MEDITATION OF THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY
by Father John Gregory of the Trinity, O.D.M.
First Mystery: The Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary
LET US CONTEMPLATE Gabriel the Archangel announcing to Mary that She will become the Mother of God. Mary submits to the divine Will: Fiat! Behold the Handmaid of the Lord; be it done to Me according to thy word. Fiat: this sums up the Blessed Virgin’s whole life; She submitted to God’s wishes. She is our model; She has opened the perfect path, the infallible way for us. If we are Her devoted children, if we want to make Her happy, let us walk in Her footsteps.
The Virgin Mary’s humility is the ladder by which God was able to come down to us; Her humility drew to Herself the grace of becoming the Mother of God: what a great privilege! Later, a woman impressed by the Saviour’s teaching cried out, Blessed is the womb that bore Thee! meaning, “How fortunate Your Mother is!” But Jesus rectifies this at once: Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it. Our divine Master wanted to show us that the prime element of the Blessed Virgin’s greatness is Her loving submission to the Will of God in the slightest details.
Let us ask for the grace to be entirely submitted in the hands of God like the Virgin Mary, to be attentive to the voice of God, who speaks to us through His inspirations, and to correspond faithfully to it by fulfilling His holy Will. Then Jesus will be able to incarnate in us as He did in His Mother.
Second Mystery: The Visitation of Mary to Her Cousin Elizabeth
LET US CONTEMPLATE our Mother in this visit to Her cousin Elizabeth. Let us admire Mary’s recollection during this journey of charity. She did not set out for the purpose of satisfying Her curiosity or of amusing Herself, but out of pure charity for Her neighbor. Let us ask Her for Her charity, Her zeal for the salvation of souls, Her supernatural spirit and purity of intention. All our activities should be accomplished to please God alone, in a spirit of love for God and neighbor, without seeking our personal satisfaction.
Behold Saint Elizabeth, congratulating Mary for the privilege of bearing the Saviour of the world. At once, however, Mary gives all the glory to God. In no way does She attribute to Herself the great graces God has granted Her: MAGNIFICAT! My soul doth magnify the Lord… because He hath done great things to Me! Let us give thanks to God for all the good that is in us; otherwise we are thieves, we appropriate to ourselves glory that is due to God alone. Let us never try to derive vainglory and esteem from the gifts God has given us in His goodness; pride cuts us off from divine grace.
Let us ask Mary to obtain from God the grace to imitate Her in all our actions; may we work only to please God and out of charity for our neighbor. Let us ask for our Mother’s charity, that charity which is the sign of the disciples of Christ: By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. Let us ask for true love, sincere love, to love one another in the truth.
Third Mystery: The Birth of Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem
LET US CONTEMPLATE Jesus at Bethlehem. Our Saviour, the Creator of heaven and earth, comes into the world in a stable; His Mother wraps Him in swaddling clothes and lays Him in a manger for animals. He is born in the harshest poverty to teach us scorn of earthly goods, love of humble things, love of the poor. From His birth until His death on the cross, He gives us the example of this in such an eloquent manner.
Let us ask for detachment from earthly things, for the love of poverty and deprivation. Man is proud; he loves all that glitters. Earthly goods attract him. Let us desire to live in great poverty, if it were possible, and even in need, to resemble our divine Master. The more we detach ourselves from earthly things, the more we will grow in the love of divine things; and the more we attach ourselves to earthly things, the more the love of God will decrease within us. That is the great secret; all the Saints practiced privation of the things of this world.
Throughout His life, Our Lord lived and preached poverty and detachment: The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. –Every one of you who does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be My disciple. -Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. -If you will be perfect, go, sell all you have, and give to the poor, and come, follow Me. Let us ask our good Master to give us the grace to cherish poverty, to live the poverty He went to such pains to teach us.
Fourth Mystery: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
LET US CONTEMPLATE Jesus taken to the Temple by His parents, offering Himself to His Father for the redemption of the world. Let us offer ourselves with Jesus to accomplish all that God may want of us. Let us say, in union with our Redeemer, Behold, I come to do Thy Will, O Father. Our personal offering is worth little by itself, but when united to Jesus’ it takes on an infinite value. Let us ask Him to help us make the total gift of ourselves, through the power of grace.
This mystery also concerns the Purification of Mary. That is an imprecise expression, for the most pure Mary had no need of purification. She submitted to this ceremony in a spirit of humility; no stain ever defiled the Blessed Virgin. Let us ask our Mother for this purity of soul, the absence of all that might displease God, so that we may live beneath the divine gaze! Let us always recall that God sees us: Walk in My presence and be perfect. This means: Remember that God sees you, knows your thoughts, your most secret intentions. Nothing escapes Him, He sees into all the nooks and crannies of your soul.
We can deceive men, and men can also be mistaken about us; but God weighs all the pros and cons. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin, who is Purity itself, for this grace to walk straight before God. May our only care be to please God, even if the whole world should unite against us.
Fifth Mystery: The Loss and Recovery of Jesus in the Temple
LET US CONTEMPLATE Jesus amid the Doctors, He who is Infinite Wisdom. Let us ask Him to communicate a little of His Wisdom to us, to give us His Spirit, to have us know His divine Thought.
For three days, Mary and Joseph have been looking for their little Jesus; they are weeping. Such holy people, and they are at a loss! Sometimes we think that because we want to serve God, everything will go smoothly, we will not have anything to suffer. Oh no! The cross, suffering is the portion of the elect. God gives it to His dearest friends. Our Lord did not want to spare even His holy Mother all kinds of sorrows, troubles and difficulties. The cross is God’s precious treasure given to men. It is with the cross that God marks His Elect. All the Saints lived in continual suffering; even so, they savored inner joy because they suffered for the love of God.
Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple after three days of bitter anxiety. Why have You done so to us? Behold, in sorrow Your father and I have been seeking You. Jesus answers His Mother in a rather surprising manner: Did You not know that I must be about My Father’s business? God comes before everything, even our parents. No mortal should prevent us from obeying God. This is the great lesson Jesus comes to teach us through this mystery.
Let us ask for the grace to never lose Jesus, who is the source of all good, all happiness. Let us cling to God’s friendship more than anything else. God alone should count for us; the rest is nothing. If we have God, we possess the source of goods that shall never pass; whoever has God, has everything.
We finish with the Sign of the Cross
"The Rosary is a powerful weapon,
but a weapon that only the humble know how to recognize and use."
Father John Gregory of the Trinity