The First Sorrowful Mystery – THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN

He began to fear and to be heavy My soul is sorrowful even unto death.

Let us consider what it was Our Lord feared in the agony in the garden. He feared the awful ordeal about to come upon Him: the contempt, abuse, malicious hatred; the reviling and spit­ting in His face; the spectacle of a wild mob thirsting for His own Blood, yelling fiercely: “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” He feared the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the ter­rible strain of the carrying of the cross. He shrank most of all from the prospect of death.

It was the shrinking of human nature from things hard for human nature. And as Our Lord had the perfect human nature, His shrink­ing was all the keener; in fact, it was the keen­est that could possibly be felt in the face of things hard for human nature.

He feared· also the contact with sin. Enter­ing upon His Passion, He was taking upon Himself as the Lamb of God all the sins of the world. But as the all-Holy God the thing He detested and recoiled from more than any­thing else was sin. Yet in the garden He was permitting sin as it were to clothe Him with its foul stain from head to foot. It was to him as if He had been plunged in some vile cess­ pool of corruption. From this contact His hu­man nature shrank in mortal fear.

So intense was His fear that it forced a bloody sweat from His pores which soaked His garments and ran down upon the ground. Only supreme mortal terror could produce so shock­ ing an effect.

Lord, grant to us the grace of avoiding sin­ by the fear that Thou didst feel for sin in the garden!

But Our Lord also was “sorrowful even unto death.” The prospect of a horrible death and the contact with vile sin caused Him to fear; the thought of the ingratitude of men caused Him to be “heavy and sad;” to be “sorrowful even unto death.” Any generous heart is sad­dened by ingratitude in proportion to the reali­zation of the kindness that is being scorned. But Christ had the noblest nature of all, and His benefits to mankind were supreme. Hence the weight of sadness that pressed upon His Heart was the darkest sadness that ever weighed upon a human heart.

Lord, by Thy sadness in the garden, grant me the grace to be ungrateful to Thee no longer.

Meditations on the Mysteries of  the Rosary by J. MILLER, C.SS.R.