Christ in the Garden of Ghesemane,
Painted by Hermann Clementz (1852-1930),
Painted circa 1900
Oil on canvas
© Wikimedia Commons
Ask..., search..., knock...
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’
Reflection on the painting
When Jesus teaches us, usually it comes out of his own experience. Jesus encourages in our Gospel reading to keep on asking God, to keep on searching for God and to keep on knocking on God’s door. He is saying these things, as that is exactly what Jesus did too. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked God to take away this cup of suffering. At the last supper he encouraged Peter to keep searching and asked God that Peter’s faith might not fail. On the cross he knocked on God’s door asking God to forgive those who crucified him and even to open the door for the criminals hanging next to him. Jesus did the asking, searching and knocking himself. He teaches out of his own experience.
When we ask, search and knock, we imitate what Jesus did in the garden. And even if, as Jesus experienced there, our prayers are not answered in the way we want, we will have expanded our hearts dramatically to be more open to God’s presence.
Our painting, circa 1900, by Hermann Clementz, simply depicts Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. A gentle light is emanating from him, especially around his head, but also a light is coming from above. His hands are firmly clasped together.
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I remember Jesus asking to take this cup from Him. He still had to drink it. Not all of our prayers are answered the way that we want them answered. Not my will but God’s will be done. Please Lord give me the strength and fortitude to accept Your will because You know what is best for me.
So grateful for all the wonderful comments. Thank you.
For me it is the hands here-how well the painter communicates the strength and tension of those hands, soon to be given in submission? The asking sometimes leads us down a very difficult path indeed, but as you say, Patrick, He shows the way. Let’s just follow Him.
I agree, the hands are powerful… painfully powerful… the agony is converted through the hands.
They look like hard working hands.
Thanks for your reflection. I was looking for something in the painting to focus on and you pointed me in the right direction. God bless you today.
I think just about 2-3 art pieces here have impact me as much as this one.
The realism, the light, the shadows, the expression and even the fainted light emanating from him shows the heaviness of this moment.
Ask, search and knock… As I read this I think about a lot of moments I’ve ask x-y-z, then as my persistence doesn’t get an answer I take it as a negative and stop doing it.
Sometimes I think maybe I’m wrong to stop, or maybe I’m wrong for what I ask, or could it be that maybe I don’t know how to ask at all… One of those days I heard about someone who asked the Holy Spirit a question, and then heard His voice inside with an answer. I know I shouldn’t have, but I felt envy.
Keep praying, Adriana. At Gethsemane we are told Jesus prayed not to have to drink of the cup He had to take. What if that prayer had been answered? In the end He knew He had to accept it, and when our prayers are not answered we just have to do the same. As Patrick says, He shows us the way.
Thank you Adriana,
Glad to hear you like this painting so much. I agree, it is a very powerful piece. Especially the hands convey the agony Jesus must have felt.
Thank you for sharing your story about the Holy Spirit
I find envy hard to admit to as well Adriana. A priest once told me that the sin of jealousy is rarely heard of in the confessional.
This Beautiful painting of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane allows me to reflect that Jesus is always with us! He looked to God to forgive those who sinned against him and loved them always, as we should also!
We can knock on God’s doors to be opened to God’s Holy Spirit and we will find God’s Presence in all that we do!!!
Very true Barbara. 🙏
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus instructs everyone to not be passive in their faith but to ask, seek, knock.
This is dust of daily battle stuff. In the midst of my busy life, needs arise, injustice is encountered, failure is experienced. These are all things in which I can ask, seek, knock. Also, and perhaps more commonly, this is the path for those coming to know Jesus.
Luke 11:13 records Jesus saying the same thing but with the addition, “How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking him!” If I want more power of the Holy Spirit in my life I need only, ask, seek, knock.
Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.
A daily battle indeed, Mike. We are in it together. God bless you for your lovely messages.
Thanks you Mike
Thank you Mike. Come Holy Spirit!