We are happy to present another meditation from Rosary to the Interior. This one is the last in the series of Rosary meditations, the Fifth Glorious Mystery.
This article and indeed, the entire series of meditations produced by the Rosary to the Interior, is an effort to encourage people to participate in the second annual Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church event this coming February 2. It is especially timely in the face of the Synod on Abuse which is to be held in Rome February 21-24, involving Pope Francis and all the Presidents of the Bishop’s Episcopal Conferences. Catholics must understand that this is a spiritual battle above all and this Rosary campaign is our best weapon!
The Fifth Glorious Mystery
The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
It is probably the tendency for most of us who pray the Rosary to rattle off the “Glory Be” rather quickly and without much thought. If so, we miss something most profound.
That God is eternally changeless, that what “He was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be”, and that all that has ever existed or will exist is within His infinite knowledge, will, power, and causation for all eternity, is an extraordinary concept. To those who approach this truth with minds and hearts immersed in this world, it calls forth images of that which is static, rigid, restricting to our free will, uninteresting, un-stimulating, and banal. To those who see it with a Catholic heart and mind, however, it reverberates with all that is perfect intelligence and love, immersed in a never-ending and inexhaustible richness of freedom, delight, and peace.
To see reality with the Heart of Christ is, if we may be permitted to use the expression, to begin with eternity. There never was a time when God did not know that He was going to create man “in His Image”; that man, in the full freedom of his will, would sin and fall from grace; that as a result of this first sin, the earth would for millennia be polluted with a vast array and quantity of sins; that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, in order to atone for all this evil and merit the salvation of all men, would incarnate as man, suffer crucifixion, and rise again; and that for the fulfillment of Our Lord’s Incarnation He would create a Woman who would be His perfect Mother, and whose Immaculate Heart would be the portal through which God desires each one of us to pass in order to be able to see and love as does He.
All of this requires that we virtually acquire another dimension to our thinking. I remember as a boy staring at the stars with my mind caught up in what seemed then to be an unsolvable puzzle. Since this starry cosmos, despite its apparent immensity, was composed entirely of finite things, there had to be an end somewhere out there. And yet there could be no end, because there surely had to be something beyond. It took me until I was sixty years old to solve this riddle – to figure out the simple fact that all that has been created is truly finite and has no independent existence outside of the creative action and power of God, and that therefore outside or beyond this starry universe and all that it contains is simply the Infinite Being of God. And further, and most important, none of it is in reality outside or beyond God at all. As St. Paul wrote:
“For in Him [Christ] were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and in Him.
The world is now drowning in an ocean of thought and action which views everything in terms of evolutionary Becoming. It is immersed in a philosophical and pseudo-scientific conceit which, with messianic fervor, is at total war with the concepts of the unchangeable Being of God and the substantial being and “fixed” nature of man (see The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns). Nowhere is this worldview more succinctly expressed than in Joseph Ratzinger’s statement that “Being is time; it does not merely have” time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.” And, of course, it is also aptly expressed in Pope Francis formula, which he has often used, that “Time is greater than space” (Francis clearly uses the word “space” to refer to fixed dogma and moral truths). In such a world, all that is truly human is subjected to the violence and viciousness of endless evolutionary “progress”. There is no absolute certainty, no peace, no God Who is “in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end”. And because of this poison which has penetrated everywhere, the world now descends into violence, chaos, the darkness of ignorance, and satanic moral depravity.
But the world possesses a completely miraculous Image in which all of this darkness is refuted – an Icon reflecting the Eternal Plan and Being of God, and containing, for those who have the good will to see, all the essential Truths necessary for the conversion and peace of the human heart. It was impressed by God upon the tilma of a humble native in Mexico in the year 1531. It is the sacred Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In eight years it accomplished the conversion of seven million pagan souls to the Beauty and Truth of Christianity, and it now radiates out to the modern world as a vision of Final Truth and Hope.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and The Immaculate Conception
Our Lady’s first appearance to Juan Diego occurred on December 9 (1531), the original date on which the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was informally celebrated within the Church (now celebrated officially on Dec 8). All of Our Lady’s appearances occurred during the octave of this Feast. What is surprising in all this is that the image imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego by God’s miraculous power does not at first sight appear to have much to do with the Immaculate Conception. Mary appears as a young woman wearing a black sash around her waist, a custom which immediately revealed to the Indians that she was with child. She also identified herself to Juan Diego as “the ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the true God from Whom all life has come.” The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the day on which Mary was conceived without sin in the womb of her mother Anne, which according to Catholic tradition would have been 14-15 years previous to the conception of Jesus. At first sight, therefore, it does not appear to make much sense that she should make her appearance as the Mother of God on this date.
Three hundred and twenty seven years later, at Lourdes, France, Our Lady did something which would seem almost a perfect inversion of the above. In the year 1858, on March 24 (the day which anticipated the Feast of the Annunciation – the day on which Mary became the Mother of God), Our Lady announced to Bernadette Soubrious, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This statement posed a dilemma for theologians. They certainly would have understood if she had said, “I was immaculately conceived” – Pope Pius IX had only four years earlier defined this as a dogma of the faith, and had set the date for universal celebration of this Feast on December 8. They could not, however, understand her definition of herself as The Immaculate Conception.
So, we are left with a double mystery. On the one hand, Mary identified herself to Juan Diego as the Mother of God on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On the other hand, at Lourdes, she defines herself as The Immaculate Conception on the day which anticipated the Feast dedicated to that moment when Mary became the Mother of God
The clue to unraveling this double mystery lies in understanding that to say that Mary was immaculately conceived is not the same as saying that she is The Immaculate Conception. We know that there is a very profound connection, on the one hand, between the fact that Mary was immaculately conceived, and, on the other, the eternal choice of God by which she became the Mother of God. Simply put, Mary was immaculately conceived on December 8 (or the 9th, according to the older tradition) in order that she, in union with the Holy Spirit, might become the Mother of God approximately 15 years later on March 25. In becoming the Mother of God, however, she also became the Mother of all the Members of His Mystical Body, and therefore also Mother of the Church. In other words, when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she was identifying herself both as the Mother of Christ (immaculately conceived) and the Mother of all those who are immaculately conceived (“born again”) through the saving and regenerating waters of baptism. Mary is therefore properly called The Immaculate Conception because she is, in union with the Holy Spirit, and through Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, the source of all immaculate conception in the Church: “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.”(Mt. 5: 8). This is simply to say that she truly is both Mother of Christ and Mother of all the redeemed.
Please spread the word about the Rosary!
This is Part I. We will post the second part in a few days.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!