As we journey towards the Death and Resurrection of Christ this Lent, it is helpful to take a companion along for the ride. The Blessed Mother, who suffered greatly at the Passion and Death of her Son, yet also felt such joy at His Resurrection, can be the perfect guide, due to her love for us and to her intimacy with the Lord.
This Lent, we will walk with Mary by meditating on The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Here’s what Blessed John Paul II said about The Sorrowful Mysteries in his letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae:
The Gospels give great prominence to the sorrowful mysteries of Christ. From the beginning Christian piety, especially during the Lenten devotion of the Way of the Cross, has focused on the individual moments of the Passion, realizing that here is found the culmination of the revelation of God's love and the source of our salvation. The Rosary selects certain moments from the Passion, inviting the faithful to contemplate them in their hearts and to relive them. The sequence of meditations begins with Gethsemane, where Christ experiences a moment of great anguish before the will of the Father, against which the weakness of the flesh would be tempted to rebel. There Jesus encounters all the temptations and confronts all the sins of humanity, in order to say to the Father: “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42 and parallels). This “Yes” of Christ reverses the “No” of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. And the cost of this faithfulness to the Father's will is made clear in the following mysteries; by his scourging, his crowning with thorns, his carrying the Cross and his death on the Cross, the Lord is cast into the most abject suffering: Ecce homo! This abject suffering reveals not only the love of God but also the meaning of man himself.
Ecce homo: the meaning, origin and fulfilment of man is to be found in Christ, the God who humbles himself out of love “even unto death, death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). The sorrowful mysteries help the believer to relive the death of Jesus, to stand at the foot of the Cross beside Mary, to enter with her into the depths of God's love for man and to experience all its life-giving power.
The Sorrowful Mysteries, which are typically recited on Tuesdays and Fridays, are appropriate for the season of repentance that we have just entered into.
Let us begin to contemplate the face of the Risen One as we begin our Rosary. Find some quiet time for prayer today, and start your rosary with an Apostles’ Creed, an Our Father for the Pope’s intentions, three Hail Mary’s for the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, and a Glory Be. As you begin, meditate on Blessed John Paul II’s reflection above.