Step 24: Gethsemane


Each prayer session will be structured as it follows:

We go to our place of prayer quiet down a short while and begin with some prayer. After the opening prayer and asking the grace we want to receive in this step then read one of the given Scripture stories then we spend some time with silent prayer. At the end we jot down a diary about the experience of this meditation and share with our companion about it. Finish always with a short prayer. Each session should take at least half an hour and not more than one and the half hour. We remain with the material as long as we feel that it is fruitful in insights and feelings and add more prayer sessions to prolong the time spent with this step, which can take usually one or two weeks if we do it in our daily life with one prayer session a day. The “Orientation” below gives help for how to arrange the sessions of this Step.

Don’t forget to do the "Daily Examination of Consciousness"

The practice of Examination will be a great help that you need to use during this retreat.


Opening Prayer:

We place ourselves in the presence of God and pray that everything we do would serve the good for us and for all.

Asking what we want:

In the contemplations of the Third Phase we pray for the grace of compassion, shame and sorrow because of the suffering of Jesus for our sins, to stay with him in the sense according to what is said in the “Introduction to the Third Phase”.


“Following the opening prayer this exercise consists of the visualization in a global way of the history involved and the historical place it happened, the prayer asking what we want and six points of the contemplation and it ends with a prayerful conversation. For this time of the Exercises the companions are already familiar with the Ignatian contemplation and gained the capability to be enter and stay in the scene spiritually with relative ease. They can do this contemplation with their rhythm and quite flexibly. Similarly to the precedent Phases it is possible to divide the exercises in more prayer sessions taking one point each time or pray through the six points. If the companions decide to do it in six sessions, it is advisable to repeat it in one additional session in the complete form…

“With this contemplation we enter the next stage of the passion as Jesus after singing the thanksgiving Psalms (Pss 114-118) concluding the Passover meal leaves the place of the Last Supper and goes with his disciples to an orchard with oil press outside the walls of Jerusalem where they used sometimes to pass the nights under the olive trees.

In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus during this night lives through the agony of accepting what lies ahead. For the first time Jesus is afflicted by doubts and weakness so much that he tries to receive support from his disciples. The prayerful struggle of Jesus for fidelity to his mission also during the suffering that could be still avoided by changing course might be strongly significant for the companions during this Phase where also they can find themselves in anxiety and pain because of the decision they made previously. This contemplation of fidelity under the pressure of the temptations of “power of darkness” is of great importance for the companions in remaining firm on their chosen way during this retreat and later in similar situations of life. . “

The entire contemplation “In the Garden of Gethsemane” is in the “Third Phase” of the Manual .

During the Third Phase the companions need to read time to time the “Guidelines with regard of Eating” and use some changes in their ambient to support the effectiveness of the exercises.  (For this read [204-207] “Notes on how to proceed” after the end of the second exercise in [200-203] “In the Garden of Gethsemane”  )

Some might feel to return sometimes on the meditation on the "Three Degrees of the Love of God", and if the companions desire the third degree they continue to ask for it in the final threefold prayer.


Scripture passages:

 - For the contemplation from the four gospels:

1.   Mt 26:36-56 - “My soul is sorrowful even to death”

2.   Mk 14:32-52 - “…but not what I will but what you will”

3.   Lk 22:39-56 - Drops of blood

4.   Jn 18:1-11 - “I am”


 - For reflection:

5.   Heb 5:1-10 - “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered”


Final Prayers:

At the end of each prayer session there is a prayerful dialog with Jesus Christ, which the companions might want to do as silent prayer and share with each other later what desire is born in their hearts and ask for it together. Some might be compelled to be finish with the threefold prayer to accept the way of Christ as in the “Three Types” [156], and in the “Two Standards” [147], or in the prayer of “paradoxical intention” described in [157]. (You find [157] toward the end of the “Three Types” meditation).