By Mary Sayad
Everyone loves a good story. My children loved bedtime stories as do my grandchildren. Jesus spoke in parables or stories in order to capture his listeners' attention. His parables were spoken to teach people morals, reinforce God's Commandments and to awaken their love and trust in God, Our Heavenly Father.
This message is dedicated to Ray Skop. He gave me the above title and requested that I compose what the rosary means to me.
My rosary is the prayer pause that refreshes me spiritually through Jesus and Mary. While reciting my rosary, I relive Jesus and Mary's family life, prayer life, sacrificial life and triumphant life. I am enabled to go back 2000 years and walk where they walked, celebrate with them and cry with them in their journey offered with love toward our salvation.
My meditation starts with "The Apostles Creed", which was originally authored by Jesus' Apostles with the help and encouragement of Our Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit. After Jesus' Ascension into heaven, she realized that they needed a plan or blueprint which would explain Christianity. Therefore, before the Apostles would leave Jerusalem to spread Jesus' message, Our Blessed Mother asked each of the Apostles to explain his thoughts of the new Christian religion. Each Apostle had his turn in making a statement. St. Peter was the first. St. John, Jesus' beloved Apostle added "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried" while "Descended into Hell, arose from the dead on the third day" was added by the Apostle Thomas.
Our Blessed Mother took upon herself the arduous chore of hand writing many copies of "The Apostle's Creed" for all disciples to carry with them and to guide them as they preached Jesus' message. Mary, our Mother was literate. In those days, most people were illiterate, especially women. However, because Our Blessed Mother was dedicated to the Temple at the age of three, she was well educated. She was Jesus' first disciple and continues to carry His message to this date! She was and is truly extraordinary….
I visualize her seated at her table diligently writing and producing copies of the newly formulated Apostles Creed. Although after the Passion, Resurrection, Ascension of her Son, Jesus, our Blessed Mother continued with her ministry in promoting Christianity. She never complained or felt that her purpose was complete.
I will describe how one meditation of each of the Mysteries of the rosary is revealed to me. In addition, I have included the reflection or meditation of my selected mysteries.
THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES: The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation at the Temple and the Finding of Jesus
Because these mysteries announce the coming of Christ and follow His young life, it was very difficult for me to choose a favorite mystery from this part of the life of Jesus and Mary, however, the Visitation where Mary visited Her cousin Elizabeth would be my first choice.
**The reflection and meditation of this Mystery is LOVE OF NEIGHBOR. Mary shows us how to go beyond ourselves to the degree of inconvenience and sometimes discomfort to reach out to family and friends. Here she was newly pregnant with Our Savior and traveled with St. Joseph (who was yet not aware of the Annunciation) through the mountains of Judea to the town of Ain-Karem for perhaps four days (approximately five miles from Jerusalem) by foot and donkey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. As they traveled through various villages, Mary visited the sick and poor and comforted them.
Elizabeth, who was past her child bearing age, miraculously conceived St. John the Evangelist, the forerunner of Jesus. Our Blessed Mother worked humbly with the servants in household chores to assist her cousin. Mary remained with her for approximately three months. After St. John's birth and circumcision she returned to her home in Nazareth. Mary is the ultimate example of selfless charity.
Although imperfectly, I try to follow her in her quest for love and harmony.
THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES: The Agony of the Garden, The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning of Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, The Crucifixion
Depressing, sad and unbelievably horrific, these incredulous mysteries fill me with awe. My favorite is The Agony in the Garden. **The reflection and meditation of this Mystery is OBEDIENCE AND REPENTANCE FOR SINS.
Here Jesus prays to Our Heavenly Father to remove this "cup" from him. He knew His suffering would be severe and intense and He was both fearful and apprehensive. He could have easily escaped, yet He came to fulfill the Scriptures and therefore He obeyed His Father and freely gave of Himself to be captured, disgraced and humiliated for love of us and for our salvation.
This Mystery is one of my most difficult challenges. Just as Jesus was tolerant of the sleeping Apostles, I need to be tolerant of other's thoughtlessness and vulnerabilities. In his anger, St. Peter cut off a soldier's ear. Despite the soldier's falsified accusations, Jesus demonstrated tenderness and unconditional love and restored his ear. An obedient Son, Jesus remained loyal to His Father and proceeded with His destiny to lift mankind from the depths of hell to heaven.
In many instances, I struggle to be mindful of my spiritual obligations and to remain obedient to the Commandments. Indeed, there are times where I become impatient and intolerant of my very own weaknesses. I pray for strength and spiritual wisdom.
THE LUMINOUS MYSTERIES: The Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, The Wedding at Cana, The Proclamation of the Heaven of Heaven, The Transfiguration, The Institution of the Holy Eucharist.
Once again we experience some of the most poignant events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Each and every decade is very dear to me for they cast out darkness by the light of truth.
The Institution of the Holy Eucharist is the most precious to me. **The reflection and meditation of this mystery is ADORATION.
Jesus freely gives Himself to us through the Holy Eucharist. He becomes one with us and He blesses us with hope, fills us with His love and strengthens us with faith. Envision it and believe it. The Holy Eucharist is the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ! This is the nourishing, spiritual food that refreshes and inspires me. He infuses me with His Spirit and fills my weak and broken being with hope. Nothing-else in this world has this effect on me. We are truly fortunate to have received salvation through the triumph of Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus - God's divine gift to us.
I am reminded that I should daily and constantly praise, glorify and thank God for His Love.
THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES: The Resurrection, The Ascension, The Feast of Pentecost, The Assumption, The Coronation.
Truly sublime and astonishing are the miracles of these unique Mysteries. Each and every one of these Mysteries staggers the imagination.
. The Coronation - **The reflection and meditation of this Mystery is TRUST IN MARY'S INTERCESSION. She is the embodiment of hope for every woman and every man. Our Blessed Mother was crowned Queen of the Universe, gentile mother and lover of all creation, the chosen handmaid of God and the guardian of virtue.
Our Heavenly Father honored her as the Mother of His only begotten Son and He elevates mothers and all womankind to a higher plateau. She directs us to Jesus, her Son granting us favors through Him. She bids us to trust Him, to love Him and to always seek Him.
***God Our Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit One in the Holy Trinity form the apex of our existence --
Without faith, we have nothing, are nothing and life is void of purpose and hope.
MARY, HELP OF THOSE IN NEED
Holy Mary, help those in need, give strength to the weak, comfort the sorrowful, and pray for God's people, assist the clergy, intercede for religious. May all who seek your help, experience your unfailing protection. Amen