The Five Joyful Mysteries
The eternal cycle from sorrow to glory then joy in the Christ child.
1. The Annunciation
The power of the Holy Spirit and Heaven united in impact upon Mary to enable her to become Mother of God by utter lowliness in herself. Mary sheds all her privacy and divests herself of any characteristics which come between her and God the Father. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord – my spirit exults (jumps for joy) in God my Saviour.” Her words define her reaction to this event of such great magnitude in her life and that of mankind. Without doubt she was tested to her limits – but she emerged triumphant in the knowledge (shattering) she is to become the Mother of Jesus. For us her example and conduct are truly powerful beyond our imagination – graceful to the point of perfection.
2. The Visitation of Mary to her kinswoman Elizabeth also with child.
Mary knows Elizabeth will be delighted to see her and the words of the magnificat are exclaimed in the presence of her kinswoman on her arrival. Why does she make the long and perilous journey on foot and alone? Clearly, as she knows, it is a risk for a pregnant woman. Essentially, Mary greatly values Elizabeth’s company and senses her cousin’s incipient child will be of fundamental importance to her own child – maybe even subconsciously she appreciated their alliance to come in the wilderness of the river Jordan. Elizabeth herself realises in her heart the great importance of Mary’s son to her own child. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus she exclaims. The accent is on Mary and by her complete compliance the defining of Jesus in Elizabeth’s mind. As the Annunciation signifies humility the Visitation is charity by these two believing women who will not let this moment slip. They are the ultimate example of motherhood and feminine meekness – from that grace springs Holy Mother Church Herself such is their extraordinary spiritual and natal fecundity.
3. The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This moment was scarcely noticed yet the universe was changed so fundamentally it would never be the same again. Jesus, born to be the Great Teacher and Mediator who would save the world on the Cross on Calvary. Yet His parents alone guarded and protective of this child but truly grateful to the Shepherds and Kings paying homage to their son. Clearly, this was evidence not to be ignored of the majesty and greatness to come to Jesus even in His Crucifixion some time away in the future. Jesus was destined to be a fisher of men before and after His time of trial. By that talisman He rose from the dead and the rock rolled away from the entrance to the tomb. The Cross represented His Kingship – the King of the Jews as Governor Pilate put it. This man was no figurehead but truly human and truly divine, as only God the Father taught until His Son’s Church enunciated that doctrine in its Councils. Jesus bound together Old and New Testaments in His very person and spoken word. His teaching would simultaneously divide and unite mankind. It was revolutionary beyond understanding – His birth was the first step in this process fulfilled in His life, death and resurrection. O what a happy, precious and galvanising moment! Christmas Day in the stable at Bethlehem ever since, and ever shall be, The Midnight Mass that counts for the very lifeblood of Christianity. Such splendour, yet such poverty and lack of worldliness.
4. The Presentation in the Temple.
This supreme moment when Mary met her future full in the face, “A sword will pierce your soul”, Simeon said. Here was her beloved child and yet the intimation was, He would bring intense physical pain upon Himself and unbelievable spiritual anguish upon His Mother and Himself. They were to be bound in those tragic, agonising moments of Mother and son in La Pieta, and on the road to the Crucifix and Cross: Jesus completely unconscious of this dénouement in the Temple on this day. But Mary would deduce for herself from the unforgettable words of Simeon on this solemn occasion of the Presentation of Jesus. The writing was on the wall for Mary and her beloved Son. Without doubt only Mary knew, not Jesus, He was so young.
5. The Finding in the Temple.
Now Jesus is 12 years old and can hold His own with the elders such is His knowledge in his Father’s House. He yearns for knowledge like the deer does the running stream. He forges on without His parents, so crucial it is to Him to be part of the scriptural debate to which He so fundamentally belongs in the Temple. His parents remonstrate with Him and He honestly replies, “I have been in my Father’s house.” showing astounding understanding of His position between Heaven and Earth – bridging that gulf. What are we left with? Unceasing prayer to Our Father in Heaven to whom we go for forgiveness, and also to forgive those who sin against us.
It was Jesus who taught His disciples this prayer - The Lord’s Prayer – the ultimate prayer of man to God.