It is so often that I feel weak and tired mentally, physically, and spiritually. I think many of us do, for we try to do so much and end up doing so little. Experience tells us this is a familiar feeling, especially during Holy Week. During prayer, I attempt to visualize myself with the beloved disciples of Christ in Gethsemane, trying to accompany Jesus. And if I am sincere, I see myself falling asleep just like the other disciples, for I am tired, human, and weak. Christ himself must have been very tired indeed, yet he endured. Could I really not spend one hour awake with Him?
I then imagine Christ arrested and all the disciples running away while the prosecutors look at me and ask me if I am a disciple of Christ. Would I deny Him who is the source of all good? Would I be scared to say that I love Him?
And then I visualize Christ falling three times on his journey up Calvary. I look upon Simon of Cyrene, who was compelled by the Roman soldier's sword to reluctantly help Jesus carry the Cross, and I ask myself whether I would also not want to help carry His Cross unless forced? Looking at Christ, would I have the courage to accept my own cross without reproach? And as I see Him hung upon His Cross, would I also be able to accept my death without resentment? Would I be able to die asking that my tormentors be forgiven? Or would I be like Peter and run, afraid and denying Him who is the source of my love, faith, and hope? Also, like Peter, even if I ran, would I have the humility and perseverance to return and be steeled by the grace of forgiveness?
I just don't know, but I pray with all I am that we can all be good and courageous disciples, but we will only know the answer after we are tested... Is this at least a prevalent desire in our hearts? That we can abide as Christ abides? And accept as He accepted, live as He lived, and die as He died if we are ever called to? Blessed are those who believe, abide, accept, live, and die in Him.
We know that Peter was restored and fortified later on. Three times Christ asked whether Peter loved Him. One reaffirmation for every time Peter denied Christ. We know that during Pentecost, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Peter became the splendid apostle he was called to be, strengthened to live the mission of love and mercy, even to his death as a martyr. This strength we do have in us through the graces from Baptism.
In the Eucharist, Christ lends us again His strength and courage. He inspires us with His love. Let us pray, for the activation of our faith and for the strength of conviction, that we may be courageous in every moment of test and for our perseverance in hope and faith, especially at the last moment before death, that we may endure and abide in Him, who died for us.
As we prepare to celebrate Christ's victory over death and the redemption of humanity this Easter, may we grow courageous in our conviction and offer our lives to God so that strengthened like Peter, we may become, through Christ, who God calls us to be.
Let us pray: Strengthen us, Lord. Please give us your courage and determination. May we abide in You and become the missionary disciples You call us to be. May we be convicted in Your love and stay faithful until the end. That we may honor You with how we live. Amen.