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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Presence of Christ and The Joyful Mysteries

Art by Ruth J Smucker - Annunciation
Art by Ruth J Smucker - Annunciation
Before I even started to accept the idea of sharing my personal and spiritual writing, I had some meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary that I felt I should share.  It's been laid on my heart since before my first post that these meditations would be some of the first writings I would post on this blog.  

I sometimes pray while I work around the home and garden, and many times I pray the Holy Rosary.  This is how these particular meditations came about.  There was a period of time last year that these meditations came to me during prayer in my work.  I quickly took time to jot them down, and later used them for reference for my own personal reflection.  Also, after my experience during prayer last fall, of which I wrote in my first post, these became a guidepost for further and deeper reflection for me. 

Yet, these were not just written for me.  The plural "we" is often used in what I wrote down, "we" being Christians, but more specifically Catholic Christians.  Many times in my writing, as in my art, I am given the gift of being able to  step aside, allowing the work to develop, I myself not fully understanding it in the moment. 

The rosary has played a very profound role in my life since even before I was Catholic.  It was part of my conversion experience, and has completely changed my relationship with God.

For those not familiar with the rosary, put basically, the rosary is a prayer of meditation on the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary, his mother.  It can be very beautiful to pray through the four sets of mysteries: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious.  Oftentimes, one prays just one set at a time, though one can certainly pray all four together.  There are five mysteries in each set.  

I will share the first set of these meditations that came to me.  These are meditations on the Joyful Mysteries. Overall, what you'll find in these meditations is a focus on our relationship with Christ as Christians, and His presence, especially in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  There is a call to humility, to greater faith, and a willingness to search and to suffer for Him, all so that we too might come to possess Him as many of the Saints, St. Theresa of Avila for example, have written about and as the book of Canticles in the Bible so beautifully illustrates in its poetry. 

First Joyful Mystery - The Annunciation
(The angel Gabriel comes to Mary and she conceives Christ in her womb.)  
Each one who is baptized has received the Holy Spirit and is made pure just as Our Lady was conceived without sin (the grace given to her by Christ through the cross, same as ourselves) and was overshadowed by the power of the Most High.  The problem is, we don't have the same humility of heart.

Second Joyful Mystery - The Visitation
(Mary goes to visit her cousin St. Elizabeth who is pregnant with St. John the Baptist.)
We marvel at how St. John the Baptist leaped in his mother's womb at the Visitation.  We have forgotten how our hearts too leaped for joy when we first received our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  St. John too later when in prison sent out his disciples to "double check" the identity of Christ, to be sure that Jesus was indeed the one sent by God to redeem Israel, the Messiah.  Oh how little faith we have at times, when Christ's identity is so clear.  He gives sight to the blind, the cripple walk.  

Third Joyful Mystery - The Nativity
(Jesus Christ is born to Mary and Joseph.)
The shepherds had an incredible humility of heart, as did the Wise Men who came in search of Christ.  It seemed mostly obvious to them who Christ was and where he was.  God too leads us in the direction of His Son.  Most importantly, Our Lady, if we let her, will take us to Him and grant us the grace from God to hold Jesus in our hearts.

Fourth Joyful Mystery - The Presentation at the Temple
(Mary and Joseph take Jesus to be presented to God at the temple in Jerusalem.)
Simeon and Anna, had to endure much waiting for Our Lord.  Persecution from others and their doubt may have at times clouded their thoughts, but when the Holy Family came to the temple, presenting Our Lord, they recognized the babe.  Their own eyes had seen Salvation.  Our eyes too see Salvation in the Eucharist and after much struggle we will hopefully behold the Beatific vision.

Fifth Joyful Mystery - The Finding in the Temple
(Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple after loosing him for three days.)
Sometimes it may feel as though we too have lost our sight of Christ, as though He was not close to us.  There are reasons for this.  Generally, it is for our own purification.  However, Christ will always allow Himself to be found.  We can gain comfort in knowing that He is not far away, and that we need not worry.  God is in control.  Also, regardless of whether we feel His presence we can always find His True Presence in the tabernacle.