Having looked at the events in the life of Jesus, which are recalled in the first part of the Rosary, we now pass on to the second part, the five Sorrowful Mysteries.
First Sorrowful Mystery: The Prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Olives
In this mystery of the Rosary, we recall the prayer of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Olives.
The Gospels tell us that the Lord spoke several times during his public life of the way He was to die and thus accomplish the work of our redemption. When the time came, after He had celebrated the last Supper with his disciples, during which He instituted the Eucharist to perpetuate his real presence among us, and to prepare Himself for his imminent Passion and Death, He went with them to a place called Gethsemane and there He said to them:
“Sit here, while I go yonder to pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?” Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation…” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done” (Mt 26:36-42).
Here as in the other events of his life, Jesus Christ is for us a model, which we must follow and seek to imitate. Although He was God and had, therefore, all grace and strength, He was also truly human; and He chose to prepare Himself, by prayer, to submit his human will to that of his Father, who needed Him as an expiatory victim for the sins of humanity. To his human nature, suffering, humiliation and death were repugnant, as it is for all of us, because they are the punishment for sin; sin which He did not commit, but for which He chose to make satisfaction on our behalf. And so, He spent a long time in prayer, repeating: “‘Father, if thou art willing remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’… And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (Lk 22:42, 44).
When suffering and anguish oppress us, let us remember Jesus Christ in the Garden of Olives and, like Him, let us say to God: “Father, if thou art willing remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Even if our distress is great, let us reflect that the anguish of Jesus was greater, because his face was covered with “great drops of blood, which fell to the ground.”
Oh! If I only could have been there beside the Lord at that moment, to wipe his face with a soft towel and then to keep such a relic of the Blood of my God! But what I could not do then, I want to do today, because, every day, from his wounded face, from his pierced hands and feet, from his open heart, flows the blood of our Redemption, present in the consecrated bread and wine on the altar of sacrifice; and I have the happiness of being nourished on that Body and that Blood.
Second Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus Is Taken Prisoner