The time for sorrow and suffering is over. That’s what you and I will hear when our souls enter into heaven. Can you hear the words being spoken as you enter into the Kingdom? “The time for sorrow and suffering is over.” Can you smell the heavenly scent? Can you feel the soft cushion of the plush green heavenly grass under your bare feet? Can you taste the cool clean sparkling water from the nearby heavenly stream? Can you see your Savior in His full splendor and glory sitting on His throne?
Do you know what I’m looking forward to when I get to heaven? I’m looking forward to waking up every day completely rested and refreshed. I can’t remember the last time I woke up that way, if ever. The hardest part of my day is getting out of bed in the morning. The “heroic moment” is what St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, called it. Here’s what he had to say about the heroic moment:
Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish.
I not only wake up tired, but I get tired of conquering various other moments throughout the day, such as the moment I have to sit down and work on a difficult project, or the moment I have to meet with a difficult client, or the moment I have to buckle down and work on writing the weekly article for my Adoration Letter.
Last week in The Resurrection and The Woman, I wrote about the special relationship Jesus had with his mother and the role His mother plays in bringing people closer to Him. What most Catholics don’t realize is that the Mother of God is always standing by ready to assist them with their struggles and suffering. We know this because prior to Jesus dying on the cross, He made Mary the mother of all mankind:
When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he said to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her as his own. John 19:26-27.
The Catholic Church has interpreted this passage to mean that St. John was a representative of each one of us. When Jesus identified St. John as a son of Mary, He also identified each and every one of us as her son or daughter. Because of His great love for us, Jesus left us with a perfect mother who has a deep and abiding affection for us. She has the power and authority to assist us in all of our needs.
The most effective way in which to develop and nurture a relationship with the Mother of God is by praying a daily Rosary.
Why the Rosary? Because when you pray the Rosary (while doing your best to meditate on its mysteries), in just four days you have reviewed and contemplated all of the major events that took place in the lives of Jesus and Mary. That’s why the Rosary is sometimes referred to as a “Mini New Testament.”
The Joyful Mysteries (prayed on Mondays and Saturdays) start with The Annunciation, the moment when “the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us,” and is followed by The Visitation, The Birth of Jesus, The Presentation, and The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.
The Luminous Mysteries (prayed on Thursdays) are often referred to as the “mysteries of light,” and move us from the infancy and hidden life of Jesus to His public life starting with the Baptism in the Jordan, and continuing with The Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist.
The Sorrowful Mysteries (prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays) focus on the events surrounding our Lord’s passion and death, starting with The Agony in the Garden, and continuing with The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and The Crucifixion.
The Glorious Mysteries (prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays) start with The Resurrection, which replaces the image of the Crucified Christ with our Rison Lord. The Resurrection is followed by The Ascension, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I want to share with you one of the hidden benefits of praying the daily Rosary. A majority of people live the better part of their lives in the sorrowful mysteries. Although they desire happiness and joy, they have become victims who have trouble controlling their negative thoughts, emotions, and behavior. If you develop the habit of praying a Rosary every day while doing your best to meditate on the appropriate mysteries, the Mother of God will, over time, bring balance to your life. By “balance” I mean that she will help to minimize your suffering and, at the same time, introduce more joy, illumination, and glory into your life.
As a consequence of original sin, there will always be suffering in this world. We were told by Jesus to take up our cross every day and follow Him; however, just because we are called to carry our own cross doesn’t mean we have to live our entire life in the sorrowful mysteries. It is my belief, from my own experience and from what I’ve observed, that when you pray a daily Rosary the Mother of God sees to it that your suffering will be balanced with joy, illumination, and glory.
If you’re not doing so already, when you start praying a Rosary every day, you will begin to experience joy in almost everything you do, including your work, your interactions with others, and even your suffering. Certain aspects of your life – past and present – will be illuminated in such a way that you will be allowed to recognize and appreciate the situations in which our Lord has guided and protected you. You will also be given a deeper understanding of who you are and what our Lord’s will is for you. The glory you will experience will consist of an increase in the love you receive from others and an expansion of your capacity to love others.
In the spiritual realm, there are four components to a balanced life: Joy, Illumination, Sorrow, and Glory. It just so happens that those four components coincide directly with the mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious.
When we finally get to heaven, the sorrowful component that we had to live with during our earthly life will be completely removed and we will all share in the joy, illumination, and glory of the Heavenly Kingdom.
I’m looking forward to the joy of waking up rested and refreshed.