The Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Glorious Mysteries

“The contemplation of Christ’s face cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One. He is the Risen One!” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 6 January 2001).  The Rosary has always expressed this knowledge born of faith and invited the believer to pass beyond the darkness of the Passion in order to gaze upon Christ’s glory in the Resurrection and Ascension. Contemplating the Risen One, Christians rediscover the reasons for their own faith (cf. 1 Cor 15:14) and relive the joy not only of those to whom Christ appeared – the Apostles, Mary Magdalene and the disciples on the road to Emmaus – but also the joy of Mary, who must have had an equally intense experience of the new life of her glorified Son. In the Ascension, Christ was raised in glory to the right hand of the Father, while Mary herself would be raised to that same glory in the Assumption, enjoying beforehand, by a unique privilege, the destiny reserved for all the just at the resurrection of the dead. Crowned in glory – as she appears in the last glorious mystery – Mary shines forth as Queen of the Angels and Saints, the anticipation and the supreme realization of the eschatological state of the Church.

At the centre of this unfolding sequence of the glory of the Son and the Mother, the Rosary sets before us the third glorious mystery, Pentecost, which reveals the face of the Church as a family gathered together with Mary, enlivened by the powerful outpouring of the Spirit and ready for the mission of evangelization. The contemplation of this scene, like that of the other glorious mysteries, ought to lead the faithful to an ever greater appreciation of their new life in Christ, lived in the heart of the Church, a life of which the scene of Pentecost itself is the great “icon”. The glorious mysteries thus lead the faithful to greater hope for the eschatological goal towards which they journey as members of the pilgrim People of God in history. This can only impel them to bear courageous witness to that “good news” which gives meaning to their entire existence.

– Pope John Paul II, excerpt from his Apostolic Letter, ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE, October 2002

The Glorious Mysteries

1. The Resurrection:

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.  And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.  Lo, I have told you.”

-Matthew 28:1-7 RSV-CE

…Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”  But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.  And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?  See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

-Luke 24:36-39 RSV-CE

2. The Ascension:

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

– Luke 24: 50-53 RSV-CE

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

-Mark 16:19 RSV-CE

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;  and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and tothe end of the earth.”  And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?  This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

– Acts 1:7-11 RSV-CE

3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

– Acts 2:1-4 RSV-CE

4. The Assumption of Mary:

“Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”  The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life.  You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver souls from death.

– Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph #966

5. The Coronation of Mary Queen of Heaven:

Consider that Mary, upon entry into Heaven and being reunited with her Son, our Lord, was honored as Queen, the Mother of the King, in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

– Genesis 3:15 RSV-CE

Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might.

-Psalms 132:8 RSV-CE

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

-Revelelation 12:1 RSV-CE