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Photo: Giovanni Bellini, c. 1459–1465
Jesus 'Saw Every Sin'
The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
by Fr. Angelo Casimiro, MIC
Eleventh of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Scourging at the Pillar.
Man's inhumanity to man. Whenever a tragic and horrible event happens like the terrorist bombings at the Boston marathon, I think it's very easy to get angry and discouraged and lose hope in mankind.
Because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, our first parents, sin is something that we as human beings deal with on a daily basis. Due to our wounded human nature, we all struggle with concupiscence, which is the inclination to do evil.
As I reflect on the First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, I can't even imagine what it must have been like for the Lord to see all at once every sin that every human being has or will ever commit all the way from the dawn of creation with the disobedience of Adam and Eve up until the last sin to be committed at the end of time.
If we think it's bad enough to see all of the terrible things — like murder, terrorism, war, sexual scandals, etc. — that come on the news every day, try to multiply that exponentially. I believe that's what Jesus experienced when He saw every sin that has or will ever be committed. In my opinion, this emotional and spiritual suffering that the Lord went through during His agony in the garden was probably much worse than all of the physical suffering He was about to endure during His Passion.
This struggle that Jesus goes through in the garden of Gethsemane was well portrayed in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ as He once again was tempted by the devil to give up His mission. In His humanity, the Lord experienced what we all experience when we come face to face with suffering. It was Jesus' human nature that recoiled as He was about to enter into His Passion.
As we read in Scripture: "[Jesus said,] 'Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Lk 22:42-44).
There is so much that we can apply in our own lives through this passage from the Gospel of Luke about Jesus' agony in the garden. When we are praying for a particular intention, we should always end our prayer with, "Not my will, but Yours be done." We need to trust that God always knows what's best for us, and that's what it means to unite our will with His.
When we are at our weakest, we should never despair because God will come to strengthen us, like He did when He sent an angel from heaven to strengthen Jesus in the garden. Let us follow the example of the Lord who, though He was in anguish over carrying the sins of mankind, prayed more earnestly, such that His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. May we always persevere and remain diligent in our prayers.
Father Angelo Casimiro, MIC, is the Postulant Director at the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, Ohio.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation