Yesterday was the First Friday of the month, traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; because of this, I was praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart during my evening prayers. Some of the lines from this Litany stood out for me.
After the Litany, I prayed the Rosary – the Sorrowful Mysteries – and I had an idea. I quite like to use different meditations for the praying of the Rosary and so I tried incorporating those lines from the Litany of the Sacred Heart, using each one as a meditation for the Sorrowful Mysteries.
I am writing them here and I hope they might perhaps be of interest or of use to someone else for their own private use.
The 1st Sorrowful Mystery: the Agony in the Garden
Meditation: “Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offences, have mercy on us.”
In the cool of the evening, Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane. Praying to the Eternal Father, He offers this moment and those that will follow shortly, to Him. It costs Jesus dearly – “My soul is sorrowful even to the point of death”. He does this out of obedience to the will of the Father, to Whom He is so intimately united – but also out of need; He knows that His sacrifice alone can make perfect reparation for our sins and the sins of all humanity. He alone is the perfect Sacrifice. He alone can offer the Father this propitiation for our offences.
The 2nd Sorrowful Mystery: the Scourging at the Pillar
Meditation: “Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities, have mercy on us.”
“Eager to placate the crowd”, Jesus is condemned by Pilate, “but Jesus remained silent”. He is taken to the Pillar, where His Body is scourged brutally. But it is not only His body that is struck; each blow strikes at His Heart, which is filled with sorrow. Each blow is borne willingly by this Sacrifical Victim. Accepting every scourge in silence, His Heart speaks timeless words to His Father in Heaven. The crack of the lash echoes sharply as though the very universe were groaning each time the whip cuts into His flesh.
The 3rd Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
Meditation: “Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches, have mercy on us.”
As though the physical blows were not enough, now the soldiers mock the Lord – ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’, they cry as “they twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on His head” and they strike Him with a reed, the “sceptre” they have placed in His hands. They see no King – and yet this is what He is. Still, their mockery and reproaches echo this truth, even if this King bears a crown of thorns and not of gold. In meekness, He looks upon them even as their fists land upon Him; His death is for these men, too.
The 4th Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross
Meditation: “Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death, have mercy on us.”
The Cross is laid upon Jesus; and so the long, slow walk to Calvary commences. Jeers from the crowd echo all around Him, while some women weep; even in His exhaustion, He speaks words of comfort to them – “do not weep for Me, but for yourselves”. But who will comfort Him now? Having fallen, He stands up once again – and there, before Him, He sees the sorrowful face of His Mother. No words are spoken. There are no words in this moment – the look is enough and all is understood by both of Them. Always obedient to the Father, both have consented to this.
The 5th Sorrowful Mystery: the Crucifixion
Meditation: “Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.”
After three long hours, Jesus is close to death. His Body symbolically broken in the Bread of Maundy Thursday, the reality of that symbol now takes place on this Good Friday. Jesus breathes His last. A soldier steps forward and pierces His Heart with a lance “and immediately Blood and Water came forth” – one to redeeem us and the other to sanctify us. A fountain of infinite mercy and grace has been opened and it will be poured out upon all of humanity. In His death, we are offered life.