Monday, March 29, 2010

The Agony in the Garden

The Agony in the Garden left panel from the Altarpiece of St. Zeno of Verona 1456
They went to a place called Gethsemane…And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. (Mk 14:32, 33)

Posted by my dad; a man that walks with God.

My daughter has asked me to share my thoughts with you during this time of lent on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. I chose to share “The Agony in the Garden.”

I have been struggling with cancer for many years now. And the story I want to share with you began about six years ago after I had my third major operation for colon cancer.

These operations were taking place as frequently as every six months even though I had undergone an incredibly painful chemotherapy treatment following my first surgery.

It was after the third surgery, with my family gathered by my side to hear the news, that my doctors told me that they wanted to attack the cancer more aggressively by surgically implanting a stint inside of me so that I could take larger doses of chemo on a daily basis. I told the doctors that I did not want to subject myself to anymore of this torturous treatment and that my wife and I had purchased tickets to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. We were scheduled to leave in six months and we were going with a Carmelite order of priests. My oncologist informed me that I would be dead in six months if I did not submit to the treatment. I asked how much time I would have if I submitted to the treatments; he said I could probably add up to two years.

Six months later I found myself in the Garden of Gethsemane, possibly under the same olive trees that our Lord Jesus Christ knelt to ask his father to take this cup from him. We know that this was the cup of forgiveness of  our sins and most importantly our salvation. Yet we know he said “Not my will be done but yours be done”.

As I knelt under these olive trees, I asked our Lord to take this cup (cancer) from me and if not, then please accept my pain and suffering in atonement for my sins and the suffering of others that may be so afflicted.

Some of these olive trees have lived well over 2000 years; and as I looked over the Valley of Kidron I could see the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus traveled to his agonizing torture and death on the cross for you and me.

Six years later I am here to thank God for this miraculous healing and to thank my fellow pilgrims, my family and friends that prayed for me constantly and the priest that gave me the Holy Sacrament of Healing of the Sick; I will feel forever indebted.

I pray to You to look upon all those who are seeking the Father's will now, for the sake of Your bitter agony. Help also those who have learnt the Father's will, but are too weak to accept it. May all the agony be redeemed through a renewed acceptance of the Father's will.1

Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M  Pray with the Heart


Mary P. said...

Wow, this is such a beautiful tribute to your family! I'm so glad your Dad posted this. Isn't it amazing what prayer can do? Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Truly your dad is a man of God. His thoughts and words have been my inspiration since I first met him in 1987. He is never to busy to pray for someone else or with someone else. What a great big heart! Your mom is just as sincere in her love of God and helping others. We are all so blessed to know them and follow their example. Joan H.

aspiring... said...

A wonderful idea and invitation it is that you extended to your father.

In the body of your his account, I so hoped to read this: "Six months later I found myself in the Garden of Gethsemane, possibly under the same olive trees that our Lord Jesus Christ knelt..."

And, of course, I did :) . Praise God for the unfolding of events according to His will and for your father's own ready sese of cooperation and sacrifice :) !

If I may, I would ask this of your father if it seems right in the Lord to him: that he embrace fatherless children in his mantle of prayer, and children whose fathers can't care or pray for them, and indeed the fathers involved themselves. I thought of them as I read this post.

God grant each of you joy, I pray.

Daily Grace said...


What a wonderful thought that you add here. I will mention it to my dad, he will embrace that prayer with a joyful heart I can assure you.

God be with you and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Anne said...

Praise be God! This is a beautiful story, a miraculous touch of grace from our Savior! Thank you so much for sharing this!

Daily Grace said...


My dad and my mom both embraced your prayer request. Every night they say the rosary and the Divine Mercy. Tonight it was for your requested intention.God bless.

aspiring... said...


Daily Grace, I'm stunned. Deeply quieted. Praise God for His Own movements in the lives opened to His will...

Hm... I'm going to say something that occurred to me but want to preface it by saying that I don't presume it to be true. It touches on your father's loss of his son, of which I can know nothing about.

Perhaps your father has become in spirit, in Jesus, a father to these children and a companion to their fathers. And in so doing, perhaps our Father provides them help, and provides your father a need in which to pour a love within him that is untapped since the death of his son.

I dare mention it because I do know many such fathers and children as those in need; and, given a circumstance personal to me, I relate to the possibility of such very much myself.

God be with you in all things, and especially these upcoming four days, I pray.