Praying the Gospel through the Rosary: The Agony in the Garden

Submitted by Deacon Jim Krupka

As we begin the Sorrowful Mysteries, we meditate on Jesus’ passion. These meditations are Good Friday moments, all drawing from the Gospels of Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
The First Sorrowful Mystery, The Agony in the Garden, is an intimate moment with Jesus. He is alone and full of human emotion. “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.” (Mt 26:36-40).
Matthew captures Jesus’ thoughts and prayers just before his arrest. He prayed for strength and deliverance. In earlier Gospel passages, Jesus describes His suffering and death. Having given the disciples a preview of the passion, imagine His pain when He found them asleep. We know that in the depth of that sad night, Jesus again said “yes” to his Father.
The Agony in the Garden becomes real in our times of desperate need. I know some reading this have faced the prospect of intense suffering and impending death. I know others know what it is like to be alone at a dark moment. Meditating on this mystery unites God and Man through Jesus and our human experiences.
This mystery forces us to focus on prayer and what comes from it. I heard a mother who lost a daughter in an accident say, “I believe in miracles, but I don’t know who gets them.” Jesus prayed so hard that He was sweating blood, but He did not get a way out of suffering from those prayers. After His arrest, Jesus seems to get the peace that carries forward in His calm interaction with Pilate. Eventually, we hear Him say words of understanding of the purpose of it all when on the cross, He says, “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
As we meditate, let’s ask, how deeply do we lay our souls before God as we pray? Are we open to an answer from God that is not exactly as we ask? Can we find peace letting go to God?