Pondering These Things
Reflection on Luke 1:26-38 —
As October is the month of the Holy Rosary, I will reflect over the next weeks
on several different mysteries of the Rosary.
The young man soaks in every word...no, more, every moment with this gentle, loving, humble, and greatly honored woman. Every now and again he makes notes on his tablet. He savors this time and wishes he could make it stretch longer. Soon he will have to continue his journey; there are many people to interview. But for now, he contents himself with being in the presence of the Mother of Jesus.
“Were you not afraid when you saw the angel?” he asks.
“I was troubled,” Mary replies. “I had never heard of such a greeting. I didn’t know what it meant.”
“‘Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you,’” Luke says, as though musing on the angelic words.
“That is what he said, yes. And then, as I told you earlier, he said I would bear a son. ‘He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’” Our Lady’s eyes shine as she recalls this message that speaks of her Son.
Luke pauses for a moment, thinking over Gabriel’s next words, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” and Mary’s immediate response. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord,” she had said, “let it be done to me according to your word.” She gave a total “yes” to the Lord. “I have to come back to these things and ponder them,” Luke thinks.
“What did you do next?” he queries.
“I arose and went in haste to visit Elizabeth.”
And so the conversation continues: the Mother reminiscing, and the Evangelist taking careful notes...
* * *
Yesterday, October 7th, was the memorial feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. One only need look at the history of this feast day to be reminded how powerful this prayer really is. (If you don’t know the account of the Battle of Lepanto, which took place October 7, 1571, I highly suggest looking it up.) The Rosary is indeed a powerful prayer; St. Pio called it his “weapon.” It is a powerful way to contemplate the life of Jesus—with the aid of Mary. Who knows Jesus better than His Mother? And because the goal of this contemplation is to become more like Christ, to follow more closely in His footsteps, the effects of the Rosary upon us can and should be powerful. Who is a better teacher of discipleship than Mary? “Mary constantly sets before the faithful the ‘mysteries’ of her Son, with the desire that the contemplation of those mysteries will release all their saving power,” St. John Paul II wrote in his apostolic letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae.
I imagine that St. Luke pondered the great mystery of the Annunciation, and the other Joyful Mysteries too, after he learned about them in detail from Our Lady and even after he recorded them in his Gospel. This is what we are invited to do also: to meditate again and again upon these mysteries “marked by the joy radiating from the event of the Incarnation” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 20), with Mary at our side, helping us to delve ever deeper into their riches through contemplation and to grow to be ever more conformed to her Son. Perhaps in this month of October we could take up our Rosary beads with renewed devotion, asking Our Blessed Mother to help us pray them faithfully and fruitfully.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sr. Cecilia Francis, CFR