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Sleeping Apostles
Question from Sabora on 12/10/2003:

Dear Fr. Echert,

Thank you for answering all my questions. I was wondering, in the garden of Gesthemane, when the three apostles fell asleep, why were they rebuked? If they were using all of their efforts to stay awake, but in spite of this, they found themselves asleep, why did Jesus admonish them? And did they commit a sin? It is understandable if they had willingly fell asleep, but even scripture says that they were unable to keep their eyes open, that the hour was late and they had wine with a heavy meal. Those are all good reasons for being extrememly drowsy. Sometimes people do fall asleep in spite of all their best efforts. What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you Sabora

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 12/10/2003:

Though heavily inclined to sleep, given the warnings Jesus had given about His impending Crucifixion--three are recorded--as well as the words of His betrayal at the Last Supper, plus His command for them to enter into prayer, there is some culpability and sin on their part, for giving into the weakness of their flesh. Had they fought the temptation to sleep--certainly possible, for people do it frequently, even for such functions as driving an automobile--then they may have been more spiritually strengthened, to stand fast with the Lord, rather than abandoning Him upon His arrest. But given the influences upon them, which you note, certainly this would diminish their culpability--though not entirely excuse it.

Thanks, Sabora

Father Echert

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