The World's First Love by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Part 48.

CHAPTER 19 The Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary

The Rosary relates the Christian life to that of Mary. The three great mysteries of the Rosary - the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious - are the brief description of earthly life contained in the Creed: birth, struggle, and victory. Joyful: "Born of the Virgin Mary." Sorrowful: "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried" Glorious: "The third day He arose again from the dead, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty." The Christian life is inseparable from the joys of birth and youth, the struggles of maturity against the passions and evil, and finally, the hope of glory in Heaven.


First Joyful Mystery: the Annunciation

In human love man desires, woman gives. In Divine Love, God seeks, the soul responds. God asks Mary to give Him a human nature with which He may start a new humanity. Mary agrees. A woman's role is to be the medium by which God comes to man. A woman is frustrated who does not bring forth a new man, either physically, by birth, or spiritually, by conversion. And every man is frustrated who knows not both his earthly and his heavenly mother, Mary.

Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation

Love that refuses to share kills its own power to love. Mary not only wants others to share her love, but also her Beloved. She brings Christ to souls before Christ is born. The Gospel tells us that on seeing Mary, Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit." When we have Christ within, we cannot be happy until we have imparted our joy. The soul that does not magnify itself alone can truly magnify the Lord. Out of the humility of Mary sprang the song of the Magnificat, in which she made nothing of herself and everything of Him. By reducing ourselves to zero, we most quickly find the Infinite.

Third Joyful Mystery: the Nativity

As the Virgin conceived Our Lord without the lusts of the flesh, so now she brings Him forth in joy without the labors of the flesh. As bees draw honey from the flower without offending it, as Eve was taken out of the side of Adam without any grief to him, so now in remaking the human race, the new Adam is taken from the new Eve without any grief to her. It is only her other children of the spirit, which she will bring forth at Calvary, who will cause her pain. And the sign by which men would know He is God was that He would be wrapped in swaddling clothes. The sun would be in eclipse, Eternity in time, Omnipotence in bonds, God in the shrouds of human flesh. Only by becoming little likewise, do we ever become great.

Fourth Joyful Mystery: the Presentation

Mary submits to the general law of Purification, from which she was really free, lest she should scandalize by the premature discovery of the secret entrusted to her keeping. Simeon tells her that her Son is to be contradicted - the sign of contradiction is the Cross - and a Sword her own heart shall pierce. And yet all this is considered a Joyful Mystery: for, as the Father sent His Son to be a victim for the sins of the world, so would Mary joyfully guard Him until the hour of sacrifice. The highest use any of us can make of the gifts of God is to give them back to God again.

Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

It is so easy to lose Christ; He can even be lost by a little heedlessness; a little want of watchfulness and the Divine Presence slips away. But sometimes a reconciliation is sweeter than an unbroken friendship. There are two ways of knowing how good God is: one is never to lose Him, the other is to lose Him and find Him again. Sin is the loss of Jesus, and since Mary felt the sting of His absence she could understand the gnawing heart of every sinner and be to it, in the truest sense of the word: "Refuge of Sinners."