The Father couldn’t intervene, though that gaze was never not rapt, a mantle around him. This was our doing, our death. The dark prince had poured the vial of poison into the betrayer’s ear, and it was done. Around the oasis where Jesus wept, the cracked earth radiated out for miles. In the green center, Jesus prayed for the pardon of Judas, who was approaching with soldiers, glancing up–as Christ was–into the punctured sky till his neck bones ached. Here is his tear-riven face come to press a kiss on his brother.

-Mary Karr, Sinners Welcome, HarperCollins, 2006

Untitled (An ancient Celtic prayer for sleep)

O Jesu without sin, King of the poor, Who were sorely subdued Under the ban of the wicked, Shield Thou me this night From Judas.

My soul on Thine own arm, O Christ, Thou the King of the City of Heaven, Thou it was who bought'st my soul O Jesu, Thou it was who didst sacrifice Thy life for me.

Protect Thou me because of my sorrow, For the sake of Thy passion, Thy wounds, and Thy blood, And take me in safety to-night Near to the City of God.

From The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de Waal, Doubleday, 1997.


For more from Jan Richardson, find her website here and be sure to visit the Lenten series on her blog.

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