This morning I woke early to do some work on another Rosary Meditation book that I am working on. While working on the topic of suffering and how it can be found in what we call The Presentation, I was struck, once again, by the depth and richness of Scripture. I was amazed that so many thoughts or ideas can come from single passages in Scripture.
Perhaps this has happened to you when hearing the readings at Mass. You have heard them over and over your whole life long but for some reason, usually God's grace, something sticks in your heart when you hear it for the two hundred and thirtieth time.
For those of you who have never experienced this I thought I would try to give you a glimpse of how what John Paul II said is so true: "the simple prayer of the rosary marks the rhythm of human life." In Rosary Meditations for Real Life I took topics and found each of these topics in all of the mysteries. However, what I want to do here is list each topic but present only the Joyful Mysteries. My hope is that you will see the depth and the richness of Scripture and meditating on it. I hope that you will be able to see that even though each meditation focuses on the exact same Scripture passage so much can be drawn out of it depending on the topic or theme. I pray that you will try this on your own and fall deeply in love with the scriptures and each day find your life in the mysteries of the Rosary. A simple prayer, right?
Anyway, here are the meditations on the Joyful Mysteries. I will list each topic and then the meditation.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. - Luke 1:26-38
Mary was not sitting idle when the angel appeared. Traditional artwork shows Mary reading scripture, meditating on the word of God. The fact is Mary was serving God by working through the scriptures. Whether I work in an office, on a construction site or at home my work can bring me closer to God. Mary wasn’t sitting idle waiting for a sign from God that she was to be the Mother of the Messiah. She was fulfilling her daily duties when God’s message came. What will my state of mind be and what will I be doing when God’s messenger comes? What if it is not a messenger but God Himself? Will I be humbly attending to the work set before me or will I be complaining against the task? “Be it done unto me.”
Children are a gift from God. A completely mysterious gift, but a gift nonetheless. The mystery of the Annunciation shows me how much God loves human life. My salvation did not begin with a celestial light show or trumpeted announcement throughout the heavens. It began with a pregnancy. The Word truly became flesh and entered the world the way I did. My God chose to become a helpless child in the arms of His Mother. For a while the Creator was nurtured at the breast of one of His creatures. Unless I become like a little child I cannot enter the kingdom. To be child-like is to be full of awe and wonder at everything God does. Small children are amazed at simple things like music, balloons, and bugs. I too need to look at life with that kind of awe. Children are a gift from God because they can teach me how God wants me to live, depending solely on Him and looking with wonder at all He does for me. Like the angel Gabriel children can be messengers from God.
It seems strange to meditate on death as associated with the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary. Yet to meditate on death is a spiritually healthy thing to do. I, like Jesus did, from the moment of conception am moving towards death. Death is as natural as life, yet I fear it because it is a realm unknown to me. As the Catechism states, my purpose is to "know, love, and serve God in this life so I can be happy with Him in the next." This very statement has the shadow of death behind it. In reality, death is a prerequisite for eternal life. If I remember death daily, I will be strong enough to say with Mary, "Be it done unto me according to thy word." "Every man dies, but not every man really lives," the actor said. By constantly remembering death is only a breath away, I can "really live" for God.
I am afflicted by addiction, an addiction to sin. My addiction to sin is a negative mirror image of the Annunciation. I oftentimes say “yes” to things sinful and “no” to God, where Mary said “no” to everything sinful and “yes” to God. Mary is often called the refuge of sinners. Might she also be called the refuge of the addicted? It does not matter what my addiction is, Mary can help. If I am addicted to drugs or alcohol, Mary can ask her Son to give me the wine that is His blood. If I am addicted to sexual sins, Mary can wrap me in her mantle of purity. If I am addicted to anger or power, Mary can obtain for me peace of heart and humility. Mary is my Mother who will never forsake me no matter how addicted I become. She will pull me out of the gutter when I am out of my mind with drugs. She will gently pull me away from the pornography and filth. She can talk me down from the precipice of anger and pride. In my darkest hour of addiction I must call on the Mother of God that she might obtain for me light from Light and release from the prison cell of addiction.
"Be it done unto me according to thy word." With these words heaven was married to earth. Mary said, "I do", and conceived a Son by her spouse, the Holy Spirit, and the world has never been the same. Love manifests itself within marriage in the bringing forth of offspring. For those who cannot conceive children physically they are to manifest their love through spiritual offspring. When a couple is married the Church asks them to promise to accept children lovingly from God and raise them according to the teachings of the Church. To which they agree without much thought yet a large majority of professed Catholic married couples employ the use of artificial contraception. Has that promise made on our wedding day turned into a lie and denial of God's will? Every human life brought forth changes the course of human history. If we keep our promise to God and His Church it changes history for the good and furthers the Kingdom of God. If we do not keep our promise we are living a lie and helping bring about the destruction of the Kingdom. Contraception has no place in our marriage. We promise to accept children willingly from God. Be it done unto us according to thy word.
TOPIC: THE MASS
When the angel visited Mary the miraculous happened. At Jesus' conception in Mary's womb “the word” as St. John says “was made flesh and dwelt among us”. During the Mass the miraculous happens again. At the words of consecration the Word once again becomes flesh and dwells not only among us but in us. The bread, which earth has given and human hands have made, becomes the Bread of Life. The fruit of the vine becomes the Blood of the Lamb.
During the Mass I experience my own personal annunciation. As the angel said to Mary, “behold you shall conceive a son”, the priest says to me, “behold, the Lamb of God”. Mary said, “fiat”, “be it done unto me according to thy word”. I say, “I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed”. At this moment I also cry out, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. But maybe I should cry out, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven here at Mass”.
TOPIC: THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES THROUGH THE EYES OF ST. JOSEPH
When Mary told me she was with child I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. I felt betrayed and angry yet I did not want her to receive the punishment called for by the Law. Later that evening I decided to divorce her quietly when an angel appeared and spoke to me. I was amazed and thought I was dreaming. The next day I told Mary about the dream. Only then did she tell me her side of the story. She told me how an angel had appeared to her also and told her things that were similar to what the angel had told me in my dream. I asked her why she didn’t tell me this before. She said that she knew the Lord would provide my answer in His own way and she didn’t want to interfere. That is just like her, always leaving everything to the Lord.
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