Edgar Degas. Melancholy. The Philips Collection, Washington, DC
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. 1
True prayer is not so much about asking for things and desiring an outcome as it is about moving into an intimate friendship with God. If we will align our will with God’s and persevere under the cross we carry, learning to pray totally free of self, in deep intimacy with God, accepting whatever and however He comes to us,—for He is always coming to us—steadfastly refusing the complaints and doubts that so easily consume us, we will finally find joy and the peace that passes understanding. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…”2
That night, Jesus, having been faithful to everything his Father asked of him, went to his special garden where he always went to pray. Wracked with fear to the point of sweating blood, he begged God in agony to take away the cup of horror he knew was coming, yet immediately followed with, “Not my will, but Yours.“
His Father, in anguish, answered the cries of His beloved Son with an earth-shaking, history-splitting NO. What came instead was inconceivable humiliation and torture, abandonment by his closest friends, and senseless killing by a blood-thirsty mob driven by self-righteousness.
Jesus prayed in agony from the cross. His mother prayed in agony from the foot of the cross. The only three disciples brave enough to stay, John and the three Marys, prayed in agony for their friend. Peter and the others prayed in agony from the shadows.
Three days later, the why of it all emerged. Everything of love emerges. It is impossible to see the stars emerge in the heavens or the flowers bloom, or our hearts change. We look again, and now we see. Jesus emerged from the grave, redefined history, and gladdened the generations. The centuries have understood.
An afterword from Betty:
Beyond the mist of egoic purpose lies an alternative purpose, a divine purpose, God’s purpose for our lives. We are tasked by some mysterious draw to elevate our lives through conscious endeavor into the high places of Spirit. We are asked to perfect, within the very core of our being, a supernal consciousness that transcends, then transforms the atmosphere through which we see and take breath. It is a consciousness that affects to the highest degree the quality of each moment. We are awakened to grasp the elusiveness of holy atmosphere and to thread it through with divine purpose, to paint for others streamers of Living Light and shimmering glimpses of Transparent Love. Beyond the mist, we come to understand it is in dying that we awaken to our divine purpose.