“And leaving them, He went away again, and He prayed the third time, saying the same words. And there appeared to Him an Angel from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground. Then He cometh the third time to His disciples and saith to them: Sleep ye on now and take your rest. It is enough, the hour is come. Behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go up behold he that will betray Me is at hand.” Matt 26:44-46, Mark 14:41-42, Luke 22:45-46
Thus is Our Lord’s prayer heard. But, let us notice, the answer to the prayer is very different from the words of the petition. He asked that the chalice might be removed; instead, it is made yet more bitter, by the continued neglect of His chosen three, by the coming ever nearer of the traitor and his band, by His own growing weakness and inability to resist. But there comes along with all this, not mere comfort, but increase of strength; not relief from His burden, but the power to endure yet more; not an end to the agony, but the courage to “prayer the longer”; not rest at last upon the soft grass, but “resistance even unto blood,” so that “His sweat become as drops of blood trickling on the ground.” Is there anything more sublime and yet more human, than that blood-bathed Body? So does God hear prayer; so much farther does God see than we. When we ask for rest, for consolation, He prefers to make us heroes; and when it is over, and we look back, we thank Him that “not our will, but His has been done.” There is no exception to this rule.
Archbishop Alban Goodier – The Crown of Sorrow