Good Friday, Jesus continues His steady march toward death, bringing us ever closer to forgiveness and new life. On the eve of His suffering, Holy Thursday, Jesus had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and then taken Peter, James, and John with Him to the garden of Gethsemane. There, He prayed in agony until His arrest.
We all know the story of the mock trial, of Pilate’s pronouncement, of the crowds screaming for the release of Barabas. We know of His condemnation, and we know of His grace and acceptance. At this point, His own desires obedient to His Father, Jesus is ready to finish His mission on earth. All that stands between Him and the eternal comfort of heaven is brutal torture and the weight of the world’s sinfulness. Jesus literally carried the weight of the world with Him to Calvary.
Scourging at the Pillar, the Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.
1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. (John 19:1)
Historically, at that time, those who were sentenced to crucifixion were first flogged or scourged. They were tied to a low pillar, stripped, generally bent over, and beat mercilessly with a whip, drawing blood, and weakening them so that they could more easily be affixed to their cross. In this way, this initial humiliation was only part and parcel of the final humiliation Christ endured for us in dying like a criminal.
And yet He continues on, through the mockery and indignation of His “coronation,” trudging up the hill to His crucifixion. We are reminded in our own times of pain that Jesus understands. He has already endured more than we have, can, or could. His suffering was so that we would not have to repeat it. His suffering was pure, in sacrifice for our sins. When we suffer with Him, His purity of intent enters into us, and we are supported, uplifted, renewed.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."