Walking With Christ As We Pray the Rosary: A Reflection on the Sorrowful Mysteries
By Br. Vincent McDermott, OSB, March 2016
Last month, I was asked to give a talk to our Abbey Oblates about the Rosary. I would like share my reflection hoping you may also find some spiritual nourishment as your cultivate your relationship and love for our Blessed Mother and making it come to life with your personal imprint.
Take the “Creed,” the mission statement of who we are as Catholics and what we, Christians, believe. All through the Creed you have the word BELIEVE. All through the creed you also have the word FAITH. As Catholics we have faith and we believe in Almighty God our Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Catholics we have the confidence in what we ask for in prayer and we hope to receive according to God’s divine will and all for the purpose of our salvation. Thus, anything that does not give Glory to God or lead to salvation is not necessary.
As we pray and meditate on the Sorrowful Mystery especially during Lent, we become spiritually deeply immersed into the Pascal Mystery we look forward to celebrate on Easter.
You first start out with the story of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was praying to the Father: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:29. Our own agonies, trials and tribulations, in life we can meditate on as we recite the Hail Mary’s and offer them to Lord, surrendering ourselves that his will be done.
In the Second Mystery, we encounter the story is the Scourging at the Pillar. All I can think of is the pain our Lord felt when being scourged for our transgressions. Some times in life we feel scourged and beaten up like our Lord. We can take courage, drawing strength from our Lord, he who suffered for us all.
The third story is the crowning of the thorns. Once again as you recite the ten Hail Marys while meditating on the suffering of our Lord, we are invited to unite our own sufferings and pain with that of Christ.
Praying the fourth mystery, we encounter Jesus carrying the cross to Mount Calvary on which he would be hung. Jesus is worn out by the heavy burden of the cross but he keeps going and going. We all have crosses; some heavier than others, but a cross is a cross. When crosses become burdensome, we can look up to Jesus as a role model of courage, strength and perseverance – never giving up. Jesus tells us that, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24
In my own meditation I like to add the Stations of the Cross and in how many times one falls but through God’s grace and help we are able to get up and continue towards our goal to heaven. Another beautiful part of this meditation is that we all have the Simon’s that help us along the way.
Finally our Lord is Crucified at Mount Golgotha with the two criminals (Luke 23:33). He would then breathe his last breath. This story can be most private and personal for each individual or if one is praying in community. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and the whole world and suffered greatly so we could have life eternally with God.
One of the thieves mock Jesus, the other cries out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42. The choice is ours; either we chose to deny God’s mercy or open up our hearts to the Lord simply asking, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Our choices can either lead us to Christ or alienate us from the Savior who died for us on the cross.
As you pray your last ten Hail Mary’s know that Mary, Mother of the Church will help you understand how all this suffering in the world can help us love God and others, and prepare for eternal life. For she was the one who stood with her son at the foot of the Cross witnessing the agony of our Suffering Messiah. She never abandon him in his moment of greatest suffering for the salvation of the world.
May God bless you and continue to grow in your love of Risen Lord and our Blessed Mother as yourself to prayer and most especially the “Most Holy Rosary”