The Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus went to pray before the ordeal on the cross of Calvary. The Bible indicates that Jesus was extremely troubled and overwhelmed with sorrow, to the point of sweating drops of blood. For three times, Jesus Christ prayed if it was possible for the cup of suffering to be removed from him, but that the will of the Father would be done.
The 12th Chapter of the Book of Hebrew says that Jesus “endured the cross, scorning its shame” and that he did this “for the joy set before him”. Even though he was under pressure, by faith, he knew that he would experience great joy on the other side of the suffering. The Garden of Gethsemane, therefore, has a deep meaning.
Jesus’s strength to be the Savior is of fundamental importance. Jesus Christ was willing to die on the cross for our salvation and pay the penalty for our sins. According to 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. This was the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:43).
For two times Jesus woke up his disciples to remind them to pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptations. But they kept on falling into sleep and temptations. Even so, Jesus didn’t lose his faith, and although it did trouble him, he kept on praying. Then he had the strength he needed from God.
The Mount of Olives separates the city of Jerusalem from the Judean Desert; from here it begins its descent towards the Dead Sea. The Kidron Valley surrounds Jerusalem to the east and separates the Mount from the city. On the south, there is Mount Zion and on the north, there is Mount Scopus.
The Mountain has three areas of uniquely high ground from which descend steep roads to the valley. From the north to the south extends “Karm as-Sayyad” (“vineyard of the hunter”), reaching 818 meters of altitude; in the center is “Jebel et-Tur” (“holy mountain”) at 808 meters; and to the southwest, on the far side of the Jerusalem-Jericho road, is “Bet el Hawa” (“belly of the wind”), also known as “Mount Scandal”, at 713 meters high.
The name of the Mountain comes from the olive trees that have grown on its slopes for thousands of years, and some of the oldest olive trees in the world are still there. The mountain is also known as the Mount of Unction. The reason for it origins from the use of the oil in the Jewish tradition. The oil from the leaves was used to anoint the high priests and the king.
Jesus set foot on the mountain immediately after the last supper, crossing the valley into Gethsemane.
An especially relevant episode in Jesus’s life is also one of the most important Christian memories accrued on the Mount of Olives. That is the teaching of the Lord’s Prayer: Eleona or the Grotto of the Lord’s Prayer. But it isn’t the only one: Weeping over Jerusalem: Dominus Flevit. Acclamation upon his entry into the Holy City on the back of a donkey: the sanctuary of Bethphage. The prayer in the garden of Gethsemane followed by his capture: and next to it there are – Garden of Olives and Grotto of Gethsemane. And Jesus’s Ascension into Heaven, which occurred at the summit of the mount: the Edicule of the Ascension.
We know very little about Saint Anna. Actually, the apocryphal Gospel of James is the main source we have, with the most information about her. According to Christian tradition, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. She was born in Bethlehem and got married to Joachim who lived in Nazareth, a village in the Holy Land.
Unfortunately, Anne was infertile at a time when barrenness was considered a sign of God’s judgment or displeasure with a person. Furthermore, in the Jewish culture, barrenness was the height of misfortune. As a result of the childlessness, the temple priest refused to accept Joachim’s sacrifice.
Joachim and Anna’s Prayer Answered
In desperation, Joachim is said to have gone into the desert to pray and fast. At the same time, Anna was also praying and reminding God about how He had blessed Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife with a son. As she prayed, an angel of the Lord appeared and told her that her prayer had been heard. The angel promised that she would conceive and her offspring would be famous the world over. The angel also instructed her to name the child Mary. In gratitude, Anne, who was now set to become Mother Mary’s mother, dedicated her future offspring to God.
In the meantime, an angel had also appeared to Joachim and assured him that Anne was going to conceive, bear a child who they were to name Mary and dedicated to God.
Just like the angel had said, Saint Anna conceived and, after birth, the couple consecrated Mary to serve at the temple in Jerusalem. When she was fourteen, Mary was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth which continues the story of the birth of Jesus, his life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
As the mother of Jesus, Mary is a central figure in Christianity. Even though we don’t have direct details of her birth recorded in the Bible, we do have some information. Some of the earliest Christian writers did describe her nativity.
The place of her birth varies according to different accounts. Some place it near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem while others claim it was in Sepphoris in north modern-day Israel.
Date of Birth
As for the date, the Catholic Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8. There is also a celebration of her Immaculate Conception exactly nine months earlier, on December 8.
The Protoevangelium of James describes how Mary’s parents, Saints Joachim and Anne, were grieved by their childlessness. Her parents were devoted to prayer and fasting until an angel came to greet them.
Afterwards, the angel told them: “The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.”
From the book, we are learning how Joachim took the newborn Mary to the priests, stating, “And they blessed her, saying: O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations.”
“…And he brought her to the chief priests, and they blessed her, saying: O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be forever.”