The third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity. This story can be found in Luke and Matthew’s Gospel. We all know what happens here Jesus is born. The fruit of this mystery is a bit more complex than other mysteries as it is multifaceted being Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor. This is perfectly illustrated in the Nativity as Jesus, the king of the Jews, was born in a cave/barn and placed in a manger since there wasn’t room at the inn.
Most everyone in the world today is attracted to the opposite of these things. Popes across the years have tried to stress these thing we need to care more about the Poor and forget about things of the world. This is one of the seven points in Catholic Social Teaching, as Pope Benedict XVI said “the love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel”. We need to become a society that cares about each other rather than one obsessed with being the best and having the most as this does nothing in the long run but create social problems.
The second Joyful Mystery is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth. This story can be found in Luke’s Gospel 1: 39=56. In the Western churches the feast is celebrated on 31 May and the Eastern churches celebrates it on 30 March. The fruit associated with this mystery is love of neighbor, since at the Annunciation Mary learned that Elizabeth was with child. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed for three months. Sure, Mary and Elizabeth were family but the general idea of love of neighbor, going out on a mission of charity, would be a wonderful thing if we could all do something like this. These are sort of outlined by the works of mercy, as how to love your neighbor. Let us all be able to stir the spirit within our neighbors like Mary did for Elizabeth when she her the voice of Mary the babe leapt in her womb. We need to bring love into the world all too often we are surrounded by hate in the world and that is never fun.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these decade posts so we begin going through them all again. We start with the Joyful Mysteries.
The first Joyful Mystery is The Annunciation, this is when the Angel of the Lord (Gabriel) came to Mary this is found in Luke 1:26-38. Gabriel came to Mary and Mary said Yes to become the Theotokos. This event also takes place in the Quran and according to Muslim tradition it took place during the month of Ramadan. The fruit of the mystery is humility. According to the Catechism humility is the root of prayer, so it is fitting that we reflect on humility as we begin the Rosary. It is one of the seven heavenly virtues the obverse of the seven deadly sins. Humility is something that we need more of in the world, too many people it seems are obsessed with themselves and forget about everyone else. Humans are social creatures and we should care more about others. I mean look at that TED talk from Pope Francis a couple of weeks ago in which humility played a big role. Let us all try to care more for other.
Laetitae Sanctae is another one of Leo XIII encyclical on the Rosary it is like several of the others which are implore the praying of the rosary in October. Pope Leo notes that the praying of the rosary devoutly not only helps the individual but also but society as a whole as well. His holiness goes on to say that there are three obstacles that arise in the world “first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.” These are tied to the mysteries of the Rosary.
The first, the distaste for poverty relates to the joyful mysteries where we focus on Christ as a child. So much of society says that we need to amass riches so we can buy this or that to become a better person and we should “work smarter not hard”. However it takes hard work to get rich. As we look at these mysteries we see “simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love – not of the false and fleeting kind – but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service.” This is what we need to bring into the world.
The second, repugnance to suffering relates to the sorrowful mysteries where we focus on the Passion of Christ. It is sad that violence has become so pervasive that in just about every movie it seem features some horrible act of violence, or really just turning on the news we hear of some murder. Society as a whole has become desensitized to it even when most of us haven’t seen it in person we’ve all seen it in the movie and television programs we watch. Sure we understand that violence is bad but we often forget about the suffering and grief left behind. Yet we must remember the actions of Jesus and follow in his footsteps, as St. Thomas says in the gospel “Let us also go, that we might die with him” (John 11:16)
The third and last one, forgetfulness of the future relates to the glorious mysteries where the focus turns to the resurrection and life in heaven. All too often we look to the future and our own personal safety with a mix of materialism and nationalism. Here is where the problem arises the militarization of individuals to serve their nation, but at the neglect of the world as a whole. We are all in the same boat and the more people rocking it the sooner we will capsize. Pope Leo put is as we may doubt if “God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.” Let us remember the eternal banquet that awaits us all.
Pope Leo then talks a bit about Rosary confraternities calling them the battalions who fight the battle of Christ under the direction of the Virgin Mother noting the victory at Lepanto. This, the rosary, is the Hope of the Church. Let us all take some time and pull out a rosary and pray it.
The fruit of this mystery is True Wisdom and True Conversion, Piety.
When you hear these fruits you think there will be some sort of knowledge that it is talking about, but it is more like the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sure when we were confirmed we learned the seven gifts and have most likely forgotten half or maybe even all of them. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) these are the gift that the Spirit have been given to us at Baptism and are strengthened at Confirmation. Piety is one of these fruits and it’s sort of like humility and piousness rolled into one thing. I hope that we can all learn some more about the fruits of the spirit and try to live our lives according to them in this upcoming year.
The Fruit of this mystery is Purity and Obedience
Purity is the absence of vice in your life it’s as basic as that. In his letter Paul goes on and on about what is unclean and clean/unpure and pure/body and spirit and says that we should all try to live in the spirit. Obedience is following what is told us. This is a straight forward fruit. we need to open our ears so that we can hear and follow. Paul shows us that living in the light is the way to go. As we near the beginning of a new year let us all take these virtues and try to add them into our live which seems to be surrounded by vices everywhere we look. For we are to live as Children of the light and bring the light out into the world to dispel the darkness.
The Fruit of the Mystery of The Nativity is Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor.
This fruit is sort of crazy to look at as we near Christmas and people are shopping left and right trying to find the perfect gifts for that special someone, our family members and even those office gift swaps. We all tend to go overboard with the gift giving but we should try to remember that when Jesus came into the world he didn’t come as the child of the rich and famous but to a poor family that of a lowly carpenter and a maiden and he was born in a “stable”. There are about 700 million people in the world living in extreme poverty today. This is a huge problem in the world and it doesn’t help with the income disparities in the world. It really doesn’t help that the 1% control about half of the money in the world. Let us be willing to share the treasures that we receive this Christmas with those less well off then us, for as we learn from the great Dr. Seuss where the Grinch comes to realize that “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more.” Saint Francis of Assisi is a wonderful example of living this fruit as are most religious.
The Fruit of the Mystery of the Visitation is Love of Neighbor.
This is sort of easy to understand. As the it is the second of the Great commandments and it is basically the Golden Rule of ages past. Do unto others as you would have done unto them, or however you want to phrase it is a common thread for all human kind. Both the religious and even the humanists of the world can live by this idea.
It would be awesome if everyone in the world could follow this rule, but this mean everyone and I am sure that some individuals like those in ISIS wouldn’t care for this one bit. If we could all try to love our neighbors a little more it would be a step into building the Kingdom here on earth and this is the mission for all humans.
This year these Rosary post will be focusing on the Fruits of the mystery. We begin back in the joyful mysteries with the Annunciation, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and asked\told that she was to bear Jesus. The Mystery of this decade is Humility.
Humility is a virtue and is the opposite of Pride. This is something talked about throughout scriptures as Moses was a meek man and his humility is not a weakness but a sign of Godly strength and purpose. In the Beatitudes, Jesus even says Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Being humble is a good thing, as St. Augustine noted “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” Skipping forward to more modern times CS Lewis in known for saying that “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Thomas Merton even chimed in on humility saying that “Humility is the surest sign of strength.” The great Francis of Assisi lived this virtue and said “O Divine Spirit, who efface Yourself before the Father and Son; O Jesus, meek and humble of heart; O Abba Father, who humble Yourself to commune with the lowly; O beautiful Trinity, You are Humility!”
With event of the Annunciation we have two individuals, well technically three,who are being humble. We have Jesus who humbled himself to become human, but we also have Mary who gladly say “Yes” to be the Mother of the Lord. There is also the other Annunciation with Joseph who is visited by an angel in a dream where he is told Mary will bear a son. Joseph also displays a great deal of humility here staying with Mary after learning that she was with child. The Holy Family is another great example for us to live in humility, May we be inspired by these individuals and what they say to try and live this Jubilee Year of Mercy more like the Book of Micah tells us “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”
Over the past couple of week I was talking about other forms of the Rosary notably the Brigittine and Carmelite Rosary which have six mysteries for each decade, and the Franciscan Crown which has seven decades. During the next couple of weeks I’ll be reflecting on these extra mysteries.
We start with the Joyful Mysteries the Brigittines and Carmelites add a mystery for the Immaculate Conception. This is the beginning of the Life of Mary so it is a fitting start for a Rosary. At the Immaculate Conception, Mary is conceived without sin in Anne. This is a big deal as no one had been born without sin since the Garden of Eden, but even before her birth Mary had a divine purpose, and the Lord it seemed knew that Mary was going to respond with a Yes. For the Lord is above time and sees all. Mary was born without sin and there was a place for Jesus to be eventually born without sin as well.
This mystery is followed by the regular ones, Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation and Finding. By adding this extra mystery is does ground the rosary with Mary as so many of the mysteries later on Mary isn’t a figure in them like the whole of the sorrowful mysteries only to reappear in the end of the Glorious mysteries. The other added mysteries do the same by adding Mary to the various mysteries.