Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary

The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The Apostles’ Creed.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead; on the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
The Our Father. The Hail Mary (× 3).

Lord, by Thy prayer and agony (John Placid Conway, The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Philadelphia, The Sodalist’s Hymnal, 1887. p. 260)
(One verse separately accompanying each decade of the mysteries.)

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The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

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 1  Our Father. Hail Mary (× 10). Glory Be.

Scriptural rosary verses may be scanned silently on each bead while the enunciation of the Ave Maria proceeds uninterrupted.

  1. And they came to a farm [garden or olive orchard] called Gethsemani. And he saith to his disciples: Sit you here, while I pray. – Mark 14:32
  2. And he taketh Peter and James and John with him; and he began to fear and to be heavy. And he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here, and watch. – Mark 14:33-34
  3. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation. – Luke 22:40
  4. Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us: that we might be made the justice of God in him. – Second Corinthians 5:21
  5. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. – Luke 22:44
  6. And he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt. – Mark 14:36
  7. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. – Luke 22:43
  8. And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak. – Matthew 26:40-41
  9. As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him. And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss? – Luke 22:47-48
  10. Now all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples all leaving him, fled. But they holding Jesus led him to Caiphas the high priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled. And Peter followed him afar off, even to the court of the high priest. And going in, he sat with the servants, that he might see the end. – Matthew 26:56-58
Click-Expand: Jesus goes to meet His Enemies
Our Lord Jesus, knowing that Judas, His betrayer, had come, surrounded by a devilish crowd of wicked men who were thirsting for His Blood, and who had come with exceeding cruelty to take Him, as if He had been a thief, with lanterns, and swords, and cords, and with a great noise of arms, like an innocent Lamb, with great affection and burning love went forth to meet them, saying: “Whom seek ye?”

Consider now, O my soul, with thy inward eyes, the immense love of thy Saviour; see how above measure He thirsteth to redeem thee. Look how His Heart is boiling over within Him for exceeding burning love.

O sweet Jesus, the only comfort of my heart, where is now the fear, which a little before had come upon Thee? Where now are Thy deep groans? Where now are Thy trembling limbs? Where now is Thy great horror of death? While as yet Thine enemies were far from Thee, Thou wert sorrowful even unto death, and in Thy cruel straits Thou didst sweat blood, and Thou didst pray that the Passion that was hanging over Thee might be taken from Thee by Thy Father; but now that Thine enemies are before Thine eyes, roaring like lions, and raging like mad dogs to shed Thine innocent Blood, Thou fearest nothing, Thou tremblest at nothing, and all fear hath gone far from Thee.

Thy betrayer hath come with a crowd of blood-thirsty men, cruel wolves; and of Thine own free will Thou goest forth to meet them. What doth this mean, O gracious Jesus, except that perfect love hath cast out fear? Oh! how perfectly hast Thou gone out of Thyself, O loving Jesus! How well hast Thou prepared a place for Thy heavenly Father, in order that He may accomplish within Thee His own most gracious work according to His will. Oh! how Thou hast spared Thyself in nothing! With what burning thirst hast Thou sought after Thy Father’s honour!

How mightily hast Thou conquered Thyself through love, being made obedient even unto death! O Jesus, sweet Lover of men, what love is this that hath so swallowed up Thy Heart, that Thou hastenest to death as to a marriage feast, that Thou goest forth to meet Thine enemies, as if they were Thy friends! Thou couldst not even wait till they addressed Thee, but even as a man saluteth his friends, whom he meeteth on the way, so didst Thou address them first, and say: “Whom seek ye?”

Oh! of a truth, most gracious Jesus, the fire of love had so worked its way within Thee, and melted, and burnt away the marrow of Thy Soul, that all Thy inner man blessed God the Father Almighty, and all Thy members were stretched like a bow to accomplish Thy Father’s gracious will. For Thy uncreated love as God so moved and kindled Thy created love, that Thou wert wholly ready to satisfy that love in all that it required. Hence it was that in Thy thirst Thou didst seize the chalice, from which but a little before Thou didst so greatly shrink; and quickened by love, as a fearless giant, Thou rejoicest to run the way of our salvation.

O most gracious Lord, who is there that would not be inflamed by love like this? Who am I, and Who art Thou, that Thou, the Lord of lords, Thou, the Ruler of heaven and earth, shouldst offer Thyself to such a shameful death, and into the very hands of Thy cruel enemies, for me who am but a poor vile worm of earth; and that Thou shouldst receive him who betrayed Thee as if he were Thy brother?

No, not even from Judas, that ungrateful dog, didst Thou turn away, O well-spring of unexhaustible mercy, even when he blushed not to seek a kiss from Thy sacred mouth; but Thou didst gently place that sweet and loving mouth of Thine, in which there was no guile, against that foul mouth of his, overflowing, though it was, with malice.

Oh! the incomprehensible gentleness, the wonderful lovingkindness, the unutterable lowliness, the measureless goodness of the Master towards His cruel servant! Of a truth, Lord, it were better for that man if he had never been born! O sweet Jesus, so continual was Thy goodness, that Thou didst show him all the kindness that Thou couldst, in order, if possible, to soften his heart of stone. With kindly, friendly words Thou spakest to him, and saidst: “Friend, why camest thou hither?”

As if Thou wouldst say: “Have I deserved this of thee, O Judas? Did I sin against thee, in washing thy feet, in bending My knees to thee, in refreshing thee with My Body and Blood? Friend, wherefore hast thou come? Dost thou hold Me of less value than thirty pieces of silver? Why hast thou turned away from Me, Who honoured thee by the title of apostle, Who brought thee up in delights, and taught thee with all loving care, as My own son?

Why hast thou forsaken Me, the well of living water, and joined thyself to the servants of the devil? Why hath thy heart gone after avarice, and why hast thou left Me, the highest and Eternal Good, and sold Me for a poor wretched price, although I have within Me the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and I enrich and fill both heaven and earth? Friend, wherefore hast thou come? Turn and look into thine own self, I pray thee, go down a little into thyself, come back to thine own heart, and see the depth to which thou hast fallen; observe what thou hast done. Even now My grace is open to thee; only come back with sorrow unto Me, and I will receive thee.”

Who can restrain his tears, when he considereth Christ’s unutterable kindness to His betrayer? Who, after this, shall dare to lose hope of God’s mercy? O sweetest Jesus, if Thou hast been so faithful, and loving, and kind to the traitor, and the enemy, Thy wicked and unfaithful servant, and hast so laboured to call him back to Thee, and save him, what, therefore, wilt Thou do to Thy dear friends, who seek, and love, and thirst after Thee with their whole life? Of a truth, Thou art no respecter of persons, nor dost Thou desire the death and destruction of the wicked, but rather that they should be turned from their wickedness, and live. For Thou hast embraced all men in Thy Heart, nor dost Thou cast away any man from Thee, save those alone, who by their own free but evil will, and hardness in sin, depart from Thee.

Oh! how grieved was our gentle Saviour, that His own disciple should treacherously betray Him with a kiss! Bitterly enough He complaineth of this by the prophet, when He saith: “If Mine enemy had spoken evil against Me, I would indeed have borne it, but that thou, the man of My peace, My friend and disciple, in whom I hoped, and who sattest at meat with Me, shouldst magnify treachery against Me, and sell Me for a vile sum of money, and deliver Me to death! O Judas, wherefore hast thou come? Dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

But now return awhile to thyself, O my soul, and see, I beseech thee, how impatient, how cruel and greedy of vengeance thou art. By a single word thou art moved to anger, to reproachful words, and to avenge thyself.

Truly Christ did not disdain to speak to His betrayer, and to call him friend, and to sweetly kiss him. Oh! how many times I pass by my neighbour, thinking it beneath me to speak to him, and by such disdain or contempt provoke him to hatred, and thus I lose his soul when I might have softened him by a friendly look or kind word, and moved him to love.

But Christ addressed also His other enemies with friendly words, and said: “Whom seek ye?” They answered Him: “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them: “I am He.” And when He had said this, they went backwards, and fell upon the ground.


Here Augustine crieth out: “‘I am He,’ by this one word, expressive of His hidden Godhead, without a weapon of any kind, He struck down, drove back, laid low so great a multitude that had come out against Him, fierce in wrath, and terrible in arms, for God lay hidden in the flesh. What will He do when He cometh to judge the world, who doeth this when He is about to be judged Himself? What will He do when He shall reign, who could do this when He was about to die?” So far Augustine.

After this sign He gave them again power to rise, and raised them, as it were, from death; and a second time He said: “Whom seek ye?” They said unto Him: “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered: “I have told you that I am He.”

Hearken, O my soul, to this sweet word of thy Saviour. He Who a little before had laid them low upon the ground by one word of His power, by the same word now graciously delivereth Himself over to death, saying: “I have told you that I am He;” as if He would say: “I am ready to fulfil My Father’s will, and to offer Myself a living victim to My Father’s honour and glory, for the salvation of men. I am ready now, not only to bear all the sins of the world, but also to undergo the penalties which are due to them, and to blot out that old hand-writing of their cruel enemy in My own Blood, and to redeem man from eternal death.

Your High Priest spoke truly when he prophesied, that one man must needs die for the people, that the whole nation perish not. I am that Man; I am that innocent Lamb, ready to be offered for the sins of My people. Therefore it is, that now I give Myself into your hands.

Often, indeed, have ye desired both to take and to kill Me, but My hour had not yet come. Now that hour is come, and the power of darkness. Glut now your thirst, and your rage against Me. I am He Whom ye seek; I am ready to bear whatever ye can think of to do against Me.

Take Me, seize Me, bind Me, lead Me to death itself; but suffer these to go their way. No power hath been given you over My disciples; only against Me have ye power to rage. O unutterable love!

Oh! of a truth Thou art the good Shepherd. See, how He loved His little flock even to the end, placing Himself between them and the teeth of these ravenous wolves. How willingly He suffered Himself to be mangled, and torn, and killed, that the sheep of His little fold might go unhurt. Then with great fierceness did they take Him, and like mad dogs, fastened their cruel fangs upon this innocent Lamb.

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

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 2  Our Father. Hail Mary (× 10). Glory Be.

  1. But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said to him: Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven. – Mark 14:61-62
  2. You have heard the blasphemy. What think you? Who all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him: Prophesy: and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands. – Mark 14:64-65
  3. And straightway in the morning, the chief priests holding a consultation with the ancients and the scribes and the whole council, binding Jesus, led him away, and delivered him to Pilate. – Mark 15:1
  4. And they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ the king. – Luke 23:2
  5. [And Pilate]…said to them: You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people; and behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him. No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him. I will chastise him therefore, and release him. Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day. But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas. – Luke 23:14-18
  6. And so Pilate being willing to satisfy the people, released to them Barabbas, and delivered up Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. – Mark 15:15
  7. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me. – Isaiah 50:6
  8. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows. – Psalm 129:3
  9. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
  10. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. – Isaiah 53:3

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

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 3  Our Father. Hail Mary (× 10). Glory Be.

  1. Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto him the whole band. – Matthew 27:27
  2. And stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. – Matthew 27:28
  3. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. – Matthew 27:29
  4. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. – Matthew 27:29
  5. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them: Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. – John 19:4
  6. Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. – John 19:5
  7. …And he saith to them: Behold the Man. …they cried out, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take him you, and crucify him: for I find no cause in him. – John 19:5-6
  8. …Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar. – John 19:14-15
  9. And after they had mocked him, they took off the cloak from him, and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him. – Matthew 27:31
  10. Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. – John 19:16

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross

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 4  Our Father. Hail Mary (× 10). Glory Be.

  1. And…they took off the cloak from him, and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him. – Matthew 27:31
  2. And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. – John 19:17
  3. Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. – Isaiah 53:4
  4. And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. – Luke 23:27-28
  5. And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus. – Luke 23:26
  6. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. – Matthew 10:38
  7. Jesus said to him: No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:62
  8. He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth. – Isaiah 53:7
  9. And they bring him into the place called Golgotha, which being interpreted is, The place of the skull. – Mark 15:22
  10. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he took it not. – Mark 15:23

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

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 5  Our Father. Hail Mary (× 10). Glory Be.

Placing one’s self at the feet of Jesus crucified, meditating especially on His poverty, His humiliations, His Sorrows, listening to the lesson that He makes us hear from the height of the cross, to consider what our Divine Redeemer has done and suffered for us.
  1. …They have pierced my hands and feet. They have numbered all my bones. – Psalm 21:17-18
  2. They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots. – Psalm 21:19
  3. And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. – Luke 23:34
  4. And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise. – Luke 23:39-43
  5. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. – John 19:26
  6. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. – John 19:27
  7. And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
  8. Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. – John 19:28
  9. And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost. – Luke 23:46
  10. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost. – John 19:30

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Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, our mourning, our weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. Grant, we beseech You, that through meditating on these mysteries of the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Divine assistance remain always with us, and may all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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1. Hail, holy Queen enthroned above, O Maria!
Hail, Mother of Mercy and of Love, O Maria! Refrain
Triumph, all ye cherubim,
Sing with us, ye seraphim!
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, salve, salve, Regina!
2. Our life, our sweetness here below, O Maria!
Our hope in sorrow and in woe, O Maria! Refrain
3. As exiles all to you we cry, O Maria!
Come, soothe with hope our misery. O Maria! Refrain
4. Turn then, most gracious advocate, O Maria!
T’ward us your eyes compassionate, O Maria! Refrain
5. O gentle, loving, holy one, O Maria!
Make us each day more like your Son, O Maria! Refrain
6. And when from death to life we’ve passed, O Maria!
Show us your Son, our Lord, at last, O Maria! Refrain

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