The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Joyful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

by Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B.
Abbot of Maredsous

THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES

1. The Annunciation

Picture the scene of the Annunciation. God proposes the mystery of the Incarnation which He will accomplish in the Virgin Mary--but not until she has given her consent. The accomplishment of the mystery is held in suspense awaiting the free acceptance of Mary. At this moment Mary represents all of us in her own person; it is as if God is waiting for the response of the humanity to which He longs to unite Himself. What a solemn moment this is! For upon this moment depends the decision of the most vital mystery of Christianity.

But see how Mary gives her answer. Full of faith and confidence in the heavenly message and entirely submissive to the Divine Will, the Virgin Mary replies in a spirit of complete and absolute abandonment: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word." This "Fiat" is Mary's consent to the Divine Plan of Redemption. It is like an echo of the "Fiat" of the creation of the world. But this is a new world, a world infinitely superior, a world of grace, which God will cause to arise in consequence of Mary's consent, for at that moment the Divine Word, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, becomes Man in Mary: "And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us."

2. The Visitation

See how the Holy Spirit greets the Virgin Mary through the mouth of Elizabeth: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoke to thee by the Lord."

Blessed indeed, for by this faith in the word of God the Virgin Mary became the Mother of Christ.

What finite creature has ever received honor such as this from the Infinite Being?

Mary gives all the glory to the Lord for the marvelous things which are accomplished in her. From the moment of the Incarnation the Virgin Mother sings in her heart a canticle full of love and gratitude.

In the presence of her cousin Elizabeth she allows the most profound sentiments of her heart to break forth in song; she intones the "Magnificat" which, in the course of centuries, her children will repeat with her to praise God for having chosen her among all women:

"My soul magnifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid...
Because He Who is mighty has done great things for me
And holy is His name."

3. The Birth of Jesus

The Virgin Mary sees in the Infant that she has given to the world, a child in appearance like all other children, the very Son of God. Mary's soul was filled with an immense faith which welled up in her and surpassed the faith of all the just men of the Old Testament; this is why she recognized her God in her own Son.

This faith manifests itself externally by an act of adoration. From her very first glance at Jesus, the Virgin prostrated herself interiorly in a spirit of adoration so profound that we can never fathom its depth.

In the heart of Mary are joined in perfect harmony a creature's adoration of her God and a Mother's love for her only Son.

How inconceivably great the joy in the soul of Jesus must have been as He experienced this boundless love of His Mother! Between these two souls took place ceaseless exchanges of love which brought them into ever closer unity. O wonderful exchange: to Mary Jesus gives the greatest gifts and graces, and to Jesus Mary gives her fullest cooperation: after the union of the Divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity and the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the Incarnation, no more glorious or more profound union can be conceived than the union between Jesus and Mary.

4. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

On the day of the Presentation God received infinitely more glory than He had hitherto received in the temple from all the sacrifices and all the holocausts of the Old Testament. On this day it is His own Son Jesus Who is offered to Him, and Who offers to the Father the infinite homage of adoration, thanksgiving, expiation and supplication.

This is indeed a gift worthy of God.

And it is from the hands of the Virgin, full of grace, that this offering, so pleasing to God, is received. Mary's faith is perfect. Filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, she has a clear understanding of the value of the offering which she is making to God at this moment; by His inspirations the Holy Spirit brings her soul into harmony with the interior dispositions of the heart of her Divine Son.

Just as Mary had given her consent in the name of all humanity when the angel announced to her the mystery of the Incarnation, so also on this day Mary offers Jesus to the Father in the name of the whole human race. For she knows that her Son is "the King of Glory, the new light enkindled before the dawn, the Master of life and death."

5. Jesus is Found in the Temple

"How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" This is the answer that Jesus gave to His Mother when, after three days' search she had the joy of finding Him in the Temple.

These are the first words coming from the lips of the Word Incarnate to be recorded in the Gospel.

In these words Jesus sums up His whole person, His whole life, His whole mission. They reveal His Divine Sonship; they testify to His supernatural mission. Christ's whole life will only be a clarifying and magnificent exposition of the meaning of these words.

St. Luke goes on to tell us that Mary "did not understand the word that He spoke." But even if Mary did not grasp the full significance of these words, she did not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. This is why she submitted in silence to that Divine Will which had demanded such a sacrifice of her love.

"Mary kept these words of Jesus carefully in her heart." She kept them in her heart, for there was the tabernacle in which she adored the mystery concealed in the words of he Son, waiting until the full light of understanding would be granted her.

THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

4. The Assumption of Mary into Heaven

If Christ Jesus wishes us to love all the members of His Mystical Body, should we not love above all others her who gave Him the very nature by which He became our Head, the same nature which He uses to communicate His grace to us? We cannot doubt but that the love which we show to his Mother is extremely pleasing to Christ.

We shall manifest our love by extolling the sublime privileges which Jesus has bestowed on His Mother, among which the Assumption is one of the most glorious. If we wish to please our Lord very much, we shall admire the wonderful gifts with which He has lovingly adorned the soul of His Mother. He wishes that we should sing the praises of the Virgin, who was chosen among all women to give the Savior to the world.

"Yes, we shall sing your praises, for you alone have delighted the heart of your God. May you be blessed, for you have believed the word of God, and in you the eternal promises have been fulfilled."

5. The Coronation of Mary in Heaven

What is the purpose of all the mysteries of Christ? To be the pattern of our supernatural life, the means of our sanctification, the source of all our holiness. To create an eternal and glorious society of brethren who will be like unto Him. For this reason Christ, the new Adam, has associated with Himself Mary, as the new Eve. But she is, much more than Eve, "the Mother of all the living," the Mother of those who live in the grace of her Son.

And since here below Mary was associated so intimately with all the mysteries of our salvation, at her Assumption into heaven Jesus crowned her not only with glory but also with power; He has placed His Mother on His right hand and has given her the power, in virtue of her unique title of Mother of God, to distribute the treasures of eternal life.

Let us then, full of confidence, pray with the Church: "Show yourself a Mother: Mother of Jesus, by your complete faith in Him, our Mother, by your mercy towards us; ask Christ, Who was born of you, to give us life; and Who willed to be your Son, to receive our prayers through you."


From Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B., The Mysteries Of The Rosary. Translated and published by the Monks of Marmion Abbey, Aurora, Illinois.
Translation of Dom Columba Marmion's Les Mystères du Rosaire published with the permission of the Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium.

Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1996. All rights reserved.


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