First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
Matthew 26:36-39 : “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will”
Catechism of the Catholic Church: #612-614
Reflection: Jesus knows torture and death lie ahead and he prays that the cup will pass. He also prays God’s will be done. In his agony, he carries the weight of our sins so that we may be saved. I imagine the courage it took to give himself to God’s plan. We too suffer and while we may pray the suffering will end, we are given support from Our Lord to endure, as Jesus received strength from the angel in the garden. I pray for the courage to conform to God’s will especially when it may be difficult.
Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
Matthew 27:26 :”Pilate released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified”
Catechism of the Catholic Church: #572
Reflection: Jesus is brutally tortured to near death. Scourging was more than mere beating; it involved using instruments to inflict the most pain and blood loss possible without actually killing. Jesus was beaten for our sins. His mother watched as her son’s blood spilled on the ground. I imagine the horror she felt watching her precious child be brutalized, and how hard it must have been to not run to his rescue. I pray for forgiveness for my sins, the sins that contributed to the torture of my Lord.
Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
Matthew 27:27-29: “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!”
Catechism of the Catholic Church: #572
Reflection: Jesus is stripped, reclothed with a scarlet robe and crowned with thorns. He is mocked and spit upon by the soldiers. The people demand his crucifixion. Despite his innocence, he does not defend himself. He is strong in the face of hatred. I imagine his sadness at the people’s ignorance, his sorrow at their contempt. I pray for courage to defend God’s truth and strength to withstand the criticism and hatred of others.
Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross
Mark 15:21-22 : “And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull)”
Catechism of the Catholic Church: #618
Reflection: Jesus’ humiliation continues as he carries the Cross he will be crucified on through the town and people continue to mock him. I imagine the pain of the heavy wood against his back, rubbing against the open wounds from the scourging, the hot sun on him, the thirst, and hunger. I imagine his grief at seeing Mary, knowing she is watching her son die. Jesus is patient in enduring this suffering for us. I pray for more forgiveness, knowing my sins add to the weight of that Cross. I pray for patience in my own times of difficulty.
Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion
Luke 23:33-46 : “And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ …It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last”
Catechism of the Catholic Church: #561, 599 – 611, 613 – 623
Reflection: Jesus arrives and is nailed to the cross. As he hangs, slowly dying, he is comforted by the presence of Mary, her sister, John and Mary Magdalene. Mary is strong. She has watched him suffer and now die and she never leaves him. I imagine her heartache. In his words to Mary, “Woman, behold, your son” all of us are entrusted to her love. I pray in thanksgiving for Christ’s suffering and sacrifice so that I may be saved.