I had some new thoughts concerning the Rosary that I wanted to share. As always, I’m also very eager to hear what insights everyone else here has had while praying the Rosary!
Here’s the Rosary meditation I usually go over:
The First Joyful Mystery
The time for the Incarnation is at hand.
Of all women God prepared Mary from her conception to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word.
The Angel Gabriel announces: "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee."
Mary wonders at this salutation.
The Angel assures her: "Fear not . . . you shall conceive in your womb, and give birth to a Son."
Mary is troubled for she has made a vow of virginity.
The Angel answers that she will conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and her Son will be called the Son of God.
The Incarnation awaits Mary’s consent.
Mary answers: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word."
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
I realized today, while meditating on the Mystery of the Annunciation, that when God prepared Mary from conception to be the Mother of Christ, He was also preparing her from conception to be my Mother. Our Mother. Because just as she gives birth to Christ, she spiritually gives birth to the Body of Christ in the world. So when she says, “Let it be done for me according to your word,” not only Christ is brought into the world; all of us are brought into the world. The Annunciation describes the conception of all of Christ’s Body. It was amazing for me to notice suddenly that I was reading the scene not only of the conception of Jesus, but I was reading about my own personal spiritual conception. Man did that personalize it.
Something else I noticed was that in the mystery where Christ is lost for a time and Mary and Joseph have to seek Him, at this moment the greatest saint endures what all the saints endured, the spiritual dryness, emptiness and torments of having lost Jesus. This is the “Dark Night of the Soul,” the point where the saints describe feeling Christ is gone from their lives and they endure unrelenting suffering for a massive, excruciating period of time. Because Mary is immaculately conceived and Christ’s personal Mother, she endured His disappearance during that period with pain such as no other human will ever be able to imagine. Even though He was only missing for three days, her suffering was greater than any human saint’s can be, because of her Immaculate Conception and the fact that she was Christ’s personal mother.
My Rosary says of this scene:
The Fifth Joyful Mystery
THE FINDING OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
When Jesus is twelve years old, He goes with His parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
After the feast of the Passover, Joseph and Mary unknowingly set out for Nazareth without Jesus.
At the end of the first day’s journey they discover Jesus is missing.
His parents return immediately looking for Him.
This loss causes grief and anxiety beyond our understanding to the hearts of Mary and Joseph.
On the third day they find Jesus in the Temple among the Doctors who were astonished at His wisdom.
Mary: "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow."
Jesus: "Why did you search for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?"
Jesus goes down with them to Nazareth, and is subject to them.
Mary keeps all these things in her heart.
Now I believe I can see where Mary endured the Dark Night of the Soul and how that links her to all the saints. In fact, she was the first saint to endure this. And just as the saint, rising from the Dark Night of the Soul, is consoled by Christ, so Mary saw Him in the Temple surrounded by all the learned. She saw Him elevated in glory, and her heart leapt with joy. Then she treasured the experience in her heart, and Jesus accompanied her constantly from then on, until He had to depart to begin His ministry.
In fact, the words Mary heard here are also the same as those that often reach souls in the Dark Night. Souls sometimes doubt in that time whether God loves them any more. They wonder why He is so absent. He gently says to them at the end, though, “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?” The call is to have faith.
This experience also was a precursor to the Passion. Jesus was gone from her life for three days, just as He would die and for three days lie in the earth. Then He was found surrounded by the learned in the Temple, just as Christ was raised in glory.
This scene also presents the fabulous intimacy of the Trinity. Jesus was behaving with His Father just as any human might their natural father, because the Father was Jesus’ natural Father. Their intimacy is powerfully expressed in this scene.