The Agony of Jesus in the Garden

1st Sorrowful Mystery

Together with His disciples, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray to His Heavenly Father. Although accompanied by His followers and friends, Jesus feels utterly alone as He contemplates the mission He is soon to complete. Although fully submissive and dedicated to His Father’s will, Jesus allows His humanity to feel the immense horror and pain that His sacrifice will entail. Jesus sees the sins of all mankind, whose guilt he will take upon Himself. This mystery teaches us that in times of darkness and anguish, God is present to give us strength against the temptation towards weakness. We are comforted by our trust that God’s Mercy and Justice will prevail.

The Scourging at the Pillar

2nd Sorrowful Mystery

After Jesus was seized in the garden and taken in as a criminal, Pilate orders Jesus to be scourged to satisfy the hardened people. Jesus is bound to the pillar and mercilessly scourged with leather thongs and sharp bones. The scourging strips Him of every ounce of His strength, and every inch of His body is covered in wounds. This mystery teaches us to stand strong in the face of ridicule, criticism, and persecution. It is in Christ alone that we find peace and the strength to defend truth.

Jesus is Crowned with Thorns

3rd Sorrowful Mystery

Jesus is taken into the Praetorium and clothed in an old purple cloak. The soldiers weave a crown of thorns and placing it on His head, they force the thorns deep into His scalp. The soldiers bow and spit upon Him in mockery of His claimed Kingship. Jesus is tortured horrendously and then taken to Pilate for final judgment. Pilate, noticing that the crowds are still not appeased by the pitiful sight before them, allows for Jesus to be turned over to death, and the murderous Barrabas to be released in His place. This mystery teaches us of the unspeakable humiliation Christ endured for reparation of our sins. Through Christ’s humiliation, He upholds the dignity of all those who are demeaned by violence.

Jesus Carried the Cross

4th Sorrowful Mystery

Jesus submits to His fate, and bears the cross on his bruised and wounded shoulders. The journey to Calvary is excruciating as the soldiers ruthlessly drive Him forward. However, Jesus’ battered body is to weak to endure, and succumbing to the limits of His humanity, He falls three times under the weight of the Cross. Jesus, at last, encounters His grief stricken Mother, and they share in unmatched heartache. The soldiers recognizing that Jesus is physically unable to go on, force Simeon of Cyrene to carry the cross behind Him. This mystery teaches us that we are to bear our trials with patience and pure acceptance of God’s will. With Christ living in us, we too can take up our cross and follow Him.

The Crucifixion of our Lord

5th Sorrowful Mystery

The soldiers lay Jesus upon His cross, and drive nails into His hands and feet. The cross is erected, and Christ hangs blamelessly between two criminals in the presence of His afflicted Mother. Christ promises forgiveness to the repentant thief on His right, and finally, with His last utterance, commends His Spirit to His Father in Heaven. The side of Jesus is pierced with a lance, and His body is taken down from the cross and into the longing arms of His mother. This mystery teaches us to forgive those who trespass against us. Christ lovingly bore the persecution that hatred caused. We too are to pardon the injuries we face from the hatred of others.