We read at Mtt 26: 36-45 an account of Jesus' Prayer at Gethsemane:

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

It is perhaps intriguing that Jesus desired for the company of his disciples at Gethsemane, but still kept them a little behind telling them to watch with him. My question therefore is: What, according to the Catholic Church, did Jesus mean by saying to his disciples "Watch with me" at Gethsemane?

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    Jesus simply wanted his disciples to STAY AWAKE and to pray along with Him before being betrayed into the hands of His enemies. Surely, this is a universal understanding? – Lesley Feb 19 at 11:34
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    Please edit this to fix the formatting issues. – curiousdannii Feb 19 at 13:24

Commenting on Mt. 26:41 ("Watch ye: and pray that ye enter not into temptation"), St. Thomas Aquinas (Catena Aurea: Matthew lecture 11) reports Origen as sayng:

Finding them thus sleeping, He rouses them with a word to hearken, and commands them to watch; "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;" that first we should watch, and so watching pray. He watches who does good works, and is careful that He does not run into any dark doctrine, for so the prayer of the watchful is heard.

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