Who can blame Mary for TREASURING that moment of leave-taking of the simple shepherds and eminent wise men?They had come to honour her newly-born Son, Jesus. She PONDERED all this in her heart(Lk.2.19).
Some years later there was that traumatic time of Mary and Joseph losing Jesus, finding Jesus in discussion with the teachers in the Temple in Jerusalem.Understandably they were mystified at the distress He had caused them.We are told that "HIS MOTHER STORED UP all these things in her heart". (Lk. 2.51).
Like many a mother Mary made life-long emotional journey with her beloved child – from the moment of His conception in the womb to His burial in the tomb. With tender, sometimes bewildering, love Mother and Son shaped each other's lives.
The Gospel is the Good News about Jesus – the love-gift of God the Father to mankind. In fact Jesus Himself was the Good News – through whom Divine Merciful Love was poured out upon the delinquent human family.
From a life of about thirty four years Jesus gave three of them to Pastoral Caring and Forgiving – inter-laced with the spectacular calming of storms, raising the dead to life, expelling unclean spirits. and, above all, forgiving sins-something which only God could do! Mary would have been thrilled at the way her Son was acclaimed, terrified by the way opposition mounted against Him.
All this must have transformed her relationship with Almighty God to whom she had pledged herself, "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word," (Lk. 1.38).
The Story of Jesus is no captivating fiction. It is the real-life Salvation History of Mankind with the Son of God becoming flesh for our sake and for our salvation. In addition reading the Jesus Story in Sacred Scripture we should pray ourselves into the Story through meditating upon its events and teaching, allowing ourselves to be shaped/reshaped by it.
Over many centuries Catholics have found the Rosary an immense help, if it is recited at a gentle pace thatallows us to absorb the particular event in the life of Jesus as we meditate on each of the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
In so doing we recruit Mary who actually experienced the whole Jesus Story – with the immediacy that belongs uniquely to a mother. Now glorious in heaven she accompanies us in our own personal journey through the Jesus Story.
I now share with you a few of the profound insights of Pope Saint John Paul 11 written in 2002 when he gave to the Church the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.
"With the Rosary, the Christian person sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of His love… Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer….To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.
POPE Francis has decreed this present year to be a Jubilee of Mercy. He has described the face of Almighty God as being the Face of Mercy and the Face of His Beloved Son, Jesus, as being the Human Face of Divine Mercy. He wrote, "No- one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh... …She treasured divine mercy in her heart in perfect harmony with her Son Jesus."
The more the world denies or ignores the significance of Jesus, as the human embodiment of Divine Merciful Love the more it needs to pray the Rosary as a celebration of Salvation Divinely Merciful History – bearing in mind that Jesus is the Redeemer and Mary the Mother of the Redeemer. That is why the prayer, 'Hail, holy Queen,' calls Mary, 'Mother of Mercy'
Peter Clarke, OP