Reflection on Acts 1:14
(the last in a series of four reflections on various mysteries of the Rosary)
Day after day the disciples have been gathering to pray…and wait, just as Jesus had directed. It is a consolation to them that His Mother—their Mother too—is in their midst. She sets before them an example of prayer, trust, patience and perseverance.
The days wear on. Some disciples become restless, others anxious. Then there are the laissez-faire, those who are just enjoying being together, and those content to stay put and wait.
“How much longer do you think we’ll have to wait for the “power from on high”? Cleopas voices his concern. “It has been seven…no, eight days now.”
“Relax, Cleopas, just relax,” replies Nathanael.
“Relax? Easy for you to say. I don’t like waiting.”
Cleopas’ wife Mary jumps in. “Brothers, let’s just try to get along. We’re all in this together.” She gives her husband a look. “It’ll be okay.”
“Mother,” John asks, in part to ease the tension, “do you have any advice for us? What should we be doing?”
“Yes, will the holy Spirit come?” Simon asks.
“And how will we know when it does?” Joanna asks.
“He will come,” Mary says, calm and sure. “Remember, Jesus in faithful. He is always true to His word. And we will know.” She smiles, thinking of the angel Gabriel’s message to her and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. “We will know. But what we should do is pray. Let Him find us ready and watchful when He comes.”
Peter has come over to listen to the conversation by now. “Yes, brothers and sisters, let us pray together.” With this they gather around Our Blessed Mother and lift their hearts and voices, united in prayer.
And on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit descends in fire, with the sound of a rushing wind…
* * *
At the heart of the glorious mysteries is the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the day that brings Jesus’ Passion, death and Resurrection to fulfillment. It is a day of great hope for the whole world—Jews and Gentiles alike—for the riches of the Paschal mystery are now offered to all through the ministry and mission of the Apostles. All are invited into the Church, which is, as St. John Paul II said in his apostolic letter on the Rosary, “a family gathered together with Mary” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 23). Nor is that all. We are a family “enlivened by the powerful outpouring of the Spirit and ready for the mission of evangelization.” We are disciples of Christ, adopted children of the Father through the Holy Spirit, impelled “to bear courageous witness to that ‘good news’ which gives meaning to [our] entire existence” (Ibid).
Mary, our Mother and model, guides us as we meditate on this mystery and, indeed, all of the glorious mysteries: the Resurrection, when we see Jesus’ triumph over death; the Ascension, when Jesus takes His place at the right hand of the Father; the coming of the Holy Spirit; Mary’s Assumption, giving us a glimpse of our promised future dwelling with God; and the Crowning of Our Lady, bringing us the comfort of a Queen Mother’s intercession from heaven. In the words of St. John Paul: “contemplating Christ and his Blessed Mother in glory, [we] see the goal toward which each of us is called, if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit” (RVM, 25). Joy, hope, trust in God’s promises…these are but a few of the fruits we can receive through contemplation of the glorious mysteries, no matter what trials we may be experiencing or season of life we may be in.
Let us pray these mysteries with Our Blessed Mother, just as the disciples prayed with her before Pentecost, learning trust, patience and perseverance, openness and docility from her, taking comfort in her sure guidance. May she intercede for us that our joy in following Our Risen Lord as his disciples, our missionary zeal, and our hope in the promise of heaven grow ever stronger.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14)
Sr. Cecilia Francis, CFR