In preparation for the beginning of Advent tomorrow (or this evening if you attend the anticipatory Saturday evening liturgy), I spent some time reflecting on the Joyful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.
The Annunciation--Can you even imagine what must have been going through Mary's mind during the interaction with an angel of the Lord? How can this be since I know not man? The Sacred Scriptures only give us a small glimpse into the story of the Incarnation, but it would be interesting to know the breadth and depth of all the things Mary kept and pondered in her heart.
The Visitation--This scene would have to be the ultimate family reunion. The joy being experienced by both Mary and Elizabeth must have been overwhelming. The magnitude of the role these women were to play in salvation history is phenomenal. How much of this did each of them fully grasp at the time? Obviously, the Holy Spirit was actively at work in each of the women preparing them for this moment in history, but it still would be fascinating to know the variety of thoughts that were bouncing around in each of their minds.
The Nativity--We know the story of the Lord's birth quite thoroughly. Has familiarity with the story dampened our enthusiasm and awe? Do we truly grasp the magnitude of God taking on human flesh and coming to earth as a helpless child? It is not just about decorated trees, a clean and sterile manger scene, and waiting for Santa Claus. It is the incarnation of the Savior. Our redemption is at hand. Do we understand the gift of salvation? Do we even care?
The Presentation--The prescriptions of the law were followed. The result is an amazing prophecy. "Now Master, you can let your servant go in peace. Your Word has been fulfilled." Do we trust that the Word of God has been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ?
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple--We could explore this particular mystery from a multitude of angles. Jesus was in the temple busy with His Father's affairs. We are able to make a number of assertions based upon what we are told in the Scriptures about Jesus' presence there. I want to examine it from the perspective of Mary and Joseph. What were they thinking at this point in time? They had just spent several days back-tracking to find Jesus. Was there anxiety as they searched? Was there anger or disappointment that he just couldn't keep with the program and be in the caravan as was expected? I don't know. The question I repeatedly ask myself after reflecting upon this mystery is a simple one. Do I seek Jesus with great intensity, fortitude, and perseverance?
During my walk I finalized my New (Church) Year's resolutions. I have set specific goals and intentions in regard to my prayer, my study, and my action. I will evaluate and asses my progress from time to time, but specifically, I will examine things thoroughly upon the arrival of Ash Wednesday on February 10, 2016. If adjustments are needed to the goals I will do so at that time. If I just need a kick in the rear to stay on track I will look forward to the Season of Lent providing that particular boost in effort. Self-discipline, mortification, and will-power are only a part of the equation. It is through these disciplines that I hope to open myself more fully to the grace of God at work in me and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through me. With God--all things are possible. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
HAVE A BLESSED ADVENT!!!