The Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary are my other favorite set of mysteries. Each time I mediate on them, I remember that I’m not alone in my suffering. However small it may be compared to Jesus’ suffering, I remember that he understands the pain that I go through. The Sorrowful Mysteries help me to remember that Jesus made suffering holy, and I do my best to view my pain as a blessing that brings me closer to him.
The first Sorrowful Mystery is the Agony in the Garden
Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane. He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.”Matthew 26:36 &39
I relate to this Jesus so much. Instead of praying with him and being present, his apostles fell asleep when he needed them. He knew that the next day he would endure unspeakable suffering which would lead to his death. He knew that this is what he came here to do, but in his humanity, he grew anxious, and in his anxiety, he asked his father to be spared. I often ask God to take away my suffering instead of blessing me as I go through it. Instead of asking God to use my suffering for his glory, I ask him to prevent it altogether. Suffering is uncomfortable and no one wants to endure it, but there’s always goodness that comes from it.
The second Sorrowful Mystery is the Scourging at the Pillar
The people said, “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children.” At that, he released Barabbas to them. Jesus, however, he first had scourged.Matthew 27:25-26
Did you ever have an injury or an illness that caused unbearable physical pain? Did you ever tear your ACL or, like me, did you ever have strep throat that hurt so much you cried? Whatever you went through, Jesus went through it first during the Scourging at the Pillar. He suffered intense physical pain in solidarity with us. Know that when your body aches and burns, Jesus understands what you’re going through and he’s there beside you.
The third Sorrowful Mystery is the Crowning with Thorns
They stripped off His clothes and wrapped Him in a scarlet cloak. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they fixed it on His head and began to mock Him.Matthew 27:28-29
Jesus could have died just from wearing the crown of thorns. It had fourteen sharp thorns that pierced the sensitive veins and nerves in his head. Any amount of pressure on the thorns would irritate these wounds. I’ve read that when he wore the crown of thorns, Jesus suffered in solidarity with those with mental illnesses. Sometimes I feel like I’m wearing my own crown of thorns when I get anxious about my life or when I feel unworthy or useless. The Crowning with Thorns reminds me that I’m more than what I suffer from and that intrusive and anxiety-inducing thoughts don’t come from God.
The fourth Sorrowful Mystery is the Carrying of the Cross
Jesus was led away, and carrying the cross by Himself, went out to what is called the Place of the Skull. There they crucified Him.John 19:17-18
In Catholic elementary school we would pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. The older I get, the more I love praying the Stations of the Cross and reflecting on our Lord’s Passion. I think of how difficult the road to Calvary was for Jesus. I think of how he suffered willingly out of love for us. I think of how he remained gracious and patient as he suffered and didn’t grow irate with anyone. I think of how Jesus thought of all of his children individually during his Passion. In the darkest moments of his life, he kept going with immense love.
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The fifth Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion
The curtain in the sanctuary was torn in two. Jesus uttered in a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” After this, He expired.Luke 23:45-46
The curtain in the sanctuary separated God from man. When it was whole, we were unworthy of approaching God, let alone being united with him. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in two. Now, nothing separates us from God. Jesus’s death and resurrection allows us to have eternal life. Out of the most horrible thing humanity could have done–crucifying the Son of God–the most beautiful thing happened. Nothing, not even death, can separate us from our Heavenly Father when we abide in him and he abides in us. He takes our sorrows and makes them blessings.
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