Our Mother is patient and kind.
The first joyful mystery is the Annunciation. This, of course, refers to the moment when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the Son of God Most High.
One often reflects on the magnitude of this announcement. From then-Cardinal Ratzinger:
The salutation to Mary (Lk 1:28-32) is modeled closely on Zephaniah 3: 14-17: Mary is the daughter Zion addressed there, summoned to ” rejoice”, in formed [sic] that the Lord is coming to her. Her fear is removed, since the Lord is in her midst to save her. Laurentin makes the very beautiful remark on this text: “… As so often, the word of God proves to be a mustard seed…. One understands why Mary was so frightened by this message (Lk 1:29). Her fear comes not from lack of understanding nor from that small-hearted anxiety to which some would like to reduce it. It comes from the trepidation of that encounter with God, that immeasurable joy which can make the most hardened natures quake.”
Now see: Could more than a day have passed since Mary prayed to God to send His Messiah?
Oh, how God answers prayers.
This thought has appeared elsewhere, but it warrants repeating: The first Glorious Mystery is the Resurrection.
That’s the first mystery of glory. A man rising from the dead.
And then there’s more…
My reflections during the Rosary are often in words, concepts. But once, when I arrived at the Crucifixion of our Lord, words failed me, even within my mind.
Yet I had an image of Christ on the cross, so I just looked at Him.
The Luminous mysteries are unique in that they contain “The Proclamation of the Kingdom.” But this is not a story proper – there is no clear thing happening, but a man speaking.
Still, it had to be done – Jesus had to announce the purpose for which He had come. In that, I suppose the story, as it were, is as much about us hearing the proclamation as it was for anyone, in any time.
In other words, the Kingdom is always arriving. What will you do with this?
“Joyful” mystery – finding of Jesus in the Temple. Personally, I am struck by the interpretation of this event which says this is the nearest Mary came to experiencing sin, which is a loss of intimacy with God. She, for a period of a few days, felt His absence most acutely.
The second Sorrowful Mystery – I am shaken by the fortitude of Christ at the pillar, being cut to ribbons by the centurions’ whips.
We were made – my God, You made us – with nerve endings that would give us awareness of the world around us, and also of our physical condition. When something is harmful to our bodies, it hurts.
Here, after centuries of perfecting the art of torture, we see the full exploitation of this ostensibly useful feature: Those nerves, down to the tenderest tissue, are slashed and ripped away from the Body. What the body simply is, is torn away. It is painful even in the abstract.
And for love of all the world, He does not quit, or complain, or break.
The crown of thorns represents the full ignorance of man. You could not capture it more perfectly.
The Transfiguration sometimes strikes me – if one may speak this way – as one of the most important stories in all of Scripture. It is the pre-resurrection assurance of glory. It is one thing to have a voice from Heaven at the baptism – and that is enough! – but to have the same voice, and then to see the Man, resplendent in light.
It is everything short of rising from the dead. It is a stone’s throw away from creating ex nihilo.
And finally, for now, the assumption of Mary. By this point all of the mysteries have been lived out, before her eyes, except those which elevated her to her final glory.
She has seen the culmination and climax of salvation history, the entire hope of the whole history of her people. The Lord Himself now dwells on earth as Holy Ghost, setting the world on fire. There is no more doubt about the course of history.
What of her, then? Was that enough, to live through all of this?
It might be enough. And yet, all of that – all of it – points to something more. Something higher.
So Mary will not descend to the grave, but is lifted to Heaven. What a love our Lord has for her! How she carries His original hope for all of mankind!
And I cannot begin to fathom the celebration that occurs at her coronation…