Christ stands to pray in the Garden at Gethsemane, supplicating the Father for His human will to be strengthened to accept His coming Passion and Death on the Cross. Suffering and death are not easy to accept even when we know that this is the best course for us to follow, for “the flesh is weak.” This icon is a masterful depiction, from St. Clement’s Church in Ochrid, Macedonia, of the Lord in the beginning of His agony and then the sweating of His blood. His outer cloak has been cast aside, and His mind is wrapped in deep and heartfelt prayer, looking upward towards Heaven instead of at earth.
Everything that Christ did on earth has meaning for us, not just as a history of what happened to Him, but in some mysterious way as an icon of how we in our own small way need to follow Him. We are beset by problems in our life, big and small, some with enough pain and suffering to make us hesitant to follow God’s Will and His Providence, even when we think this is best from reflection and prayer. It is through intense prayer to God that our will is strengthened to always choose the good, even when painful.