• Agony in the garden (Contrition)

In this mystery, Jesus is literally sweating blood. Now he knows what awaits him on Good Friday and he prays one last time that this Cup be taken away. But he ends his prayer with "Thy will be done". If only I could remember to end every one of my prayers this way!

  • Scourging at the pillar (Purity)

Jesus begins to suffer his final passion. Here he is brutally scourged within an inch of his life. Some say that this scourging was Jesus' reparation for a particular kind of sin. They say that perhaps in the scourging, Jesus was paying for our sins of the flesh.

  • Crowning with thorns (Moral Courage)

In the crowning with thorns, the guards place a crown of thorns on Jesus' head. A few years ago, my son did a service project where we had to remove overgrown buckthorn bushes. The thorns were sharp and they were two inches long! Now I have an idea what the thorns might have been like in Jesus' crown. Here some say Jesus made reparation for the sin of pride as he was humiliated by his tormentors.

  • Carrying the cross (Patience)

Jesus had to carry the instrument of his death to the place of his execution. This is much like Abraham had Isaac carry the wood to the altar where he thought God wanted him to sacrifice his son. Happily, God sent an Angel to tell Abraham not to do it. But God didn't spare his own son and Jesus patiently toiled to carry his cross so he could pay the ultimate price for our sins. I think of this often when I'm doing something tedious. There is nothing so tedious that it compares with carrying your own cross.

  • Crucifiction (Salvation, Self-denial)

At this point, Jesus laid down his life for us. We are saved through his sacrifice. It became clear to the guards that Jesus was the Son of God when he died. Even as he died, he prayed for our forgiveness. Often, people focus on the Romans and the Jews as executioners of Jesus. No. It's not that simple. You and I are there yelling "Crucify Him!" every time we sin.