The Visitation in the Garden
By Vivian Marino
Just recently, a friend needed my help, so I immediately dropped my “nets” and got to her as fast as I could. Fortunately, a mutual friend joined me on the journey which was a plane ride away.
As we were heading to the destination, I was reminded of the second joyful mystery of the rosary – “The Visitation” – on which Mary travels, in haste, to be with her cousin Elizabeth who was with child. Immediately, I put myself into the scene. Mary stayed with her cousin for 3 months; we had 3 days. Our purpose was simple: to provide the gift of focused time offering support and encouragement.
Unlike Mary meeting Elizabeth at her home, we met our beloved friend in what would be her “Garden of Gethsemane,” sitting in agony and pain. This is where two mysteries collided: “The Visitation” and “The Agony in the Garden.”
We have all been in the “garden” at various points in our life. Sometimes, we are stuck for a short moment, while other times it can seem like an eternity. Regardless, we were called to sit with her without falling asleep as the apostles had done with Jesus; we needed to remain attentive.
Amid the chaos around us, the three of us sat in that pain. So many questions arose, but the main one was “God, can you please make this all go away?” This was the very same question Jesus had asked God, “Please take this cup of suffering away from me” before submitting to his father’s will.
It was at that moment of questioning that I knew we were not alone. In fact, we were a party of four sitting in that garden; it just took us a moment to realize it.
God may not take away the pain, but he sits with us in it. He loves us more at that moment than anyone could in a lifetime. Once we understand that and trust him, we can begin to turn the corner and see the way out.
I can imagine him quietly saying to all three of us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30.
Let us be reminded that God is real. We may have walked into that garden alone, but we came out together with God the Almighty right by our side.