The first mystery, the agony in the garden.
Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” -Matthew 26:38-39
He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. -Luke 22:44Our Lord Jesus asks his Father that the cup might pass from himself, yet it does not, because of me. Because of my sin, Jesus is in this agony. He did it for me. I can't look around at the sorrows of the world and declare it to be because of those sins, those people. Jesus asked that the cup might pass, but because of the things I have done it could not. It is possible that every other person had denied the tempter, lived in a state of perfect grace and never sinned. But still, because of me, the Father did not spare His son from such a death for me. Such things Jesus knew would happen to him, but he was in such agony not at the thought of his suffering but at the knowledge of all the poor souls who would see his sacrifice and turn away, say no. All the sins that I have done and will do, Jesus suffers for me.
The second mystery, the scourging at the pillar.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. -John 19:1One sentence, so much pain. This is what I do to Jesus with my sin. I don't just hurt his feelings, I don't just turn away from him. I scourge him. I take my whip of sin and strike Jesus with it. It tears open his flesh and yet he takes it, Jesus takes this terrible attack that I make against him. Then he forgives me. Every time, especially when I lash out in anger at those I love, I'm lashing Jesus with my anger. Each time I do so much hurt to Jesus, he forgives me again. I cry, I promise to never do such a terrible thing to Jesus again, never again hurt 'the least of these brothers and sisters' who hold the image of Jesus. But again and again I lash with my anger. And so Jesus is scourged by me.
The third mystery, the crowning with thorns.
And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. -John 19:2-3
They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. -Matthew 27:30They took his purpose and message, and wielded it as a weapon. Jesus is the king of heaven and Earth, when he comes in glory every knee will bow to him. But he was crowned with thorns that dug into his flesh, and slapped and mocked about his kingship. Jesus was beaten physically and his dignity was beaten. How often to I make light of the truth of Jesus and what he has done for me? How often do I fail to tell others about my king? I beat Jesus on the head with the reed of my sin, driving the thorns deeper. Blinded by his own blood burning his eyes, Jesus forgives me for doing that to him.
The fourth mystery, the carrying of the cross.
Oh how I want to weep for Jesus, for what I've done to him with my sin. The hurt and suffering he endured, what I did to my God. But Jesus says not to weep for himself, but instead for myself, and my children. The days to come strike a fearsome image and as a mother, Jesus's words leave me trembling with terror. He tells the women to weep for themselves and their children as he carries his own cross to be crucified, carrying it on torn shoulders from the scourging, with the blood still in his eyes and the thorns still in his head. The agony was surely still in his heart, and yet he says not to weep for him but for ourselves, and our children. Myself, my children, is who I should weep for, rather than this beautiful suffering man and God. Such sorrow I have for my sins which have placed this cross on Jesus and done so much more that I can't even comprehend, that I should say to the mountains, 'fall on me,' and to the hills, 'cover me.'When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'fall on us,' and to the hills, 'cover us.' For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" -Luke 23:26-31
The fifth mystery, the crucifixion.
I have gone so far in my sin as to crucify my God and Savior. After so much suffering, Jesus has nails driven through his body, pinning him to the cross where he will remain for the rest of his life. I put him there with my sin. With my selfishness, anger, sloth, and every other time I turned from Jesus. He loves me so much that he handed over his spirit to this death, to save me. Who am I that God, the creator of all that is, would become human to die like this, to save me? He could have stopped there, he died for me, he saved me. But just before dying, Jesus gives his mother to be mother of his church, mother of the people of Earth, my mother. Jesus's perfect, sinless mother who he created free from original sin, who with her yes accepted and brought him into his human life, is now to be my mother? Who better to help me come closer to my savior, to love me as she loves all her children, and to present what small offerings I might have to her dearly loved son?Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. -John 19:25-30
Such love I feel from these sorrowful mysteries. Such unbearable love that God has for me to save me from my sin in this way. Such sorrow I feel for my sin which caused such suffering. I pray that I might sin no more, and forever avoid the near occasion of sin. I pray that I might never more turn my back on my beloved God and hurt him so much with my sin.