Sweat to Blood

by Daniel MacIntyre

“Heavenly Father, with strength to obey
Your firm decrees on earth thou has bless’d me,
Take from my shoulders this dreadful burden.
In all your wondrous power, grant freedom
Of this punishment unto me – so that,
As thine only Son born of a virgin
So dear, coming into a world cursed thus
By sin and death, I may escape torture
And pain. Only can this great deed be done
By your authoritative divine will;
Not by any earthly force or human
Resolve. Nevertheless, if this burden
Be taken from my shoulders and given
Unto thee, let this grace so fathomless
Be from thy true self and display thy strength.
I cry out to you, helpless and afraid,
As a lamb in great danger would cry out
To the shepherd when in the grasp of wolves
All hope and control given up; for great
Is the suffering in such evil grasp
Of the sheep, pure and blameless before man.”
No sooner had this Son of God and Man
Ceased prayer for a simple breath of air,
Did an angel from that holy army
Appear to Jesus Christ, as the goddess
Pallas Athena did appear before
The heroic Diomedes on the
Day in which the gods were fended off by
None other than mere mortals, to bestow
Such intense vigor as to pray at ev’ry
Passing moment with more boldness always.
The infamous sound that echoed forth from
The oliphant in the hand of Roland
The Great, blown with might and courage hath not
Even matched the great and wholesome prayers
Of the one whom strength was given justly.
Agony received by this son so pure;
Pain accepted for the fate of mankind,
Jesus gave precious life as sacrifice.
As this exalted son of man prayed,
His passion and urgency grew until,
Just like the waters of the Great Nile
To blood had turned during reign of Moses
When the hard-hearted Pharaoh rebuked him
And from heaven God sent forth the plague,
The drops of salty, bitter sweat began
From the pores in his skin to drip as thick,
Pungent drops of man’s blood down his temples.
Such passion in prayer from the heart can not
Simply disappear in a moment’s time,
The Son of man took time to raise himself
From such intense prayer; and once he’d done it
He rose from this state of mind off the ground,
Not in the same but with similar manner
As the Great Achilles of old had ris’n
From his rage of blood lust on the Trojans,
Without a memory of what happened.
Jesus had no sooner returned to where
The disciples lay, then did he find them,
Fast asleep, helpless, with no more eager
Will to defend themselves than the noble Danes,
Upon whom in the thick of night Grendel
Appeared. Surprised by their faithlessness more
Than by their human need for sleep and rest,
Jesus, the Son of the Most High God exalted
Above every people and nation and
Language the same, came to them and proclaimed
The errors of their actions that blessed night.
“What has consumed thou sense so vilely that,
When committed to serving your Father
In heaven, service to him abandoned
And the trust given to thee shattered thus.
With me rise and pray all the more rightly
To the one who hath given thee strength and
Endurance to conquer thine enemies
And vanquish those who choose to oppose you.
Prayer in this way will guide thee away
From the temptations of your sinful will;
And lead thee not towards the path of sinners,
But to the love and peace of your Lord God.”