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Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary


The First Sorrowful Mystery:

The Agony in the Garden


Your beloved Son Jesus is alone. Can you feel, Mother Mary, how He is suffering and trembling at this moment? His disciples are asleep, they are full of fear and confusion. Not long ago on the same night, they received His very Body and Blood. They heard Jesus speak words of infinite tenderness and love. But now everything seems dark and dreadful. Scripture tells us that an angel came to console Jesus in His agony. I wonder, dearest Mother, if the angel reminded Jesus of the moment when you gave your FIAT at the Annunciation. Now He too speaks words of total abandonment and assent – “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.” (Mt. 26, 39) My Mother, so often I fail to speak these words out of fear what could happen if I really abandoned myself to the hands of the Father. And so, I seek refuge in you and I join my voice to yours, that my FIAT, no matter how small, may console the Heart of your Son Jesus. 


The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar


As this scene unfolds before my eyes, I want to run to you, Mother Mary, to hide from the terror before me. You bury me in your embrace, as tears run down your cheeks. I can hear with each whip, the voice of Jesus that is full of pain and suffering. Then suddenly silence fills the square. The scourging has ended and for the first time I dare to look up. Our Lord is covered in blood, my heart breaks and I can only look at you, Mother, and whisper a faint “How much more does He have to endure?”. A profound strength and courage is in your eyes, Mary, even through the tears. “It is not finished yet”, you respond. So, I remain closely at your side as we follow Jesus. 


The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns


After more humiliations, Jesus is led inside, while I remain with you, Mary, in the crowd. What are they doing to Him now? Then suddenly the door of Pilate’s palace swings wide open. Soldiers drove Jesus out like an animal and I can see that they put a purple cloak around Him and crowned Him with a crown made of large thorns. Pilate yells loudly “ECCE HOMO” (Jn. 19, 5) Behold the man. I hear another voice right next to me respond quietly “ECCE ANCILLA DOMINI” (Lk. 1, 38) – Behold the handmaid of the Lord. It is you, O Mary! Did Jesus hear your voice? The crowd begins to shout, demanding that Jesus would be crucified. I tremble when I think about what will happen next. But at your side, Mary, I stand and in the midst of all the shouts of hatred and anger, we behold Jesus with all the love of our hearts. 



The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus Carries His Cross


We have been standing silently for a while, when suddenly there is movement. Jesus is led among the crowd now with a heavy cross that had been laid on His shoulders. He is already staggering and weakened. Mary, you take me by the hand and quietly we walk with Him. Nobody stops us, the crowd is too angry and loud to even take notice of us. Women are wailing, men are screaming, but we are silent, as Jesus is silent. The roads are narrow and uneven and more than once, Jesus falls beneath the weight of His cross. The rough hands of the soldiers force Him back up when all of a sudden, His eyes meet yours, Mary. In an exchange of the most loving tenderness, you seem to lift Him up by the power of your love. And then He looks over to me, His eyes pierce my innermost being. He looks at me as if to say “You are worth all of this. I would carry this cross to the ends of the world for you. Will you let Me do this for you?” I whisper quietly “Yes, my Jesus. I need You to do this for me!” and together we move on, step by step, towards the hill of Calvary. 



The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord


The cross has been lifted up, Jesus is fastened to it and in the shelter of your arm, Mother Mary, I stand at the foot of the cross. Minute after minute goes by, yet time seems to stand still. Jesus already spoke a few words from the cross, but now we hear His faint voice again. “I thirst” (Jn. 19, 28) My heart is responding to His desire in a way that I don’t understand. I want to give myself, my own life totally to Him when I hear His request. When I ask you, Mary, what He meant, you whisper in my ear “He thirsts for you, my child, He thirsts for your heart. Will you give it to Him?”While the soldiers bring vinegar to quench the thirst of Jesus, I look up to Him and I give Him my heart and all that I am. Then He breathes His last. At the end of this day, I walk down the hill of Calvary with you, Mother Mary. My heart is broken into pieces, overwhelmed with sorrow and with all that I have seen this day. I cannot believe that Jesus is really dead. My mind is filled with thoughts and memories. Then I hear your voice once again, Mary. This time you are singing. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Lk. 1, 46-47) Hesitantly I join in, and I notice how hope begins to fill my heart. He will rise! Yes, He will conquer death!

Sr. Fidelis Marie, CFR

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