From Crib to Cross

First of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Visitation.

Of all the children of Adam, God granted to one alone the exalted privilege of being conceived without sin. The question can be asked: Why was Mary alone exempt from the sinful condition to which every other human being before and since has been subjected? Why did God keep His Mother free from original sin?

"It means that since the moment of her conception, Our Lady was not only free from sin, but more important, she was full of grace," says Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC. Mary was not freed from sin like the rest of us. Rather, God in his great wisdom preserved her from sin in the first place.

Father Seraphim says the significance of this can be found in the first of the Rosary's Joyful Mysteries. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel first addresses Mary as "full of grace." Since she was to be the Mother of God, she would be raised - exalted - above all other creatures.

Father Larry Dunn, MIC, focuses on the closing words of the Annunciation Gospel: "With that, the angel left her" (Lk 1:38). "With these words," Fr. Larry says, the scene of the Annunciation ends. "However, I wonder if there wasn't something that Our Lady, in her humility, left out. After all, she is the only witness to this miraculous scene."

What did the Archangel Gabriel do the moment that Mary made her consent to be the Mother of God, Fr. Larry asks.

"In that instance," he says, "God's Son was conceived within her, and she became a living tabernacle. It seems to me that Gabriel, realizing this, would have prostrated himself in admiration, not before Our Blessed Mother but before the Son she conceived in the tabernacle of her womb."

Father Larry continues: "Remember the story of Fatima? An angel appeared before the children to prepare them for the appearance of the Blessed Mother. At one time, he elevated a host, prostrated himself, and sang God's praises. Why wouldn't Gabriel do this at the Annunciation?

"The Israelites had been waiting for thousands of years for this moment, and when it occurred it was a quiet moment. There were no flags waving, no trumpets blaring, and no choir of angels singing. There was just a teenage girl from an insignificant town who changed the entire history of the world by surrendering to the will of God."

As St. Albert the Great, teacher of St. Thomas, wrote about the Annunciation: "To be the Mother of God is the highest dignity after that of being God."

*****
Joyful Mysteries
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple

Luminous Mysteries
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist

Sorrowful Mysteries
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus

Glorious Mysteries
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation

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