Stay, Here and Keep Watch With Me

April 22, 2011

The words from the song we sang last night at Holy Thursday mass as the altar was dismantled, as the Church was darkened, and as the Host was moved to the “altar of repose” are still having an impact on me this morning. The lyrics are:

Stay, here, and keep watch with me.
The hour has come.
Stay, here, and keep watch with me.
Watch and Pray.

I sat last night, holding Brady in my lap, singing this song over and over. The moment captured my emotions for many reasons. Brady was engaged in the moment, and both then, and later in the car, affirmed for me that he “got” that something important was happening. As Brady and I slowly rocked to the song, I was struck to by the desperation of these words that came moments before Jesus was arrested and began his journey to his final moments of life.

Can you imagine, sitting at dinner with your friends, knowing that your “hour will be coming soon”? Can you imagine, praying in the garden, knowing that your “hour has come” and begging God to “take this cup away from me” (Lk 22:42)? Can you imagine being alone in knowing and understanding what is about to happen?

Jesus did, though. Jesus broke bread with his friends, his disciples, with the full knowledge of what was about to take place. How did he do it? As Jesus anticipated his coming arrest and death, he begged his friends to stay awake with him, to pray with him, to support his in his last moments. Yet, we see in the gospels that his disciples could not even do that. “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.” (Mt 26:41).

This piece of Jesus’ story captures for me the understanding of total dependence on God. There was no one on Earth, who could support, who could understand, or who could strengthen Jesus, other than God.

The reality is that many of us will never have moment, where we grasp the full knowledge of what is going to happen, in the way Jesus did. However, we do have moments in our lives that occur daily, where we must surrender our will, our choices, our desires to God. The answer to our prayers may not always be concrete answers that we understand, but often, so often, we do get an answer. It is an answer that Jesus got that night, and it is an answer that we get in our lives…the answer is “We are strengthened by God’s Spirit”.

What does Jesus’ experience of the Last Supper and Agony in the Garden say to you?
How do you feel you are called to trust God, right now, the way Jesus trusted God?

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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