The Rosary is a form of prayer used especially in the Catholic Church named for the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. The Rosary prayer focuses on the life of Christ from the Scriptures...it is partly a history lesson. To that end, the beads of the Rosary are divided into five decades (sections) and each decade represents an event from the life of Christ. These five events are grouped into a set of Mysteries, each with five events. The four Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, Luminous) focus on an important part of the life of Christ.
Looking for a special way to pray the Rosary? Try bringing a Living Rosary to your sport team. This beautiful prayer service takes some preparation and practice, but many find it makes for a powerful and prayerful tradition. A living rosary is when people are used to represent each bead of the rosary. Each person leads one prayer of the rosary. Gather your athletes (61 spots in all) to embody the Rosary. If you have fewer than 61 people, you may double-up duties.
Play Like a Champion has sports themed reflections based on the mysteries of the rosary. Consider praying either a single decade or an entire rosary with your team and reflecting on how God is speaking to you individually and as a team.
The SORROWFUL MYSTERIES of the Rosary
Prayed on Tuesdays, Fridays; daily through Lent
The Agony of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-56)
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Reflection: We are often like the disciples…hanging back without giving our full effort and energy to our team. Inspire us, Jesus, to be more like you by putting our whole heart and full energy into our team so that we can become all that you created us to be.
As an athlete, you may have felt betrayed by a coach, a teammate or a game situation. Perhaps you didn’t get the starting position when you felt you deserved the spot or maybe a teammate betrayed your trust and shared something with others that you wanted kept confidential or an official made a bad call. Pray for the fortitude to not react with anger or violence. In the example of Christ’s response in the Garden, pray to respond with forgiveness and acceptance.