I'm not a big rosary fan...My mind wanders and even with beads to keep track, I end up saying the wrong number of Hail Marys almost every decade. But despite that, I often find the mysteries of the rosary to be particularly well suited for prayer and meditation on many of the problems that I (and others) face.
This week, I've been thinking about restoring relationships and how the Joyful Mysteries can give us hope, even as we deal with heartbreak and sadness when it comes to members of our family.
The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
It would be nice if an angel appeared to us, as we struggle with how to mend broken lives, to tell us exactly what is coming next, but that doesn't happen. However, hidden in the story of Mary and the Annunciation is a line that we can cling to: Nothing is impossible with God. Even when it seems that the walls and obstacles to restoration are insurmountable, this meditation reminds me that what I see as utterly impossible is possible for God. So, I take a deep breath and try to remember that, even in the darkest of nights.
The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
What I find comforting in this meditation is not that Elizabeth was going to be up nights with an infant, but that when she thought it was too late, that she was too old, that too much time had gone by, God's timing entered in. When I feel that it is too late for real change, I remember Elizabeth and think, "Maybe there is still time."
The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity
At the center of this meditation is a birth, new life, new creation. When it comes to family dynamics, often that is what is needed--a new beginning. So I cling to the promise of the Nativity, hoping that in my own life there can be a new start as well. (And when I begin to doubt, worrying that too much time has passed, that it's too late, I go back to the Visitation!)
The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple
Often what has gone wrong with relationships lies in the fact that there was no spiritual dimension to them originally; that God, the Divine, took a backseat to the mundane and the profane. So as I think on this mystery, I remind myself that when (not if) I get a new beginning, this time, I will be sure to include the spiritual at the core...by presenting the relationship at the Temple, so to speak.
The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding in the Temple
The final meditation is the goal--to have a lost and broken relationship restored. Finding Jesus in the Temple wasn't just rescuing a lost child; it is the sign that with persistence and prayer, relationships can be restored and renewed. I cling to that thought, even in the midst of doubt.
As the rain pours down in an almost Noah-like deluge this May Oregon day, I find comfort in the fact that these meditations, centered on what is a heart-breaking rift in my life, aren't the Sorrowful Mysteries, but the Joyful.
Joy will come in the morning...I have to believe that.