The Rosary,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning.”
Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and of going counter to the warning of Christ: ‘And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7).’”
Because of this, it is vital that Christians familiarize themselves with the Scriptures in order to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ.
Below is the fourth joyful mystery. To see other mysteries, click here.
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-38)
When the time came for Mary’s purification, according to the Law of Moses Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and offer a sacrifice. Simeon, a righteous man in Jerusalem, took the child Jesus in his arms and rejoiced. He told Mary that Jesus “is set for the fall and rising of many is Israel” and that “a sword will pierce through your own soul” (2:34-35).
Here we see the faithfulness and humility of Joseph and Mary, who, though their son was the second person of the Blessed Trinity, obeyed the law of God faithfully and completely. Upon seeing the child, the prophet Simeon took him in his arms declaring, “My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (2:30-31).
His words harken back to several prophesies from Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah, such as, “Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem” (Is 52:9)
In the book of Leviticus, concerning the purification that was required of the new mother and her child, it states, “she shall bring to the priest…a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtle dove for a sin offering” (Lev 12:6). The law then makes the allowance, saying, “if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtle doves…for a sin offering” (Lev 12:8).
Here they were, the mother and virginal father of God, as well as God himself, the three most important people walking the face of the planet, unable to afford a year-old lamb.
This mystery inspires us to strive and pray to look upon the material poor, such as Joseph and Mary were, with kindness and respect.