The final sorrowful mystery is the Crucifixion and death of Our Lord. The fruit of this mystery is Perseverance in faith, grace for a holy death and Forgiveness. This story is found in all the Gospels and if you can’t find it it’s rather easy and throughout the epistles it is mentioned as well. We are all well aware of this story or you could check out the film mother! if you need a refresher (please don’t). Jesus is crucified between two thieves one berates him to “He helped other but can’t save himself” the other asks “Don’t you fear God, for we are all suffering the same fate although we have been fairly judges for the crimes we’ve done this man (Jesus) did nothing.” He continues to Jesus saying “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replies “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This is what is so special about our faith not matter when or where if you but ask it shall be given unto you. Forgiveness is a huge topic and even Pope Francis talked about it this past Sunday’s Angelus (17 Sept) where he said “Forgiveness does not deny the injustice one has been subjected to, but it acknowledges the fact that the human being, created in the image of God, is always superior to the wrong that is committed.” This is what we need to keep in mind for even in the Our Father we say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” the second part is the important one.
The fourth sorrowful mystery we focus on the carrying of the cross. It is mentioned in passing in all the Gospels and is the entirety of the Stations of the Cross. The fruit of this mystery is patience. Carrying the cross is a task that we are all called to do and it take patience. Jesus calls us all in the Gospel “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” This is difficult for many of us to do denying ourselves and then taking up a cross to follow Jesus. So many of us struggle with both or either one, we need to be willing to risk everything. Pope John Paul II has a wonderful message on this for the 16th World Youth Day back in 2001 in which he reflects on this quote. John Paul breaks it down into easy pieces to deny oneself giving up one’s own plans that are trite while accepting God’s plan. He continues talking about taking up our crosses doesn’t have to mean a physical thing that leads to death but it is the ultimate sign of love that is the cross that we should bear. There is nothing else of more importance beside love and it is a lasting thing as well unlike the ephemeral nature of everything with instant gratification especially with all the social media where things don’t mean anything. As St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians (13:4-8) “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” This is how we should be living our lives, I hope that we can all strive for this simple little thing.
The third sorrowful mystery is the Crowning with Thorns it really isn’t that big of a thing in the Gospels it is mentioned in passing in Matthew, Mark and John around the scourging which were mentioned last week. There are a bunch of relics which are thorns from the crown around the world so If you want to go see one you are in luck, Notre Dame in Paris has a portion which they bring every first Friday during the year and all Fridays in Lent. The fruit of this mystery is Contempt of the World (moral courage). This is a difficult fruit since it seems like it’s going against the world itself but it is more about the things of the world that we get all caught up in. We need to be able to separate ourselves from the things of the world, since we cannot serve both God and mammon. Sure the idea is simple and sure is a place where many people want to be especially with the world currently. However we need to be humble all too often in the world today that is obsessed with what people have done more than the person themselves, yet we read in the Bible “whomever exalts themselves will be humbled and whomever humbles themselves will be exalted”. Let us all try to be more humble in general.
The second Sorrowful Mystery is the Flagellation of Christ, the Scourging at the pillar is one of the early parts of the Passion Narrative. The fruit of the mystery is Purity and mortification.
This is the sixth station is the Scriptural Stations of the Cross and the fourth of the New Stations of the Cross used in the Philippines which is also based on the Scriptures but I’ll get to these during Lent. The event appears in all the Gospels but in different ways Mark and Luke have it taking place with the High Priest guards blindfolding and spitting on Jesus asking “Who hit you?”, while Matthew and John have it take place after Pilate had Jesus who had him flogged. This happens immediately before the next mystery with the Crowing with Thorns. It’s more about looking inward than outward we’ve got to forget about the things of this world as Louis de Montfort put it we need “to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite”. Sure we in general are good at doing this in Lent with our fasting and giving something up but perhaps we should be doing this more often. Most of the time when you hear mortification your mind turns to the extremes the lashing oneself and wearing a hairshirt, yet there is joy in suffering as John Paul II points out Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow, it is supposed to be struggle. Let us all reflect on how we struggle at carrying our crosses and what we can do to try and lead a more pure life.
We’ve reached the Sorrowful mysteries this time around. These chronicle the events of the Passion of Jesus. These can be found in all the Gospels but the synoptic ones (Mark, Luke, Matthew) have a more agony since in John’s Gospel Judas was there soon after they arrived. The fruit of this decade is uniformity to the will of God and Sorrow for sin, as the disciple couldn’t stay awake for an hour while Jesus prayed that the cup would pass him by. The Agony is often depicted in art but has also made it into the musical Jesus Christ Superstar with a whole song, and Beethoveen also wrote an oratorio about this event in opus 85 Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives). It is Beethoven’s only oratorio. If you have about an hour take a listen to the oratorio. Let us all try to stay bound to the will of God and remember to go to confession.
The final Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist. This takes place at the Last Supper and is featured in all the Gospels. The fruit of the mystery is Adoration. This is one of the high points of our faith that we remember at each and every mass, “Take Eat, Take Drink, Do this in memory of me.” That’s the Last Supper in a nutshell and all to often we forget to show reverence to this idea. Let us all remember that this is the seed of our faith. Without this event we’d all be some other religion now and sure numbers of the faithful are falling across the world but we can bring out awe and wonder out into it. Sharing our joy in the Eucharistic banquet table we all we sit at one day.
The fourth decade of the luminous mysteries is the Transformation. If you remember this was the Gospel reading this past Sunday. Now the story is in all the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) and is referenced in the second letter of Peter (2 Peter 1:16–18). Jesus took Peter and “The Sons of Thunder” James and John up to a mountain where Jesus turned radiant and there appeared Moses and Elijah who conversed with Jesus. The fruit of this mystery is a Desire for holiness. At the Transfiguration Peter wanted to build tents for Moses/Elijah/Jesus but you can’t stay up on top of the mountain in your mountaintop experience. We need to go out for there and hope to one day glimpse the pureness of holiness when we need it. Even Jesus told Peter, James and John not to tell anyone of what had happened before the Son of Man had risen. All to often the faithful dwell in the mountain top and look down on those who have sinned or live a different lifestyle than they approve of, look at all the talk about Fr. James Martin’s new book about building a bridge between the LGBT community and the church. As Jesus say let whomever is without sin cast the first stone.
The third luminous mystery is a bit harder to exactly pin point in the Bible since it is in all the Gospels several time, “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand” is the general message from Jesus about the Kingdom. The fruit of this mystery is Trust in God. The beatitudes give us a nice set of guidelines blessed are the poor in spirit or the poor for their is the kingdom of God. This is a radical thing to think of being “poor” when everyone else in society only wants to get rich. However I find that you learn more from things that cost you less and you get more from these experiences that earn you little. Let us all try to trust more in God this upcoming week and try to bring about the Kingdom here on earth.
The second Luminous mystery is the wedding feast at Cana, the place where the first miracle took place. It is found in John’s Gospel (2:1-11) the story goes that Jesus and Mary were invited to a wedding and the party ran out of wine. Mary told Jesus to do something about this and he said “My hour has not yet come”, so Mary goes to the servants and tells them to do what he tells you. The servants fill up containers with water and then give it to the chief steward. The steward after tasting it goes to the bridegroom remarks that usually the best wine is usually served first. The fruit of this mystery is to Jesus through Mary. The whole Mary thing is a tough part for Christians to understand about Catholics but Mary is a conduit between mankind and to Jesus. As these words of Mary are the last time we hear from her in the Bible “Do whatever he tells you.” This is something that we need to remember we need to listen to what Jesus says.
We have made our way through one of the mysteries and now it is on to the newest one introduced by Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 2002). These are the Luminious mysteries or mysteries of Light. The first Luminious mystery is the Baptism of Jesus. It can be found in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) where we hear from the sky “This is/You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” and in John’s Gospel while it doesn’t have the baptism story it does have John the Baptist testifying about Jesus saying that “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” The fruit of the mystery is openness to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is something that we all should be praying for to come into our lives and inspire all our actions.