We have reached the end of Lent, we have prayed and fasted and tried to be more charitable. As we have kept the 40 days of Lent so we now begin a celebration of fifty days of Easter.
In a final article about the Rosary, at Easter we focus on the ‘Glorious Mysteries’; these are five of the major occasions when Jesus passes on his mission to the Church.
They are called glorious because we think of the victory of Christ over sin and death and the devil. He offers us mercy and also he opens the gates of heaven to those who believe in him.
The first Glorious Mystery of the rosary is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The Gospels record many occasions when Jesus appeared to various individuals and groups after he rose from the dead.
In this mystery we pray for an increase of faith in ourselves, that our faith never grows weary amid the trials of life. We pray for those who have fallen away that God will inspire them with new vigour.
We pray for those who are being received into the Church that they and their families will be blessed.
The second Glorious Mystery is called the Ascension. It marks the moment, 40 days after the resurrection, when Jesus goes into heaven.
It is a time of fear for the future among his followers, of sadness that he is no longer physically with them, but above all it is an event of hope that he will return again as he has promised.
In this mystery we pray for those who have lost hope in God or those who cannot find meaning or purpose in life.
The third glorious mystery is the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Before he went up to heaven Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church and keep it faithful to him and his teachings until he returned.
When the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles they were filled with joy and zeal and a spiritual energy which led them to all parts of the world to teach the Gospel and establish the Church. In this mystery we pray for priests and missionaries who give their lives in the service of God throughout the world.
The final two mysteries are about Mary, at the end of her life she was taken into heaven and crowned. The crown is the symbol of sharing in the victory of Jesus. As we say in every funeral ‘where he has gone we hope to follow’.
These mysteries remind us that heaven is the goal of every Christian and we should live our lives as a preparation to meet God. We pray especially for the dying that God will forgive their sins, reward them for the good they have done and unite them with the angels and saints in heaven.
On behalf of all the parishioners of St Mary and St Joseph may I wish you all a happy and joyful Easter.