The recommended “mysteries” of the rosary for Sunday are the Glorious ones. Mysteries of the Rosary are particular scenes of events in Our Lord’s life. By meditating on the mysteries we come to know and love the Lord more. The repetition of the prayers takes the mind from daily problems and allows our minds to focus on the events in Christ’s life.
The first Glorious Mystery is the Resurrection of the Lord. We have all read the Resurrection stories. They go something like this:
It is dark with the light just appearing over the horizon, when the women leave their homes early in the morning to visit Christ’s tomb. The women, who were disciples of Jesus and had followed him throughout his ministry, want to complete the tasks that are usually performed after a person dies to honor the deceased. Since Jesus’ body was taken down hastily as Passover was about to begin, those necessary tasks were left undone or incomplete. If we close our eyes, we can see the events as they transpire.
The women leave their homes, carrying the needed supplies and make their way through the Roman gate past the soldiers who guard it. As the women arrive at the tomb, hoping someone will roll the closing stone away, they notice that the stone is already moved. The accounts go on to tell us about angels in the tomb, about Peter and John being alerted to the possible theft of their Master’s body and their running to the tomb to see for themselves. We see Mary Magdalen returning to the tomb after Peter and John have arrived and remaining there for some time. Mary Magdalen’s grief is without measure, as someone has taken her Lord’s body, not content to have killed him but to have done this unspeakable deed as well. Mary sees a man whom she thinks is the gardener and asks him to show her where Jesus’ body lies. But the man is Jesus and He speaks with Mary and gives her a message to take to the Apostles.
Because of the Gospel accounts, it is generally assumed that the first person to see Jesus after His Resurrection is Mary Magdalen. Ancient stories (hopes or traditions perhaps) relate that Jesus had actually visited His mother Mary first immediately after His Resurrection though the stories were not included in the Gospels. Being a mother that seems appropriate and so natural to me. So I was thinking about this scene of Son and mother meeting after the Resurrection, as I prayed the Rosary on Sunday morning. What would be the reaction of Mary when she sees her Son after His horrendous death? What would Jesus and Mary have said to one another?
I imagine Jesus appearing in the room, coming through a closed door as He would do later that day when he visited with the Apostles. Mary had finally fallen asleep sometime earlier, exhausted after the ordeal of watching her Son’s final hours and death. Mary has spent two days and nights, perhaps prostrate in prayer, grieving for her Son. She had long since run out of tears, her sobs of grief long since stilled. As Jesus enters the room, He awakens His mother, perhaps by a soft touch or by His voice softly calling to her. Mary awakens quickly, as mothers often do when our children call out to us in the night, always prepared to assist our children with hugs and soft words.
Mary and Jesus embrace each other, gaining strength and comfort after the horrible Passion and death of Jesus, grateful for the warmth and presence of each other’s bodies. Jesus tells Mary that He has been worried about her. Even from the cross Jesus had seen how much Mary had suffered. Tears fill Mary’s eyes as she sees that her Son is alive and well. It is a time of great joy for both.
Though Mary would keep her Son close to her forever, Jesus tells Mary that He has much to do before ascending to His Father. Mary wants to accompany Him, follow Jesus as she had done before, but the Lord tells His mother that there are still tasks for her to complete before they can be together again. The Apostles will need her constancy, her strength, her loving kindness and her memories of her Son to guide them as they begin their work after Jesus’ Ascension to the Father. That short visit gives Mary hope and peace, and the memory of that visit sustains Mary throughout the years until she at last joins her Son and God in heaven.