Meditations on

The  Glorious  Mysteries

of the Holy Rosary

by Robert T. Harrell

The Resurrection

John 20: 1-18

The Ascension

Acts 1: 1-11

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Revelation 12

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Revelation 21 and 22

The Resurrection


The shocking reversal! No one expected this! It is a problem! Faced with the empty tomb, the first reaction of the disciples is disbelief; they think the women are mistaken, perhaps hysterical in their grief as they report what they found (See Mark 16). Mary Magdalene is the first person to meet the Lord Jesus in his risen life: St. John records her first conversation in which she mistakes him for the gardener and inquires about the whereabouts of his body. Only when Jesus calls her by name (see John 20: 16) does she recognize him. Everything that followed the resurrection: the encounters with Jesus, his instructions to the disciples, his mysterious coming and going through locked doors, his corporeal reality—all of this things, completely changed their idea of what he was all about, overthrew whatever they thought was supposed to happen next and launched them on a different life than any of them could have imagined. This is the problem with the resurrection. Jesus calls me by name as I behold his empty tomb in my confusion. If I begin a new life empowered and directed by the risen Lord, what happens to my plans? Where will he lead me? What will my life look like if I put it into his hands to remake it according to this stunning and unforeseen reality? When I let this risen Lord into my heart, he calls me out of the tomb I have been constructing for myself. He breaks down the doors of the prison in which I have been slowly dying and calls me out into the fresh air of grace and into the light of truth. The problem is my response! May the prayers of the most holy Mother of God give me the courage to ask Jesus to break open my heart as he has broken the gates of hell and to let him do with me as he wills.

The Ascension

“And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be” (John 14: 3). Jesus spoke of his future glory and plans to include us as he spoke to his disciples the night before he died. In his Ascension Jesus has raised our human nature up to share in the very life of God. In his person we are already there in his eternal Kingdom, even though for a while we must still live in anticipation of full participation. Yet even now the ascended life is available to us through prayer and sharing in the Holy Eucharist. Life in the present is made holy by receiving the grace that the ascended Lord Jesus pours out to us through the Sacraments, enlarging our capacity to receive and share divine love. “And of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1: 16). The Ascension of Jesus points forward to the future of God’s plan: “And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven’” (Acts 1: 10-11). This present year, month, day, moment in which I live is a season of grace. In relation to Jesus Christ, ascended and enthroned in glory, every moment of my passing life is charged with his active presence and ordered according to his divine purpose. I have been offered participation in the divine life right now, and the Lord’s Ascension has shown me where it will lead. What is my answer? May the prayers of the most holy Mother of God move me to receive this day and all it brings as one more step of preparation for my full participation in the eternal Kingdom.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit


“And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you forever. The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you” (John 14: 16-17). On the day of Pentecost this promise of Jesus was fulfilled, and it has been ongoing in its fulfillment ever since. It is being fulfilled right now! The same Holy Spirit who moved at the beginning of creation, inspired the prophets, conceived the Word in Mary’s womb, anointed Jesus at his baptism and rushed on the disciples at Pentecost, continues to work in the life of the Church and in each individual Christian. The life of the grace is generated and sustained by the Holy Spirit through the Body of Christ, Holy Mother Church, as she proclaims and teaches the true Faith and touches the human race through the Sacraments. The Holy Spirit calls us to holiness. What impurities can I offer for the Holy Spirit’s purging fire? To what new cleansing (long overdue) can I open my heart today? The confessional stands open as an opportunity for renewal. Come Holy Spirit, right now, and enkindle in my heart the warmth of divine love and purify my soul for Jesus Christ. Through the prayers of her who knew no sin and from whom the Holy Spirit received unhindered cooperation, the most holy Mother of God, may the same Holy Spirit become in me a radiant fire of love.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Moses buried by God himself, is alive on the mount of Transfiguration. Elijah, swept up into heaven by a fiery chariot, also stands alive with Jesus in the Transfiguration. These two great figures from the Old Testament foreshadow the great mystery and grace of our Lord’s Mother, who at her death was met by her Son and raised up bodily as a sign that we, too, will one day be bodily raised up (See Romans 8: 11) to share in the life of the Incarnate Word in eternity. How fitting, indeed, that she who received into herself the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets should also be raised up like Moses and Elijah! She who carried God in her womb now lives in glory in the same heaven which she as his Mother carried in her womb by his incarnate presence. The Eastern Orthodox icon of the Virgin, entitled “More Spacious than the Heavens,” conveys to us the idea that, where Jesus Christ dwells, all of heaven is present. Such was her womb as she bore him. She who held heaven within her body is now held body and soul within that heaven. The grave was no place for this holy Mother from whom the risen Savior took his human nature. In her Assumption, God’s faithfulness toward us is manifest and our hope is enlarged. From her place in the heavenly realm she, who gave the Lord a body, prays for his Body the Church, loving us as she loves him, caring for us as she cares for him, holding us in her arms as she once held him in his infancy and in his death. May the prayerful embrace of the most holy Mother of God call me to share in the fullness of the heavenly assembly to which she has preceded us as the Holy Spirit within my heart cries out “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15).

The Coronation of the

Blessed Virgin Mary


A young skeptic once asked why Mary would pray for him, or for that matter why anyone in heaven would pray for any of us still in this earthly life. The response: “Because everyone in heaven loves you!” That young skeptic was struck silent at the thought. Heaven is full of love, a real place, certainly not limited by time and geographical constraints as we know them now, but most assuredly a place that feels more like home than any place were have ever known in this life. As member of Christ’s Body, the Church, we are named as his brothers and sisters, and his Mother is our Mother (See John 19: 26-27), the Queen of Heaven. Her royal queenship is a sign of our royalty as heirs of his eternal Kingdom. Just as the Archangel Gabriel greeted her with “Hail, full of grace” (Luke 1: 28), a formal greeting by which one of lesser rank greets one’s sovereign, so do we greet her as a royal Queen who has brought to us the Savior of the world through her faithful response to God: “Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.” Mary’s whole life can be summed up in her words of praise go God when she visited Elizabeth: “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46). As she continues to magnify him to us from her place in heaven, so may we by her prayers magnify Jesus Christ to those around us who share with us “this vale of tears.” Our Queen prays for us as we make our way to her Son, and she never ceases to magnify him to us to help us stay our course. Truly she is the “Star of the Sea” by which we navigate on our journey from this life to the next. St. John presents us with an image of “A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12: 1). What follows in Revelation 12 gathers up of all time as the movement of history is recapitulated around the image of this woman. Our Lady stands at the threshold of time and eternity, a human person whose cooperation with God has made her to be the greatest of all participants in divine grace. The first stanzas of a beautiful Marian hymn makes this so clear: “When creation was begun / God had chosen you to be / Mother of his blessed Son / Holy Mary, full of grace. / Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! / When creation was restored / you were there beside the Lord / whom you cherished and adored / Holy Mary full of grace. / Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!” May the prayers of the Queen of Heaven, the most holy Mother of God, make me know this day that I am surrounded by mercy and love beyond my greatest imaginings.

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