Recently, I was praying the rosary and meditating on the Joyful mysteries, which is my favorite set of mysteries. As I started praying the second mystery, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of joy and happiness. After finishing the whole rosary, I started thinking to myself about the final prayer and how it ends, “…that we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.” I realized that when we pray that prayer, Mary is inviting us into the life of her son through the rosary. It’s her gift to us, and there is something very special about it.
Have you ever thought about the names of the mysteries? There are the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries. They are not only describing specific life events of Jesus, but also offer us a direct insight to our human emotions and connect us to Jesus. Joy and sorrow in particular are such strong emotions that really affect our well being, and Jesus wants us to find him in them.
For example, in the first Joyful mystery, Mary finds out she is to be the mother of God. She takes on the responsibility with a perfect Yes, as the angel announces the news to her. Then in the second Joyful mystery, when Elizabeth greets Mary, John the Baptist “leapt for joy” in Elizabeth’s womb, and the women glorified God and delighted in His love (Luke 1:44). Through the rosary, we can be joyful with Mary and Elizabeth. We are invited to rejoice and delight in God’s love as we meditate on the mysteries. God’s love is everywhere; it has no beginning and it has no end, and does not dwell in our restricted concept of time. It’s everlasting and we are all connected and called into it. The rosary connects us to the love and joy experienced by Mary and Elizabeth in these mysteries, and it is so beautiful.
We also get to experience God’s love in the mysteries of the rosary through suffering. That’s the other half of the deal. We are not promised an easy way out once we become believers and followers; it’s impossible because that’s not what Christ did for us. He suffered the ultimate penance, and we are called to do the same. When we look at the 4th Joyful mystery, The Presentation, we can see that it is a lot more than just Mary and Joseph taking Jesus into town to follow the Law of Moses. When they arrive at the temple, Simeon begins prophesying when he sees Jesus, and “the child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too’” (Luke2:33-35). Here, Simeon calls Jesus “the salvation”, and then reveals to Mary that she will also suffer along with her son, which we see happen during the Sorrowful mysteries.
They saw Love on the cross.
They saw Love be mocked, kicked, spit on and killed.
But they also saw salvation.
After consecrating myself to Mary, I was given the opportunity to dive deeper into the life of the Blessed Mother by being in a drama about the life of Jesus. I experienced so much joy, but I also received a beautiful gift of sorrow. Mary revealed her pure heart to my very small heart so, so deeply. I remember being in the Church on Good Friday going through the Stations of the Cross, and I just started crying, which never happens to me during stations. And then at the Veneration of the Cross service later that night, Mary our mother was there with me crying again. Then I began thinking about how Mary Magdalene must have felt at the foot of the cross. There must have been such pain in these women’s hearts! They saw Love on the cross. They saw Love be mocked, kicked, spit on and killed. But they also saw salvation. Just like Simeon proclaimed 33 years before that moment, there is a promise of joy in salvation. There is hope!
We are invited to dive deep into the mysteries of the rosary and experience what Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, John, and the rest of Apostles experienced. We are called to imitate love and run to Christ in our joys and our sorrows. And through Christ, salvation is ours, to be joined with our Father forever. Mary, our heavenly mother, is right there with us leading us to Christ with our joys and sorrows, and her joys and sorrows. Her human, pure, and pierced heart knows pain too. Ask her to pray with you. She will.
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” -Saint Maximilian Kolbe