May Meditations

What is First Saturday Devotion?

Meditation Set #5: (Month of May)

Joyful Mysteries [Faith]

  1. The Annunciation: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God ... to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph.” God sends Mary an angel. That rather spoils my meditation. Conversation with an angel - no lesson in faith, that! Actually, our response to such an extraordinary event would be precisely the reverse of Mary’s reaction. Imperfect faith would have accepted the angel’s astonishing message without question, gullibly; and afterwards questioned the whole apparition as a delusion. Mary, however, accepted the vision, and questioned only how the message would be fulfilled! “How shall this be done?” Then, reassured by the angel’s explanation, she uttered her exquisite act of faith: “Be it done to me according to thy word.” God has sent me an angel - the teaching Church. Daily meditation on her message, especially on the Mysteries of the Rosary, will increase my faith in her teaching.
  2. The Visitation: “Blessed is she who has believed.” The Visitation was the linking of two swift dramas, strikingly alike save for the climax. The angel Gabriel had appeared to Zechariah and Mary. To Zechariah, ministering in the Temple, he revealed that Elizabeth would conceive a son. Zechariah asked, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” To Mary, praying in her home, Gabriel revealed that she was to conceive a Son. Mary asked, “How shall this happen, since I know not man?” Similar settings, revelation, questions in both scenes; yet Zechariah disbelieved and Mary had absolute faith. Zechariah’s question was a refusal to believe; Mary’s, a desire to understand. Asking questions about the Church’s mysteries, as Mary did, will confirm my faith.
  3. The Nativity: “I bring you good news! ... an infant ... lying in a manger.” Colorless the cave certainly was, but signs and wonders filled all the sky around. Shepherds keeping a drowsy eye on their flocks were struck awake by the sudden society of an angel on fire with the glory of God. “In the town of David, a Savior in a manger!” That was Heaven’s cue; across the clear sky, every star became a thousand angels, bright as suns, making melody for the Child in a cave. God had robbed the prince to pay the court; had surrounded the commonest Christmas Present with wrappings of gold. Appearances do deceive. God in a manger is a far greater wonder than angels in the sky. Faith puts me in contact with reality.
  4. The Presentation in the Temple:  “His father and mother were marveling at the things spoken concerning Him.” Mary’s faith was intense past comprehension. At first, however, it concentrated upon a few truths: her Son was God, Savior, King. This was the faith-content of a child; Mary had much yet to learn. And Simeon had much to foretell: that Jew and Gentile were altogether one in her Son’s redemptive plans; that He would be the making and breaking of the world of men; that her own heart would be broken at the last. Mary was learning her catechism; she “marveled at the things spoken of Him.” Mary began with few truths, but immense faith. I have every truth - and much less faith. To pray for stronger faith is to obtain stronger faith, infallibly.
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple: “They did not understand the word that He spoke to them.” Being the Mother of God certainly had its hardships! What was Mary supposed to say to Jesus when she finally found Him, calmly sitting among the Temple doctors? She could not scold Him; He was hers out of sheerest mercy; and of course. He could not have done wrong. Still, she was His mother, and He obviously had not been searching Jerusalem for her! ... With a deep, helpless sigh, “Son, why hast Thou done so to us?” For answer, something about “My Father’s business”; and He even asked why she had bothered to look for Him! “The Lord had spoken” - but Mary did not understand. God is “beyond me,” too. He often does or permits things which make me ask, “Why has Thou done so to me?” My faith is His gift, His wise answer.

 

Sorrowful Mysteries [Loneliness]

  1. The Agony: “An angel came to comfort Him.” Loneliness - the feeling that one is without comfort or understanding from other men - was the lot of Jesus Christ throughout His public life. “He came unto His own, and they received Him not.” Even those who did receive Him often deserved to hear Him say: “O slow to believe! Ye of little faith! Do you not understand yet? Have I been with you so long, and you do not yet know who I am?” Still, when He entered Olivet to pray, He wanted their companionship: He wanted friends who would pray with Him. And when they fell asleep instead, God sent His Son an angel to refresh Him in His agony. When I have no one to comfort me in my troubles, I must pray. God’s grace will be my angel.
  2. The Scourging: “Take Him yourselves.” Though anxious to do away with Jesus, His enemies were not comfortable in His company. Judas was glad to be out of the supper room. Annas, unsettled by Christ’s calm dignity amidst insults, quickly sent Him away. The Sanhedrin passed Him on to Pilate. Pilate, afraid to condemn a Man so manifestly more innocent that His judges, was much relieved to learn that Jesus was a Galilean, and ordered Him off to Herod. Herod soon tired of Him, and sent Him back. Then the bitter climax - the crowds yelled for His death, preferring the society of Barabbas. Deserted by the friends He loved, shunned by His enemies (whom He also loved), Jesus bore His loneliness in silent patience. Would I?
  3. The Crowning: “Behold the Man!” Love was the whole reason for the Incarnation. Christ’s life was one of loving service - healing, teaching, preaching to the poor. He called Himself the Good Shepherd, who would die for His sheep; He would have gathered His enemies to His heart as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing; He is as close to His friends as a vine to its branches. When He was about to leave the world, His love found a way for Him to remain - hidden under the appearances of bread. But on Good Friday, when Pilate pointed Him out to the crowd, they forgot His goodness. The sheep demanded the death of the Lamb. Alone, forsaken, blasphemed Jesus kept on loving. If His people would kill Him, He would die for them. A lesson for me in utter unselfishness.
  4. The Way of the Cross: “Jesus was followed by some women, who wept over Him.” Noble-hearted women are found on nearly every page of the Gospel. There is, of course, the incomparable Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. There are the old Elizabeth and the ancient Anna and the young Magdalen, “who loved greatly”; the Canaanite woman who begged like a dog for Christ’s help; the woman whose touch drew healing power from Jesus; the widow whose farthing enriched God’s house “above gold and precious stone”; and Pilate’s wife, Our Lord’s only defender in His Passion. And there were the women who made the Way of the Cross with Him to comfort His heart with their tears. To console others, to relieve their loneliness with our sympathy, is a great virtue. “Blessed are they that mourn.”
  5. The Crucifixion: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” It was inevitable that Our Lord’s friends should not understand Him. He was a perfect Man among proud, unspiritual men; and He was God, whose ways are not ours. Even His most holy Mother didn’t always understand His words and actions, and had to puzzle over them in her heart. One alone understood Jesus Christ completely - His Heavenly Father. Our Lord’s chief delight was to spend His nights in prayerful intimacy with His Father, away from the shallow squabbling of His disciples. On Calvary, however, His Heavenly Father comforted Him not at all, but left Him to His anguish. If Jesus could feel abandoned by His Father, so can I. And if Jesus could continue to pray, so can I.

 

Glorious Mysteries [The Glories of Mary]

  1. The Resurrection: “Holy Mary, Mother of God.” Mary, it’s much easier to talk to you than about you. At first sight, it might seem otherwise. Because you are not just anyone; you are God’s mother. Mother of God, Mother of God ... I like to let those words run through my mind. The more I think about God, how good He is, how kind and loving - eternal, infinite - God, who made me and everything else (yes, and you, Mary) out of nothing - the better I understand your dignity. If it is wonderful “that we should be called and should be, the sons of God,” how much more wonderful that you should be called, and should be, God’s Mother! Mary, I thank God for you every day of my life. And I thank you for God, come to earth by your “Fiat.”
  2. The Ascension: “He made my way Immaculate.” During your life, Mary, you hated one thing - Sin. You knew how much it offends God; you stood by while sin drove nails through your Son’s hands and feet. You saw the malice of sin perfectly, although you never offended God in the slightest way. And I! I don’t really realize the horror of sin; I can’t grasp the idea that it is an infinite offense, deserving eternal punishment. When I look at a crucifix, I never think that my sins drove your Son to Calvary. How different, you and I! I thank God, Mary, that by your Immaculate Conception you were kept free from the slightest trace of sin. Mary, obtain for me a grace you had no need of - perfect compunction of heart.
  3. Pentecost: “Hail, full of grace!” Still another privilege of yours, Mary, makes me feel very little beside you. I reflect how often I’ve refused to follow the invitations of God’s grace; how often, perhaps, I’ve even fallen from the state of grace, living to repent only by God’s sheerest mercy. Then I remember how different you were - full of grace! Full of grace at your Immaculate Conception; filled with a new fullness at the Incarnation, at the Nativity, on Calvary, at Pentecost, at your death; and at every moment of your life, growing beyond belief in the loving friendship of God. As a forest fire is to a flickering taper, so is your sanctity compared to that of all saints and angels combined. Hail Mary, full of grace! Pray for us sinners.
  4. The Assumption: “Rise up, My beloved, and come.” I was born in sin, Mary; you were conceived Immaculate. Like you, I am an adopted child of God, but you are His Mother as well. If I helped to crucify your Son; you helped your crucified Son to redeem me. Still I haven’t humbled myself enough in your sight. By the very fact that I was born, I am sentenced to die; and when my soul departs to its place in eternity, my body will return to dust. But when you died, Mary, your soul very soon re-entered your incorrupt body. And in a little while, God took you up to Heaven, body and soul together. May God be blessed forever, Mary, for your glories! And may I be with you forever to bless Him!
  5. The Coronation: “Behold thy Mother.” Mary, in these meditations I have been thinking of all the things that set you in a place apart among all the creatures of God’s hand. The Blessed Trinity, Jesus, - you bow your head before Them; but you rise high above all the rest of creation, “as a mountain set upon mountains.” It makes me feel insignificant, very little, helpless - but not discouraged. Because “little and helpless” is almost the definition of a child - and I am your child, Mary. You are my Mother. The more God exalts you by His grace and the loftier your queenly throne in Heaven, the more quickly do I run to you, as a child of God’s Mother should. “I will not leave you orphans.” “Behold Your Mother.”