Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays in Lent. Those are the days designated for the sorrowful mysteries in the rosary. Lately, I've been praying through them every day, not because I don't like the mysteries that are luminous, glorious, or joyful -- but because right now, I find in them the deepest sense of Emmanuel: God with us.
Every day, when the angel of the Lord leaves his people their new-morning mercies, he skips over my door. Instead, a different angel comes by, reaches into a different bag, and leaves the same dusty brown burden that has been deposited on my doorstep for the sum of a hundred yesterdays. I keep hoping that one day it will be different, that I will find a mercy when I look down, sparkling in its newness instead of the barbed and heavy thing, crossbeams covered in ash and dirt and blood. I keep hoping that one day the thing he leaves will carry me.
But I have never chosen the load I carry, and even my thick skin has cracked and bled under its weight.
I finger my rosary, thumbing my way through the sorrowful mysteries – asking for grace for the day, for help to carry my load and my own weight, light by which to see. And then I encounter the Light himself, praying by blood, let this cup pass, let there be another way, assenting with each new agony Thy will be done, and then crying out Why have you forsaken me?
And I see he is here, walking beside me, showing me the cross he carried, revealing the marks where splinters sliced into his skin. Showing me the scars where flesh and muscle once separated from bone. Bringing his shoulder against mine, he brings himself under the weight and carries it with me. He has not exempted me, just as he did not exempt himself. And again he walks with a weight not his own, carrying a cross he did not craft, tormented for an evil he did not create. The beams dig into his skin as they do mine.
It may not be what I envisioned, but this is his mercy, the God who suffers with his people.
And so my prayer concludes:
"O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant we beseech Thee that in meditating on these mysteries of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through this same Christ our Lord. Amen."