Monday, September 9, 2013

Marian Monday: Secrets of the Rosary Revealed, Part II

Last week, we began examining the Rosary to find out the meaning of this Catholic prayer and to see it, not as an instrument of idolatry, but as an aide to growing in Christian faith.  We went over the four key prayers to the Rosary, and this week we will go over each of the Mysteries to see how they relate to our own faith lives.

The Joyful Mysteries

These mysteries reflect on the life of Jesus Christ from his conception to the moment where He is found teaching in the temple.  It is ultimately, though, about our own calling from our moment of Baptism.  We see in these mysteries how God comes to call us out of our ordinary lives to serve the needs of others; how we must learn to put the needs of our neighbor ahead of our own and by doing so bring Christ to them; how we must detach ourselves from our desires to be comfortable and to be respected by men; how we are called to be obedient in all things that God asks of us; and finally, we are reassured that no matter how holy we are we will come to a time in our lives where we can no longer see God in our lives but we are reassured that if we continue to seek Him in the temple, we will find Him again.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

These mysteries cover the moments of Christ's passion and death, from his hours in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death on the Cross.  It is an opportunity to reflect on the inevitable difficulties we will encounter in carrying our own crosses in life.  We see in these mysteries that we, too, will be asked to suffer for the sake of those who least appreciate it, even knowing that it may bear no fruit in our lifetime; that we must learn to bear terrible wrongs patiently; that we must learn to suffer indignities and bear humiliations as if they were a crown of glory; that we must bear our cross with a heart of gratitude; and that we must allow these things to help us die to our sins.

The Glorious Mysteries

These mysteries are the hardest for non-Catholics to accept, because two of them appear to focus on Mary.  However, the reality is that they are all focused on Christ. These mysteries are the Ressurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption, and the Coronation of Mary.  Focusing on the Resurrection reminds us that though we may die, if we live in Christ our death is only temporary.  Focusing on the Ascension calls to mind Christ's promise that where He goes we will also be one day.  Focusing on the Descent of the Holy Spirit reminds us that we are never alone, that Christ has sent the Holy Spirit to us to be with us in all things.  Focusing on the Assumption, that moment where Christ took His mother up to heaven body and soul, reminds us of our hope that some day our body and soul will also be with Christ in Heaven.  Last, the focus of the Coronation of Mary reminds us that Christ has promised us a share in his kingdom, not as slaves but as brothers and sisters who will receive their own crowns of glory on the day of Judgement.

The Luminous Mysteries

These mysteries focus on the three years of Christ's ministry.  It is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a baptized Christian; on our call to live out our covenant with Christ as His Bride; on the call to reach out to people in their sin and call them out of darkness into light; on the importance of letting Christ in so that we can be transfigured from our sinful selves into an earthly image of Him; and last, on the importance of allowing ourselves to be nourished and nurtured at His table so that we have the strength to carry out our mission in life.

I hope you'll join me next week as I continue the Secrets of the Rosary Revealed  with an in-depth exploration of the first Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation.

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