THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES
1. THE ANNUNCIATION.
Mama, you were young. About 14. What went through your mind when Gabriel came to you? When he told you that you were special, set apart? ‘Full of grace’ he had said you were. To be a vessel to bring our Lord into the world, to redeem humanity of its brokenness.
You didn’t hesitate. You said, ‘Yes!’ Your fiat. You opened your heart wide and went all-in for us. Knowing your Baby Boy was going to set us all free. You, out of love, gave yourself to God’s plan for us.
Mama, you are amazing. You taught that total trust and faith without reservation is the best way to be. You knew the people in your family and your community – especially your husband, St Joseph, would have questions. A lot, I’m sure. None of that mattered to you. You knew God had something special in mind for you to do, and when He tapped you on your heart’s door, you didn’t hesitate. ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord’ Mama, thank you for your tremendous example. Thank you for showing that flinging open wide the door to God is a safe and wonderful thing.
2. THE VISITATION.
Mama, you went to see your cousin, Elizabeth, in the late stages before St John the Baptist was born. When you arrived, it was like he already knew that you had Jesus with you. It almost seems like Elizabeth had a very real sense of ‘What even is my life?’ When she saw you, the Mother of her God, in her home and feeling her own baby ‘leaping for joy’ inside her. Each and every time I have read this story, I never made that connection, that sense of ‘Whoa.’ The more I have delved into your Son’s Life, Teachings, and His Passion, I can’t help but wonder what it was like for you and for your cousin! Blessed are you among women! You embraced it all, your calling to be the Mother of my Jesus. St Elizabeth, her excitement, is so contagious! Even though you are His mother, you still put all focus, attention, gratitude, love back to Him.
You embraced everything. What an example you set not just for your cousin, but for all of humanity as a whole. Even now, over 2000 years later, here I am in this humble little Church at the Foot of your Son and thinking about this scene, feeling all the gratitude for your fiat. Your radical ‘YES!’ What a joy-filled visit you must have ha. Not only being there with St Elizabeth to help her with her son but unpacking what the Angel Gabriel had told you the day you found out you had favour with God, that He had made you special.
3. THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD.
Jesus has arrived. It’s a chilly night, and there’s nowhere to sleep comfortably. Thankfully, St Joseph, in his resourcefulness, was able to procure shelter in a humble manger for the three of you. To think the little Baby in your arms once trod streets of gold and He yet left His Splendourours Home o come here and help us out. The Great King has come to serve.
As you gaze into His little Face, what goes through your mind? No doubt you’re awestruck that you’re gazing into the Infant King’s Eyes and thinking, as any parent does the first time they see their baby, ‘You’re here. At long last!’ But for you, Mama, you know He’s different. He isn’t like any baby born before your Beautiful Son, and you know no baby after Him will be like Him. He’s God become Man. The Lord Incarnate.
As you’re wrapping Him gently in swaddling clothes, it’s difficult not to wonder if you’re going through the New Parent questions, but God knows You’re capable of caring for His Son. You know that this tiny Boy will grow to Manhood and set us all free from sin. Even wise men from far in the East came to see your Son! They bring Him gifts and speak of a star that guided the to find you. Each little thing, you meditate and reflect on as your Baby is adored and worshipped. Peace unlike anything known to humanity seems to settle around you all like a blanket. That indescribable feeling of joy and the purest love. You trusted God and continue to nestle into Him, knowing things won’t be easy, but you know God will provide any – and everything your little Family needs.
4. THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE.
As is the prescription of your culture, Mama, you took our Infant Lord to the temple. He was still so tiny! No doubt the chaos of the noise of other new parents of baby boys was a concern. Would He be calm? How would He do in such a loud environment? As He was at the manger when He was born, calm when the animals made their noises, no doubt He was equally at His Presentation. St Simeon was elated to meet Him! At long last, our Infant Lord had come, in the Flesh, and Simeon was able to hold Him close. What an honour! The prayers and offerings to God that you and St Joseph offered to God as a ‘thank you’ for giving you such an honour to be His parents! What a truly wonderful gift to have. What a tremendous honour. To be able to raise our Precious Lord from conception to Manhood. The Chubby Baby Hands had once formed planets! Carved out oceans and created the very materials that made the building in which you stood. The Little Baby Toes and Feet that once trod Streets of Gold, the Wide, Curious Eyes saw everything from beginning to end. The Tiny Fluttering Heart, it beats for us all a Love so deep and pure. The Tiny Voice spoke everything into existence and declared it good. Mama, you know the Little Boy you presented was no ordinary Baby and St Simeon knows it, too. How his heart must have swelled with joy when you handed my Jesus to him! What a truly humbling experience to hold the One Who had formed him in his own mother’s womb. In that moment, time must have stood completely still for St Simeon.
5. THE FINDING OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE.
Mama, my whole life up until recently, I didn’t understand how Jesus could come up missing for three days. The large family you and St Joseph had, all those aunts and uncles and cousins, and no doubt your siblings and their families all travelling together back to your homes. The time of the census having come to an end and time to return to pick up life where it was left off. Pretty easy to get lost in a crowd like that.
The panic you and St Joseph must have felt! Where could He have gotten to, if none of the relatives had seen Him this whole time? Three days of frantic searching, even going back into town. Retracing your steps. Had He gotten lost? Surely not, but best to be sure. What relief must have washed over you when you reached the temple and there He was, my Jesus, your Precious Boy, teaching the teachers. He was so calm addressing you and St Joseph, that He was doing His Father’s business. The teachers were so amazed at your Son’s knowledge! The joy that must have swelled your beautiful heart seeing your Young Son educating the learned men, the wise, and the educated about what God was all about! Seeing Him in their midst at only 12 years old, teaching like He was a grown Man. But you knew He was no Ordinary Preteen. You knew that He was the Son of the very Real and Living God.