"[By the Rosary] we praise Mary ever united to her Son; we repeat lovingly and unceasingly the greeting addressed to her by the heavenly messenger of the Incarnation; we contemplate Christ in the whole cycle of His Mysteries in order to unite ourselves to Him; we congratulate the Virgin Mary on her intimate association with these Mysteries, and we give thanks to the Blessed Trinity in the "Gloria" for all the privileges of the Mother of Jesus."

Blessed Dom Columba Marmion

Meditating on the Rosary


The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection


Gospel Text:

And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came together to Pilate, saying: Sir, we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead; and the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate saith to them: You have a guard; go, guard it as you know.

And they departing, made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards.

And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you. And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.

Considerations:

1. The glorified soul of Christ is in Limbo among the elect of the Old Dispensation. The presence of Jesus puts an end to their long, dark Advent. Jesus reveals Himself to them and converses with them. He transforms their prison into a paradise.

2. Like the most Holy Eucharist enclosed in the tabernacle, the body of Jesus lies silent and motionless in the sepulcher. Sixteen soldiers keep watch. The eyes of all the world are turned towards this grave.

3. As suddenly as flint, when struck, emits fire, so, at the first touch of dawn in the east, Jesus rises glorious from the grave. Thus the Divine Prince begins a new life, which will know no end; He begins a new day, which will never wane.

4. Jesus is animate with the fullness of Divine Joy. His difficult task has been accomplished. He has gained the victory over death. He had freed us from sin and hell.

5. As at death, the soul of Jesus was an abyss of tribulation, so now it is the well-spring of Divine Blessedness. So shortly before, He was the prey of all manner of tribulation; now, He is inebriated with the fullness of joy. A short time before, He was loaded with reproach and contumely; now, He is resplendent with power and glory.

6. The Body of Jesus, lately all covered with wounds, is now exceedingly beautiful and wondrously glorified. The five wounds are more radiant than precious stones.

7. Like a bolt of lightening from the sky, an angel descends from Heaven and rolls back the stone from the tomb. The soldiers lie prostrate as if dead from fear; then rising up, they flee into the city. They are the first to proclaim the Easter message: "He is risen".

8. After His resurrection Jesus must surely have appeared first of all to His holy mother. He embraces her and presses her to His Divine Heart. He changes the bitter sea of her tribulation into an abyss of indescribable joy.

9. The glorified Saviour appears also to Peter and to the other Apostles, to the disciples of Emmaus, and indeed to several hundred others. During forty days, He converses with them of the Kingdom of God and inspires them with faith, and joy, and courage.

10. As for me, I will arise from the grave of my sins and wicked habits. Then like Jesus, I shall arise from the dead on the last day, and my body and soul will be transfigured like His. In like manner, the marks of my sufferings in soul and body will be glorious tokens of my reward. No suffering will have been in vain.


The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension


Gospel Text:

And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.

They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments.

Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day's journey.

Considerations:

1. Jesus, accompanied by His Apostles, ascends the Mount of Olives. There the traces of His bitter agony are still visible. Once again He rests His gaze upon the various scenes of His sufferings. For the last time, He gazes down on Golgotha, on Jerusalem, on the temple, on Bethlehem, on the streets that His feet so often trod.

2. Jesus sees gathered around Him the little company of His dear ones; His beloved Mother whom it is His will to leave behind Him for a while, clad in the vesture of mortality. His Apostles and disciples- that little flock, which He loves so much and from whom He must now part. The Heart of Christ aches, as if with homesickness, at the thought of the impending separation.

3. Jesus now imparts the last blessing of His earthly sojourn. And then before the eyes of all He ascends up to Heaven. With painful longing and still with infinite joy, His Mother and His disciples stand watching Jesus ascend on high.

4. The invisible, uncounted host of the just from Limbo proceed with their Saviour into their eternal home. Their jubilant chant resounds up to Heaven: "Be ye lifted up,O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in."

5. Glorious beyond all human understanding is the entrance of Jesus into Heaven. After accomplishing the hardest of all tasks, after the strictest obedience, the Eternal Son returns to the bosom of His most dearly loved Father. The reward that Jesus receives is the everlasting love of His Father and the undying gratitude of the redeemed.

6. At the right hand of His Father Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is enthroned as Eternal King of the World.

7. But the Good Shepherd in Heaven does not forget His flock here below. Them also He shall one day take unto Himself. Meantime, He prepares for them glorious mansions in Heaven.

8. Unceasingly Jesus displays before the eyes of His Father, especially at the consecration of the Mass, the wounds of His bloody sacrifice and thus makes intercession for us.

9. The glorified Saviour will come again on the last day. He will reveal His Kingdom to all, both the good and bad, and He will judge the whole world. O Jesus, be thou unto me not a stern judge but a gracious redeemer.

10. "Love not the world nor what is in the world, for the world passeth away and the concupiscence thereof." "Seek ye the things that are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father." I will then ever live in such a manner, that my way of life may be a path leading to Heaven.


The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Ghost


Gospel Text:

And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place:  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome,

Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this? But others mocking, said: These men are full of new wine. But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words.

But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified. Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.

Considerations:

1. After witnessing the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, the Mother of God, the Apostles, the disciples and the holy women return to the cenacle. They betake themselves to prayer in preparation for the coming of the Holy Ghost. What a charming picture is this of Holy Church!

2. Although founded by Christ, the Church is still only a lifeless, impotent form. She still lacks the breath of life, a soul, the strength for the conflict. Therefore the young Church prays with great earnestness for the coming of the Holy Ghost. From this fact, I must infer that I also must learn to invoke the Holy Spirit. Without Him the good in me cannot grow; without Him all is dead.

3. During the forenoon of Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Ghost descends upon the Church in the visible form of tongues of fire. The chosen ones of Christ are transformed, since animated with the Divine Breath.

4. The descent of the Holy Ghost was like the roar of a mighty wind, to signify that He will drive out of our hearts, like dust before the wind, everything within us that is old and unholy. Remove then from my heart, O Holy Spirit, all weakness and sin.

5. The fiery tongues show that the Apostles are being furnished direct from Heaven with knowledge, wisdom and the gift of tongues. They are destined to go out among the nations and unite them all in the one Kingdom of Christ. Holy Church speaks with the Wisdom of the Holy Ghost. Hence I will always listen to her voice.

6. The Holy Ghost comes amid flames of fire. He ignites in the hearts of men the fire of Divine Love and an enthusiasm that quails not in the face of death. Come, O Holy Ghost, and enter likewise into my lukewarm heart! Set it on fire with Divine Love!

7. The Church now lives. She speaks and acts through Peter, who on this day as fisherman of the Kingdom of Heaven, takes his first draught of fishes. In response to his preaching, three thousand people join the Church and thus bear public witness to the Christ as having sojourned among them, died for them and risen again from the dead.

8. The Holy Ghost will remain in the Church until the end of the world to be her divine life. He abides with her in the exercise of her infallible teaching office. He abides with both the shepherds and their flocks. These truths are a great joy for me as a child of the Church.

9. The Holy Ghost imparts to the faithful all graces, all His seven gifts. Hence I shall often pray to the Holy Ghost for myself and for all men.

10. I will continually pay homage to the Holy Ghost and be a most faithful member of Holy Church in which He dwells.


The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption

Considerations:

1. I stand in spirit at the death-bed of the Mother of God in Jerusalem. She is tormented by no physical pain; simply the longing to be with her Divine Son is consuming her earthly tenement of flesh.

2. The Mother of God dies the most beautiful of deaths. Here, there is no disquiet of any kind of guilt to distress her last hours. Her life from her Immaculate Conception to her death lies stainless before her eyes. It has been adorned with the most resplendent virtues through the closest possible union with God. It has led her oh! so often through the way of the cross and of humiliation. For one who has led such a beautiful and fruitful life, death can have no terrors.

3. Mary dies without pain as gently as ripe fruit falls from the tree. Her soul ascends on high to exultant union with God.

4. Her sacred body St. John lovingly consigns to the grave. I stand in spirit at Mary's tomb. The earth has lost the dearest of all mothers- no, not lost, for least of all in Heaven will this Mother forget her children.

5. Mary's body will not see corruption, for never has the stain of sin inclined her towards the dust, as is the case with me.

6. From this body, the Son of God assumed flesh and blood. Hence, it was as little possible for the holy body of Mary to be delivered over to corruption as it was for the body of Jesus, her Divine Son.

7. Christ awakens His Blessed Mother to a new life. He endows her with a most glorious transfiguration, while angels bear her on high into Heaven.

8. I rejoice exceedingly, O my heavenly Mother, at the sublime privilege that has fallen to thy lot! To us thou hast brought supernatural life. Hence thou shouldst not be subject to the law of corporal dissolution: thy deserts are incorruptibility and eternal glory.

9. O Mary, assist me through thy intercession to journey through life without reproach in the way that leads to Heaven. Help me to make my life rich in prayer and union with God and fruitful in good works. Help me, through resignation to God's Will, to transform the thorns of tribulation into the roses of eternal merit.

10. O Mother of God! Assist me at the hour of my death, receive my poor soul, and lead it with a plea for clemency to thy Divine Son, my judge.


The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Crowing of Mary in Heaven


Considerations:

1. The Mother of God, greeted by the infinite jubilation of angels and saints, enters body and soul into Heaven. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared for those who love Him." May my soul also have some day its glorious entrance into Heaven.

2. The Heavenly Father welcomes Mary as the most highly favoured of all His children, for she is more innocent than Abel, wiser than Solomon, more beautiful than the angels, more virtuous than all the saints, more steadfast than all the martyrs. He bids her welcome as the Mother of His Only-begotten Son.

3. The Eternal Son places upon His Mother's brow the crown of Heavenly Queenship. The real glory and greatness of Mary, formerly hidden so long in her own interior, is now revealed to all: "A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head."

4. The Holy Ghost in turn heaps ever more grace and beatitude upon her. He crowns her as Mistress of all the angels and saints.

5. Mary is Queen of the Angels, because she is more glorious than they; Queen of Patriachs and Prophets, because they were sent in remote expectation of her; Queen of Apostles, as having not merely announced the glad tidings of salvation but as having brought us the Saviour. Mary is the Queen of Martyrs, having surpassed them in the vehemence of her sufferings; Queen of Confessors, having given proof with greater fortitude; Queen of Virgins while surpassing them in the splendour of her purity. Mary is a worthy Queen of all the Saints.

6. Nevertheless, Mary was and still is the humblest of all God's creatures. Hence God elevated her above all. Mary will remain forever more the handmaid of the Lord as well as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

7. Mary had the heaviest crosses to bear, therefore she is the most blessed in Heaven. "For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us."

8. She was not like the earthly-minded Martha, but rather like Martha's sister Mary, whose mind was fixed upon the things of eternity. "Mary has chosen the better part, which shall not be taken away from her." She has not been one of those foolish virgins, who gave no thought to preserve the grace of God in their hearts: Mary is therefore "The Seat of Wisdom".

9. O most humble and loving Queen of Heaven! Pray for me in my struggles and temptations, in my labours and sufferings, until I am permitted to kneel in homage before thy throne!

10. Look down upon the tribulations and dangers of all poor pilgrims of earth! See how the gates of hell rage against us! Be thou the protector of our Holy Mother, the Church! Ave Maria!