THE FIVE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES
The First Glorious Mystery: – The Resurrection
It has been two days since Christ died and was buried. Its tradition to go and anoint his body with fragrant oils. But when the women get to the tomb, Jesus’ body is missing. Two people appear and ask them why they are looking for the living among the dead. “He is not here: He is risen”. They went to the disciples and told them He is Risen, but they did not believe because “their words seemed like nonsense” (Luke 24:11).
The Message of Hope is hard to comprehend, especially when we are at our lowest. We have lost our jobs, we have left our spouses, we have been diagnosed with cancer, we have lost that chance at a scholarship, we have lost all that matters to us, that dearly beloved parent has gone to be with the lord. How do we move on when it is all weighing on us? Yes, we have surrendered it all to Christ, but it still weighs us down, so we go back to the tomb of our sadness, we keep going back to take a peek. There was so much hope in the Living Christ, but we just buried him, we just buried our dreams, we just buried the hope in getting better, we just buried our beloved, we just buried that good salary. Our lives are stuck, we keep going back to look at the memories, the feel good moment, the hopes we had, the moments shared. We shed a tear. We crush all over again. But we are asked again, why are we looking for the Living among the dead? When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window (Sounds of Music). But we are stuck at looking at this door. We miss the open windows of opportunity, because we do not want to let go. There is hope in the resurrection, but even as our dear ones tell us of this hope, we do not believe because ‘their words seem like nonsense’.
There is dawn after darkness, no matter how long the nights are. Even Light does come to Alaska after the 3 days of no sun. There is an oasis in the desert, even if we walk miles and miles to get to it. There is a chance open for us to explore, even if the chance comes once in a million chances. Our challenge is in recognizing the chance and taking it. Can we believe in a staircase even if the only step I can see is the first? Can we believe in the resurrection, no matter how farfetched the idea is? How does one just rise from the dead? But just like the resurrection was real, the dawn of new hope is real. If only we can believe. That little faith. That mustard seed.
The Second Glorious Mystery: – The Ascension
Jesus came, suffered, died and was crucified. He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven. The ascension of Christ is another blow to the disciples. The Resurrection brought hope back to them, because He whom they followed and fed them and healed the sick and had power over everything was back from the dead. They saw Him. They felt Him. Their joy was restored. No sooner had all this joy and peace and hope been restored than he ascended. He left them, this time round forever. The disorientation is back. The fear of tomorrow clouds them once more.
When I think of the ascension, I do not look at the disorientation, though it is ever present in our lives. The promise of good things that whose joy is short-lived; the hope a job interview brings which disappears with the award of the post to a different person; the disorientation of trusting again to be hurt all over. The hope of Chemotherapy treatment that ends when the symptoms of the disease recur a few months post chemo. What I meditate on was His acts before He ascended and his promises after His ascension. When he was preparing for His departure, He promised His disciples a Helper. He also prayed for them.
In His promise, in the Book of John 14, He tells His disciples;
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
As I meditate on this, in my weakness of going back to the grave, going back to the moments of weakness, where I have to rise again and remind myself of His greatness, I remember that Christ promised to always be there for us. He swill never leave us as orphans. He will send us an advocate who, with His help, we will do great things. The Holy spirit does come to us in that tiny voice that tells us, Keep walking, just let go, just believe; He is that friend who whispers words of comfort, exactly as we want to hear them; He is in that parent who admonishes us when we do wrong; He is in that mentor who tells us we are stronger than we know; He is in that self confidence that allows us to face daily challenges with a broad smile; He is in that calmness when everything is falling apart; He is in the words of wisdom and Knowledge when we speak to someone to give them hope. The Holy Spirit, who Christ promise is with us. Christ is with us in the Spirit within us and those we interact. Do we notice the spirit, or are we still looking in the sky for the Gone Christ.
Christ also prayed for us.
That we may be one, Just like Father, just as you are in me and I am in you… I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.
This reminds me of a favorite song with one of the verses going thus:-
Make the world a unity,
Make all men one family,
Till we meet The Trinity
And we’ll live forever
Christ desires that we live in unity. Christ reminds us that this unity, which is born of love for God, will get us to heaven, where he desires that eventually we be with Him. Unity is a fruit of Love. When we love we remain united, not only with ourselves but with Christ who is Love itself. Love does not offend the beloved. If we love someone, we seek not to offend them. If we love one another, we will live in Harmony brought by the desire to remain united with the ones we love. We know that offending the love causes disunity. So we work hard not to offend this love.
The ascension thus is a reminder that we are pilgrims in this world. We are pilgrims who are not alone. Who with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be guided to live in unity with one another, and in living in unity with one another, we are united in Christ. When we are united in Christ here on earth, we are assured that when we reach the end of our pilgrimage, we will be eventually united with Him, so that where He will be, we will be too.
The third Glorious Mystery: – The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
The disciples are disoriented because Christ is gone, they gather alone in fear of the Jews. The Jews Killed Christ. What will they do with them now that their leader is gone? What if they decide to crucify them too? Who wants to die such a painful, shameful death anyway? So they hide. The live in constant fear. The do not know how to live the next day without Christ. He defined their life. He showed them direction. HE taught them. He encouraged them. Like He had foretold, they were sheep without a Shepherd. They were a people with no direction. They were lost.
Many times we get to this point of disorientation. Especially in transition. Transition from one academic level to another, transition from one job to another, transition from one place to another, transition from one social status to another. We also get disoriented when things do not go the way we wanted them to. We want to start college or join high school, but just a few months before, we realize we are expectant, we get an interview to this job we desperately want, but someone else is appointed, through corrupt means, that grade we want to get so bad, that achievement at work, that award, that recognition, but it keeps elusive, that mega downfall that makes us feel we have failed, a broken family when we leave our spouses yet we know deep in our hearts we desperately wanted it to work, that boss that pushes you to the edge until you quit your job, not because you do not need it, but because you know fighting on will be in vain, that business that does not pick and three years later you know you have to close shop, many related moments. What to do? We go back to basics, but where is the energy to start all over? In which direction? In what manner? With What resources? We retreat to those cocoons that close us away from the world around us. Directionless.
Then Christ appears in their midst. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” And they are strengthened and they start speaking in many languages and every person who heard them could understand the mighty works of God. In 1 Corinthians 12 we are reminded that there is one Spirit who enables us differently, just like there is one body but with different parts that all function well together to make the whole. It is in our lowest that we need to discover who we really are and what our capacities can achieve. It is in our lowest that we can appreciate that we are not on our own, we need God’s graces to lift us up, to enable us take that one more step, to lift our face so we can look up again. It is in our disorientation that we can trust the voice of God to show us direction. We can be still and listen to the voice of God. It is in our nothingness that God moulds us into something of wonder. It is when we can’t speak that we can let the spirit speak for us, when we know our words are no longer of value, then we can surrender. St. Francis of Assisi once said in extreme poverty he found wealth and true happiness. What can we learn from our rock bottom moments? Can we recognize the spirit of God? Can we allow Him to do marvelous things in us?
The Fourth and Fifth Glorious Mysteries: – The Assumption of Our Lady; the Coronation of Our Lady.
The Assumption of Mary is the teaching that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus 44].
When I meditate on these two mysteries, I think of the roles she played in the life of Jesus as a mother, and the role she played to the community as an advocate. As a mother, she walked by the side of Jesus to the last minute on the cross when he commended his life to God and breathed His last. As an advocate of the community, there are several cited occasions when she pleads for the cause of the community to Christ. “They have no wine”. In her heart she knew he could do something. “Do what He tells you”. She requires of us to follow the instructions of Christ. We know she is in heaven, with her beloved son. Can we trust her to continue being an advocate for us to her son? The life she lived on earth, can we follow her example especially as mothers? If our children one day stand accessed, will we stand with them guilty or otherwise? Would we walk the way of the cross with them? Will we look for them when lost? Will we pray for them, cry for them, and wipe the dust off their clothes when they fall? Can we drink the cup of suffering with them?
These are the questions I ask myself when I look at my children. I also pray through her intercession that I be granted the graces I need to walk with them in their journey of life, wherever that journey leads them with total acceptance of who they are in my heart.