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Act III: The Sorrowful Mysteries

Introductory Sequence

The Sorrowful Mysteries begin with an angelic chorus of praise and the majestic voice of God The Father sending forth His own sacrifice for the Holocaust, His Son Jesus, in atonement for the sins of His people. Jesus willingly accepts His role to put an end to the reign of death forever by offering His Life for the redemption of mankind. The Holy Spirit affirms that if Jesus lies down His Life, He and His seed will be greatly rewarded.


Part 1. The Agony in the Garden

The disciples fear and mourn as their enemies arise against Jesus, and they become further scandalized. The apostle Peter protests to God that He has deceived them: He had promised them peace, and all they have is trouble. God retorts that there cannot be peace when His Laws are broken.

Jesus deeply grieves in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He anticipates His tortuous bodily death. Finally, He completely submits to the will of God and offers His Body as a holocaust for the people. God accepts Jesus's decision to sacrifice Himself and reassures Jesus that, in three days, He will be restored to His former place with Him. He tells Jesus to be at peace, because He will direct Him and watch over His Word to perform it.

The apostle Judas signals to his cohorts to take Jesus, as God has abandoned Him. Satan rejoices at his advancement against Jesus and aspires to place his own throne above the stars. Jesus vows to pursue him to the heights of the heavens and to the depths of hell.

In the New Testament Scripture, the apostles sleep, while Jesus suffers alone, contemplating His earthly mission that will lead to His excruciatingly painful crucifixion. In the end, He accepts His destiny and submits Himself to His Father’s will. The apostle Judas arrives with an armed band, together with the chief priests, scribes, and ancients, to arrest Jesus, whereupon Judas betrays Him with a kiss. The other apostles flee, just as Jesus has prophesied.

Part 2. The Scourging at the Pillar

The pharisee Nicodemus and Mary lament at the betrayal of Jesus. The faithful people and Mary plead with God to save Jesus, but God responds that He is in charge of both good and evil: He has charged Jesus with releasing His captives. The chief priests continue to plot against Jesus to bring Him to death.

Jesus is brought before Annas, a high priest, and afterward to Annas's son-in-law, the High Priest Caiphas, where He is falsely accused. After further questioning, it is deemed that Jesus believes that He is The Saviour, the God-Man. The High Priest Caiphas will not accept the person of Jesus as the Messiah and charges Him with blasphemy that has a penalty of death.

Jesus is then taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler. Sensing Jesus's innocence, Pilate suspects that the accusations leveled against Him by the high priests and their cohorts are motivated by envy. Pilate offers another in exchange for freeing Jesus, but Jesus's accusers insist that Jesus be sentenced to death. To appease their blood lust, he orders Jesus to be scourged.

In the New Testament Scripture, false witnesses are brought to testify against Jesus, but their testimonies do not agree. Jesus is brought before Pilate, who orders the people to choose to set free either Jesus or Barabbas, a murderer. The people clamor for Jesus to be crucified. But Pilate first orders Jesus to be scourged.

Part 3. The Crowning with Thorns

Satan is delighted when a crown of thorns is fastened to Jesus, while the Holy Spirit tells Jesus that it is a crown of glory. God orders that a King, Jesus, be given to the people. The temple scribes, pharisees, and high priests are not satisfied by Jesus’s scourging and challenge Pilate about Jesus's claim to kingship, telling him: Shalt thou be our king? Shall we be subject to thy dominion? (Gen 37:8) In turn, Pilate asks them: What has the just man done? (Ps 10:4)

Because of a disturbing dream, Pilate’s wife warns him to not give into the demands to kill Jesus, but the temple scribes, pharisees, chief priests, and the high priest, Caiphas, continue to raise their voices even more harshly, demanding that Jesus depart from them. In the end, with anger and contempt, Pilate washes his hands of the matter and sentences Jesus to death. Satan relishes his apparent success, while Mary cries out that the wicked will not prevail.

In the New Testament Scripture, the soldiers place a crown of thorns and a purple robe on Jesus and mock Him. Now scourged, Jesus is presented to the people, who clamor again for His crucifixion. Pilate questions Jesus further and declares he has the power over Him of life and death. But Jesus tells him that his power is given to him from above.

Because of a disturbing dream, Pilate's wife tells him to not have anything to do with Jesus. Pilate goes to the people a third time seeking clemency for Jesus. But they strongly insist that Jesus has made Himself a king and that they have no king but Caesar, the Roman emperor. Pilate washes his hands of Jesus's innocent Blood. The people accept The Blood of Jesus on themselves and on their children; Pilate gives into their demands and sentences Jesus to death.

Part 4. The Carrying of the Cross

The High Priest Caiphas asks for the victim for the holocaust. The Holy Spirit announces that the Victim, Jesus, has arrived in the city as a sacrifice for the people. Jesus reaffirms His will to suffer and, in exchange, God affirms His promise of redemption and salvation. Jesus's Mother, Mary, encourages Him to endure His suffering with patience.

Satan is pleased when he sees Jesus persecuted. Pursued with abuse, Jesus willingly embraces the Cross to carry to the place of His crucifixion. The pharisees and Satan surround Him, escalating their attacks. The Women of the Cross mourn His passing, while Jesus ominously prophesies about future times of unbearable suffering. Jesus then proceeds forward in fulfillment of His destiny, and God reassures Him of a great reward.

In the New Testament Scripture, Barabbas is set free, while Jesus is given the Cross to carry to the crucifixion site, Calvary. Women bewail his state, but Jesus tells them to weep for themselves and for their children, because there will come a time of terrible suffering: women who do not have children will be considered to be blessed, and the people will cry out for the mountains and hills to fall over and cover them.

Part 5. The Crucifixion of Jesus

God announces that He has risen up a conqueror. The Holy Spirit proclaims that He will enter in by the Gates of Jerusalem, in atonement for the sins of the prophets and priests. Seeing Jesus severely tortured and abused, Mary pleads to God to give her the strength to face Jesus's imminent crucifixion. Now, Judas is tormented by his betrayal of Jesus. God and the Holy Spirit encourage him to offer up an afflicted spirit as penance, but, overwhelmed with despair, Judas condemns himself to death.

Meanwhile, Jesus endures the final pain and suffering of His crucifixion. He is mocked to the end and asks God to forgive his enemies. At Jesus's final breath, Satan believes that he has prevailed over Jesus and is satisfied with the apparent fulfillment of his greatest work of iniquity. However, the Archangel Michael and God's angelic chorus expound when the earth moves and is struck by lightning, accompanied by terrible thunder: God and Jesus have struck the head and foundation of the wicked. The presiding centurion by the Cross bewails that he dwells in the midst of an unclean people— for he has indeed seen The Son of God.

God rejoices that the work of His Tabernacle and the Rite of Sacrifice have been completed: now a glorious reward awaits His redeemed Christ. In the New Testament Scripture, Jesus is crucified and declared by Pilate to be The King of the Jews—over the objections of the chief priests. Jesus asks His Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do (Lk 23:34).

Two thieves are crucified with Him: one mocks Him, while the other asks Jesus to remember him when He comes into His Kingdom. Jesus assures him, that that very day he will be with Him in paradise. He then places His Mother under the care of His disciple and places His disciple under the care of His Mother.

In agony, Jesus cries out to His Father, asking Him why He has abandoned Him. Jesus continues to be mocked as He hangs on the Cross dying. Near death, He says that He thirsts and is given a sponge filled with vinegar. Jesus says, It is consummated (Jn 19:30). Lastly, commits His Spirit to His Father. As He dies, an earthquake shakes the Temple and the temple veil is torn from top to bottom. The centurion, standing by the Cross, declares Jesus to be The Son of God.

The Sorrowful Mysteries:
The Carrying of the Cross

Recitativo — High Priest Caiphas

Where is The Victim for the Holocaust?
(Gen 22:7)
Who will Give us of His Flesh
that we may be Filled?
(Job 31:31)