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Month of the Holy Rosary: Reflections on the Glorious Mysteries

by Theresa Cavicchio

The Mysteries of the Rosary close out in a blaze of glory, in keeping with the spiritually powerful events they signify. Elevating our spirits to the interplay between heaven and earth, they lift us outside the realm of strictly human experience. The Glorious Mysteries traditionally are prayed on Sunday and Wednesday.

We begin each of our five reflections with a quote from paragraph 23 of Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Apostolic Letter of Pope Saint John Paul II, and end each with questions for reflection.

First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection ~ Jn 20:1-9, 19-21 “The contemplation of Christ’s face cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One. He is the Risen One!” Just a few days prior, the body of Jesus, broken and bloodied, had been laid to rest in a borrowed tomb. Now in its glorified state, He appears to His astonished followers, His greeting a message of peace. Over the days that follow, He walks, talks, eats with them; touches their hearts; renews their faith with the reality of His risen physical presence. In what ways can I increase my “contemplation of Christ’s face” to deepen the reality of His presence in my heart?

Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension ~ Acts 1:9-11 “In the Ascension, Christ was raised in glory to the right hand of the Father … “ Those post-Resurrection days are a most blessed time, culminating in the dramatic scene where Jesus disappears from His disciples’ sight, ascending into the clouds to His place in heavenly glory. He goes to prepare a place for us, according to His promise; in the fullness of time, another promise will be fulfilled when He comes again in glory. In the meantime, His followers are charged with the duty of evangelization; to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” How can I be a more dutiful witness to Jesus in my daily life?

Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit ~ Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost “reveals the face of the Church as a family gathered together with Mary, enlivened by the powerful outpouring of the Spirit and ready for the mission of evangelization.” We can envision Jesus’ Mother in the Upper Room, in prayer and anticipation of yet another promise -- the arrival of the Paraclete. She is the quiet steadying force, encouraging His apostles to keep faith in that promise. She is with them at its fulfillment when the Holy Spirit descends to enlighten and inspire. Does Our Lady not comfort and encourage her children to keep the faith still today? And what is my own personal role in “the mission of evangelization”?

Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption of Our Lady ~ CCC, 974 By her Assumption, “Mary herself would [enjoy] beforehand, by a unique privilege, the destiny reserved for all the just at the resurrection of the dead.” This dogma, proclaimed by Pope Pius XII and promulgated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, assures us that Our Lady -- body and soul -- forever enjoys the heavenly splendor intended for all of the faithful. In this fulfillment of God’s plan begun at Mary’s Immaculate Conception, we find the hope of our own resurrection to eternal life. How does this hope manifest itself in my spiritual life?

Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Our Lady ~ Rev 12:1 “Crowned in glory – as she appears in the last glorious mystery – Mary shines forth as Queen of the Angels and Saints.” The closing book of the Bible paints a glorious portrait of this holiest of women: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” From her celestial home in the eternal presence of the Trinity, Our Lady’s work continues. She is a beacon of light and hope, guiding us on the right path, or helping us to return to it when we wander. What practical changes can I make to prioritize a daily rosary and lighten Our Lady’s task?

To bring his Apostolic Letter to a close, Pope Saint John Paul II quotes Blessed Bartolo Longo, “the apostle of the Rosary,” from his Supplication to the Queen of the Holy Rosary (43). May it be our prayer as we conclude our October reflections on the Mysteries manifested in Our Lady’s beads of love.

“O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of death: yours our final kiss as life ebbs away. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompei, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website offers brief meditations on the Glorious Mysteries related to the cause of human life.

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