Christians are called to reflect on the Passion of Our Lord, especially on Fridays.
One way we can do this is to pray and meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
As we continue our spiritual journey, we face many trials – some personal, others shared.
By entering into the Sorrowful Mysteries, we join our sufferings with those of Jesus and Mary and draw on the many graces available to us.
First, I’ll present each of the five mysteries as they appear in Scripture.
Then, I’ll provide my reflection based on a spiritual fruit of the mystery.
Let us now journey through the Sorrowful Mysteries with Our Lord and Our Lady.
First Mystery: Agony in the Garden
Spiritual Fruit: Vigilance
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsem′ane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb′edee, 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 thou wilt.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36-41)
In the garden Jesus prayed so fervently that He sweat blood. He was preparing for His bitter Passion and felt the weight of all the sins of humanity.
Meanwhile, the disciples were overcome by exhaustion and fell asleep.
When Jesus looks at each of us, what state does He find us in?
Does He find us asleep, overcome by our trials? Or awake, caring for our soul and doing all that we can to be faithful Christians?
The Lord’s command to the disciples is the same for each of us — we, too, must watch and pray.
We’re expected to be spiritually alert at all times in order to overcome temptation and sin.
If the disciples prayed in the garden, maybe they would have remained with Jesus during His Passion.
If they listened to Jesus, they would have been spiritually prepared for the coming trial.
The world is in a state of great uncertainty and chaos. These events show us that we must always be alert because anything can happen at any moment.
We must spend time with the Lord every day in prayer and ask for His grace.
Let us pray without ceasing so our spirit will be strengthened and ready for every trial.
Second Mystery: Scourging at the Pillar
Spiritual Fruit: Purification
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him (John 19:1).
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53: 4-5).
Pontius Pilate questioned Jesus and believed He was innocent. He ordered Jesus to be scourged in an attempt to satisfy the angry mob, but it only made them more bloodthirsty.
This event is explained by only one line or two in each Gospel. It is described in more vivid detail in private revelation.
Most of us can’t imagine the true brutality of this event. Most images of the scourging, as well as the other events of the Passion, are toned down for our sake.
The Lord was tied to a pillar and whipped by men with various weapons.
Much of His blood poured out. His entire body was bruised and disfigured.
If He was not Divine, and had not willed to continue the Passion and complete His mission, He would have surely died from the scourging.
The wounds Christ received in this event show us how ugly, evil and destructive sin really is.
The Lord endured the beatings to make reparation for every sin of humanity — including mine and yours.
His Precious Blood purifies and heals us so that we are not defeated by sin.
Let us guard ourselves against every kind of evil, especially sexual immorality and sins of the flesh.
Let us stop wounding the Lord by our sins so that His cruel scourging was not in vain.
Third Mystery: Crowning with Thorns
Spiritual Fruit: Humility
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!” And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him (Matthew 27:27-31).
Jesus was mocked and humiliated. He did nothing to deserve this treatment; He was completely blameless.
He could have stopped the ridicule in an instant, but He didn’t.
Even though He is the Son of God and King of the Universe, Christ humbled Himself and accepted the mortifications and sufferings.
He lowered Himself, taking the form of a slave, because it was necessary for His mission.
We must not be proud or exalt ourselves. We must look to Jesus and model ourselves after Him.
Let us remember that sometimes we must stand up and fight when we are persecuted; and sometimes we must lower ourselves and bear humiliation. For the Lord sees everything and will right every wrong.
Fourth Mystery: Carrying of the Cross
Spiritual Fruit: Community
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyre′ne, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus (Luke 23:26).
Because of the severe torture, Jesus became weary while carrying the Cross.
Jesus could have carried the Cross by Himself, but He let Simon help.
This shows that we’re not expected to bear our trials alone.
Like Jesus, we must accept help when we are weary. Like Simon, we must offer help when we are asked or when we see someone suffering.
Some believe they can do everything on their own and don’t need anyone. Others believe they are weak and a burden because they require help.
Both groups are wrong — we all need community.
We must be vulnerable and let others witness our struggles. We must be courageous and let ourselves witness the suffering of others.
Let us remember that we all need community, especially when carrying our cross.
Fifth Mystery: Crucifixion
Spiritual Fruit: Mercy
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 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.” And they cast lots to divide his garments (Luke 23:32-34).
Pause for a moment of silence.
Jesus was completely innocent and free from sin. And yet, He was condemned to death.
The suffering He endured was worse than what any one will ever experience. And yet, Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who tortured and crucified Him.
Even though the sins of humanity, our sins, were responsible for His Passion and Death, Jesus continued to love and forgive.
Mercy triumphed over justice.
If God, who is perfect, can forgive those who killed Him, should we not forgive those who hurts us, whether they show remorse or not?
We must learn from Jesus’ example and be merciful. We must also beg the Lord to have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Because of our sins we deserve Divine Justice, but let us learn from this mystery and always implore Divine Mercy.
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Today, October 7th is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary.
Our Lady wants every one to pray the Rosary at least once per day.
If you don’t already do so, please begin praying it every day.
You can pray the five mysteries in one sitting or break them up throughout the day.
During this strange and tumultuous time, this powerful prayer is greatly needed.
Let us never be afraid of suffering.
Let us see it through the eyes of faith and believe that we can endure every trial with God’s grace.
+ Photos from the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Lourdes, France