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Fr. Peyton's Rosary Meditations
Sorrowful Mysteries

Fr. Peyton provides a unique view of the mysteries of the rosary.  Each of the following meditations on the mysteries of the rosary are taken from the book Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book, 1984. 

The Sorrowful Mysteries - Suffering

First Sorrowful Mystery - The Agony in the Garden

Suffrering did not come upon Christ unawares.  In a very real sense, it had been on God's Mind from all eternity.  The Virgin Mary had conceived a Victim.  John hailed Him as the meek Lamb of God, destined for slaughter.  Jesus Himself spoke often of His death; invited others to do what He was about to do - "take up the Cross"; then deliberately went up to Jerusalem to His earthly doom.  But when that long awaited suffering was only a sunrise away , Jesus Christ fell upon His face and bled at the thought of pain, and asked that, if it were possible, the chalice be withheld.

To tremble at pain is Christlike.  Suffering is not a good thing that merely appears evil.  It is an evil, which human nature shrinks from - and grace can sanctify.

                                                                          Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book; 1984, p.9. 

Second Sorrowful Mystery - The Scourging

Christ shrank from pain, but He did not refuse it.  Late morning saw Him flung against a praetorium pillar, while the hired men of Rome, giant barbarians with the muscle and moral sense of wild beasts, wore themselves out whipping and lashing Jesus near to death.  Every thump of the iron-weighted cords tore fresh red rents in His Flesh.  Jesus, who the night before turned wine to Blood, now shed that Blood like wine poured out.  His Body is the chalice of His split-out Blood, the cup He no longer asks His Father to remove.

When we ask God to relieve our sufferings, He sometimes answers our prayers with more wisdom by letting them continue.  To accept pain as Jesus did, is to sanctify it - and myself.

                                                                           Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book; 1984, p.10. 

Third Sorrowful Mystery - The Crowning of Thorns

Jesus had been officially sentenced to death.  But the soldiers were in no hurry to finish off their prey.  Crucifying criminals was a dull business; so pleasure before business has become the cohort's custom.  Jesus, whom the Psalmist called a worm and no man, now resembled a mouse being worried to death by a horde of spitting, clawing cats.  To the twisted wits of the soldiery, the praetorium courtyard suggested a mock court, and Jesus a mock King, and - injury added to insult - the King's head clamped in a royal crown, studded with thorns.

Jesus, "lily among thorns."  The innocence of a God is no proof against pain.  How much less is my guilt

                                                                            Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book; 1984, p.11.

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery - The Way of the Cross

By God's command the Mosaic Law summoned every Jewish man to the Holy City for the Passover.  Simon, from faraway Cyrene, was only one poor, tired rustic among the hundreds of thousands of pligrims dutifully thronging to Jerusalem.  By chance, he crossed the path of the soldiers leading Jesus to Calvary; by chance, Jesus fell to His knees just then; by chance, the guards caught sight of Simon and bullied him into service.  Simon was taking part in a solemn ritual for which he had come - the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb.

It is characteristic of the cross that it comes to us "by chance," that is, not visibly from God.  but it is from God.  When we suffer, we carry the Cross of Jesus Christ.

                                                                           Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book; 1984, p.12.

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery - The Crucifixion

The bite of the whip kept Jesus conscious until He reached Calvary.  There, two soldiers tore away His clothing, which the drying blood had glued to His lashed Body; it was the morning's endless scourging relived in a single moment.  Jesus reeled from the sudden torture.  A coarse narcotic of wine, myrrh and incense was put quickly to His lips - not to relieve His thirst, but to numb His sences and so to keep Him alive for the long, iron nails.  Jesus did not take the drug.  He had a world to redeem, and the price was untempered pain.

The gate of heaven has a cross for a key.  My cross can be another's key.  To unite my sufferings to Christ's for the salvation of souls is the highest form of apostolic zeal.

                                                                           Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book; 1984, p.13.

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