Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

Benedetto di Silvestro, The Resurrectin
From the Vita Christi
Italian (Lombardy), c. 1500-1550
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 508, fol. 39r

The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary ask us to reflect on the joyful event of the Resurrection and its aftermath.*  Thus we begin with the first Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection of Our Lord.  Then we move on to the last sight of the glorified Risen Jesus on this earth, the Ascension, as He is taken up into heaven.  The next sight of His glorified body will be at the second coming.

The last three of the Glorious Mysteries are reflections on the early history of the Church, the first being the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  The fourth Mystery is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, when Mary’s mortal remains were taken up into heaven, where she lives as a fully alive human being. 

The final decade of the five Glorious Mysteries is speculative.  It is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven.  We believe that, on the arrival of her body in heaven, the complete person that is Mary was crowned by her Son as Queen of Heaven.  As the human mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, she receives special honor from all the angels and the other saints.  She herself adores the Holy Trinity, along with those angels and saints, of which she is the highest in rank.

The five decades of the Glorious Mysteries are:

1.  The Resurrection

2.  The Ascension

3.  The Descent of the Holy Spirit

4.  The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

5.  The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin

As with the recitation of the Rosary in general, the intent of praying the Glorious Mysteries is not the simple recitation of well-known prayers but the contemplation of the outcome of the sacrifice of Calvary.  While reciting the prayers we may mentally witness the Easter events in the lives of the Risen Jesus, the early Church and the Blessed Virgin Mary and gain a foretaste of what will come for us at the end of time.

© M. Duffy, 2018, additional links 2021

*  For a general explanation of the Rosary see: