Last Monday morning, after braving the Causeway traffic in both directions, I spent over 45 minutes on the phone with tech support regarding a computer problem. After nearly an hour with no satisfaction, I was beside myself. Looking out the kitchen window through the blinds I saw the wind blowing leaves from a maple tree into the pond. The dark clouds heralding the second wondrous cool front rolled in above the pine tops. Then I spotted it – my little statue of Mother Mary holding the baby Jesus in the back yard.
I put my rosary in my pocket, grabbed my comfy lawn chair and headed out the back door. I positioned my chair a few feet in front of the concrete image. Plopping myself down, I began to tell Mother Mary and Jesus my troubles. I spilled all of my concerns about my children. I told them about all of the things I had no idea how to handle. Still, the negative tapes continued to play in my head. Then, I pulled my rosary out of my pocket and began to pray. At first, I had trouble keeping my mind focused. Every time it would wander, I would open my eyes, look at the statue and center myself again. Once back on track, I would close my eyes and continue. By the time I had finished, I felt such incredible peace. My frustration was replaced by sweet serenity.
Since it was Monday, I meditated upon the Joyful Mysteries. As I thought about each one, I asked, “Mother Mary, what do you want to teach me through your life?”
As I pondered the Annunciation, I thought of the bold, courageous, faith-filled “Yes” she spoke to the Angel Gabriel – to God. She trusted God’s plan for her and for her child. She gave of her self completely without reserve – to be used by God for His Designs. Mary teaches us to trust the Father with His plan for our lives without hesitation. He made us. He loves us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Who better to entrust the story of our lives to?
In the Visitation, Mary demonstrates love – a complete pouring out of self. Before Jesus was even born, Mary was putting others’ welfare before her own. Pregnant, and probably uncomfortable herself, she traveled a great distance to visit and to assist Elizabeth who was certainly having a difficult pregnancy with her advanced age. Through her example, Mary teaches us to prioritize our lives – God first, others second, then ourselves. Mothers instinctively do this. In fact, sometimes, we must be reminded to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to care for others!
Next, I meditated upon the Nativity. In my mind’s eye, I could see Mary swaddling her Baby in the recesses of the stable to keep Him warm. I could see her nursing Him, rocking Him and singing to Him – Mother Mary, attentive and gentle. She is not worried about what she doesn’t have in their most humble surroundings. The love she has for the sweet baby Jesus transcends their uncomfortable abode. We can put ourselves in this scene. Ask Mary to allow you to hold Jesus. Tend to Him; talk to Him; rock Him. Let Him know how much you love Him. Let His love envelop and transform you.
In the Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple, Mary and Joseph teach us obedience. According to the prescription of the Jewish law, they go to the temple to offer a sacrifice in thanksgiving to the Lord. They consecrate their child to God the Father. As parents, if we want our children to grow to be obedient and respectful of God the Father, we must model this from their earliest of days, just as Mary and Joseph did. We want to be grateful to God and generous with Him in return for His great generosity to us!
This last joyful mystery always plucks personally at my heartstrings. Once, when my oldest was eight, our family was in Disney World among the thick crowds lining up for the nighttime parade. My son was holding one of those light up spinning toys. Entranced by the toy, he followed another woman wearing a green backpack like myself deep into the moving crowd. It didn’t take long for us to experience complete panic. Our child was missing! Our party split up to look for him, and I was told to stay put in case he came back to the spot looking for me. He was gone for all of five minutes, but it seemed like eternity. Luckily a park employee helped him to locate us. I personally know Mary’s utter grief in discovering that Jesus was missing from their caravan. She suffered for three days not knowing where He was. Then, persisting in her search and in prayer, she and Joseph located Him in the Temple teaching the adults!
Where do we find Jesus? Do we recall that He is with us even when we are not in church? We can ask Mother Mary to bring us closer to Her son. She can help us “locate” him in the midst of our hectic modern lives. She will not fail to bring us into the safety of His Sacred Heart.
During October, this month of the rosary, I pray that you will rediscover the beauty of this meditative form of prayer. The Holy Family has so much that they want to teach us through the mysteries. May praying the mysteries of the rosary bring you God’s great peace!