The church column with Father Michael Sellers

Father Michael Sellers
Father Michael Sellers

Before we celebrate Easter we go through the preparation of the 40 days of Lent.

In this period we commemorate the 40 days Jesus stayed in the desert and was tempted by the devil.

St Mary and Joseph Catholic Church, Pocklington.

St Mary and Joseph Catholic Church, Pocklington.

We try to give more time to prayer, fasting and doing works of charity. We examine our lives and try to root out bad habits and sinful attachments, to be more Christ-like.

As I previously wrote about the Rosary, in Lent we focus on the ‘Sorrowful Mysteries’; these are five of the major occasions when Jesus suffered.

They are opportunities to reflect on the depths of God’s love for mankind.

The first Sorrowful Mystery is called ‘the Agony in the Garden’. Here we ponder the night before Jesus was crucified. His heart as heavy with sorrow, he prayed, his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood.

He asked his apostles to stay awake and pray but they fell asleep. After some time soldiers came to look for him, Judas betrayed him with a kiss and he was bound and taken away to prison.

This mystery calls us to have courage in times of doubt and fear, to trust God and turn to him in prayer. We pray for the lonely and the depressed, for those who are suffering mental anguish and for anyone experiencing testing times.

The Second Sorrowful mystery recalls how Jesus was taken out and whipped or scourged. We pray in our own times for people who are enslaved or tortured, for those who endure cruelty in the family, in the workplace or in society. We pray for those who inflict cruelty that they may turn from their wicked ways.

The Third Sorrowful Mystery recalls how Jesus was crowned with thorns. The soldiers mocked him, spat upon him and hit him.

Here we remember those who are in authority over us.

We pray that they may work with integrity for the good of all.

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery is called ‘The carrying of the Cross’. Jesus is made to carry his own cross along the streets to Calvary. In the Gospel Jesus says to his followers ‘take up your cross and follow me’.

We think of the crosses we all carry, of providing for a family in difficult times, of illness, of caring for others, of all the burdens we bear each day. We pray in this mystery that we play our part in lightening the burdens of others.

The final Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion of Jesus. Here we pause to reflect on the lengths to which God goes to demonstrate his love for us. We pray for his forgiveness for our sins and ask for the help to forgive others.

May this Lent be a fruitful time for all of us.