Progression to Perfection

   Christian Rosary Meditations

jJon R. Jacobs, MD, FACS

 

PROGRESSION  

TO PERFECTION

       

 

 

Jon R. Jacobs, MD, FACS

 

PROGRESSION  

TO PERFECTION

 

Christian Rosary Meditations 

 

2

 

Copyright ©2014 Jon R. Jacobs, MD, FACS  All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-0-615-96194-1

LCCN

© 2014 Jon R. Jacobs. Printed and bound in the United States of America. All rights  reserved. No part of this book met be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by  any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by an  information storage and retrieval system — except by a reviewer who may quote brief  passages in a review to be printed in a magazine newspaper, or on the Web—without  permission in writing from the publisher. For information, please contact Jon Jacobs,  233 Marsh Oaks Dr., Charleston, SC 29407.

Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and   completion of information contained in this book, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any inconsistency herein. Any slights of people, places , or   organizations are unintentional.

Cover: Photo courtesy of Christopher Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

First printing 2014

 

ATTENTION CORPORATIONS, UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES, AND PROFESSIONAL   ORGANIZATIONS: Quantity discounts are available on bulk purchases of this book   for educational, gift purposes, or as premiums for increasing magazine subscriptions or renewals. Special books or book excerpts can also be created to fit special needs. For  further information, please contact:

Jon Jacobs, 233 Marsh Oaks Drive, Charleston, SC 29407  Ph. 843-478-9555 johnkul007@yahoo.com

 

3

 

 

 

12.

 

 

13.

 

14.

 

15. 16. 17. 18.

17

32

46

59

Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Appendix A – The Rosary “How To”

Appendix B – Prayers of the Rosary

Appendix C – Synopsis and Further Meditations  75  MyNotes             77

Table of Content 

 

1. Dedication

2.Author

4    5    6

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

10. 11.

 

 

Chapter 2- Lord’s Prayer – Meditation  Chapter 3– “Hail Mary” – Meditation  Chapter 4 – To Bead or Not To Bead  Chapter 5 – Begin: Faith, Hope and Love

The Order of the Rosary        Chapter 6 – The Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation – Gabriel

The Visitation – Elizabeth

The Birth of Jesus

The Presentation – Simeon and Anna  Finding Jesus in the Temple

Prologue          Rosary – the “Short Run      Chapter 1- Apostle’s Creed – Meditation

 

 

11    12    14    15    16

Chapter 7 – The Sorrowful Mysteries  The Garden of Gethsemane

The Scourging at the Pillar

The Crown of Thorns

Carrying the Cross

The Crucifixion

Chapter 8 – The Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection

The Ascension

The Decent of the Holy Spirit  The Assumption of Mary

The Crowning of Mary

 

 

Chapter 9 – The Luminous Mysteries  The Baptism of Jesus

The Wedding at Cana (First Miracle)  Proclaiming the Kingdom

The Transfiguration

 

 

73    74

6

7

4

 

DEDICATION

 

To Him who is the past, the present, the ultimate future, our Ground of All Being

To my parents, watching over me now

 

 

To my wife and children who encouraged me and fed me throughout this writing

To my brothers and sister who continue to give introspective criticism and love

To my longtime friends and mentors, Father Rick Vandewater, Father Ed Lofton,

Father Michael Szymanowski, Rev. John Yates, Father Joseph Romanoski

To my friends, communal family, teachers, professors, who molded me

I give my heart and my thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

AUTHOR

 

Dr. Jon Jacobs, born in Biloxi, Mississippi, into an Air Force family, has lived in Germany, France, and thirteen states. While visiting a German Christian Sisterhood, he became a Christian at twenty-one years of age. Thirty years a general and vascular surgeon, he now has a cosmetic and surgical dermatology practice. After years of battling and winning his fight with lymphoma, he routinely worships the Lord meditating on the Rosary. These are some personal insights that have built his relationship with our Father and His family.

 

6

 

 

Progression To Perfection

 

my personal experience

 

PROLOGUE: 

 

The rosary is a wonderful gift for Christian meditation. The Church and millions of Christians have prayed the rosary for hundreds of years. Some pray the Rosary out of blank format saying or reciting it quickly to get through each of the 5 decades. There is a far deeper, more profound way of meditating on the Rosary rather than just saying the words. The Lord Jesus gives us special privileges and benefits when we do so, spiritually, physically and mentally. After all, this is from His mother, Holy Mary, about us and our frustrations, guilt, praying for others, sickness and life in general. Here I give my thoughts on my own experiences of meditating on the Rosary in which I find profound depth of insight into not only scriptures but also into my life and others’.

 

The penultimate in life is to know Christ (Philippians 3:10). In our minds we must become the same as Christ Jesus. The rosary presents all He has done for us and allows us to meditate on what we are lacking, how to change, how to joyfully worship our Lord and how to become the best person He designed us to be. You may find this booklet enriching and deep. If you read it, then try it, you will find a spiritual insight and depth that you’ve not yet experienced.

 

 

THE ROSARY IN A “SHORT RUN” (See Appendix A)

1. Make sign of the Cross

2. Apostle’s Creed

3. Lord’s Prayer

4. 3 Hail Mary’s (1 after each – “Faith” – “Hope” – “Love”)

5. Glory Be to the Father

6. Announce the first decade (5 each in each Mystery -Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, Luminous)

7. Lord’s Prayer

8. Meditate on the first decade saying 10 Hail Marys (see appendix)

9. Glory Be to the Father, Prayer of Fatima, and Lord’s Prayer after each decade (10

Hail Marys)

10. Announce second decade (see Appendix A)  11. Repeat 7-10 through 5th decade

 

7

12. After 5th Decade end with “Hail, Holy Queen” (see Appendices A, B)

13. Praise the Lord for His Love and gifts in teaching you during this Rosary

CHAPTER 1:

The major Mysteries are Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous. The first three mysteries have been prayed for centuries. Pope John Paul II added this last mystery in 2002. We must remember that on these days we are praying with millions of other Christians within our timeframe. The Joyful mysteries are prayed on Mondays and Saturdays; Sorrowful mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays; Glorious mysteries on Wednesdays and Sundays; Luminous mysteries on Thursdays.

As we get older our memories fade a bit. I have therefore put together the four backgrounds as a source for praying, and placed these in an appendix along with the five Biblical themes that go with each.

 

Let us begin.

We begin with the Apostles’ Creed. This in itself is a profound meditation.

I (believe)…”

It is I, me, myself, and no one else that the Lord has called to this very moment of meditation: to listen and to hear what are my concerns and His answers to them. We   hear also answers to prophetic, not yet entertained, future possibilities which He has in store for each of us. Psalm 139 says it succinctly and brilliantly: “I was formed together in the depths of my mother’s womb. You knew me before I was born. You knew my days, past and future.” I immediately think of John 15:16: “You did not choose me. No, I chose you; I chose you to go forth and bear fruit–fruit that will last.”

 

“Believe”. This is another profundity. It is like what C. S. Lewis presented about knowing a sealed container (? can of pork and beans), with only a label, actually has pork and beans inside. That is, I believe that this is true. You have experienced it before, and you expect to experience it again. Do you actually know for certain? Well, maybe not, but repeated experience makes you believe it is so. Therefore this first “I believe” means that you are firmly, without a doubt, completely confident that what follows is actually true.

 

“In God the Father, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” Sometimes we race through this phrase as if driving a Lamborghini to a palace, forgetting that our tires are riding on gold pieces. Take a few of these gold pieces and put them together in your mind realizing the profundity, the expanse, the almighty nature of He who Is—YHWH. Now spend just a moment imagining the experience and miraculous nature of Heaven, and the intricacies of Earth including the expanse of the heavens, and the minute virus and bacteria, which are so large and so minute we cannot perceive nor see.

 

 

 

8

“I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.” Again, the expanse of our faith: Jesus the man; Christ: the Messiah, the Savior, and His uniqueness, the only Son of God. If you had only one son, or daughter, would you be willing to sacrifice him by flogging, by public torture, by execution for a group of people that did not like you, nor even believe in you? That is true Agape love! Agape love is God’s love. It is love without reserve, without cause, without restraint, without return gratification. It is all- g iving, all-fulfilling, and never taken back.

And just how was this Son of God conceived? By the power of the Holy Spirit. No human touched Mary. There was no angel who actually embraced her. Yet at the instant she professed she was willing to do anything God wanted, this occurred. Her womb was filled with the embryo of Jesus Christ.

 

“He suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died, and was buried.” A Roman official, not even a Jew, sentenced Jesus Christ to be crucified, the most horrible death, (“Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)) naked, exposed to all passers-by on a major road, derided and mocked not only by the people who were watching but also by the two criminals crucified beside him. We sometimes forget the scourging with knotted-bone shard cords wrapping around his back to his chest and face, given to him prior to crucifixion, shredding his flesh so badly causing exsanguination, unbearable pain and collapse.

 

Immediately after the flogging he was dressed in a robe very irritating to his open flesh wounds. Then a “crown” of large thorns was pressed firmly into his scalp. I can’t realize the amount of agony this must have caused, intensified by the crowds beating Him with their fists, slapping Him in the face, spitting on Him, cajoling Him by, “Who hit you now master? Can you tell us?” More intense than physical pain was His spiritual and mental agony knowing that he would be totally separated from his father, God, by his sacrificial death for the sins of all mankind.

 

The Creed continues with, “He was crucified.” How was he crucified, and by whom? The Jews did not have the authority or power to crucify or kill any man. Their death sentence had in the past been by stoning. They wanted something further, more dramatic, more final. By the Jews crying out and demanding Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans, this horrible death was consummated by non-Jews. It was the most ignominious death imaginable at that time. Only the most base and, by man’s definition, despicable, “without a trace of worth” wretch, could die by crucifixion.

 

I try to imagine, to visualize, or even empathize the amount of suffering the crucifixion entailed. I simply cannot grasp this horror. I try to imagine the fat wrist nails (yes, artists have consistently portrayed nails in his hands. On inspection of historic records, however, the nails were placed through the very sensitive nerves in the wrist). Next, imagine these nails being hammered through the dorsal part of both feet. Unimaginable pain. When the cross was erected, he had to support himself on those nailed feet and wrists to breathe. Suffocation was imminent with the extreme fatigue he had already undergone.

9

 

There is only one person who understood how dramatic, how painful, yet how heroic this act was. It was Peter  who, on declaration of his death sentence, pleaded to be crucified upside-down as he felt unworthy to die in the position that Christ was executed.

 

There were many Jews, and of course Romans, who did not wish to say Christ died, only that he was tortured. The Creed, however, states, “He died.” The church found it  absolutely necessary to emphasize this fact. He was buried. To prevent an insurrection, the Roman guards were bribed to derail the truth. “He descended into hell.” Why? To speak to those who never heard the true gospel. He spoke to all of the dead ( 1 Peter 3:18-20; Acts 2:31; Ephesians 4:9-10).

 

All men shall therefore hear the gospel, possibly to give them another chance, possibly to invite them into heaven. What each of us does with that knowledge is a freely chosen path. And in similar fashion the Church acknowledged that Christ went to heaven. Not only had He died, He rose to heaven to be with God, His Almighty Father. What is his position in heaven? He sits at the right hand, the dominant hand, of the Father, “from whence He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” You and me. Then follows Eternity: “His Kingdom will have no end.”

 

And now if due to our impatience, pride, or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) we are pushed to get started and to get finished, if we proceed in such fashion, we miss a glorious Christmas present. Let’s peruse what we would have missed.

 

“I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Do we? Do we believe or even know about the Holy Spirit personally in our lives? This is a very good time to reflect on that question. How does the Holy Spirit act in our lives and what do we expect to happen? It is a wonderful time to reflect on the power of Christ in our lives, or the absence of it. It is a wonderful time also to ask, “What gifts of the Holy Spirit has God given me?” Am I a teacher, am I a giver, do I have wisdom, a gift of healing? Have I ever experienced someone speaking in another language or having that interpreted knowing that it is coming from God Himself? Have I heard a declaration by a prophetic minister? According to Paul, prophecy is the greatest gift. It is also the least experienced. Consider what gifts Jesus has given you. Do you use them? We can ask ourselves if we experience the gifts of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23–“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control: Against such things there is no law.”). It is an enriching experience to meditate on each of these, perceiving how they may be part of our lives.

 

 

These are our beliefs: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. We have reflected on the beauty of the Holy Spirit. Now the expanse of the holy Catholic Church: millions of believers in Christ, which together are a force greater than any other on earth. The Church guides us, feeds us, delivers us from

10

falsehood and gives us a place for worship in joy and truth. Christ is in Heaven. We are His body on earth. The communion of Saints: (Acts2: 42,43) “The early church gathered daily for hearing the teaching of the apostles, fellowship with one another, the breaking of bread (communion), and for prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the Apostles.” A time for pondering: what are we missing? How do we return to the fervor of that early church?

 

Our prayers prior to beginning the Decades would be incomplete if we fail to reflect on “the forgiveness of sins”. Lack of confession and repentance drives us often to alternative lifestyles, substance abuse, hatred rather than love, all to cover-up our own guilt. Daily repentance, routine confession, leads us into the arms of Jesus himself. We attest that we are forgiven. All is forgiven…and all is forgotten! (Isaiah 43:25). I have always believed that when we truly confess, God truly forgives. When we accept Him, all is forgiven. I have often thought, ” Yes but does He forget?” The answer is YES! All is forgiven, and all is forgotten! (Isaiah 43:25). It is we humans who have a problem with forgetting. And that is truly our lifelong, arduous task: To learn to forgive, and to forget. That is, again, agape love.

 

Next we claim the promise of the resurrection of the body. Not only Christ’s body, but also ours. Though we die, we shall live. And what shall we live? Life everlasting. Eternal life. This is the reason we are on earth. Not to enjoy our pleasures, our dreams or our relationships, but singularly to learn how we must be to live eternally with our Father. We have our entire lives to answer that one question: do we want to live eternally with God the Father? Or do we want to pursue our own pleasures and what we dream as our answer? Our gentle father gives us the choice.

 

 

11

 CHAPTER 2

 

Our next gift is the Lord’s Prayer. The disciples asked, “Lord teach us to pray!” Jesus prayed often and deeply, sometimes alone, sometimes with just the disciples, sometimes for the crowds. This singular prayer is extensive and all encompassing, Jesus’ best synopsis for teaching the disciples how to pray. There have been countless books written about the depth and intricacy of this prayer. I would suggest here only to reflect meditatively and pray this with introspection. The well-known Catholic author, Scott Hahn, said that the verse, “Hallowed be thy name”, is not just an extraneous supposition that God’s name is holy. It is a fact that if we are sons of God (children of God), we own His name as our own. We are His name. This request is for us to become holy as He is holy. We are praying for our own holiness. The remainder of this prayer I will allow you to entertain God’s speaking to you personally.

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

 

12

 CHAPTER 3: 

 

Now we come to the heart of the matter. This section is said 53 times during the rosary. It must be important.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I will repeat: the majesty of praying the Rosary is not only receiving answers to those prayers, but also in the meditation. Meditate on each word or section of this primary f oundation of the Rosary.

“Hail!” Imagine that you are sitting at the feet of Mary. You’re looking up at her face smiling at you with love. And your heart is full. Reach your hands up towards her and exclaim, “Hail!” Applaud! I am fascinated with you! I herald you! I acclaim you! I am s pellbound by you! You transfix me! The Mother of my Lord!

“Full of Grace!” There is no emptiness in you at all. Mary, you are full of the glory of your son, Jesus. Your seemliness is total purity.

 

“The Lord is with thee”: As we are praying with Mary asking for our needs, the needs of others, love for our brothers and sisters, we know that God Himself is right beside her listening to every request. It is His power and presence standing beside her that gives her the Almighty Grace to pray for us.

 

“Blessed are thou among women.” Of all women, Holy Mary is the purest, sinless mother of Jesus. She is blessed among women, as all women look to her as God’s purest model. And all should strive to be like Mary. Men, I am not leaving you out! We should all strive to be like Mary as we configure ourselves to be like Jesus.

 

“And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” We will strive for a deeper insight of this single concept during the Joyful Mysteries to follow. Here we know that Jesus is truly, fully God, and fully man. We are thankful for Mary’s sinlessness and purity in being chosen to deliver and “mother, hold, nurse, teach” the child Jesus, our Lord.

 

“Holy Mary, Mother of God”. Of all God’s creation, of all the universe, of all beings now, in the past, and in the future, God chose Mary to be the mother of His only son Jesus Christ. Of this most Holy being, we humbly ask:

 

“Pray for us sinners.” Consider how many of us there are: past, present and future. All sinners. We beseech Mary to pray for each one of us individually and collectively. Sometimes we don’t know what to ask her to pray for. As our mother she knows what we need. She knows what to pray for. She listens to our pleas, and she prays to her son Jesus for completion much as she did at the wedding feast (John 2:3-11). She

13

asked him for help as they were out of wine. “Do whatever he tells you.” And He changed the water into wine.

 

At this point of my meditation I often pause and reflect on what my needs are, and those of others. I know Mother Mary is listening. She will respond and pray for those needs and desires that are deep, complex and sometimes not fully understood. I feel she prays for us in ways that we cannot discern; ways that we don’t even know to ask. When do we want her to pray? Now! The “now” is imperative in that it is very instant and for our very present worries and complicated lives. She will pray.

 

Ah, but there is more. Perhaps our greatest need for prayer is at the hour of our death. No matter where we are at that time, no matter what state we are in, no matter if family or friends are present or not, Mary is there. She is praying for us then. Jesus hears her prayers and in His time assumes us into His presence.

 

Amen. So be it. So be it.

 

 

 

14

 CHAPTER 4:

 

We have encapsulated the story of Jesus’ birth, life, miracles and gifts and finally His calling us to Himself after His sacramental salvation of mankind. It is the details of each of these on which we will be meditating as we pray the Rosary.

 

I will mention my own preference. On occasion I don’t have my rosary beads with me when I want to pray the Rosary. Jesus is much like a father and brother at this point. He probably smiles and says, “That’s okay. Just pray and count on your fingers.” After all, you have ten fingers, and there are 5 decades to each Mystery of the daily rosary. Or just count on something in the room. I am certain that the Lord does not judge us on our counting ability, rather on our personal interaction with Him during the Rosary. To me it is a small point; however, for some it may be a very important point. I remember Paul talking about some Christians keeping each day holy, rather than one day a week holy, and other differences on which he remarked that love tends to blend us together in spite of our differences. (Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”).

 

 

15

 CHAPTER 5:

Our Rosary: 

 

Claim ourselves to be His: Make The Sign of the Cross.  Say the Apostles’ Creed.

Express the three greatest gifts: Faith, Hope, and Love.

 

I acknowledge my desperate need of each. “Faith”: “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). Mary, pray for me that I will have more faith. That I will never fail in Faith. That I will never lose my Faith through all life’s tragedies, compulsions, apparent needs, pressures, illness, loss of friends and loneliness… Preserve my Faith through it all. After this meditation I pray:

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, NOW (for Faith) and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Now I reflect on Hope. How often have I lost hope? Hope for my future? Hope for my healing? Hope for my financial needs? Hope for my relationships? Hope for a deeper walk with Christ? Hope for my loved ones? Hope for lost souls? And for those who have died? (God transcends space and time).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, NOW (for Hope) and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Paul wrote about the spiritual gifts: “And the greatest of these is Love.” (I Corinthians 12:31). If I have ALL the other gifts but have not love, I am nothing. What is Love?  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8). This is what meditation is about: to analyze our deepest selves, to perceive our faults, to pray for victory over them, to ask Mary to pray for us to her Son, our Lord and for us also to ask Jesus for fulfillment in each of these.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, NOW (for Love) and at the hour of our death. AMEN!”.

 

16

“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the Beginning (when ALL things began, an Eternity ago), is NOW (in the Present, with us, each hour of our lives), and ever shall be (again, Eternity), world without end. AMEN!”

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

THE ORDER of the ROSARY 

 

 

Recall the days of the week:

 

Monday ― Tuesday — Wednesday -– Thursday ― Friday — Saturday — Sunday —

Joyful Mysteries  Sorrowful Mysteries  Glorious Mysteries

Luminous Mysteries  Sorrowful Mysteries

Joyful Mysteries  Glorious Mysteries

 

Each of the Mysteries has 5 “chapters” (decades). We ask our Blessed Mary to pray for us ten times for each of these 5 scenarios. These ten prayers are a “decade”. So each day we pray 5 decades, 50 times in all, plus the 3 prayers previously discussed. Just follow along:

 

Monday and Saturday, the “Joyful Mysteries” will be meditated.

 

17

 CHAPTER 6: THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES: 

 

 

First: The Annunciation: The Announcement to Mary from the angel Gabriel.

 

The ten “meditations” can be designated as you wish. For me, I imagine Mary, a young 14-15 year old virgin teenage girl in her pajamas, in bed at night. I note that the Protoevangelium papers say this occurred at mid-day by a well (see Appendix C). For my meditation I envision it differently. She is awakened by a bright light and a gentle voice: “Mary, Mary.”

Who is that in my room at this hour? Should I be afraid? Should I run? Cry out? There is no one to help me.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The voice says, “Hail, Mary, full of grace.” He has declared that I, Mary, am a good girl. I need not be afraid. “The Lord is with thee.” Yes, my Lord is right by my side. At all times. Even in the blackest night. Even with no other family or friends around. He is with me. “Blessed are thou among women.” My Lord does love me. He thinks I am special. He has given me His special blessing, a profound gift (see Appendix C- Protoevangelium of St. James)

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary sits up, turns around to see the source of the voice. It is Gabriel, a glorious Angel! She is at once overjoyed, humbled and awestruck. How can this be? Who am I that this should happen to me?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Now I meditate on this vision. Who am I, indeed, that God should care for me? That He should speak to me in my present situations? My worries, cares, and relationships? Who am I? I am HIS. He loves me not for what I do, who I am, simply that I am HIS. Listen. Does He tell me something special for my “now” in life?

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

18

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary stands up. She faces Gabriel, hands outstretched.

Gabriel says, “Do not be afraid.” Mary tries to stay calm. Gabriel continues, “You have found favor with God.” Me? What did I do that is so unique, so good? “You are chosen. Chosen by Almighty God. Chosen to be the mother of His child.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

How can this be?? I am only a teenager. I only have a fiancé, Joseph. I am not married. How can I be a mother? What will this baby in my womb look like? Will it be

 

a boy or a girl? What will I name it?

 

Gabriel says,” You will give birth to a son. You will name him Jesus.”

Mary wonders how will he be raised? What is he to become? Will he be a carpenter like Joseph?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Gabriel says, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Gabriel continues, “But only if you accept His offer, His choice, of you being the mother of His child.”

 

I have a choice? I have a choice. God always gives me the choice to do or not to do  His will. I have a choice.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Now Mary thinks: What will my father say? My mother? I will be pregnant, un- married. I will be cast out of my family. My friends will not be able to associate with me. I could be stoned to death. My entire life will change. Forever. How much do I trust God, my Almighty Father?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

19

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary answers to Gabriel, “I have no husband. I have never had intimacy with any man. How can I be pregnant? How can this happen?”

 

Gabriel continues, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”  Mary now says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” I am leaving my life, my future, my dreams, my expectations, my all, to my Lord, my God.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

And Gabriel left her.

 

At that instant Jesus was placed in her womb. In that instant all Glory in heaven, millions of angels, shouted and praised, singing joyfully at this miracle, the redemption of the world, the Glory of God, for all eternity.

And God smiled.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the

Beginning (when ALL things began, an Eternity ago), is NOW (in the Present, with us, each hour of our lives), and shall be forever (again, Eternity), World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

20

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Second: The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth.

Mary is now three months pregnant. Her friends may think she is just a little chubby in her early teen years. Her mother notes she is eating a bit more, sometimes moody, but always “Mary.” Mary decides it is a good time to “get away”, to visit her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, some journey away.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

She had heard the stories of an angel talking to Zachariah and Elizabeth giving her a child in her late years. Mary packed, loaded her donkey with some necessities and probably selected either her brothers-in-law (sons of Joseph from his first marriage – he was a widower), or friends to accompany her. A solo journey by an unaccompanied woman would be dangerous (Appendix C).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I imagine her thoughts as she packs and prepares for her trip. She has had no one to discuss the intricacies of pregnancy. She wants to tell her mother, and eventually her father, and is very hesitant to discuss it with Joseph. So a trip to discuss these things with Elizabeth seems ideal.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

What heavy mental or emotional burdens do we carry? Who can we trust and rely upon to discuss them? I run through my list. My parents, my brothers, sisters, cousins and best friends? My counselors? My teachers? My priest? Should I pray that God send His special one just for me?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

21

 

It is a difficult trip. Mary is deep in thought, “Hunger, tiredness, a smaller bladder than I usually have. The donkey seems to stumble some on the rocky, winding road in the hot sun. But hour after hour I think of my precious cousin, Elizabeth.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

After a couple of days, I am nearing her town. I can see her far off. I wave heartily. She is calling something…

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

As Elizabeth calls out to her, Elizabeth’s baby jumps in her womb! Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. She cries out loudly, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so highly favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Why indeed? Elizabeth was chosen to teach Mary about childbirth, about holding an infant, about feeding, nursing, bathing, nurturing this precious boy.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Elizabeth continues, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” Elizabeth’s baby leaped for joy. John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin. The John who would in thirty years baptize Jesus! The John who would bring to fulfillment God’s treasury of completion. (Luke 1:76)

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

22

Gabriel announces, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation… ” John the Baptist, with Jesus, would hear God’s voice at Jesus’ baptism, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

 

Third: The Birth of Jesus

Politics. They come into delightful play in God’s timing. Joseph, now married to Mary, is called as a family to Joseph’s family home, Bethlehem. He must report for taxes. Mary is now nine months pregnant. Not a great time for travel, but perfect for God’s timing. It is a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, which is only a few miles from Jerusalem.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

23

I meditate on the harshness of that journey of a 15-year-old girl, nine months pregnant, feeling every step of that donkey. She is weary but excited. She is probably afraid of the unknown, of giving birth a long way from home, family, mother and friends.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

As they near Bethlehem it is as if a huge concert of a well-known music group is being held. Every room is filled. Mary and Joseph become a bit frantic, as Mary’s water has broken. They must, must find lodging. Joseph is asking door to door for a bed. Just a bed. Finally, the keeper of Joseph’s family home (filled with renters) in Bethlehem has compassion seeing Mary’s distress.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Beneath the house, as was the custom, there was an underground room, a cave, used to house the family animals. Inside was hay and a feeding manger. That will do for tonight, for this emergency event. He led them there.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Joseph was relieved. Mary was concerned. Joseph fluffed the clean straw, spread out a blanket and carefully placed Mary on her back, making her comfortable. He smiled at her, looking into her beautiful, teary eyes, stroked her forehead, and said, “I am with you. Our Father is with us. Remember, this is God’s child! You will be all right.” Joseph, a widower, had fathered several sons and knew “the routine.” He also called for a midwife in Bethlehem.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

My meditation now is slightly complicated. Pain in childbirth was one cost of Adam and Eve’s evil in desiring to “know” as God knows. Eve’s judgment for that sin was that women would have pain in childbirth. Women in general, acquiring as all women, sinfulness, experience pain in childbirth. Mary, however, was sinless so as to

 

 

24

conceive and bear Jesus, God’s only son. Did she experience pain in childbirth as a “sinless woman”? The Church has two opinions. You much choose. I see Mary’s pain as that of future uncertainty as to her child’s being misunderstood by officials, Jewish priests, resulting in torture and ultimately crucifixion. This was Mary’s pain.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I meditate on Mary’s breathing, pushing, some fear of the unknown, and of Joseph trying to comfort her knowing by his God-given dream that Mary was indeed a virgin and that she would have God’s son. I ask myself of circumstances in my life that may in any way mimic Mary’s or Joseph’s night of un-knowing. How does He comfort me? How does He protect me? How does He guide me, sustain me?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and

blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

Amen.”

 

Outside there were shepherds minding their flocks. They noticed the glory of the

stars, seemingly brighter than usual. In the darkness an almost blinding light shone

on all. They were terrified. Out of the quiet there was a voice: “Do not be afraid. I

bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of

David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you:

you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and

blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

 

Amen.”

And finally, He is born! Joseph holds Him, cuts the umbilical cord, ties it with twine, and hands the new infant, Our Lord, to Mary. She cuddles Him, caresses Him and nurses Him. Tears flow from Joseph and Mary’s eyes.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Outside, the glorious heavens, are full of stars. ONE Bright star directly overhead shines brilliantly. The shepherds are clapping. The angels are shouting: “Glory to God in the Highest! Peace, Goodwill to men. Glory, Glory Hallelujah!!” The praises continue… all night… and for eternity.

 

 

25

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Fourth: The Presentation

Mary and Joseph enjoyed the baby Jesus for about a week. On his eighth day it was time to have him circumcised, to fulfill Jewish law. Jerusalem is only a few miles from Bethlehem. They went to the temple and presented the baby to the priests. He underwent circumcision and was officially named “Jesus.”

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

.

 

Jesus was not very happy and was crying. Sacrifice was offered. Joseph decided on two doves, one for a burnt offering, one for a sin offering, following the Law in Leviticus 12:8. A lamb was too expensive for Joseph, a carpenter.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

26

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I meditate on the glorious stories of the Old Testament, of sin, of sacrifice as payment, of man’s incompleteness and of this final, total payment for all our sins: mine, my neighbors’ and the world’s. This baby, Jesus. This Lord of Lords.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

They took him on a walk to the Temple courtyard where they met an old man, the high priest, Simeon. He had replaced Zachariah as priest (See App. C). He was righteous, devout. On holding Jesus, Simeon was filled by the Holy Spirit. He had been told by the Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ. He said joyfully, “Sovereign Lord, as You promised, You will now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen Your salvation!”

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Now I learn that Jesus was not only for the people of Israel, but for the Gentiles as well. “A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel!” Joseph and Mary marveled at this pronunciation. Simeon continued, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” (Luke 12:8).

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

I ponder the thoughts and feelings of Joseph and Mary. What were they going to encounter with this beloved first-born child? This “miracle baby?” So many seemed to already know him. The shepherds, Simeon, Anna and the wise men from the East.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27

They were overjoyed and puzzled by this declaration. Walking further in the Temple yard they came upon a widow, a very old woman, who had spent her life in the Temple with the gift of worship, prayer and praise. When she saw the baby Jesus, with tears of joy she loudly gave thanks to God for this child He had given for the redemption of Jerusalem. All in the courtyard listened to this 84 year-old familiar and respected prophetess, Anna. All wondered what this could mean to them. To Jerusalem. To Israel. Joseph and Mary reminisced about the previous months, the dreams, the Angel, the shepherds and they cuddled and held this precious baby.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Some lack of knowledge here, but it seems our family stayed in Bethlehem awhile, probably a year or two. It took that long for the Wise Men to travel from the Far East just to see this miracle, heralded by a star. They did not know exactly where to look, so who was a better person to ask than the local king, Herod? Herod was not overjoyed, but threatened. The wise men were, well, “wise.” After finding Jesus and his family, they gave kingly gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They returned to their home silently by an alternate route.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I cannot help but remember the two-year old boys in Ramah and surrounding towns murdered on Herod’s order. This is the tearful part of our story. Another “cost” of salvation. But I think of Joseph’s angelic vision telling him to pack up and depart at once to protect this child. They smiled in deep love for Him. Joseph and Mary travelled to Egypt until Herod’s death, then went with Jesus to their home in Galilee where Jesus grew in strength and wisdom, in the Grace of God.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I meditate on the “parenting” of such a son. How differently did I raise my children? Did I teach the Gospel to them? Did I protect, nourish and praise them? Yes, and thanks be to my Lord for His mercy and kindness through it all!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

28

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Fifth: Finding the child Jesus in the Temple

Another year. It’s Passover. Many neighbors of Joseph, Mary and Jesus collect their necessary supplies and make the seventy mile trip to Jerusalem. It’s a fairly large crowd, but they all know each other and enjoy this special outing. It takes several days there and days back home. Jesus is twelve, almost time for his bar mitzvah.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Passover is celebratory, everyone enjoying the scripture readings, the food (but miss the yeast!), and the empty chair at the table for Elijah.

I meditate on my special Christian days: All Saints Day, Christmas, Easter, Lent, The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. What is this Good News “Gospel”? How has it changed my life? For my present? For Eternity? I praise my God.

 

 

 

 

29

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

After the memorable Passover feast and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the families gathered their belongings and began the several days’ journey back to Nazareth. Days were filled with stories, laughter, future dreams, all as one very large family. It was a “giant sleep-over” for the kids. But the next day Joseph noticed that he had not seen Jesus at all. Not for meals, not for “check-in” times with him and Mary, not for scripture readings. Jesus was not with them.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Have I ever misplaced something extremely important to me? Have I ever lost one of my children at the park? Or shopping? In a restaurant? Did I pray intensely for his or her safety, for health, for calmness, and utmost, to find this child? We desperately rely on our Father for all this. The penultimate is to trust Him with their lives, even in death. For life Eternal.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Joseph and Mary hurriedly gathered necessaries and headed back to Jerusalem, somewhat anxiously. One day back to Jerusalem. They began their search in all the places they had stayed, the friends’ rooms they visited, and finally on the third day to the Temple. Where else would He be? Mary looked into the teaching room in the Temple. She could not enter. Women were not allowed. But she saw him.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

She SAW him!! Listening to the teachers. He was listening and asking questions. They were amazed at this 12-year-old boy’s questions and wisdom (Lk. 2:47). They were astonished at his reflections on history, on scriptures, on life. They were enjoying listening to this unusually gifted boy. Mary was proud.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

 

 

30

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Joseph went into the room and Jesus saw him, jumped and shouted, “Abba! Papa!” A joyful re-union. Once outside the room, Jesus grabbed Mary and hugged her. She was smiling. And crying. And so, so relieved.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

It has been a long three days back. After the hugs, Mary was emotional and said, “Why have you treated us like this? We didn’t know where you were! We were so worried!” Jesus, the Son of God, said, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he was saying to them.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

They left for Nazareth together and he was always obedient to them. Mary treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and with favor to God and to men.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

How am I growing in wisdom? Am I reading Christian books? Am I praying often and earnestly? Do I “relax” in His presence? Just to listen, just to hear Him? That is the growth and stability I desire. Keep me close to You, Father. Amen

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

 

 

31

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

In finality of this Mystery Meditation:

 

“Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. “

 

32

 Chapter 7: THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES

Beginning the sorrowful mysteries I cannot help but remember the hour before the walk to the Mount of Olives. The disciples and Jesus had had the Last Supper. Jesus arose during the supper, took a towel and washed each of the disciple’s feet. This showed his sublime, supreme servitude to all mankind. This is the beginning of the Sorrowful Mysteries.

 

First: The Garden of Gethsemane 

 

The disciples left the upper room and followed quietly along the two-mile path upwards to the garden of Gethsemane. No one spoke. They entered the familiar garden, quiet, dark, an excellent area for prayer and meditation. In his thirty-three years, this was the darkest, deepest hour as a human.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

He was fully God, fully man. He knew all that was to come and the reason for it. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him. He left the rest and asked them to pray that they not fall into temptation. Walking a hundred feet further, he left the three, knelt and began to pray. “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

and at the hour of our death.” Amen.

 

What are my profound fears, pressures, future events, stressful relationships and situations? Which ones are wrenching me apart from my Father? I ask Him to remove them if it is His will, but I pray His will, not mine, be done.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

An angel appeared to Jesus and strengthened him. Is your guardian angel with you at this time? Does he strengthen you?

Jesus was in anguish and prayed more earnestly until sweat was dropping as blood falling to the ground. Have I ever fallen on my knees before God in such reverence to plead for his divine intervention?

33

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus was not so fearful of death or torture. His anguish was that of complete separation from his Father due to his becoming pure sin, taking on Himself the sin of all mankind since the beginning of human history. No sin can exist in the presence of the Almighty YHWH. This was Jesus’ sacrifice for us all.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus went back to the disciples and found them sleeping, exhausted from sorrow. Do our friends sleep when we are in most need of prayer? Do we sleep when our family and others need prayer? We are to pray that we will not fall into temptation. This was Jesus’ request.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Then there was a commotion. Judas came with a large crowd of armed men, as if to go to battle. Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek, supposedly as a friend, but truly as a traitor. Have I had someone I thought special to me kiss me on my cheek? What was Jesus’ reaction? Did he yell? Was he angry? Did he strike back? What was my reaction?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus simply asked, “Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” I can imagine His long, searching look into Judas’ eyes, seeing his soul. Jesus’ disciples and friends wanted to fight. To strike. To harm. To have revenge. To protect. Is that my response? Jesus said, “No more of this!”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

34

 

They seized Jesus. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus, My Lord, My God, My Savior! Forgive me for the so many times I deserted You and fled. Amen.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I have always believed that when we truly confess, God truly forgives. When we accept Him, all is forgiven. I have often thought, “Yes but does He forget?” The answer is YES! All is forgiven, and all is forgotten. (Isaiah 43:25). It is we humans who have a problem with forgetting. And that is truly our lifelong, arduous task. To learn to forgive, and to forget. That is agape love. We are forgiven…all is forgiven. All is forgotten!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

 

35

 

Second: The Scourging at the Pillar

 

They hated Him. Not for what He had done, but for who He was: pure, loving, just, righteous, all that they were not.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The Jews were not allowed to torture, to maim, to kill. They begged Pontius Pilate, a Roman authority, to do this to Him. They called out, “Crucify him!” The most devastating of deaths, the most ignominious, the cruelest, the most painful—mentally, physically, and in this one instance, spiritually.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The Roman soldiers began with flogging. Stripping him naked, they tied his hands high, very tightly, to a pole. His hands felt like fire from lack of blood.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Two guards chose the cords; long, leather cords. Every six inches was a piece of bone. These were the true pain-producers. Two guards, muscular, brawny, mean, swung their leather and bone as hard as they could. The guards began counting with each lash with the cords. The crowd chanted, “One… Two… Three… Four!!!”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Only 39 lashings were allowed by the Jews, but the Roman soldiers were not limited. The Shroud of Turin shows more than a hundred scourge wounds. The leather and bone fragments ripped into His flesh tearing it from His back. From His neck. From His ribs. From His arms. Some boney chunks flew around His neck to His face and chest. Blood was flying off His torn skin. Agonizing pain with the brutal pounding, the lacerated skin, torn tendons.

 

36

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Now I wonder. Should it be me? Me who is tied up to a pole being beaten mercilessly? For saying I am good? Or a child of God? For following His will? How many Christians have been treated today just like that? I must pray for them.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

I wonder if Jesus counted with them? The blows. Or cried out to God for their salvation? Even now He would begin His prayer, “Father, forgive them! They do not know what they are doing!” He would continue this prayer for hours.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Have I tortured another with 39 lashes? Not with cords, but with words? With insults? With lies, threats, accusations, belittling phrases? I look into my heart for accusatory insinuations.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Any words that reduce another to something, someone, smaller than myself. Anything to make me grander, larger, more “special”, more worthy. My Lord and My God…forgive me! Forgive me! Have mercy on me and change me in my deepest inmost self. Configure me to be like Christ. Amen.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Scourging lashes. Finished. The guards cut Him down, bleeding. Naked. Exhausted. Humanly powerless. All for us. All for me. Amen.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

 

 

 

37

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

They dragged him to another small courtyard. Many watching were horrified. Now would begin the true torture. Refusal to recognize His Godhead. Even to credit His manhood. Not only to ignore but to blaspheme, to curse, to obliterate.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

 

 

Third: Crowning with Thorns

Jocular. What shall we do to him next? What can be more demeaning? Ahh, yes!! Bring me the Governor’s heavy, “back-up” robe. The linen one. They donned him with the silk-like elegant scarlet robe. It burnt his torn flesh like fire.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

38

 

And a cane. A symbol of leadership. There is a cane! The one we have been beating him with, on his head, on his raw back, on his face. There is His royal scepter.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

But he must have a crown! He is the King of the Jews! Two guards hurriedly, deftly wove a crown from thick, sharp, long-thorned vines. The guards forcefully adorned this King with his “crown”, digging the thorns deeply into his battered scalp. Behold the King of Kings!

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Spitting in his face and punching him in the ribs and cheeks, they demanded a miracle: “Tell us! Tell us who hit you! Tell us who slapped you that time!” Our King of Kings. Our Lord of Lords.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

He knew. He knows even now who spites Him. Who betrays Him. Who watches Him… from a distance, a safe distance. He watches me. And you. And just as He did that day, He forgives. Them. And you. And me.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Now it is early morning. The soldiers stripped Him of His robe. Of all his garments, His loin cloth, all but His crown of thorns. Naked. Before all men. Our Christ.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

39

We must become naked before Him. Shedding all our pride. Shedding all our “esteem”, our dignity, our power, our “strength”. We are now nothing. Nothing before Him who is All in All.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Before Him who chose us. He chose us. Not we, Him. (John 15:16). What a glorious, unfettered, unworthy and hallowed choice. We are His!!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Now the soldiers pushed and shoved Him towards a huge wooden structure, hammered together in the form of a cross. He stared at that cross. He considered His options. Angels to protect him, to guard him, to transport him to another place. Walk through the crowds unnoticed…

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Yes, all very possible, but not the Will of His Father. His father’s eternal will was to provide the ultimate blood and flesh sacrifice for all mankind. For eternity. Thy will be done.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

40

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Fourth: Carrying the cross

 

Exhausted. Painful. Not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, even spiritually. One truth remained: Circumstances cannot change the character of God. “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” (Raymond Edman).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

His skin torn and bleeding, his scalp punctured by the crown of thorns, loss of blood, drained him of any reserve. He was ordered to pick up the cross of heavy, barked wood. Why would the Romans “finish” a torture-device for someone’s death?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus picked up that cross of logs, his burden of death, and dragged it, slowly but deliberately along the streets and paths from Pilate’s palace to Golgotha, the “hill of the skull.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

It was April in Jerusalem, cold at night, but hot during the days. His face poured sweat. Crying women following him wiped his brow. They could not know the glory and power of that precious fluid on their cloths.

 

41

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

So many times we encounter “needy” people: monetarily, physically, emotionally, friendless. How can I wipe their faces? Lord, show me. Show me how I may love these people with Your love. Fill me with Your love that I may give of You.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus struggled to move the cross and fell. An unfortunate and ultimately very fortunate man, Simon, was walking past observing the commotion. He was from Cyrene, walking into town as Jesus was going out of town. The soldiers ordered him, as they were allowed, to help Jesus bear his burden.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Simon picked up the back end and lifted, pushed, shoved the heavy cross with Jesus. What an enormous blessing! To help the Lord of Lords, condemned by man, to His final, eternal victory – over sin, over death, over all that is not God. Simon was chosen. Chosen to be a part of this Eternal glory.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Each of us is chosen. Chosen to be a particular part of Jesus’ epitome of His unfathomable plan. I ponder where I am in this divine scheme.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Women following Him cried in anguish. Jesus returned their cries with a prophecy, “Do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves… ,” for He knew they needed His input, His glory in their lives. He knew.

 

 

42

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

He arrived at Golgotha, the grounds where all executions were performed. The most gruesome, hideous and painful, the Crucifixion, was His to bear.

How tormenting, how gruesome, how painful are our “crucifixions” in this life? Let me name some of mine, silently. Let me remember the gracious love He has poured out for me. For you. To bring us to perfect cleanliness, perfect beauty. Perfect holiness. All that we may spend Eternity in His presence. Hallelujah!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and

blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

 

Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the

Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

Prayer of Fatima:

 

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Fifth: The Crucifixion 

 

He arrived. Golgotha. Fully spent, he rolled onto the ground beside the heavy wooden cross. The Roman guards wasted little time. His clothes and linen cloth were thrown onto the ground. A group of soldiers threw dice for them. Scripture was fulfilled.

 

43

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

He was ordered to lie on top of the rugged wood, hands outstretched.. The guards, working in pairs, grabbed his right wrist firmly holding it against the cross. One put a large spike on the skin just below the wrist bones, then hit the spike with a heavy mallet hammer. The pain was excruciating sending fire of pins and needles along the nerves to the elbow. Unbearable.

The other two guards on his left nailed that wrist with a large iron spike rendering identical exquisite pain of torn nerves up his arm.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

There was no delivery from the indescribable pain. He could not move his arms or hands. Writhing on the cross he glanced at the other two prisoners to be crucified with him. The soldiers were tying their arms with rope, not nailing them. The Roman guards must be assured Jesus would not escape this cross.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Father, Father! Forgive them! They do not know what they are doing!” The intense emotion accompanying his pain could not smother the deepest love within.

 

Lord, in my darkest hour, give me Your strength, Your love, to reach outside my pain, my agony, my anguish, to love another in desperate need.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The soldiers then grasped his feet, crossed them, and bludgeoned a large spike through his feet into the wood. No words can describe this sudden tortuous agony. Jesus nailed to the cross. Immobile. Unthinkable pain. No help from above.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

 

44

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Have I experienced pain with no discernible help from above? Have I cried out in desperation for an iota of love? Where is my God?? He is with me. Right at my side. I may not feel Him, or see Him. He is here with me. Faith is the ultimate knowing that He is here in spite of my blindness, my deafness. Thank you Lord that you are immutable, unchanging, eternal. Help me in my helplessness.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

It took several soldiers to pick up that cross with Jesus’ body, raising it upright to drop it into the hole, not gently. Forcibly. The pain of Jesus’ weight pulling on his hands, his feet, was beyond description. In order to breath He had to push up with His nailed feet and pull up with his hands just for a short breath. The lacerated back wounds scraping against the bare wood with each breath magnified His agony.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The criminals at his side were arguing, one deriding Jesus, the other crying out in His defense. The latter begged Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom!” Jesus answered, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

I ask Jesus even now, “Remember me when I die, that I may be with you. Even now, in my present life, be with me. Continually. In my most painful situations. In my most unanswerable, questionable circumstances. Be with me. Guide me. Comfort me. I give You my all.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus could not speak, only gasp short phrases. To Mary He said, “Dear woman, here is your son.” He looked at John. “Here is your mother.”

 

Has Jesus given me someone to care for? To love? How am I to do this best?

 

Jesus cried out, “Eloi! Eloi! Lama sabacthani!” Was He reciting Psalm 22? Or was this His final plea? “Lord, My Lord, why have You forsaken me?” In that instant God

45

turned His head. He could not in His purity, His almighty righteousness, behold all the sin of the world. Sin since the beginning of Time. Sins of all mankind. Jesus became pure sin only that I could be eternally saved. That you and I could be eternally with our sinless Father. Jesus bore it all. Jesus then said, “It is finished.” Paid in full. And He breathed His last.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. A men.”

My whole being cries out to the Lord: Thank You. Thank You Almighty Savior! I praise You with all that I am! I am Yours, now and forever! Amen! Amen!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and h ave His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

“Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. “

46

 CHAPTER 8: THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

We started the Rosary with the beginning of Jesus’ manhood and followed Him to the end, the crucifixion, His death of manhood. Now we come to the most glorious of all mysteries, the reason for Creation: the very reason for God’s overwhelming formation of all there is, past, present, eternal. God is purity, Nothing can abide with Him that is not total purity. We ponder the magnitude, the awesomeness, the incomprehensible Godhead and His reasoning for Jesus coming as God and Man, His ultimate sacrifice to make us pure eternally, and to spend that eternity with The Trinity.

 

First: The Resurrection

 

Thirty years His mother spent loving, teaching, training, taking care of Jesus. The disciples spent three of His last years following Him, learning the Truths He told in parables and by example.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

They watched Him heal, teach, do miracles, and even raise the dead. Jesus was just a man at first but as He revealed more of who He was, they saw His Godhead, that He was truly the King of Kings, not only the Messiah for Israel, but for all creation.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The crucifixion was a cruel and seemingly final end to all they had learned. The death of God Himself. That is why the morning after His death, the empty tomb, the angels, the resurrection, was so very sublime. This was the greatest glory the world had ever witnessed. No, not witnessed, rather partaken in. A gift beyond all senses, beyond comprehension.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Father, on my knees I call to You. On my knees I give You all I am. I Praise You for Your incomprehensible love for me. For my family, my friends, even my enemies. I praise You. I am not worthy of You, or Your gift. But Your Agape Love has called me and purified me to be with You for Eternity. I am Yours.

 

47

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The two Marys ran to the tomb that morning. They were greeted with the brilliance of angels, and an “unmovable” stone had been rolled away opening the tomb. The guards? Those powerful men had all fainted. The angel told Mary and Mary Magdalene, “Jesus has risen. Go! Go tell the disciples! He will see you in Galilee.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Have I seen Jesus in my Galilee? Have I shouted praises that He is alive? Am I exhilarated that He lives? Now? For me? For the world?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus appeared to some of the disciples who were fearfully hiding in closed rooms. Jesus was different. At first they did not recognize Him thinking He was a ghost. To prove to them He was real, he asked for some fish, and ate it showing He was not a ghost. Then He opened their minds that they could understand the Scriptures. (Lk. 24:45).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

James was not with the others on Jesus’ first appearance. When they told James about Jesus’ appearance, he would not believe, “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger into his side, I will not believe it.”(Jn 20-25). Jesus appeared to them all, and James indeed placed his fingers and hand into real wounds. Jesus said, “You believe because you have touched and felt me…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

48

Jesus appeared to all the disciples and ate with them. “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt. 28:18-20)

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

How do I respond to Jesus’ Holy call to follow Him? To build His church, to teach others, to heal and to provide for the lonely and the lowly? What is my special calling and how do I pray for it to grow, to be fulfilled?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Second: The Ascension

 

Jesus was speaking to the disciples in Galilee. He talked about many incidents about which they had questioned the meanings. Jesus told them about His death, the reason for it, and about His resurrection.

 

49

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

His promise to them was that He would send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to guide, teach, console, guard and empower them. He recounted that He would show them His will, His divine plan, and guide them. Their assignment was to pray, to give all they were and all they desired to Him. By doing this they would gain entrance to the Kingdom.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

He told them of many trials and abuse they would encounter. Their lives would be threatened and taken. This would result in their being lifted into heaven for an eternity with Him and His Father. Others would be brought into the Kingdom because of their love and their teachings. This was a divine victory and eternal status.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

After finishing his divine instruction and signifying His love for them, He raised His arms. His body lifted off the ground. He ascended upwards, through the clouds. They watched in awe and astonishment.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Jesus ascended. Ascended into Heaven. He is sitting at the right hand of God, His Father, for eternity. The angels and saints cried out glorious praises and psalms in worship.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The disciples remembered that He must leave them for a while. They could not come. Yes, they knew where He was going, though they had never been there (John

 

 

 

 

 

50

7:33-36; John 8:21-30; John 14:2-6,28-29). ”I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe.”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

He is our All in All. Our one, true, Holy, only God in three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our sacrifice, Jesus, has gloriously ascended.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Jesus, though You have ascended, You are my Lord. I am your child. I cannot feel You or see You. You are by my side every minute of every day. Help me to live my life as if holding Your hand, walking and sitting beside You. Let me hear Your voice, understand Your wishes, follow Your best for me and Your kingdom, now and forever. Amen

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I imagine the Holiest of Holy Heavens filled with cheers and shouts of joy on Jesus entering His kingdom for eternity. He is with us.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

I ponder the many ways I am to follow Jesus, to give of myself in His love, in His power, with the Holy Spirit guiding me and protecting me, and granting me the vision of Heaven for myself and for others.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

51

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to

Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Third: Descent of the Holy Spirit

Jesus had told the disciples before they could fully understand, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. … When He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16: 7-16).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The Holy Spirit came powerfully. Many were gathered together when suddenly the sound of a mighty wind filled the house and the Spirit settled on them as tongues of fire. They made bold proclamations as the Spirit spoke through them. In Jerusalem there were many Jews from every nation. They heard the sounds and all heard the same language, each of them in their own tongues. About three-thousand men were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:4).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The disciples carried the Gospel, the Good News, to all parts of the world. The church grew in numbers and in wisdom, in caring, healing, feeding and clothing, and caring for all members

52

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Groups of men grew into houses of the Lord, churches, in which they could worship, praise, sing, and experience the power of Jesus. This was the Counselor Jesus had promised. Prophetic and teaching ministries were born and thrived. The gifts of the Holy Spirit were exercised. This Word, this divine power and authority continues in this day as the Church over all the world.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The Holy Spirit brought gifts: “For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Of such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

I contemplate my place in His church, His body of people. What are my gifts given by Him for me to minister, to care for and to give to this body? What am I to do and how?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

As I grow closer to Jesus, I can hear His voice. Sometimes in Scriptures, sometimes in my dreams, sometimes through other brothers and sisters in Christ. Can I hear Him in others’ voices incomprehensible except by His spirit? Or can I pray to Jesus in His Spiritual voice? I know this can be “controversial” so I only say, “Stop. Listen quietly. Open your mind and heart. See if you can hear Him.” He is smiling at you even now.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

53

We receive the Holy Spirit in order to know the things of God. It is given to every man in proportion to his readiness to receive it. Once received, It remains with us for eternity.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

But Paul warns us that even if we have all the gifts of the Spirit, without the unique

gift of love, we are nothing.(I Cor. 13) It is all lost, all worthless, all a “show” without

love. Lord, give me Your gift of Love, for myself, for others, for You. Praise You My

Lord!!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and

blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

Amen.”

 

Father, tell me what to pray for others. Pray through me for my family, friends, church

members, and even my enemies. Pray through me. I praise You for Your prayers.

Most of all I pray for Your Love ; to give, to receive, to become Love itself. Amen.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

Prayer of Fatima:

 

 

 

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

 

54

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Fourth: Assumption 

 

Mary lived with John for many years. She was the “mother” of the young church and offered comfort, strength, and even vision to the disciples. She was the Mother of Lord Jesus who taught Him a lot, and learned eternal truths.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Mary was by their side during their building of the Kingdom, and during their martydoms, praying and weeping with them.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Holy Mother Mary, of all human beings you were chosen by God. Chosen to be the mother of His only Son.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

You are the mother of our God! By His almighty power you are completely pure, completely clean, completely and wholly free of all sinful encumbrances.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

In your purity, you alone could conceive by the Holy Spirit, Jesus, the Son of God.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

After a full life, Mary died. Not of bodily dysfunction, not of infirmity, not a death of a sinner, but of being overcome by a wholly divine love.

 

 

 

55

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

After her burial the disciples gathered at her tomb on the third day finding only blooming lilies, and no body. She was taken up into Heaven in her purity, wholly and fully. (See Appendix C).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The bodily decay of mankind is due to sin’s effect. From Earth to Earth …Mary was without sin and her body was exempt from the corruption due to sin. Holy Mother Mary was assumed into heaven. Bodily assumed by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of God, to be with her Son, for eternity. Praise be to God! Amen!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

At the last judgment, all our bodies will be resurrected and brought together to be united with our souls, and with Jesus, and all of the heavenly beings. This is my prayer. This is my vision. This is my purpose for living with and for Christ.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Praise be to God our Father for your simple yet profound acceptance of this spiritual journey. Holy Mother Mary, thank you! Thank you! Pray for me to your Son for the things I am not even aware that I need. Hallelujah! Amen!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

56

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Fifth: Crowning of Mary

 

“Praise the Lord from the heavens… praise Him all His angels, praise Him all His heavenly hosts.” (Psalms148:15). As Mary enters Heaven, she is greeted with praise and hallelujahs from all the heavenly host.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary, the mother of God, in Heaven, is crowned the Queen of Heaven, God’s daughter, His Son’s mother.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Ponder the many titles of Mary: Queen of Heaven, Queen Mother, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of the Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of All Saints.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

57

Only because of her purity, innocence, obedience and gifts as a mother was she given the Crown of Heaven. Imagine the Angels: higher in power, strength, and wisdom, but now obedient and in holy submission to Mary.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Mary, Queen of Heaven. It has been said that we must never fear of loving Mary “too much.” Jesus loved her more than all of us could! (St. Maximilian Kolbe). Only in Heaven will we see the centrality of Mary in God’s complete plan of our salvation.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

How often do I ask Mary to pray for me? More than my best friend? My parents or siblings? She cares infinitely more for me than all other humans, and can pray directly to her Son sitting right beside her!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary sits in heaven to hear our prayers, to see our sufferings, to share our victories, and to plead for us to her Son by whose side she sits. She is listening. Am I speaking?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

What kind of relationship do you have with Mary? How important is she in your spiritual life? Do you rely on her to hear your concerns and pray for you?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary has graced some of us with her visible presence. We recall Lourdes where innumerable people have been healed after a vision of Mary; and of Fatima, and

 

58

elsewhere showing her intense loving power to hear and to plead for us to her Son, Jesus.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

As we pray this rosary we are quiet and still in her presence. We are reminded of our faults and failings, and of our love for her Son, and those He has given to us. The rosary is our gift as a tool of remembrance and prayer. Mary hears. Mary prays.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

In finality of this Mystery Meditation:

“Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. “

 

59

 CHAPTER 9: THE LUMINOUS MYSTERIES

 

Pope John Paul II, in 2002, added the Luminous Mysteries to our Rosary. This is an outstanding addition for our reflection and Christian growth. The five decades are: 1) the Baptism of Jesus, 2) Wedding at Cana (first Miracle), 3) Proclaiming the Kingdom, 4) Transfiguration, 5) Institution of the Eucharist. These Mysteries are typically meditated on Thursdays.

 

First: Baptism of Jesus

 

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, the son of Elizabeth. They “met” for the first time in their mothers’ wombs. John “leapt for joy” when Mary came to visit. (lk 1:41).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Strong family history was dominant in that era and Jesus probably knew the stories of John’s God-breathed birth to an elderly couple, and Elizabeth offering John to God as her sacrifice to do His will. John was the “Elijah” of the day. He preached repentance for sinners, and baptized in the Jordan waters.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

People of Israel were drawn to John’s message and came for both repentance and baptism. Jesus was about thirty years old. To fulfill the scriptural prophesies, Jesus went to John for baptism.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

John knew Jesus was very gifted. At first he was hesitant. Who was he, John, to baptize this “miracle worker cousin”? Jesus insisted that it must be done in this manner, “to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt. 3:15).

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

60

Do I hear Jesus calling me to do a particular deed? Is He calling me to serve Him personally? Yes, I am not worthy. But He calls me. He has made me clean, top to bottom, inside and out. I am worthy only because of His sacrifice.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Have I announced my need for Him? Have I been baptized into His glory? Do I practice daily repentance for the thoughts, words, actions and lack of obedience in His plan for my life?

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Jesus knelt before John in the Jordan. He was immersed and baptized. This completed the spiritual/physical miracles of the Flood of Noah with the waters cleansing the earth for forty days; the Israelites “baptized” walking through the Red Sea; Jesus in the desert for 40 days then offered water by the angels.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The clouds above separated and like a dove, God’s Spirit, descended and lighted on Jesus. A Holy voice declared, “This is my beloved Son…with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

John said, “I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God.”

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

61

Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, my reason for being, my eternal brother, father and friend. He is my all in all. Praise to You my Lord for Your love for me, Your guidance and direction, now and eternally. Amen.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

Prayer of Fatima

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Second: Wedding at Cana

 

Mary was invited to a wedding.at Cana. Jesus, and His disciples, her “family”, came also. A grand, festive occasion.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

There is no mention of Joseph who had probably died, so Mary turned to her son for help. No more wine! A glorious celebration, a wedding feast, but no wine!

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

 

62

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Mary asked her son for help. Jesus replied, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” (Jn. 2:4).

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

What a wonderful woman she was. Mary told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you to do.” Jesus loved His mother. He did what He knew was best for all.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

He directed the servants to fill six huge 20-30 gallon clay jars with water to the brim. To the brim.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

When Jesus answers a problem, He takes care of it totally, to the jot and tittle, to the brim. There is nothing lacking in His care for me. Not a drop.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

In an instant the water changed to wine. An otherwise three-week natural process in an instant.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The wine was sampled by the banquet master who said, “Most hosts give the better wines first and save the cheaper wines for after all have imbibed.” He declared this was the choicest of wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

63

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Sometimes I, in my impatience, expect “instant results.” Instant microwave. Instant coffee. Instant air conditioning. Now I reserve my timing for my Father’s intervention. Thy will be done.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

In Thy timing. By Thy power. It will be done: best, completely, to the drop. Amen!

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

64

 Third: Proclaiming the Kingdom

 

Jesus began His ministry with a time of trial. Unimaginable trial, alone, in the desert, without food or water, face to face with God’s enemy, Satan.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The temptations were paramount. The first temptation was to the senses. Food? For starvation? For intense hunger in the midst of loneliness? Satan said, “Use Your Holy power to change these stones to bread!”

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Am I tempted to use my “God-given” talents and powers to fulfill my needs? Or those of my family and my friends? It is so tempting to take care of things MY way, in MY time.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

So “sure” of myself. Heavenly Father, forgive me for my pompous attitude, my callous stepping out on my own. Forgive me for my silly thoughts that I can do better than others. Indeed, better than You. Forgive me. I am unable to accomplish Your Godly works. I give it all back to You.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

The second temptation: Power. To govern all, to manipulate all, to control all, so as to be worshiped by all. How many ways do I strive for success and recognition? For accomplishment and praise? To be seen as what I am not? Lord, may I see myself as Your servant, unfit to untie the straps of Your sandals. May I be the servant of others and not myself. May I continually be astonished by Your glory and love and power Thank You for this supreme gift.

 

65

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The third temptation: Divine Equality. To defy God without recompense; to stand in His way believing I am more powerful such as not to be moved aside; to test God, to provoke Him, and suppose there will be no punishment or separation from Him.  “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Father, forgive me for my defiance. Forgive me for my illusions of my own grandeur. Forgive me for my striving to overcome Your power, Your will. Lord, let me be abased. Let me be under Your protection and guidance. Let me be Your child, resting my head in Your arms. For You, Almighty Father, are my All in All. I need no more, but I need all of You in my life, my mind, my heart, my soul. I need You, Lord. Amen.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Jesus gathered His disciples one by one. Each one handpicked for his particular personhood, qualities, mentation, and willingness. Jesus spent three years traveling with them and teaching, demonstrating the qualities of life He desired for each of them, and for all of us. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed of demons, fed the hungry, gave hope to the destitute, and freedom to those enslaved by life’s demands.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

He proclaimed the Kingdom of Heaven awaiting each of us. But He gives us the choice. Do we desire this Kingdom? More than our own desires? More than the temporary illusory power, sex and money of this world? It is indeed our choice: every day, every hour, every action, every thought for us or for Him. It is our choice.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

66

Lord, I choose You. Now and tomorrow, and for Eternity. Jesus calls for “repentance”. This word is much deeper than English can convey. In snow skiing, to “repent” is to turn around 180 degrees and change direction from downhill to uphill. To repent is to completely change direction. Here is our choice: to repent or to continue on our way. We must make a dramatic choice. Please give me the grace and power to protect and project that choice every minute of every day. By You alone am I given a key to my eternal room in Your everlasting Kingdom. Amen.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Fourth: Transfiguration

 

Jesus chose James, John and Peter to climb a mountain with Him. They were used to this. Prayer times often were held on a mountaintop.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

67

I would hope that if I were not chosen to walk beside Him, I would remain with the group in the valley and pray together with them. Fervently.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

At the top, James, Peter and John were readying to pray. As Jesus walked away a few yards, they watched Him. This, too, was rather usual. But suddenly a very unusual masterpiece manifested: Jesus became gloriously and brilliantly shining, bright as the sun.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Jesus foresaw the scandal of the cross, the tortures, the crucifixion. He appeared as God and Man before them to give them courage for the times to come.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Then appeared Moses and Elijah beside Jesus. In one moment in time three of the most important personages in history were present together in front of the three disciples. To be part of such a vision, such a once-in-a-lifetime event, is unfathomable.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Once again God’s voice booms, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Peter was so disconcerted he exclaimed, “Let us put up three tents…”. Do I sometimes feel desperate, not knowing what to do? Do I have brash “solution” ideas?

 

 

 

 

68

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

As suddenly as the vision came, it disappeared, leaving only Jesus. They were alone with Him. And the memory of God’s voice. And of being in the divine presence of Moses and Elijah.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

We are among celestial beings: angels, saints, Jesus, every moment. We cannot see them (unless by providential decision), but we can pray to them and ask them for our prayers to be heard, just as we can ask our brothers and sisters, our siblings and spouse, to pray for us. They see us far more clearly than we shall ever see ourselves until we are in the Kingdom.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Jesus tells them not to share this experience with anyone until the Son of Man rises from the dead. Praise to the Lord that I am told to share. I am directed to witness. I am to tell all the world that Jesus is Lord! Hallelujah!!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

 

 

 

 

 

69

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Fifth: Institution of Holy Eucharist

 

Our final meditation is our most comprehensive, deepest and profound meditation. In this we see the reason, the cause and the effect of all creation.

 

This mystery is our answer to Eternal Life with the Trinity. In the beginning was the Word: Jesus Christ. Through Him and by Him all was created. It was good. Adam and Eve were good. God, our Father, created them with the ability to exercise free will. Man could choose. The war in Heaven was over. Lucifer, the head of all the angels, chose to be equal to God in wisdom, in power and in authority. Fortunately, this was not possible.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

There is One God. There are no “seconds”. God created an abyss to separate Lucifer and his angels, from Heaven and God in His Purity. This total separation is “Hell”.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Adam and Eve chose to be as knowledgeable as God. The fruit of the tree in the garden was their answer, according to Satan. Now we have “original sin”, as before this choice there was no sin. Because of their choice we are separated from God. This is “original sin”.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”Our heavenly Father continually drew us back to Him. Mankind became so

 

70

“dirty” He had to put us through a major cleansing, The Flood exterminated all but Noah and his family, and the animals, preserved to re-seed the entire earth.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

From Adam to Noah, man was under the Covenant of Conscience. We could see God in nature, physics, weather, planets, life and death of man, animals and plants. With the new world after the flood, Noah began the Covenant of Human Government. This promoted refraining from sin and maintenance of relationships. Abraham brought the Covenant of Promise. He sacrificed his only son, Isaac, to bring redemption to Israel and to become as numerous as the sand. His sacrifice of Isaac was halted by an angel and a pure lamb was substituted. Redemption costs, and the price is blood. Moses led Israel under the Covenant of Law given by God. Sacrifices of animals, blood sacrifices, were offered routinely to cleanse the people of sin so we could come close to God.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Finally the ultimate sacrifice: God Himself, the Creator, in the form of Jesus His son, to bring all-time redemption from sin and the “wages of sin” (penalty), death. With His supreme sacrifice of total separation from His Father during the crucifixion, Christ paid the penalty, the unfathomable debt. Men who accept Him by free will to follow, believe in and live by Him are united with Him for eternity.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

My meditation of this mystery begins with the minutes before His offering the bread and wine. Jesus rose from the table and donned a towel around His waist. He washed the feet of each disciple. This act was one usually done by the lowest servant, as the feet were potent in foulness after miles of walking in sandals. Jesus took that role of a servant and performed this truly loving act to begin their cleansing.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

71

I meditate about all the disciples eating the Passover meal with Jesus. He was quiet and looked at each one. He took the bread on the table and broke a piece off saying, “Take this and eat it, all of you. This is my body.” This is His ultimate holy and worthy sacrifice given to each of them. How do I feel when the priest hands His body to me to eat? A Holiest of holy moment. Jesus has given me all of Him. Then Jesus took a cup of wine, passing it to all to drink saying, “This is my blood of the new covenant…”  His blood of the new covenant of purity to stand in the presence of God our Father.

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…everyone who believes in the Son will have eternal life.” (John 6:33ff).

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

With the Eucharist, and with my continual choice to follow Him, I am given the ultimate gift of Eternal Life. This is the salvation of all mankind who choose Him. Why after the resurrection did Jesus “descend into Hell”? (Ephesians 4:9; Acts 2:24; I Peter 3:19 – “Christ coming in spirit preached to those spirits that were in prison…”). All shall hear. All shall be given the choice to believe, to accept wholly and fully, to follow in our daily lives and to tell others about this wonderful gift of eternal salvation.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

I do believe, Lord. Give me the gift of Faith, of Hope and of Love that I may follow You closely, and that I may share this with others. Amen!

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Prayer of Fatima:

 

 

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer (remembering: ‘Hallowed be Thy Name” – you are His child and have His name. Pray He will make you truly, fully holy):

72

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

In finality of this Mystery Meditation:

 

“Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. “

 

73

 APPENDIX A: 

 

THE ROSARY

 

Choose the Mystery for the day.

 

Monday and Friday:    Joyful Mystery

Tuesday and Saturday:   Sorrowful Mystery

Wednesday and Sunday:   Glorious Mystery

Thursday:    Luminous Mystery

1.  Sign of the Cross  2.  Apostle’s Creed

3.  Faith — Hail Mary  4.  Hope — Hail Mary  5.  Love — Hail Mary  6.  Glory Be

7.  Lord’s Prayer

8.  Name the Mystery to be meditated (Joyful, etc.)

9.  Meditate the first of the five mysteries ten times (a “decade”)  10. Hail Mary after each ten meditations

11. Glory Be / Lord’s Prayer / Fatima after each decade  12. Repeat for all 5 Decades of the Mystery

13. Final “Hail, Holy Queen” prayer after all 5 Decades  14. AMEN!

 

74

 

APPENDIX B:

PRAYERS:

 

Our Father (Lord’s Prayer):

 

“Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. Amen”

Hail, Mary:

 

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

 

Glory Be:

 

“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and shall be forever, World without end. AMEN!”

 

Fatima Prayer:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

 

“Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. “

 

 

75

 

APPENDIX C:

 

The Assumption of Mary, body and soul, is attested from as early as AD 300 in written form, having been passed down by oral tradition. Although it is not known or declared regarding Mary’s death prior to her assumption, it is agreed by many ancient Christian fathers (i.e., Gregory of Tours, Epiphanes, and others) that Mary was taken up in glory, body and soul. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Church. Celebrations of this feast day were held as early as the second century. Some manuscripts declare all the apostles were brought together spiritually and were present at Mary’s death, and on the third day St. Thomas opened her grave to reveal her body was gone.

 

FURTHER MEDITATIONS

 

Penultimate in life is to know Christ. (Philippians 3:10)

In our minds we must be the same as Christ Jesus.

 

What is my purpose? The “Why” of it all? Why am I here? In this room? In this city?   On earth? At this time? For ourselves? For others?

What is the reason for Faith, Hope, Love, Christ, life, death and eternal life?   This is not all there is, otherwise we would despair.

 

The Holy Spirit can transform me. He can use each word of scripture, and from

the church, to transform a saint’s life – differently from all others’ and differently     at different times in my own life.

Each word can stroke and caress and pummel to take a hardened clay heart, and    with spiritual “water”, knead and mold it into a perfect living soul for Jesus.

Make a prayer diary, a “memory jogger”, for prayers to pray and for answered prayer.  Do I ever pray with Joy?

Is my joy infectious? Do I spread it to others?

 

Gospel – “Good News” – is it “good” for me? To me? For others? Friends and    relatives? Have I ever spread this good news?

God finishes what He starts. He is the starter (author) and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-3; Phil. 1:6).

 

For whom do we reserve a permanent place in our hearts?

Our Purpose: the glory and praise of God. (Ephesians 1)

 

76

A measurement of the depth of our beliefs is the plumb-line length of our embarrassment in Christ, or our refraining or restraint, and our sharing of these beliefs.

 

Color Chart of Faith: What are MY colors?

 

How red is your face?

How green your envy?

How yellow your courage?

 

They are no match for the “bleach” of Christ’s absolution. He is the tailor to fit you with His white wedding garment!

 

If I do not pray, who will? Lord, give me the will and remembrance to spend time  with You in prayer and meditation. AMEN!

Protoevangelium of St. James : downloadable for free on the WEB. This document was thought to be written around 145 AD. Though it is not included in our sacred scripture, the Church believes it to contain very worthwhile information. I have included some portions as insights but none are necessary for our meditations nor to come closer to Christ. I find them “helpful”.

Re: Annunciation (Pg. 15) some documents (dating around 145AD “Protoevangelium of St. James) say the annunciation occurred at midday near a well, by an angel (Chapter 11). For me it makes little difference. For you it may.

 

Re: Visitation (Pg. 17) Why did Mary not ask her father or Joseph to accompany her? She didn’t want him to know she was pregnant, and Joseph was unavailable, building houses in Sepphoiris, a new city near Nazareth (See “Protoevangelium Chapter 13).

Re: Nativity (Chapter. 19 and 20:2) — Early documents (Protoevangelium), cite that there was a midwife who related to Salome that Mary was indeed a virgin and that this was the first time she had seen such an event. Salome shouted that she would not believe until she checked for herself. She confirmed the midwife’s finding: Mary was indeed a virgin.

Re: Presentation (Protoevangelium Chapter 23:9, 24:12) – Simeon became high priest after Zachariah was murdered for not producing his son, John the Baptist, as an infant, during Herod’s infanticide of boys under 2 years old. This Simeon is probably the man who held Jesus at the visitation to Jerusalem. (Lk. 2:25).

 

 

 

 

How black your heart?   How blue your sorrows?

How crimson your sins?

77

 MY NOTES

  78

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: