In Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope St. John Paul II proposed that the faithful take up a contemplative rosary. The meditations based on this way of praying are a little different than ones that may be traditionally used, but they are full of new insights and stir up the flame of love within hearts.
As Christmas is upon us, here are reflections on the Joyful Mysteries. For more on the contemplative rosary and the other mysteries of the rosary, pick up a copy of The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila by Dan Burke and Connie Rossini.
“The lot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith” (CCC 494). Mary says yes to God without knowing what will happen and how it all will end. Our yes should not be contingent on our understanding or approval of God’s plan.
It is in Mary’s nature to say “yes” to the needs of those around her. She will be quick to say yes when we are in need. Mary will bring Jesus to us and to others if we will but ask. Christ is central but hidden in these scenes, as he often is in our lives. Mary’s first Christian apostolate was doing seemingly insignificant household chores at the service of others. Much of our Christian lives consists in small, hidden acts of love.
The innkeeper could have been transformed by saying yes to Christ. How often do we refuse him in our lives because we are too busy or have other important things to tend to? What are the consequences of our no– our refusal to give God all that we are and all that we aspire to in this life? The Wise Men demonstrated extraordinary effort to give their best to God. Do we give Him our best time, best efforts, best talents—or just what is left over?
Trust in God’s promises sustained Simeon. Do we cling to God when we don’t understand or when answers seem to be slow in coming? Are we obedient in site of our lack of understanding or even desire? Joseph’s faithful offering of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons was a poor man’s alternative to a lamb. When we offer all that we can, God receives it with no less value than an offering that might be greater in the eyes of the world.
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
God promises, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart” (Her. 29:13). Do we actively and purposefully seek him daily in all aspects of our lives? The Holy Family made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year. Do we follow this wise pattern of rest and renewal and take our families on pilgrimages to holy places? Mary’s question is direct, simple, and honest: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Luke 2:48). Our prayers should likewise be direct, simple, and honest.
For more contemplative reflections on the mysteries of the rosary and beautiful illustrations to help guide meditation and reflection, pick up a copy of Dan Burke’s and Connie Rossini’s book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. It would be a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season!