In the First Mystery we contemplate the Triumph of the Father in the garden of Eden when, after the sin of Adam and Eve, He promises the coming of the Lord.
“The LordGod said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; She will strike at your head, while you strike at Her heel.
To the woman He said: I will multiply your pangs in childbearing, in sorrow shall you bring forth children…
To the man He said: cursed is the ground because of you! In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” (Gen. 3:14-19).
In order to enter into the spirit of this mystery, we must first of all understand the consequences of original sin. It is generally said that man sinned and God punished him by driving him out of earthly paradise. However, by interpreting it from a more profound angle, we reach a different conclusion.
Certainly man lost all the qualities of Light with which he was clothed, and therefore his own royalty, condemning himself to suffering and death; but it was God who was “driven out”, because man, by disobeying Him, forced Him to leave his heart.
We find an echo of this in Gen. 6:3 and following: “My spirit shall not remain in man for ever… The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that the thoughts of his heart were bent upon evil at all times”
Nevertheless, when He was rejected by Adam and Eve, the Father planned the redemption by promising to send His Only Begotten Son on earth.
And it will be a new creation which will allow Him to return to the heart of man reborn in a higher dimension. In fact, when God assumed a body and was made man, all humanity was included in the divine Family.
The Father, with a creative and redemptive Love which is more powerful than sin and death, totally reversed this situation: what at first seemed like a defeat, is revealed as a great victory. He wins back His creature and guides it toward broader horizons, toward new heavens and a new earth.
This triumph of the Father “is” from the beginning, since He is outside time, He is the Eternal present and what He decides “is” from the moment He plans it.
This is how the “triumph” of the Father is to be understood. Not in the poor human sense – that is, the assertion of one’s superiority which humiliates and punishes the offender – but in the strictly divine sense: “The more you insist in offending me, the more I will persist in forgiving you”. God’s revenge is Mercy.
The triumph of the Father is the victory of His immense humility and His infinite Love: He knocks, waits and knocks again until we open the door of our hearts to Him. Then He returns and there is great rejoicing. It is a reversal of the parable of the prodigal son: “He who receives me receives him who sent me” (Jn 13:20); “My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn 14:23). go back>>
In the second mystery we contemplate the triumph of the Father at the moment of the “Fiat” of Mary during the Annunciation.
“The Angel said to Mary: “Do not fear Mary. You have found favour with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give Him the name of Jesus. Great will be His dignity and He will be called the Son of the Most High; the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His Father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and His reign will be without end”. Then Mary said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me” (Lk 1:30 and following).
The triumph of the Father consists therefore in coming back to take possession of His creatures. This must make us reflect on the importance of our will: if we say “no” to God, we do not allow Him to come and we remain alone with ourselves. There is darkness, desperation, death.
If we say “yes” to Him and allow Him to come, the Light shines in the darkness of our spirit and we become “the living glory of God”. Like Jesus, like Mary.
Mary, with her “yes” cancels Eve’s “no” and receives God who – with an act of humility and infinite Love – becomes the Son of man and once again takes up His dwelling in His paradise.
Jesus, the new Adam, by saying “I come to do your will, O God” (Heb. 10:9), allows the Father to accomplish the new creation. Jesus and Mary are the prototypes of the new humanity from which we were reborn. If, like them, we also open ourselves completely to God and allow Him to make His dwelling place in us, He will be able to spread His Kingdom of Light by means of us as well.
Let us learn to live this infinite reality. Let us learn to be, like Jesus and Mary, the triumph of the Love of the Father in an eternal “yes”.
Saying “yes” to the Will of the Father is difficult, because sooner or later His Will will clash with ours; we will find ourselves in unpleasant situations: it is the chalice we must drink, but we will not like it. It will be Getsemani, the hour of our death and our resurrection. go back>>
In the third mystery we contemplate the triumph of the Father in the garden of Getsemani when He gives all His power to the Son.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Getsemani, and said to His disciples: “Sit here while I go over there and pray”. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them: “My soul is sorrowful unto death, remain here and keep watch with Me”. And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, yet not My will but Yours be done!” And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter: “So, you could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. He went away again a second time and prayed, saying: “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Mt 26:36-42).
An angel then appeared to Him from heaven to strengthen Him. In His anguish He prayed with all the greater intensity, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground (Lk 22:43-46).
Then He came to the disciples and said to them: “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going, behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand” (Mt 26:45-46).
Now Judas, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus went forth and said to them: “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him: “Jesus the Nazarene”. He said to them: “I AM HE!” When He said to them “I AM HE”, they drew back and fell to the ground” (Jn 18:4-6).
Let us examine every part of this description of Jesus’ agony in Getsemani because it is of fundamental importance in order to understand the Heart of the Father and to guide us on the way to holiness; Getsemani is the way we must cross on our journey toward Heaven, toward the Father.
What is Getsemani? It is the great agony, the great battle with “the adversary” which Jesus must undergo in His humanity, as the “Son of man”, to redeem all men. Before Him is a reality which is greater than Himself: it is Jesus man, with all His most perfect and therefore infinitely sensitive humanity which must battle with the great adversary called “death”, “evil”, “sin”. This is for Him “the hour of darkness”, the hour of the second battle: the first battle took place in the desert, when Jesus won the first stage of this battle and “the devil left Him until an opportune time” (Lk 4:13). Getsemani is the “hour” of the second and decisive battle in which the destiny of humanity will be determined.
“He began to be grieved and distressed”
In Getsemani Jesus loses the power to do miracles, that supernatural energy which made Him rule all surrounding realities, which made demons flee, which calmed the stormy seas, which raised the dead. With this power He went toward evil and released it: “He healed them all”, the Gospel says.
Now all the evil in the world falls upon His humanity and He asks His intimate friends for help because His “soul is sorrowful unto death” and He begins to be “grieved and distressed”. But His friends are sleeping, “the adversary” put them out of action at the beginning of the hostilities, chloroforming their will because they didn’t pray and their “flesh is weak”.
Jesus is alone with the Father, and He turns to Him: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, yet not My will but Yours be done!” (Mt 26:39)
In this existential battle between one’s “ego” and God the final victory belongs to God, because Jesus subordinates His will to His Father’s will. It is the great victory, the redemption of Adam’s “no”. However, He obtains this victory in a blood bath.
“His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground”
The sweating of blood is a phenomenon which occurs in very rare cases, following an extraordinary psychic trauma. Jesus’ sweat is so abundant that it soaks into the ground. When He realizes He is fainting, He clings to the Father, seeking in Him the comfort which His sleeping brothers are not able to give Him. The Father immediately responds to His Son’s cry by sending Him an Angel.
The Angel of the Chalice
It is the Angel of consolation, the Angel of the chalice. What is in that chalice? The will of the Father, and Jesus drinks it; but while He drinks the Father’s will – in a total “yes” – the Father communicates Himself to Jesus and gives Him all His power…
The Father communicates Himself to His dying Son just as the Son, a few hours before, had communicated Himself – with the chalice – to His apostles.
In that moment, Jesus drinks all the power of Life of the Father which allows Him to get up again, reproach His friends with gentleness and go toward he who has sold Him with words that are a cry of Love: “So, you could not keep watch with Me for one hour? … Are you still sleeping and resting?” (Mk 14:41). “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:48).
“I AM HE!”: The Father is in Jesus.
Jesus becomes the usual Master, in fact He is more powerful than before, because now the Almighty Father is completely in Him. In order to become convinced let us now see what happens in the encounter with the crowd and the guards who went to get Him:
“Whom do you seek?” They answered Him: “Jesus the Nazarene”. He said to them: “I AM HE!” (Jn 18:6)
In the Italian version of the text we read: “Sono io!” (It is I), but this is because in current speech the expression sounds better phonetically. In the Latin version, instead, it is “Ego sum” and in Greek ““έγω έιμί”. The literal translation is therefore “I am!”.
“I AM” is the Father’s name, who calls Himself in this way in the Old Testament: Moses said to God: ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses: “I am who I am!” Then He said: “you shall say to the children of Israel: I AM has sent me to you” (Ex 3:13-14).
Therefore, in saying “I am he!”, Jesus describes Himself with the Father’s name. or rather, the Father declares His presence in the Son and bears witness to Himself – not only with His own name – also with His POWER which is the characteristic of God the Father: “When He said to them “I AM HE”, they drew back and fell to the ground” (Jn 18:6).
The Father, through Jesus, bears the weight of the Passion: we saw Jesus collapse to the ground, seized with “sorrow and anguish” (Mt 26:37) and “fear” (Lk 14:33). He was under so much stress that He sweat blood. He probably had a heart attack, according to the theory of Italian doctors who have thoroughly examined the phenomenon.
How could a man in those conditions immediately regain control of the situation and have such strength as to make “a large crowd with swords and clubs” fall to the ground (Mt 26:47) while a few minutes before He collapsed to the ground?
How could He have resisted the scourging, the journey to Calvary and the crucifixion?
How could He have lived the whole Passion, always being in control of men and events, like in the case of Veronica, the pious women and the good thief?
It is the Father who, through the Son, bears the weight of the Passion and masters it step by step, until Jesus cries out victoriously: “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30).
As soon as the Son utters these words, the Father slowly withdraws from His tortured body which only He kept alive until that moment.
Jesus perceives this drawing away of the Father, and for a moment feels the dismay which He experienced in Getsemani: “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: “Eli, Eli, lamà sabactani”, that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” … and Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit” (Mt 27:46-50).
Jesus fought His battle and won it, but not alone: in Him the Father fought and won, with the Power of the Spirit which will explode at the Resurrection.
This is the case for each one of us.
Let us be careful not to waste the moment of our Getsemani and let us always say: “Father, not My will but Yours be done!”
This isn’t easy, because saying “yes” to God means saying “no” to our own “ego”, denying ourselves and dying to ourselves. But this is sanctity: with every “yes”, our “ego” decreases, there is more room inside in our souls, the power of God’s Light pierces us more and more and we become less material and more spiritual. When we become a definitive “yes”, our ego will die and then each one of us will be able to say together with St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. We will finally be free.
Our life will take on a full and joyous meaning, because we will become the eternal triumph of the Father who will transform our death into an eternal resurrection. go back>>
In the fourth mystery we contemplate the triumph of the Father at the moment of every particular judgement.
And He said: “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found!’” (Lk 15:11-32).
The parable of the prodigal son is illuminating in order to understand the Father’s Heart –always open to forgiveness and faithful in its Love – and to understand the heart of man, who is so fragile and easily deceived by false lights.
Let us meditate on it together and perhaps we will be able to answer the basic question of our faith: “Why does God allow evil?”
Let us make a single comment regarding the theme we are dealing with, namely the rebirth of the new man: of the two sons, who is the “good” one?
In a strictly logical sense, it is the one who stayed home: he “has served the father for many years”; “he has never neglected his commands”, he didn’t force him to give him his share of his wealth in order to “devour it with prostitutes”; he didn’t break his father’s heart by leaving him to go toward his ruin; he didn’t dishonour his family with many scandals, including the last one: being a swineherd, since swine are considered unclean animals…
Before the most elementary moral law and Judaic law there is no doubt: the “pure” and the “just” one is the one who stayed home; the other one is a whole stratification of impurity.
And yet we feel deep inside ourselves that that’s not the way it is. Deep down we hear the echo of the father’s joy and the attitude of the “just” brother bothers. What’s wrong?
The first son is the son of law and justice, the second is the son of sin and Mercy. The first is formally “pure” and is convinced of being so because he has never disobeyed the law; but this conviction has developed in him an enormous pride which – under the cover of justice – authorizes him to attack his brother who has sinned, his father who welcomes him, and his servants who take part in the feast. He is against all and everyone.
He is the son of the law, a law which has stifled Love and which has made an enormous “ego” grow and explode in him, which doesn’t leave room for his father or brother. Because in this violent “ego” there is no room for Love, except for the barren and fruitless love of himself.
His younger brother disobeyed the law in almost all its precepts; he let himself be overcome with a whirl of passions which totally overwhelmed him; in short HE SINNED, and completely struck his own dignity, his own spirit, his own body and his own family.
But his “sin” triggered in him the whole mechanism of death: “Per peccatum, mors” says St. Paul, that is “death came because of sin”. The word “death” is understood as the death of the spirit with all its derivatives: every kind of material and spiritual suffering, from physical pain to despair. The young rebel is spiritually “dead”: “This brother of yours was dead”, the father says.
The death of his “ego” resulted from the numerous sufferings caused by his sin. Wounded and defeated by suffering – the result of sin – he feels deep in his heart a profound desire for real Love and he “feels” that only his father can give it to him. He goes home, kept alive by this hope which in his encounter with his father is fulfilled.
And thus the son, killed in the spirit of sin, receives a new, wonderful life from his father. Between father and son there is now a relationship of profound Love, not of formal fear and respect.
The two brothers are the two versions of Adam: what man could have become if he hadn’t sinned and what man is now, after realizing his own sins, and having been redeemed by the Father’s Love.
We can answer the usual question: why did God allow sin?
So that man, from the depths of sin, could know the infinite merciful Love of the Father.
John Paul II, in his description of our times, uses the parable of the prodigal son to give us a precise configuration of today’s humanity: “That son, who receives from the father the portion of the inheritance that is due to him and leaves home to squander it in a far country "in loose living," in a certain sense is the man of every period, beginning with the one who was the first to lose the inheritance of grace and original justice. The parable indirectly touches upon every breach of the covenant of love, every loss of grace, every sin.” (Dives in Misericordia).
Today there is great sin, and because of sin, suffering is reaching dreadful heights.
For this reason a new humanity will soon be born, because men –consumed by suffering – will acknowledge God as their Father and will invoke Him.
He will come through the Son and there will be great rejoicing. go back>>
In the fifth mystery we contemplate the triumph of the Father at the moment of final judgement.
“Then I saw a new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer. I also saw a new Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne cry out: "This is God's dwelling among men. He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people and He shall be their God who is always with them. He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away." ( Rev: 21:1-4)
John sees “a new heavens and a new earth”: it is man who is reborn in body and spirit and is therefore capable of receiving the Divinity who comes down from heaven. It is the Father – and in Him the heavens, all Paradise, the new Jerusalem – who comes to make his dwelling in the hearts of men.
It is the fullness of Life which is established in man and which eliminates everything that has to do with death (“there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain”). It is the Father who comes in the Son to make “all things new” (Rev 21:5) in a new creation and who gives Life to those who want it, that is to everyone, because everyone thirsts for Life.
Finally man will acknowledge God as His Father: “He who overcomes will inherit these things; I will be his God and he will be My son” (Rev 21:7).
It is the fulfilment of the “God with us” pointed out in Scriptures.
What John “sees” in a prophecy, with the spirit’s eye, one day everyone will see: it will be the great day of the final judgement, which Matthew describes in his Gospel: “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Mt 24:30-31).
With what kind of “power” will He come? With the Father’s power. Power is a special attribute of God the Father: “God the Father Almighty” we say in the Creed.
His power is creative, regenerative, a power of Love and Light… He will certainly not come to destroy, because the Father creates and doesn’t destroy; He will not come to punish, because the Father is Mercy; He will not come to add darkness to darkness, because the Father is a Light which generates and gives Light. He will come to “swallow up the covering which is over all peoples and the veil which is stretched over all nations” (Is 25:7) and which prevented men from seeing and thus loving Him.
We will finally see God as He is: Father, infinitely Father, who is capable only of loving and exerting His omnipotence of Love in order to overcome Satan who snatched His children from Him. He wants to bring them back to His heart; in order to give Himself totally to each one of them, so that they may become one with Himself, with the Son and with Love.
The request which Jesus taught us to make in the Our Father will finally be fulfilled: “Your Kingdom (of Love) come, Your will (of Love) be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
Heaven and earth will meet. The City of God, the new Jerusalem will take replace the Babylon without God.