I wonder sometimes, as I meditate upon the Sorrowful Mysteries, the First of which is The Agony in the Garden, if the Apostles themselves were still filled with human fear and loathing of suffering? What possessed them to give in to the urge for sleep when the dear Savior was so close to where they sat and so full of suffering? As He knelt there, praying and sweating His Precious Blood, did they even remember anything He had told them? Did they recognize the need to stay vigilant? Or were they too sleepy to care? Did they think He was going to be with them forever? Did He not tell them how sad He was, how heavy was His Heart?!?
And yet, when they did wake up, hour after hour, and He again asked them to "Watch with Me," they still kept dozing off...No, I don't think they recognized the need...
Onward I move to the Second Sorrowful Mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar. There He was, tied to a pillar (probably with ropes that cut and burned His skin) and beaten with whips that were like no ordinary whips...tipped with iron balls covered in hooks that tore into His Flesh, tearing away bits of skin and sinew, ripping His Sacred Body wide open...would any of us recognize Him by the time they were finished with Him?!? I wonder...
And yet, maybe we would, knowing what we know now ~ seeing Him in all of His suffering and loving glory, pouring His Heart out to every one of us, "See how I have loved you?"
In the Third Sorrowful Mystery, The Crowning with Thorns, we again come to Our Lord, seated on a "throne" before His subjects ~ the soldiers who had so much fun torturing and tormenting Him ~ wrapped in the purple robe of royalty, a crown of thorns upon His sacred Head, Blood pouring from every point of the puncturing thorns and running down His Holy Face with not a one of the bullies to wipe a drop away, the robe sticking to His Flesh, only to re-open every wound when He was stripped again later.
He had tried to tell us that He was the King of the Old Testament prophesy, but did any of us listen? Did we join in with the soldiers and spit in His Face? Did we laugh when they mocked and derided Him, plaiting the circlet for His Head, not a pitying glance at all the Blood that was spilled in this one act of torture?
Did we recognize that in the suffering that He so willingly and so meekly endured was our own salvation?!?
Recently, we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.
The King of Heaven and Earth. The King of Love, of Sacrifice, of His own Passion ~ for souls, for the very hearts of all men. The King of His own unseen Kingdom...as He tried to tell Pontius Pilate ~ who sadly, didn't quite understand...he refused to recognize what ~ or rather, Who, was standing right before him.
In the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross, He told us again to "Weep not for Me, but for yourselves..." ~ and in the words of a true King, He left us with a warning for our own safety, our own edification! His beloved Mother Mary was there, and She of all the women gathered, recognized what He was about to do...She knew in Her Heart of hearts that Her Son was about to die for us all ~ She recognized the will of the Father and, as horrified and frightened as She must have been, we know that She was also completely resigned to it. She recognized that there was no other way...and so She accepted and obeyed what God had ordered must come to pass.
Finally, in the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, The Crucifixion, we see that Our Lord has finally come to the end of His life here on Earth. Our Blessed Mother has truly suffered right alongside Her Son, feeling in Her own body every stroke of the whip, every push of the impatient soldiers, every poke of every thorn and nail that pierced His own Body.
There are many sufferings that He endured that are not recorded for general consumption, but they are available on the Internet for those who care to find out more about the Hidden Tortures of Our Lord...not the least of which is the Sacred Wound on His Shoulder!
In the meantime, as I meditate upon the five most well-known here, I have to admit that I am speechless, humbled and completely filled with love for the Suffering Savior Who has deigned to grant this knowledge to me ~ and Who has also granted me the chance to pass on this devotion to my own children, showing them that we all suffer, and yet we all benefit from it...as long as we remember to follow Him and carry our own crosses!...as long as we recognize His love and goodness in the crosses that we carry...
I would like to think that I would recognize Him as the King He professed to be ~ even as He hung there on the Cross of Salvation. As St. Dismas, the Good Thief, recognized Him ("Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom!"), so may we all know Him ~ in His Divine Mercy and Love. As St. Longinus, the Good Centurion, who pierced His Sacred Side with the lance, and suddenly had the Light of God open his eyes so that he too recognized the Man ("Truly, this Man was the Son of God!") ~ may we recognize Him in all that He did for us that day!!! Truly, if we indeed recognize Who He is and what He has done for all mankind, there can be no less from the least of us...