Brookline Carmel Bulletin
October 16, 1960
The fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious give us at a glance the highlights of the story of the Redemption. Each of them is an event taken from the lives of the two persons who played the chief roles in that drama. We must admit, however, that those events do not merely recall to mind the principle truths of our Catholic Faith, forming an abridgement of the Liturgical Cycle. They also give us a glimpse of the general pattern according to which the spiritual life of the Christian develops. God, having decided upon a course of action, does not repent of it. What is true in general of His only-begotten Son will be true in general of His adopted children. Our spiritual journey to God will unfold in roughly the same way and in roughly the same sequence.
It is possible for us to see in the Joyful Mysteries that period of our life during which Almighty God woos us and wins us. God sends numerous messengers – though they can only stammer – to tell us of Himself, His lovableness and His desire to be our friend. We receive these overtures favorably and decide to return His affection. Then we choose our companions from among the other friends of God, since we discover there are many others whom He loves, chosen to fulfill certain designs of His Providence. In these friendships we find mutual love and assistance. Eventually, a day comes when Jesus is born in our soul because on that day we resolve to belong wholly to God, thereby committing ourselves to become other Christs. How happy we are to offer our entire being to God in the temple of our inmost soul. But after our vocation is settled, we find invariably that we lose Jesus, i.e., the sense of His presence. This sharpens our desire to possess Him, teaches us we want Him more than we were willing to admit. Then soon after, we find Him again where He always was: in the ordinary occupations of our state in life, in the perfect fulfillment of our vocation. All these events are joyous because here we mostly receive. We are rarely called upon to give.
The Sorrowful Mysteries represent that phase of our spiritual life during which Jesus takes us at our word. He begins to ask of us some of the many things implicitly included in our total oblation of Self. If He were to ask of us an eye or an arm, we would find it relatively easy to give. Instead, He asks for something far more precious. He asks us to sacrifice some affection that seems to be part of the very fiber of our soul. It may be a person, a thing, a way of life, or an occupation. To take it from us seems to be the same as tearing out our heart. It seems to annihilate us. If we think of the unspeakable pain inflicted upon the body of Our Lord in the Sorrowful Mysteries, we get an idea of the horrible anguish of mind that will be ours when Jesus requires of us something to which we never gave a second thought – if we knew we had it – and which we will then discover that we cannot – we think – live without. In this phase Jesus politely ignores the gifts we profer and takes, rather, what He wants. It is not easy to see in the Sorrowful Mysteries references to particular events in our own lives. No doubt because very few really mean it when we offer ourselves entirely to God, and so there are very few to whom He may do just as He pleases. We suffer because we are always giving and receive little or nothing in return.
In the Glorious Mysteries we foresee what will befall us after the sufferings just spoken of have ceased. There will be a re-integration taking place after Jesus has finished dissecting us so as to get at something close to our heart. Restored, we live a higher life, uncontaminated by base motives and objectives. By the Descent of the Holy Ghost we are reminded of how we will be moved in that state by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. The remaining Mysteries concern Our Lady. They tell of the reward awaiting our body in the next life and the crown we will receive there, too. Then will be made manifest the hidden virtues of the faithful, their secret victories over Self, the extent of their love for God – all to His greater glory and to the eternal Joy of all the court of Heaven.
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