The 1st Sorrowful Mystery


August 14, 2013 by mattfradd


The Rosary,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning.”

Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and of going counter to the warning of Christ: ‘And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7).’”

Because of this, it is vital that Christians familiarize themselves with the Scriptures in order to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ.

Below is the first sorrowful mystery. To see other mysteries, click here.

The Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:39-46)

After the passover meal, Jesus lead his disciples to the Mount of Olives, also called the garden of Gethsemane (Jn 18:1). While they were together on the mount, Jesus withdrew from them (St. Luke tells us about a stone’s throw) and prayed “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but thine, be done.” After praying he returned to find his disciples sleeping. At this point a crowd lead by Judas came to arrest Jesus.


As we read of the agony that Jesus underwent in the garden of Gethsemane, our minds are brought back to another garden, the garden of Eden, where the first man, having been put to the test, failed to obey the Heavenly Father. In this mystery we see the “last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45), now tested, placing his trust in his Heavenly “Abba,” (Mk 14:36) and overcoming.

The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word which means “Father.” “It was a familiar form of address used especially by children, and thus denotes a level of intimacy between Christ and the Father.”

Personal Application

In this mystery of the Rosary we see our Lord demonstrate obedience to the Heavenly Father, saying, “not my will but thine, be done” (22:42). This prayer seems to echo that of his mothers,  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:28). We can learn a great deal from this prayer. Do we pray this way? Trusting that even if the Lord permits suffering to come to us, it is for our good and his glory.

One thought on “The 1st Sorrowful Mystery

  1. Mary says:

    I use a wonderful little pocket-size book for rosary meditation called “The Scriptural Rosary” published by Christianica. It can be found in some Catholic book stores and on Amazon. It has a very short scripture to read before every Hail Mary. The scriptures really bring the mystery to life.

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