Agony in the Garden

The First Sorrowful Mystery

The Agony in the Garden 

Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not undergo the test." After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he arose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test." While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, "Lord, shall we strike with a sword?" And one of them struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, "Stop, no more of this!" Then he touched the servant's ear and healed him. And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? Day after day I was with you in the temple area and you did not seize me; but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness." 

Luke 22: 39-53 


The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden of Gethsemani, making himself "obedient unto death." Jesus prays: " My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me..." Thus he expressed the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death. Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the "Author of Life," the "Living One." By accepting in his human will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for "he bore our sins in his body on the tree." 

Catechism of the Catholic Church 612 


Scourging at the Pillar 


The Second Sorrowful Mystery

The Scourging at the Pillar 

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. 

John 19:1 


In the measure in which a Christian lives by his ties with the supernatural, he will sorrow, above all, over the sorrows of Christ. The words: "My heart hath expected reproach and misery; and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none," will pierce his heart. With the Blessed Jacopone da Todi he will exclaim: "Mother, fount of love the purest, make me feel all the anguish thou endurest, to mourn with thee"(Stabat Mater). However felicitous one may be in one's personal life, this pain must never be allowed to die away. How could we forget--though the joys we experience be ever so genuine and ever so great-- the suffering of the "Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world": the suffering which has redeemed us and is the key of our eternal happiness? Far from it. He who is wounded by the love of Christ will pray: "Let me be wounded by his wounds, let me become inebriated with the cross and the blood of Thy Son." It is, in the first place, "they that mourn" for this cause whom the Lord means when he says, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." 

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Transformation in Christ 


The Crowning with Thorns 


The Third Sorrowful Mystery

The Crowning with Thorns 

Then God said: "Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you." Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust, set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: "Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you." Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. "Father!" he said. "Yes, son," he replied. Isaac continued, "Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?" "Son," Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust." Then the two continued going forward. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD'S messenger called to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. " Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger. "Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son." As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Genesis 22: 2-13

And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. 

John 19: 2-3 


Let us only, who with the Lord's permission gave the first baptism to believers, prepare each one for another baptism also, urging and teaching that this baptism is greater in grace, more sublime in power, more precious in honor, a baptism in which the angels baptize, a baptism in which God and His Christ exult, a baptism after which no one sins again, a baptism which brings to completion the increases of our faith, a baptism which immediately joins us with God as we withdraw from the world. In the baptism of water is received the remission of sins; in that of blood the crown of virtues. This thing is to be embraced and longed for and sought after with all entreaties of our prayers, so that we who were servants of God may also be His friends. 



Carrying of the Cross 


The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery

Carrying the Cross 

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, weep instead for yourselves and your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, `Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and breasts that never nursed. At that time people will say to the mountains, `Fall upon us!' and to the hills, `Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?" 

Luke 23: 26-32 


The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men." But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]," for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that we should follow in his steps." In fact, Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be his first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. 

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church 618 


 The Crucifixion by Velazquez


The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery

The Crucifixion 

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
" Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him."
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls' reward.

Wisdom 2: 1a. 12-22

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, and the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."] They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we recieved corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit;" and when he had said this he breathed his last. 

Luke 23: 33-46 


The Crucifixion
The Shroud of Turin

It is love "to the end" that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." No man, not even the holiest, was ever to take upon himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible redemptive sacrifice for all.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 616



Queen of Heaven, Our Mother Mary Immaculate


Hail Holy Queen Get the Flash Player

Hail, Holy Queen. 
Mother of Mercy, 
Our life, our sweetness, 
And our hope. 
To you do we cry, 
Poor banished children of Eve. 
To you do we send up our sighs, 
Mourning and weeping 
In this valley of tears. 
Turn, then, Most Gracious Advocate, 
Your eyes of mercy towards us, 
And after this, our exile, 
Show unto us 
The blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. 
O clement, o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary. 
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. 
That we may be made worthy of 
The promises of Christ. 


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April 15, 2006