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Agony in the Garden
First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary

The Agony in the Garden of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane - Paolo Veronese - 1583-1584

Introduction

The Agony in the Garden holds profound importance in Christian theology. This pivotal event occurs in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus, on the eve of His crucifixion, experiences intense emotional and spiritual anguish.

The significance of this sorrowful mystery lies in the humanity of Jesus. In the garden, He grapples with the weight of humanity’s sins, sweating drops of blood as He prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” This moment showcases Jesus’ acceptance of His divine mission and the sacrificial journey ahead.

Moreover, the Agony in the Garden foreshadows the upcoming Passion, emphasizing the redemptive power of Christ’s suffering. It marks the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Calvary, underscoring His willingness to bear the burdens of humanity’s sins for the sake of salvation.

This sorrowful mystery invites believers to reflect on the depth of Christ’s sacrifice and the magnitude of His love. It serves as a poignant reminder of the intersection between divine will and human suffering, laying the foundation for the transformative events that follow in the Passion of Christ. The Agony in the Garden sets the stage for the ultimate act of redemption, making it a profoundly significant and contemplative moment in the Christian faith and ultimately in the history of the world.

Scriptures of the Agony in the Garden

Luke 22:39-46

And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him.

And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And he was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast; and kneeling down, he prayed, Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.

And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow. And he said to them: Why sleep you? arise, pray, lest you enter into temptation.

Scripture Commentary

The gospel account of Luke 22:39-46 depicts the scene of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his arrest and crucifixion.

Jesus, after observing the Passover meal with his disciples, went to the Mount of Olives located across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem, specifically to a place called Gethsemane, as was his custom. He instructed his disciples to pray, while he went a stone’s throw away to pray alone.

As Jesus prays, he is in deep anguish and distress, knowing what was about to happen to him. He knew he would soon face betrayal, arrest, and ultimately, crucifixion. This moment of prayer reveals the intense emotional and spiritual struggle Jesus experienced as he faced the weight of the world’s sin and the separation from God that he would endure on the cross.

During his prayer, Jesus asked God, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” This plea demonstrates Jesus’ humanity, as he sought an alternative to the suffering and death that awaited him, yet ultimately submitted to the will of God.

In his distress, Jesus (who is the long awaited messiah) sweated great drops of blood, a rare medical condition known as hematidrosis, which occurs under extreme stress. This detail underscores the severity of Jesus’ agony and the intensity of his emotional turmoil.

As Jesus prayed, an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. This divine intervention provided Jesus with the fortitude to endure what lay ahead.

Returning to his disciples, Jesus found them asleep, despite his earlier instructions to stay awake and pray. He gently rebuked them, saying, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

This passage highlights Jesus’ humanity, his submission to the will of God, and his unwavering commitment to fulfilling his mission, even in the face of overwhelming distress and impending suffering. It also serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of prayer and vigilance in times of trial and temptation.

Feast of Corpus Christi

The Feast of Corpus Christi, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is a Christian celebration that emphasizes the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. This feast is particularly significant in the Roman Catholic Church, and it occurs on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (the eighth Sunday after Easter).

The Feast of Corpus Christi is marked by various rituals and observances, and while the specific mention of the “Agony in the Garden” is not a central part of the liturgy for Corpus Christi, the events surrounding the Last Supper, including Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, are integral to the understanding of the Eucharist. Here’s how these elements are connected:

  1. Last Supper and Institution of the Eucharist: The Last Supper, where Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion, is a foundational event for the Feast of Corpus Christi. During this meal, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist by taking bread and wine, blessing them, and sharing them with his disciples. This act is commemorated in the celebration of the Mass, where the consecration of bread and wine represents the body and blood of Christ.
  2. Real Presence: The belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is central to the Feast of Corpus Christi. Catholics believe that, through the process of transubstantiation, the consecrated elements become the actual body and blood of Jesus. This belief is rooted in Jesus’ words at the Last Supper.
  3. Eucharistic Processions: While the “Agony in the Garden” may not be explicitly mentioned during Corpus Christi celebrations, the procession of the Blessed Sacrament is a significant part of the feast. During this procession, the consecrated host, representing the body of Christ, is carried in solemnity through the streets. This public display symbolizes the journey of Jesus from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane and, eventually, to the Cross.
  4. Devotion and Reflection: The Feast of Corpus Christi provides an opportunity for believers to reflect on the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ death, his presence in the Eucharist, and the importance of the Communion meal. While the “Agony in the Garden” may not be explicitly addressed, the entire narrative surrounding the Passion of Christ is central to the theological understanding of the Eucharist.

In summary, while the Feast of Corpus Christi does not specifically focus on the “Agony in the Garden,” the events surrounding the Last Supper, Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane, and his sacrifice on the Cross collectively form the theological backdrop for the celebration of the Eucharist during this feast.

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Last Publish:  January 27, 2024

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