This week was the final gathering of the Lent Retreat in Daily living I offered at both UST law school and at St. Hubert. As I have explained before, this year I structured the retreat, which began at the beginning of Lent, around some fairly traditional devotions – the Seven Sorrows of Mary, the Stations of the Cross and the Sorrowful Mysteries.
At both venues, we began our sessions, as always, with the participants sharing with each other the experiences they had last week praying with the final seven Stations of the Cross. For many, spending two weeks with the Stations was a very moving experience, helping them appreciate both the amount of suffering Jesus underwent for our sake and God’s presence with us in our own suffering.
In these final days before Easter, the retreatants will pray with the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Thus, during my talk, I offered some extended thoughts on the Agony in the Garden and some brief thoguhts on the second through fourth mysteries: The Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowing with Thorns and the Carrying of the Cross. For the Crucifixion, I played a selection from Biber’s Rosary Sonatas – a narrative description of the Crucifixion followed by a portion of the accompanying sonata.
Catholics are familiar with the Sorrowful Mysteries, as they are part of the Rosary. Even for non-Catholics, for whom the Rosary is not a part of their prayer, theses mysteries offer a way to walk with Jesus during the last stages of his life.
To fully appreciate and benefit from these events of Jesus’ life, we must completely embrace one of the fundamental tenets of our faith – that Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine. Unless we understand that Jesus was as human as you or I, we cannot appreciate what real suffering Jesus underwent. This is not pretend suffering, it is true agony.
You can stream the podcast from the icon below or can download it here. (The podcast runs for 17:50; it ends at the point when I put on the selection from the Rosary Sonatas.) You can find a copy of the prayer material for praying with each of the Sorrowful Mysteries here.