The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary become even richer in meaning as we spend more time with them during Lent, and in this papacy all the more so! In the First Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden we see Jesus confronting His persecutors who had been led to Him by Judas, the Patron for the current betrayers of Christ from their powerful positions within the hierarchy. As Jesus restored the ear of Malchus, He spoke to those who had come to destroy Him, “Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”(Luke 22, 52-53)
We are now deep within this hour of darkness in the Passion of the Church, and so we shall find much to profit us in these Sorrowful Mysteries of Our Lady’s Rosary.
At the beginning of that first Passion, there was a terrible betrayal, and the Apostles fled, scandalized, into the darkness. Today, as the Pope and the whole corrupt edifice of the hierarchy betray our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, Catholics are scattered. Some are indifferent to the scandal, some fall into sedevacantism, some simply fall away. Some few, however, watch and pray in the darkness, trusting in His promise.
Father Malachi Martin explained this situation in the Church in several interviews and in books, such as Windswept House and The Keys of His Blood. In one interview, transcribed into a small book called “The Tempter’s Hour,” Fr. Martin explained that the crisis in the Church is a part of God’s plan for us. During Christ’s Passion, Our Blessed Mother did not rebel at God’s will in any way (contrary to what Pope Francis suggests), instead Mary willed it. Yes, she accepted God’s will most perfectly. In fact, Mary is our perfect model for the approach we must make to this time of the Passion of the Bride of Christ, His beloved and most holy Church.
There is a tradition in the Church that compares the Passion of Christ to the Passion of His Church. This Lent, let’s consider for a moment the last words of Jesus as He was dying on the Cross. We may find it fruitful to think of Our Lord’s last words, which He uttered at such great cost, as they relate to the history of the Church on up to the present time and beyond. In every age of the Church, the Suffering of our Savior continues, some mock Him, some few adore Him, but most people go their way, indifferent to it all.
† “Father, forgive them, for they know what they do.”(Luke 23:34) The First Word was spoken by Jesus as He was nailed to the Cross and raised up to the jeering mockery of His executioners and passersby. It can be applied to the earliest period of the Church, a time of severe persecution, as many early Christians followed their Master to death at the hands of anti-Christians. This is being repeated and will be re-enacted until the end of sorrows.
† “Amen, I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) This Second Word applies especially to the early ages of the Church as His beloved martyrs built His Holy Church by their sufferings united to His saving Passion and Death. These words must always be before us as we follow Our Lord and His Bride in this increasingly hostile anti-Christic environment.
† “Woman, behold thy son.” (John 19:26) The first part of the Third Word applies to the rise of the Marian Age, beginning with the Blessed Virgin Mary”s revelation of the Rosary to St. Dominic in 1214 and rapidly spreading throughout the Church, effectively counteracting heresies, winning battles, converting sinners and sanctifying saints. Although the rudiments of the rosary predated St. Dominic, his response to Our Lady’s command to preach the Rosary was what brought the Marian Age into full flower. Through the Rosary, Our Blessed Mother brought many millions of souls to Christ.
† “Behold thy Mother.” (John 19:27) The second part of the Third Word is most appropriate to the latter times, when Our Lord has sent His Blessed Mother to warn us to repent and stop offending Him. At Fatima, Our Blessed Mother commanded renewed reparation and emphasized the importance of praying the Rosary. This command required an obedient response both from the hierarchical Church and from the laity. But sadly, it has been widely ignored. The opposite of passion is indifference and part of the message of Fatima is to make reparation for indifference to God’s commands. This post-Fatima period, the latter part of the Marian Age, is marked by widespread indifference to the Fatima message. It is during these times that we must work more than ever before to spread the message of Fatima, so that as many souls as possible are given the opportunity to come to Our Lady of the Rosary before the culmination of the Chastisement.
† “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) The Fourth Word is applied especially to the period of the Chastisement in which nations will be wiped from the face of the earth in a matter of seconds and millions will perish outright, with the survivors envying the dead. During this period of darkness and chaos without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Our Lady’s Rosary and Consecration to her Immaculate Heart will sustain the remnant of the elect.
† “I thirst.” (John 19: 28) The Fifth Word may be applied to Christ’s reaching out to those suffering in the time of the Chastisement, offering them the opportunity to turn to Him and unite their sufferings with His for their salvation. It also applies to the time of peace following the Chastisement, during which many souls will be drawn to Christ through the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
† “It is consummated.” (John 19:30) This Sixth Word may be applied to the period when the number of chosen souls is complete and the Antichrist deceives many. This period will not come until the period of peace promised by Our Lady has been fulfilled.
† “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” (Luke 23:46) This final Word signifies the presumed victory of the Antichrist over the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, just before the triumphant, conclusive victory of Christ the King at the end of time, bringing forth the true glory of His Resurrected Mystical Body. Just at the moment that satan believes he is victorious over Christ, Jesus ransoms His own!
Note that although a particular Word is applied to a specific period, it continues to have relevance in subsequent periods, ebbing and waning throughout history. Some speculate that as history progresses rapidly towards the latter days, these Words will resonate with greater effect as the Passion of the Church reaches its culmination.
We follow this crucified Savior. He has given us His word that He will not forsake us, let us not forsake Him!
We are Mary’s children after all and our place is at the foot of His cross, with her.
†Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
†Remember, pray the Rosary and confound the devil and all his works and pomps.
~ evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ King!
Lent should be an especially fruitful season for us who are blessed to attend the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church. The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent is from St. Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. In it, Jesus took Peter, James and John up on Mount Tabor and revealed to them the very slightest bit of His infinite glory for a few brief moments in order to confirm their faith; knowing as He did, that the events of His passion were to shake their faith utterly.
“His face did shine as the sun and His garments became white as snow.” (Matthew 17, 2) In this vision the Apostles saw Moses and Elias speaking with Jesus. St. Luke tells us that, “they spoke of His decease that He should accomplish in Jerusalem”. (Luke 9, 31) By placing the Transfiguration narrative in this timeframe, the Church wishes to illustrate the close connection between the Transfiguration and the Passion and Death of Jesus. By revealing this brief glimpse of His glory, Jesus was showing His Apostles that it was impossible for Him as well as for them to reach the full glory of the Resurrection without passing through suffering. After the Resurrection, He would confirm that lesson as He met them at Emmaus, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24, 26).
Peter, ever the impetuous one, became so caught up in the rapture of the moment, that he cried out, “It is good for us to be here!”. And then he offered to make three tabernacles, one each for Jesus, Moses and Elias, but as he was speaking the Lord God interrupted him peremptorily, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!”
There is much to learn from this gospel. Peter was understandably impressed with the splendor of the moment and strongly desired to remain right there, in such a spiritually satisfying place. But that would have been to miss the whole point of it, which was to prepare them for the immense scandal of the Passion, the terrible spectacle of their Master humbled even to the lowest imaginable specter of a common criminal, mocked and spit upon, stripped of all dignity and nailed to a cross to die in ignominy.
And so, God by His reply told Peter in no uncertain terms to listen to Jesus and follow Him. if Peter was to lead the Church, he must learn to follow Christ all the way to Golgotha, up to the place of the skull. In time, he must even follow Him to his own crucifixion. Father Gabriel in his meditations on the Transfiguration assures us, “God does not console us for our entertainment but rather for our encouragement, for our strengthening, for the increase in our generosity in suffering for love of Him.” (Divine Intimacy, TAN)
Abruptly, the glorious vision ended, “And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus.” In the Vulgate, “Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.” (Matthew 17, 8). Nisi solum Jesum, with Jesus alone, they came down from the mountain. Nisi solum Jesum, Jesus alone is sufficient for us. Everything else, even friends, family, encouragement, approval, may be stripped away; yet Jesus alone remains. If He in His wisdom withdraws all else, yet He abides with us, even when we “know Him not”. And we must affirm this, even though He choose for us to follow Him through His suffering, being faithful even unto the awful moment when we cry out in our soul’s desolation, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
Not as the world gives, does Jesus give. When it seems to the soul that He has withdrawn His love, withdrawn all consolation, it is only so that we follow Him with love and absolute trust as He endures the darkness of His Passion in order that He may bring about the glory of His true and lasting Transfiguration and share His glory with us eternally. This is as true for the Church as it is for us personally.
Just as the Transfiguration was only a momentary glimpse of His glory, so too the passion and death of Our Lord are destined to pass and yield to His glorious Resurrection. Let us keep our perspective then, even in these chaotic times, and abide “with Jesus alone”, accepting all that is given to us from His wounded hands, trusting in Jesus alone.
Queen of the most Holy Rosary, hasten the triumph of thy Immaculate Heart through the consecration of Russia.
Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests.