Saturday, November 5, 2011
The Joyful Mysteries in the Life of a Mother
Last summer I was involved in organizing a dinner and evening of reflective friendship for the mothers of the seminarians and those in discernment at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee. My friend Christi kindly hosted the dinner and everyone in attendance had a lovely time. I wrote the following rosary meditations and we prayed them together as part of our evening gathering.
My family and I are presently planning a visit to St. Joseph's Seminary College in Chicago which is associated with St. Francis de Sales Seminary, so that my oldest son may prayerfully decide whether or not this is the place where God is calling him to begin his post-high school education. Please hold John in your prayers as he looks into this next step on the road to the possible vocation to the priesthood.
And might I suggest that you pay a visit to a brand new blog written by one of the lovely ladies who was part of our mother's group? You can read the prayerful thoughts of Mary Anne Urlakis on Salve Sancta Matre Dei here.
The First Joyful Mystery-The Annunciation
Like Mary, we have all experienced the joy of the annunciation. At that moment when our sons made the announcement, “I’m thinking about the priesthood,” we found our lives turned upside down in a glorious way. Think of how Mary must have felt at the words of the Angel Gabriel; she was immediately consumed by a quiet joy, no time for questions yet, just an acceptance of those words and a deep gratitude to God. We, too, experience those emotions at the knowledge that God would choose to work in the lives of our family members in this way, calling our son to a life of service as a priest. Even if it would never come to fruition, just the very thought that this great calling could be considered in the lives of such unworthy souls is a wonder indeed.
The Second Joyful Mystery-The Visitation
We are women of faith recognizing that God has deeply blessed us and is working in our lives in a most wondrous way. Undeserving sinners that we are, He has chosen to use us as instruments of grace and has called our sons, the fruit of our wombs, our children whom we have joyfully loved and nurtured through the years, to consider giving themselves completely to His use as priests. After silently pondering that miraculous thought, how can we not come together to share the wonder of it all? How can we not proclaim with the Blessed Virgin, “He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden…For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His name.”
The Third Joyful Mystery-The Nativity
Giving birth to a vocation is not without its labor pains. How often have we been questioned by friends or family members, who, upon hearing about the future our sons intend to live, ask us questions such as: “Are you ok with that? Haven’t you tried to talk him out of it? Why would you want that for him?” And somehow, we must find the courage to bear with those questions and with our own questions, and worries as well, and persevere in supporting our sons in what we believe to be a most holy and beautiful life of servant for the Church which they are seeking to fulfill. We pray that God will bring forth a holy and healthy priest who will faithfully serve the Lord for many years to come.
The Fourth Joyful Mystery-The Presentation
We hope to follow in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary in having already presented out sons to the Church for the Sacraments of Initiation, to one day present them once again for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a Sacrament of Service. And while we, as mothers, may have experienced nothing but complete joy at our son’s baptisms, reception of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation into the church, we know that with the Sacrament of Holy Orders, there will be a sword which pierces our hearts and in fact, we may be feeling the first stabs of that sword already. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is no ordinary presentation, after all, but one that comes with worry, fear and loss-all common yet difficult stresses of motherhood. We know that for a priest the work will be hard, the hours will be long, the gratitude nearly non-existent, the life often lonely-yet it is the greatest work to which any man can attain and in the end, if he lives his vocation well, our sons will enjoy the most glorious heavenly rewards!
The Fifth Joyful Mystery-The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Here is the mystery to which we hope to someday attain; to know the great joy that the Mother of Christ felt when, after days of worried searching, she finds her son teaching the elders in the temple. We know that if we can only persevere in supporting our sons with prayer through their years of high school, college and seminary discernment, we too will know the great joy of finding our sons in the temple of the Lord, teaching the children of God how to follow and serve the Lord and will thereby draw many souls to heaven. There can be no greater joy in a mother’s heart than to know that her son is living a life of an alter Christus, serving both God and others in humble holiness.