The glorious mysteries


8 Jul 2021

Jesus and his mother give us hope and encouragement: meditations and prayers.

In a series of articles in Madonna magazine, which have been uploaded as part of the daily prayer resources, we have invited readers to consider the Rosary anew. Through scriptural reflections on each of the mysteries of joy, sorrow and light, we have encouraged an attentiveness to this as a prayer of contemplation. The words of each prayer become something of a mantra on our lips and in our heart.

Our contemplation of each scriptural event in the glorious mysteries leads towards two gentle invitations to further reverence Mary the mother of Jesus – she who mothers us with her strength and encouragement when we call on her name.

In the first glorious mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus, we are drawn by grace towards an encounter with our risen Lord. The events of his resurrection act as scenes we can enter with our gifts of imagination, memory and will. As Saint Ignatius would prompt us to do we can savour the experience with all our senses. When we become a participant or engaged observer our God leads us to see all that is happening, and to savour his presence in prayer and in life.

This meeting with our risen Lord invites us to go forward in confidence to grace on grace. As we observe Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the disciples gathered at Pentecost, we consider how we feel when we are called. In staying close to Mary our mother we are well placed to listen, discern and respond.

Below are some reflections on the Five Glorious Mysteries

Resurrection. When Mary of Magdala mistook him for the gardener, Jesus called her by name: ‘Mary!’ (John 20:11-18).

When the doors were locked in fear, Jesus came with peace (John 20:19-25).

When Thomas did not believe, Jesus came to him, open to touch (John 20:26-31).

When Cleopas and friend were desolate on the road to Emmaus, Jesus walked with them and brought them home to themselves (Luke 24:13-35). In all these situations, when hope was gone and despair lurking, Jesus restored us to his friendship. To him be the glory.

Ascension (Luke 24:50-53; Mark 16:19). Leaving the disciples at Bethany – a place of rest, healing and life out of death – Jesus lifts up his hands and blesses them.

As he withdraws and is carried to heaven, how can they not worship? How can they not be filled with joy? How can they not bless the God of Jesus Christ?

And the invitation extends to us: how can we not revere him? This wondrous God has given everything for us. Jesus has paved the path for us to tread towards life in our days. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow.

Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11). Gathered together in one place, the surprise of a remarkably graced encounter with the Holy Spirit, poured out onto each one.

Bringing forth a mighty sound, tongues as of fire came to confirm each one in their calling.

The consolation of this experience was sure to stay with each disciple for a lifetime. This event sent each one out on mission with intelligible words and a bewilderingly compelling message to speak.

No wonder all were amazed at their testimony: a credible and inspiring message of ‘God’s deeds of power’ which each one had in fact experienced personally.

Assumption of Mary. Mary’s Yes has had a huge impact in human history.

All her deeds praised the Lord: her generosity in accepting the angel’s invitation, her joy with her cousin Elizabeth, her song of thanksgiving, her courage in pregnancy and birth, her attentiveness as Jesus grew, her wisdom at Cana as he began his public ministry, her solidarity with him in death, and (as Ignatius invites us to consider) her sharing with him in resurrection.

When Jesus named her the mother of John, he called her to be mother of the church, a church which celebrates her entry into heaven.

Coronation of Mary. Jesus overturned the order of power and authority in the world: good news to the poor, release to captives, freedom for the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19).

His mother paved the way for this ministry to emerge, singing in her Magnificat that her Lord has ‘brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly’ (Luke 1:52).

When we say that Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven, we mean that the kingdom of God follows the pattern not only of Jesus’ life, but that of his mother: a poor young woman called to a mighty mission.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of Madonna magazine.

James O'Brien is an Editorial Assistant with Jesuit Communications.
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