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Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

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CATARINO: Coronation of Mary - 1360s

CATARINO: Coronation of Mary - 1360s

By Jennifer Hartline

1st Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!" Luke 24:5-6

For days they had been wildly celebrating. They circled round the table where the dead lamb lay as testament to their master's stunning achievement. With their glasses raised, they shout, "Victory to our prince! God is dead! Look at him now! God is dead!" With their forks they stab at the lamb, and spill their bitter gall on the mangled, bloodied flesh.

With a smug, satisfied snarl, Lucifer turns to his minions and bellows, "Who can stop me now? Surely I am ruler over all the earth and all its people will be subject to me, for I have slaughtered their pathetic, meek little God." Hoisting him up on their shoulders, they dance around the room in hysterical carousal. "God is dead!" they sneer. "Victory to our prince!"

Suddenly, even over the din of their drunken cackling, he begins to hear a sound in the distance that sends shivers up his crooked spine. "Silence!" he hollers. "Listen," he says, "what is that sound?" Their eyes grow wider as the sound grows louder and stronger, and now his pathetic lackeys are cowering and whimpering in fear. Even he can't stop the terror rising in his throat. It is the sound... of joy.

"Alleluia! He is risen from the dead and He lives forevermore! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!"

In a flash he whips his head around toward the table, his trophy now vanished. "NO!" he roars. There in the center of the table is a note, secured by a bloody nail. Slowly he slinks over to it, frothing at the mouth, trembling in anger and fear, and reads his doom:

You lose. Love wins.

"Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 1Corinthians 15:54-55

Jesus didn't merely endure the worst the world had to offer. So great is His love for us that He plunged Himself into the deepest, darkest pit of hell itself, consuming its fire and conquering its power forever. We need no longer fear the agony of hell, for He has suffered it for us, and now He lives!

If not for the Resurrection, there could be no faith. It would be pointless to believe in a Lord still buried in a tomb. "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." 1Cor 15:14

He is alive! The victory is won, and though Satan rages in bitter anger over his defeat, even he knows that all who believe in Christ will not perish but have everlasting life. Rejoice!

2nd Glorious Mystery: The Ascension

"When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven." Luke 24:50-51

Big event - one little sentence. They're all standing there, Jesus is blessing them, and suddenly, there He goes! Up in the clouds, taken out of their sight. Gone. One moment he's there, the next He's gone.

How exactly does that give us hope, I wondered? If I'd been standing there that day, I probably would have said, "Wait a minute! You're leaving us?!? Come back!"

But the more I dwell on this scene, the more I begin to see the hope. This scene is nothing like the last time they said goodbye to Jesus. Then, they buried Him; bloody, beaten and lifeless. It truly seemed hopeless then. This time He was alive and well as He left. And one thing that strikes me as hopeful is that He didn't dissolve into a cloud of spirit and then depart for heaven. He took his flesh and bones, now glorified, with Him.

He made sure his disciples saw Him enter His glory in His fully glorified human body; the body that still bore the scars of nails and a sword, now glorified. He gave them the unshakable certainty of knowing that the Lord they knew and loved and touched truly is alive forever just as He was when He walked among them, but now glorified.

If there had been any lingering doubt about who He was after the resurrection, surely it vanished when they saw Him ascend to heaven. Now they knew for certain they had seen the face of God! They had seen the eyes and heard the voice and felt the hands of the One who now sits on the throne at the Father's right hand.

He is there in a glorified body, heart still beating, blood still coursing through His veins, still wearing the same skin we are. We know who He is and what He is like. There is no uncertainty; in the most tangible sense, we know God. He is not invisible, or a mist of vapor. He returns our embrace with His own warm, flesh and blood embrace.

We couldn't possibly ask for a more unequivocal declaration of the dignity and sacredness of the human body.

The ascension also speaks of home. We really are living in exile here, for despite all the beauty and goodness that still remains, this earth is not our eternal home. And we know that Jesus has returned home to the Father in order to prepare for our arrival. I can picture all the citizens of heaven giddy with anticipation, excitedly "getting the house ready" for the family members who are coming home.

Heaven is surely as real as Jesus; we know it is real because we know Him; the disciples touched Him, heard Him laugh, ate with Him, watched Him sweat, bleed and die. Then they saw Him, ate with Him, felt His human touch and heard Him laugh all over again when He'd risen from the dead. We await a new heaven and a new earth. We also await our own resurrected and glorified bodies, fashioned after His own, in the fullness of our redemption!

And finally, they watched as He returned home in a way that assured them - and us - that the way they knew Him was the way He would always be. Their hope was secure because they knew heaven was real and alive and waiting. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf." Hebrews 6:19-20

3rd Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spiri

"Suddenly a sound like the rush of a mighty wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." Acts 2:2-4

For me, no mighty, rushing wind. No burning fire. No strange language I've never spoken before. No drama at all. He finds me - or rather I find Him - most often in stillness and interior whispers. I may live my whole life without wind or earthquakes or fire, yet I can be sure His Spirit dwells within me.

Peter taught us, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for whom the Lord our God will call." Acts 2:38-39

Perhaps my favorite descriptive name for the Holy Spirit is the Hound of Heaven. What a dynamic visual image it paints! See Him running tirelessly, ears and nose to the ground, focused only on finding the one He pursues. Nothing will deter Him or slow Him down. With a pure and selfless obsession, He goes on and on, without ceasing, in search of His prize.

Not as a hunter tracking his prey for the kill, but as a Lover longing for His beloved; as a valiant and invincible Protector who will go to the ends of the earth to save the beloved who is in peril. No matter how far He must go or how long He must pursue, He never gives up.

And when finally the soul opens the door, He comes gently to our hearts - with intensity carefully measured out for each individual soul - to comfort, to inspire and give courage, to guide and enlighten, and to fill us with love for God. He doesn't frighten or condemn. Even as He convicts us of our sin, He reassures our troubled conscience with hope. His only imprint is love.

"Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy." Saint Augustine

4th Glorious Mystery: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians." CCC 966

Let this mystery assure us of the life to come

Have you thought about who you'd like to see first in Heaven? First, of course, is Jesus. And immediately after Him, I want to meet Mary. I can't wait to embrace her and hear her voice.

She still has the very same hands that first caressed the face of the Infant God. She still has the very same hair that our Creator's tiny little fingers grabbed and pulled. She has the same smile that greeted the Great I Am every morning. She speaks with the same voice that sang her Child to sleep at night. In her eyes is still the glorious vision of an angel and the brightest star that has ever shone.

I'm both ashamed and amazed to realize she will reach out to me with the very same arms that held her only Son's wounded blood-soaked body on a dark and bitterly sorrowful Friday.

You might say the whole of salvation history - the whole of human history - is contained in Mary's body. She lived as we were always meant to live; free from the stain of sin, in an unbroken relationship with God. From her fiat and her womb was born the Savior of the world, the fulfillment of all God's promises.

In her heart she kept every moment of His life, pondering it all, saying "yes" to the will of God over and over again. Her eyes saw the entire plan of salvation unfold and come to life. She suffered more than any other human person the cruel pain of sin and death as she walked the road to Calvary with Jesus. Her tears mingled with His blood on the ground of Golgotha.

And now she is as we will someday be; body and soul in the glory of heaven. She is all of us as we should have been; us as we are; and us as we will be if we follow her Son.

5th Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

What then does it mean for Mary to be the Queen of Heaven? In the Old Testament monarchy the Queen of the Davidic Kingdom was the Queen Mother. The Kings, for reasons of state and human weakness, had many wives, none of whom fittingly could be called Queen.

That honor was reserved for the mother of the King, whose authority far surpassed the many "queens" married to the king. We see this is the role Bathsheba played with respect to King Solomon and the occasions when the Queen Mother acted as regent on behalf of juvenile successors to the throne.

The role of the Queen Mother, therefore, is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Mary, just as the role of the Davidic King is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Jesus. Jesus inherited the Kingdom promised to David, who was told that one of his descendants would rule forever."

If Jesus is our King, then Mary is our Queen.

But Mary is not only our Queen; she is the definitive statement on the dignity and beauty of women in the eyes of God.

God came to us through a woman! He brought our salvation into this world through a woman's humility and faith, and through her womb. God surely could have devised any method He wanted, but He came to us through a woman to underscore how He honors and cherishes women and motherhood. And for all eternity, He has crowned Mary with radiance as the new Eve; the new Ark of the Covenant; the Queen Mother of the whole human race.

All generations call her blessed because the Almighty has done great things for her. That is why the Church loves and esteems Mary with a heart full of gratitude. In the same spirit, the Church values and gratefully esteems all women for their unique dignity, beauty and life-giving nature.

More Mary, Mother of God

Appearances of Mary

Apparitions and Appearances

Apparitions and Appearances Image

The term "appearance" has been used with Marian apparitions and visions of Jesus Christ. The Church will confirm an apparition as worthy of belief, but belief is never required by divine faith. Read More

Evaluating Apparitions

Evaluating Apparitions Image

A Roman Catholic approved Marian apparition is one that has been examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and has been granted approval by the local Bishop or the Holy See. Read More

Approved Appearances
Un-Approved Appearances
Approval of Faith Expression
Unapproved Apparitions

Mary as Mother

Mother of God (TheotoKos)

Mother of God (TheotoKos) Image

From antiquity, Mary has been called "Theotokos", or "God-Bearer". The word in Greek is "Theotokos". The term was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church. Read More

Daughter of the Father

Daughter of the Father Image

Mary is "full of grace," because it is precisely in her that the Incarnation of the Word, the hypostatic union of the Son of God with human nature, is accomplished and fulfilled. Read More

Mother of the Redeemer

Mother of the Redeemer Image

Mary was there at the Incarnation, Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of God Incarnate. She was there throughout the often called "hidden years" in Nazareth. In the life of the Redeemer... Read More

Spouse of the Spirit

Spouse of the Spirit Image

Throughout God's relationship with Israel He promises to espouse His people to himself (See, e.g. Hosea 2:19). This language of spousal love, of nuptiality, is also present in this overshadowing... Read More

Mother of the Church

Mother of the Church Image

Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. She is acknowledged as... Read More

Mother of the Domestic Church

Mother of the Domestic Church Image

Mary is the mother of every domestic church, of every Christian family. She fully understands the naturally supernatural realities of family life because she lived them. Read More

Our Mother

Our Mother Image

I found that every one of the great influences in my Christian life from that communion of saints to which we are all joined was profoundly "Marian". Francis of Assissi, Bernard of Clairvaux... Read More

Mary as Model

Mary in the Scriptures

Mary in the Scriptures Image

Christian Scripture calls the "more excellent way", the way of Love. Mary understands this Way and walked on it with extraordinary humility. Follow her in journey through the Scriptures. Read More

Mary in the Tradition

Mary in the Tradition Image

To understand Mary in the Tradition of the Church we have to understand what is meant by the word "Tradition" - and why it matters. In his second letter to the Thessalonians the Apostle Paul... Read More

Mary and the Councils

Mary and the Councils Image

A Bishop named Nestorius objected to the title of Theotokos, Mother of God or God Bearer for Mary. The Council of Ephesus met in 431AD and affirmed Mary was the "Mother of God"... Read More

Mary in the Liturgical Year

Mary in the Liturgical Year Image

The Second Vatican Council did not offer one particular document on Mary, the Mother of God. Rather, the Council fathers incorporated the meaning and mission of Mary, as well as her... Read More

Mary East and West

Mary East and West Image

Devotion to - and love for . Mary, the Mother of God, is a foundational part of the Christian Church both East and West. The Eastern Christian emphasis, both doctrinally and devotionally, is... Read More

Mary and the Early Fathers

Mary and the Early Fathers Image

Among the multiple and profound references to Mary, the Mother of God, found in the writings of the early Church Fathers is one of my favorites in the Cappadocian, Gregory of Nyssa... Read More

Mary and the Saints

Mary and the Saints Image

Among the titles given to Mary is "Queen of all the Saints". In one of his reflections on this woman whom he loved with such devotion, Blessed john Paul II proclaimed "This woman of faith... Read More

Mary as Disciple

Mary as Disciple

Mary as Disciple Image

We were made to give ourselves away to the Lord and, in Him, for others. Mary's choice, her response to the invitation of a God, is a singularly extraordinary event in all of human history. Read More

Handmaiden of the Lord

Handmaiden of the Lord Image

"I am the handmaiden (servant) of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word." (Luke 1:38) When Mary spoke those few words, human history was forever changed. Read More

Model of Holiness

Model of Holiness Image

From antiquity the early Christians reflected on a "mystery" of the faith- how the Incarnation of Jesus Christ came about through the free cooperation of this little Virgin of Nazareth... Read More

First Disciple

First Disciple Image

She was the first evangelizer and the first disciple of her Son Jesus. She gave the first Gospel testimony to her cousin, Elizabeth, without words, as the Redeemer in her womb drew the child in her womb... Read More

Way of Mary

The Message of Mary

The Message of Mary Image

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (The Gospel of Luke 2:34-37) Read More

The Meaning of Mary

The Meaning of Mary Image

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." "At the announcement that she would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without... Read More

The Prayer of Mary

The Prayer of Mary Image

Mary's Prayer teaches us to stay afloat in the ocean of life, with all of its undertows. Mary's way is to become an ark within, where the same God who became incarnate within her... Read More

The Song of Mary

The Song of Mary Image

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you... Read More

The Titles of Mary

The Titles of Mary Image

From the earliest theological reflections in Christian history we find the defense of the most important of the titles of Mary, "Theotokos" in Greek. It is translated God-bearer... Read More

Mission of Mary

Mary and the Eucharist

Mary and the Eucharist Image

In a beautiful apostolic exhortation entitled the Sacrament of Love, issued in 1997, Pope Benedict XVI wrote these words under a section entitled The Eucharist and the Virgin Mary... Read More

Mary & the New Evangelization

Mary & the New Evangelization Image

Throughout his pontificate, Blessed John Paul II called for this "New Evangelization." Pope Benedict XVI made this a central pillar of his pontificate. He erected a Pontifical Council... Read More

The Path of Mary

The Path of Mary Image

Before they were called Christians (Acts 11:26), at Antioch, they were referred to as "the Way". A Rabbi named Saul spoke of persecuting "the way" (Acts 22:4) before he was profoundly converted... Read More

The Marian Moment

The Marian Moment Image

Over the last two decades a recovery of the significance of the life and witness of Mary has occurred among many Christians, even those who descend from the communities of... Read More

Mary's Mission

Mary's Mission Image

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother... When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son." Read More

Marian Prayer and Piety

Marian Prayer and Piety Image

Marian prayer and piety developed very early in the history of the undivided Christian Church of the first millennium. It has been kept alive in a myriad of piety practices in the both the Catholic... Read More

Message of Mary

What Does She Say?

What Does She Say? Image

The message of Mary is the message of the Gospel, to repent and believe the Good news. The message of Mary is conversion to Her Son by saying "yes" to God's invitation. That is the path to true... Read More

Marian Prayer and Devotion

Marian Prayer and Devotion Image

The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs the faithful on just how Mary prayed. Mary still prays. She has a special role in the plan of salvation and is a model for all Christians... Read More

Marian Consecration

Marian Consecration Image

To consecrate means to dedicate. It is used in reference to worship and means to be set aside or set apart for God. It is also a word which speaks to the very core of the Christian... Read More

Devotion of Mary

Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary

Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary Image

When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals - one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them... Read More

Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary Image

My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed... Read More

Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary Image

But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered... Read More

Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary

Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary Image

While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory... Read More

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