Monday, September 16, 2013

Marian Monday: Secrets of the Rosary - The First Joyful Mystery

Last week, we went over the mysteries of the Rosary. As I promised, today I am going to show you the first of the joyful mysteries and how it relates to your walk of Christian faith.

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

When the sixth month came, God sent the angel Gabriel to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 where a virgin dwelt, betrothed to a man of David’s lineage; his name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 Into her presence the angel came, and said, Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.[4] 29 She was much perplexed at hearing him speak so, and cast about in her mind, what she was to make of such a greeting. 30 Then the angel said to her, Mary, do not be afraid; thou hast found favour in the sight of God. 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call him Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and men will know him for the Son of the most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob eternally; 33 his kingdom shall never have an end. 34 But Mary said to the angel, How can that be, since I have no knowledge of man? 35 And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, and the power of the most High will overshadow thee. Thus this holy offspring of thine shall be known for the Son of God. 36 See, moreover, how it fares with thy cousin Elizabeth; she is old, yet she too has conceived a son; she who was reproached with barrenness is now in her sixth month, 37 to prove that nothing can be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word. And with that the angel left her. - Luke 1:26-38

The Meaning of the Mystery:

At various points in our lives, God will send someone to us who will ask us to serve Him in some capacity.  For Mary, she was being asked to serve as the mother of God made flesh.  It will be up to us whether we give our consent, as Mary did, and say, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word" or whether we say, with Lucifer, "I will not serve."

Saying yes to God is never convenient. It is never easy.  It always involves putting ourselves at risk in some way.  Mary was betrothed. Pregnancy could mean an accusation of adultery, which by law would require her to be stoned to death.  At the very least, she risked being ostracized by friends and family alike. She knew this.  She knew she was risking not only the loss of the esteem of others, but her very life by giving her consent.  She was putting everything she held dear on the line in order to serve God, but she did it gladly and without hesitation. When we pray this particular mystery of the Rosary, we are asking Mary to pray for us that we might be as strong as she was, as filled with faith, and as trusting in God's providence so that we will give our "yes" to the Lord as easily and eagerly as she did.

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