Author’s Note: This article is the fourth in a five-part series examining the beauty and medication of the Most Holy Rosary. This series is dedicated to the memory of Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., whose love and dedication to the Rosary inspired its widespread use and understanding in our time.
The Glorious Mysteries
The word “glory” comes from the Latin gloria and means “brightness, splendor, magnificence, majesty.” It brings to mind the brilliance of light, the awe of royalty, the attainment of perfect beauty and peace. It is appropriate then that the Glorious Mysteries celebrate the victory over death by Jesus and show us a preview of the joy of Eternal Life. They present the ultimate happy ending and prove to us, once and for all, that we never need to be afraid. Listen.
The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection
The awe, amazement and fear of the disciples are so clear in the Gospels about the Resurrection. Yes, they had heard Jesus tell them that He was going to die and come back to life. Yes, they had seen Him come through on every promise He had ever made. And yes, they had witnessed all of the miracles and amazing signs. But had they really believed it? Why were they so surprised that it really happened?
Sometimes it’s easier to think of Jesus in the abstract or to understand Him as a sort of “Hallmark card” storybook figure. The Resurrection throws that all away. He is real, and He is everything He said He is. He walked the earth, and was killed, and really rose from the dead. Believe it and then revel in all of His truth. He is present in our Eucharist. He is there for us always. He loves us beyond measure. And He lives now. It’s all true. Believe.
The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension
Jesus ascends into Heaven as His disciples watch. Just as we know that He resurrected from the dead, we also know that He is eternally in Heaven awaiting us. This gives us the greatest hope through the worst times. He wants us to be with Him. He is there waiting for us. He gives us His spiritual nourishment through the Eucharist. He gives us His teachings and examples so that we can follow Him and be with Him. And He hopes with us that we will follow Him.
Through the centuries, God has been so very generous to His people. He has given them everything they need and, time and time again, had to deal with His “stiff-necked” chosen ones. He sent His son to show us “the Way” and help us, step by step, to follow Him. With Jesus’ Ascension, we know that our hope will not be in vain. There is something at the end of the journey, and it is eternal life, perfect and whole, with Him. Live in that hope.
The Third Glorious Mystery: Pentecost
His final parting gift: The Holy Spirit. Even though He has given us all of His teachings, examples, parables, love, promises, and even Himself, He gives us one more helper. The Holy Spirit came to the disciples represented by a flame.
Fire is and always has been a mystery to humans. It is ephemeral yet all powerful. It is amorphous yet all-encompassing. It is indescribable yet something very common in daily life.
The same can be said for the Holy Spirit. He comes to us when we open ourselves to Him. He sneaks into our lives in innumerable mundane and surprising — and sometimes humorous — ways. He is always there, ready to help us, and continues to help us when we don’t think we need Him or want Him. He is most powerful, like the flame, when we encourage Him to take over. Then He can conquer any ill, any dilemma, and turn us completely around.
When we look back to the very beginning, when God created everything and declared it to be good, we can begin to see how much He loved us and is with us every step of the way. He is truly an awesome God who is deserving of all of our love and all glory.
The Fourth Glorious Mystery: Mary is Assumed into Heaven
Jesus gives us the example of the perfect disciple in Mary. She is just like us. She is not divine (though she was born without Original Sin) and she was not sinless. She made mistakes, became frustrated, and probably even got angry and depressed.
We don’t know how Mary perceived her Son as he performed miracles, taught the multitudes, or challenged the hierarchy (she kept these things close to her heart), but we can comprehend the devastation she felt as she saw her Son so brutally beaten, scourged, cut upon, and crucified. She felt our pain in every imaginable way.
Her assumption shows up what can happen to us if we choose to follow Jesus. We too can be with Him for all eternity, with no more pain, suffering, or heartache. Let us seek to live like Mary, and die like her as well. How comforting to know we can be talk with His mother anytime.
The Fifth Glorious Mystery: Mary is Crowned Queen of Heaven
Pope Francis has often spoken about the need to explore more deeply the theology of the genius of women. I like to think that this is the place to start.
In ancient times, the Queen was the mother of the king. She had great influence and power throughout the kingdom, and her intercession was the most powerful in the realm. There is much more which could be said about this concept, but I believe it would be fair to say that Mary is our most powerful and most perfect intercessor and advocate for us to our Lord. We know that she influenced Him in His first miracle at Cana. We can be sure that she will help us according to His will in every other matter as well.
Furthermore, a great Queen serves her people. Mary is always there to help us, to teach us, and to empathize with us. That is why it is so important to contemplate her life and gifts, and emulate her in our own life.
In summary, the Rosary helps us to learn, to meditate, to contemplate, and, most importantly, to draw closer to Christ. Each time we pray the Rosary, we can learn more about Him through the grace of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of our Mother, Mary. Pray the Rosary frequently, thoughtfully, and with great gratitude. Jesus wants us to be with Him forever. The Rosary can help us to follow Him.