Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Suffering & the Sorrowful Mysteries
While saying the rosary with my husband the other day, it occurred to me that each of the first four sorrowful mysteries represents a different mode of suffering. The agony in the garden reflects the pain of anticipation of suffering, as when there's a root canal on the schedule later in the week. The scourging at the pillar is clearly a physically painful suffering. The crowning with thorns, although certainly involving a great deal of physical pain, seems to emphasize the suffering of humiliation. The carrying of the cross was the bearing of a large burden, the weight of the heavy cross and our even heavier sins. (I'd say this is the kind of suffering one experiences when his child is in pain.) The fifth mystery, the crucifixion, is a synthesis of all four modes or kinds of suffering: anticipation (of complete separation from God: "My God, why have you abandoned Me?"), physical pain (duh!), humiliation (punished as a criminal, strung up naked, and derided by those passers-by and the others crucified with Him), and bearing a burden (the consummation of His identification with our sins and the punishment attached to them).