The sorrowful mysteries form, together with the joyful mysteriesthe luminous mysteries and the glorious mysteriesThe complete prayer of the Holy Rosary. These mysteries are prayed exclusively on Tuesdays and Fridays. Except during the Lentwhich are also prayed on Sundays.
They go through all the moments of the Passion of Our Lord. From his agony in the Garden of Olives to his death on the cross, with the palpable manifestation of all his love for mankind, and which are the origin of the mystery of our salvation.
For all these reasons, Pope St. John Paul II tells us in his encyclical letter Rosarium Virginis Mariaewhich the sorrowful mysteries guide the Christian to relive the death of Jesus, placing ourselves at the foot of the cross and at Mary's side, in order to understand with her the great love of God.
First sorrowful mystery: we contemplate The prayer of Jesus in the garden
And he said to his disciples: -Sit here, while I pray.
- Gospel of St. Matthew 14:36-39:
Then Jesus went with them to a garden, called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray." And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to feel sadness and anguish. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful to the point of death; remain here and watch with me." And he went forward a little, and fell on his face to the ground, and he prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not as I will, but as you will."
Unconditional acceptance of suffering "Not my will, but yours be done".
With our spirits stirred, we come back again and again to the image of Jesus praying, who in his anguish accepts the will of the Father and rejects the temptations of the devil.
Am I able, like Jesus, to reject temptations and wait patiently and lovingly for God's will to be done, just as Jesus did?
Lord Jesus, I ask that, when I falter in prayer, your example may encourage me even though what I had hoped for may not happen. Help me to accept Your will, not to fall asleep in the most important vigils of my life.
Second Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate The Scourging of the Lord
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
- Gospel of St. Matthew 27:26.
Pilate released Barabbas; and Jesus, having had him scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Jesus was unjustly bound and scourged by sinners
This mystery brings to mind the merciless torture, of innumerable lashes on the holy and immaculate members of the Lord. The Virgin Mary, in pain, accompanies him during his suffering. Let us think with what concern, pain and bitterness many mothers suffer today the injustices, illnesses or problems that their children experience.
Lord Jesus, in the face of injustice, may love and peace reign in my heart. May I know how to endure the scourges of life and be able to forgive those who wield the whip. Help me to rise again and to persevere in the mission you have entrusted to me.
Third sorrowful mystery: we contemplate The crowning of thorns
And the soldiers put on his head a crown of thorns which they had plaited and clothed him with a purple robe.
- Gospel of John 19:1-3
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers put a crown of thorns which they had twisted together on his head and clothed him with a purple robe. And they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews! And they slapped him.
Jesus, in chains, was subjected to mockery with the crown of thorns
Each thorn tore his skin, and the spilled blood prevented him from seeing, and yet he continued on his way to the Cross. -You and I, haven't we crowned him with thorns, and slapped him, and spat on him again? No more, Jesus, no more... And a firm and concrete resolution arises in our hearts.
Lord Jesus, may I be able to understand all my brothers and sisters and may my actions conform to your merciful love.
Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate Jesus with the Cross on his shoulders
And, carrying the Cross, he went out to the place called the place of the Skull, in Hebrew Golgotha.
- Gospel of St. Mark 15:21-22:
And they compelled one who was passing by, a certain Simon of Cyrene, returning from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they led him to the place of Golgotha, which means the place of the Skull.
Jesus carries the cross for all of us.
Jesus walked with the great weight of the Cross that bore all our sins, and his great love for us strengthened his every step.. In this mystery Jesus Christ represents the human race with his continuous walk along the path of life. Contemplating Jesus Christ ascending Calvary, we learn, with our hearts rather than with our minds, to embrace and kiss the cross, to carry it generously and joyfully.
Jesus carries the Cross for you: you carry it for Jesus.. But do not carry the Cross dragging... Carry it on a plumb line, because your Cross, thus carried, will not be just any Cross: it will be... the Holy Cross.
Lord Jesus, may we be humble in carrying our cross and when we falter may we turn to the consolation of our Heavenly Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate the Death of Jesus on the Cross
There they crucified him with two others, one on either side of Jesus. Pilate had a title written and had it placed on the cross. It was written: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
- Gospel of Luke 23:33-34:
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him and the two malefactors, one on the right and the other on the left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"... It was about noon when, the sun being eclipsed, there was darkness over the whole land until mid-afternoon. The veil of the sanctuary was torn in the middle, and Jesus, with a loud cry, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit," and, having said this, he breathed his last.
Jesus makes his great sacrifice of love for us all
Life and death represent the two extremes of Christ's sacrificeFrom his birth in Bethlehem, where he reveals himself to all men in his first appearance on earth, to the final sigh that gathers all the pains to sanctify us. And Mary is by the Cross, as she was by the Child of Bethlehem.
"What a great sacrifice of love You, Lord, have made for us! Detached from the earth, you gave everything you had, your Mother, your Spirit, and what do we do for you?".
Lord, I ask you to help me to be obedient to your commands and submissive to all the precepts of the Church you founded. Help me Lord to intensely desire "to be with you in Paradise..." to recognize your Sacrifice of the Cross as the greatest act of love that can exist in the world and to come to meet you since you are waiting for me with open arms.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, St. Josemaría Escrivá.
Meditation of Pope John XXIII for the sorrowful mysteries.