One thing that I never knew about the Rosary is that there are moments of pause from the recitation of different prayers, where the one praying is to contemplate specific events that took place in the lives of Jesus and Mary. These stories of contemplation are called “Mysteries” and each day – at least on my app – has a different set of Mysteries attached to it. There are the Glorious Mysteries (Sunday and Wednesday), the Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday), the Luminous Mysteries (Thursday), and the Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday). I prayed my first Rosary on a Wednesday, and so my story continues with the Glorious Mysteries that were assigned for that day.
The Glorious Mysteries are: The Resurrection of Jesus, the Ascension of Jesus, the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. I’ll deal with the first three in this post, and the second two in my next entry.
Whenever I think about the resurrection of Jesus, I always think about when He told Martha “I am the resurrection and the life…” (John 11:25) I think about how the Bible calls Jesus the “first fruits” of those who are to be resurrected, I think about how Jesus defeated death and how we can live eternally because of his victory over death. Sometimes these concepts seem so distant, vague, and far off. It’s easy to forget the fact that this is not our real life. My entire adult life, so far, has felt like one failure after another. I am a person with a lot of ambition but nothing to show for it. I am intelligent, I am capable, I am hard-working – and I am so behind in life. I have always held high expectations for myself, and I have met less than 5% of those expectations. I am constantly trying to find ways to work harder or work smarter or get ahead here or get ahead there. I’m always scheming up some plan that will help me achieve some seemingly unreachable goal. I get bogged down thinking about it, honestly.
But as I contemplated the resurrection of Christ and the eternal impact that His resurrection has on my life – I couldn’t help but to feel stupid for stressing out so much about what is ultimately such a small portion of the eternity that I will live. That’s not to say that I won’t keep setting and working toward goals, but it certainly puts those things into perspective.
The next Glorious Mystery was related to the Ascension of Christ. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).” I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Jesus. All of His suffering, all of His weeping, all of his pleadings of ‘…let this cup pass from me…’ It must all have felt so worth it as he ascended back to His father, back to His home. He had faithfully completed the task that He had been sent here to complete. I can only hope and pray that I will have a moment like that, in which I will look back on all of the goings-on of my life and be able to feel a sense of completion. And I know that if I obey God, as Christ did, that moment will come for me, too.
I’ve always thought that if I could go back in time, I would want to be a witness to the Day of Pentecost. I’m not sure where the Catholic faith stands on speaking in tongues or with other “gifts” of the Holy Spirit – perhaps a Catholic reader can speak to that in the comments? But the Holy Spirit isn’t just about the supernatural ability to suddenly speak in different languages, heal others, or make prophesies. The Holy Spirit is about love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). And I believe that part of the point of contemplating these ‘Mysteries’ is so that we can reflect on our lives and work toward living out those attributes.
What are your thoughts on the Glorious Mysteries? How has this portion of the Rosary encouraged or convicted you?