The Joys of Mary, a Meditation
By Thomas Stidl
Recently, I penned an article about the sorrows of Mary. There were many concerns and sorrows in Mary’s life as all parents realize. They were magnified greatly by the fact that Mary was raising the Son of God. What I am about to describe is a Franciscan devotion known as the Franciscan Crown.
The first part is the Joy of Our Lady at the Annunciation. How, at first, surprise must have been Mary’s reaction to the Angel Gabriel appearing to her and telling her that she was full of grace. After questioning Gabriel about the mechanics of what was about to happen to her, she willingly accepted with joy the responsibility of becoming the Mother of God? Did she keep this a secret? No.
Mary decided to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth who was pregnant also. This is the second joy of Mary. Mary did not need to share the good news with Elizabeth. When they met, Elizabeth exclaimed that Mother of God came to visit her. Her son, John the Baptist, leapt in Elizabeth’s womb. This is where we get Mary’s hymn of praise, The Magnificat, which is prayed every evening.
After helping Elizabeth and the birth of John the Baptist, Our Lady returned home to prepare for her own upcoming birth of the Son of God. What joy must have been in Mary’s heart at her Son’s birth even though the birth occurred in humble surroundings such as stable with barn animals surrounding Jesus, Mary, and Joseph? There were also angels singing Glory to God in the Highest and peace to people of good will. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt when she cradled the Son of God in her arms for the first time? This is the third joy of Mary.
The next joy came when the Three Kings of the Orient, following a star, found Jesus in Bethlehem. They came to adore Him and offered him gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. What awe and happiness must have flooded Mary’s heart with that visitation seeing someone acknowledging that Jesus is the newborn King of the Jews? This was the fourth joy.
The next joy of Mary followed one of her great sorrows. After searching for Jesus for three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple speaking to the Rabbi’s of that day. When Mary questioned him about remaining in Jerusalem, He told his mother that He must be about his Father’s business in his Father’s House. They were glad to find him safe and sound and have Jesus back in their protective arms even though his response left them perplexed for the moment until they again realized that they were talking to the Son of God.
The next joys are not found in Scripture. It can be safely said that Jesus probably visited His Mother after His Resurrection. He was probably reminded by St. Joseph when they met at his descending to the dead after his Crucifixion. There must have been great joy in Mary’s heart seeing him alive again after his horrendous suffering on the cross.
The next joys came when after earthly life was completed; Jesus came for his Mother to join Him in Heaven. This is the feast that Catholics call the Assumption. Catholics believe that Mary, the first created sinless woman since Eve, joined her son in Heaven, both body and soul. What a joy to be back with her Son. It was shortly after Her Assumption that She was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth, Queen of all the Angels, Saints, and all human beings.
Until next time, Laus Tibi, Christe. Deo Gratias. Praise be to God. See you in Paradise.