Monday to Sunday – corresponding with our work week…
Excerpt from The Holy Family Rosary:
CHAPTER V: THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION HISTORY
St. Ignatius of Antioch gave an impressive overview of what can be definitely seen as applying to all of these meditations in saying: “Given an unswerving faith and love for Jesus Christ, there is nothing in all this that will not be obvious to you; for life begins and ends with those two qualities. Faith is the beginning, and love is the end; and the two together lead to God. All that makes for a soul’s perfection follows in their train, for nobody who professes faith will commit sin, and nobody who possesses love can feel hatred.”
This week of holy prayer begins with the Merciful Mysteries of belief gained by the faith of our forefathers and ends in the faithful fruition of love with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Glorious Mysteries of Eternal Life. What a beautiful panoramic review!
An Explanation of the Horizontal and Vertical Order of Man
Inspection of the meditations in this chart as a five week calendar with the days of the week in seven vertical columns and the sequence of meditations seen listed in five horizontal rows, we see a clear view of the order of God often referred to as the economy of salvation history in a simple calendar format. This week of holy prayer provides both a Christocentric and eschatological view of the horizontal interactions of man during our historical sojourn in time with the eternal vertical graces descending from God, affording us a rare glimpse of the visible and invisible revealed by what is seen and unseen being merged within its mirrored view; i.e. the eye that does not see vs. the unseen being seen. Literally, it is heaven on earth as can only be understood through belief in God in unison with the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This illustration helps us to realize our need for a vertical view of life’s sojourn as a mountaineer climbs the highest peak for the greatest panoramic vision in discernment of the glorious purpose of his ascent. Without looking ahead from the highest vantage point made possible to us from good spiritual counsel, our walk towards God may seem somewhat restrained by the obstacles that appear and obscure our view. Often times, these may seem like impassible impediments but in fact they help to train us how to overcome each and every much larger restriction that remains unknown or unseen. Hence, the diagonal interactions that are seen from this ascent on our path to truth are revealed by this calendar chart in a highly welcomed way. And, if practiced in the humility of prayer, can provide security for us each and every day.
The Spirit of the Lord
The first lineally collective view of these meditations depicts the corresponding events of each set of mysteries as significantly major inspirations of God in Creation through Mary and Jesus Christ. Each echoes the six days of Creation as God created heaven and earth in reflection of His spirit moving over the waters, making light and the firmament amidst the waters, the earth and foliage, the stars and two great lights to rule over light and darkness, the creeping creatures and the serpent of woman’s sorrow, created man in His image, and then on the seventh day rested from all of His work, noting that it was “good.”
When considering this as a mirrored week of the revelation of God’s Word as “God with us” (as the Annunciation declares), it can also be seen as how the devil imitates the Lord after tempting Eve to disbelieve God’s Holy Word and eat from the fruit because it looked good.
“And the serpent said to the woman: `No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.’” What we learn from Mary as our New Eve and Mother of Grace is that she chooses to petition the Lord for an explanation of truth instead of disbelief. What a marvelous meditation to enhance our faith!
St. Irenaeus (c.115-c.200) preached: “Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God: and where the Spirit is, there is the Church and all grace. The Spirit is truth. Those who are not possessed of the Spirit are not suckled at their mother’s breast to give them life, nor do they draw from the living waters that flow from the body of Christ: they hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, and drink stagnant water. They abandon the faith of the Church and are no longer protected; they reject the Spirit and are not enlightened. Having departed from the way of truth, they are overcome by every error; they can find no sure footing. Their beliefs change from one moment to the next, and they never come to any conclusion because they would rather be the masters of words than followers of the truth. They do not build on rock, but on sand.” With this in mind, what better place to review our faith than with Mary, the Mother of Christ’s Church?
The first lineal view of the invisible Spirit of God creating the visible heaven and earth is in absolute similitude with the Immaculate Conception. Man’s blessing and adoration of God with the announcement of the Messiah to come erases the result of Adam and Eve’s eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge in pride and sin. Mary’s dialogue with Our Lord corrects the irresponsible and sinful reaction of Eve after the initial blessing and adoration of the Lord that was corrupted by the devil’s tempting of Eve with God’s Word as being untrue.
What followed was woman’s birthing pains as a baptismal font borne of tears and, as time progresses through Jesus Christ, what is unseen becomes seen by/in/as of the Son of Man when “Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him.” After which, of Adam’s initial fall and agony loosed in the garden, is what our Lord came to repair.
The first meditation of the visible sign of God’s Spirit descending upon Jesus in His Baptism has always been recognized as incredibly important long before the Luminous Mysteries, especially as mentioned a millennium ago by St. Thomas Aquinas in saying: “Just as in Baptism, where the mystery of the first regeneration was proclaimed, the operation of the whole Trinity was made manifest, because the Son Incarnate was there, the Holy Spirit appeared under the form of a dove, and the Father made Himself known in the voice; so also in the Transfiguration, which is the sign of the second regeneration [the Resurrection], the whole Trinity appears – the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Spirit in the bright cloud; for just as in Baptism He confers innocence, as signified by the simplicity of the dove, so in the Resurrection will He give His elect the clarity of glory and the refreshment from every form of evil, as signified by the bright cloud.” The whole of this work is not new of what Christ knew, it is more of what has already been revealed of His Good News.
The initial agony in the garden is repaired and put aside on the Solemnity of the Lord as Our Lord’s Day of rest with Jesus’ coming in perfection even unto death after Adam and Eve’s being sent out from the paradise of pleasure into a world of regret. By Jesus coming to share our suffering in agony and death, we are now returned from the visible to the invisible, God’s Solemnity, and return to the visible of the indivisible with the Resurrection of the Lord in the perfection of God as man. This view highlights to us the historical reality that Jesus is as He says: “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End.” May we love you in spirit Lord Jesus Christ, as our Priest, Prophet, and King forever and ever. Amen!
The Word of the Lord
This next lineal view is in our hearing and believing God’s Word with increasingly firm resolve as seen in a vision relayed by St. John the Apostle of the Spirit of God in creation, when he wrote: “Behold, I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go out no more; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. And to the angel of the church of Laodicea, write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God:” which in a footnote is explained: “The Amen, that is, the true one, the Truth itself; the Word and Son of God. – Ibid. The beginning, that is, the principle, the source, and the efficient cause of the whole creation.”
The Promise to Abraham (as in the example of the Covenant of Noah) is by God’s grace how we hear and learn to live in the premiere example of Abraham’s petitioning belief, and in faith find the strength to follow God’s Holy Word. We visit those in need of our works of mercy by His living Word as well as taking oaths in weddings and other legally binding decrees. We are scourged by, for, or from His Word when we speak in truth in contrast to those (throughout history) who do not and mockingly scourged the Lord as God’s Holy Word. This becomes the next choice of our free will. Do we believe Jesus in His saying: “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.” Or do we serve others or ourselves to our shame, as god instead?
Of anyone who disbelieves the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh, St. Jerome commented: “These people, wanted to change the Gospel, to twist it; but that is something they cannot succeed in doing, for this Gospel is such that it cannot be true if it is tampered with.” Our free will must be directed believing our very life depends upon knowing what is right. According to the first successor of St. Peter, St. Clement of Rome: “Therefore, with this hope we unite our souls to the One who is faithful to His promises and just in all His judgments. He who commanded us not to lie will not Himself tell a lie; deception is the only thing that is impossible to God.” The knowledge of the Word of the Lord precedes all serious meditation in anticipation for godly results of our thoughts, words, and deeds as much in the natural as it is spiritually for our common good.
After pondering the supernatural consequences of belief in the promised fulfillment of heaven’s Word as true or not, what determines our ascension into heaven depends on our living His Word or not. Of this St. Augustine wrote: “Do not say: ‘Tomorrow, I will be converted; tomorrow, I will give thanks to God; and all my sins, today’s and yesterday’s, will be forgiven.’ It is true that God promises forgiveness for your conversion; but He does not promise tomorrow for your delays.”
The Presence of the Lord
The next horizontal week of corresponding meditations deal directly with Jesus Christ as our Paschal Lamb. By God’s intercession and protection death passed over the Israelites by their following the instruction given to secure their safety by marking the sides and top door posts with the blood of an unblemished lamb (or kid). The Nativity of our Lord is this same progression, reversing the sacrificial death called for of Isaac by being given life as the firstborn of Israel and Son of Jacob. His intercession of counsel proclaims that God’s Kingdom is not only at hand but upon us, as His crowning of thorns (even when mocked) commands. The opening of His side and pouring out of His Blood and Water for the redemption of man leads the descent of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) upon man, all in satisfaction and fulfillment of the last.
Seen horizontally in Christ’s life as man, we witness how the vertical graces present in God’s Son coincide with this lineal sign of the cross by what He taught. These meditations give a unique comprehensible glimpse of God’s order found in Christ’s living example as the Son of God and Son of Man.
St. Thomas Aquinas mentions: “The message of Christ’s cross contains something which to human wisdom seems impossible – that God should die, or that the Almighty should give Himself up into the power of violent men. It also contains things which seem to be contrary to worldly prudence – for instance, someone being able to flee from contradictions and yet not doing so.” St. Peter pondered this in the portico after being commanded to sheathe his sword and wept bitterly after he denied knowing Jesus ‘the man’ as he began to comprehend the Son of God’s meekness compared to his own. In this “cross” example we are privy to a visible reference for the catechesis of man.
The Testimony of the Lord
The Testimony of the Lord is the Tabernacle of the Covenant (the Law) that precedes the combining of the Thanksgiving of the Lord after the Presentation of the Lord (in the Temple) with the Understanding of the Lord followed by the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Carrying of His Cross, our deliverance from His giving and our taking and anointing in deposition and burial of the Body of Christ – all finally leading to the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, in fulfillment of the Law given by His Holy Word. These are all requirements that must be met and fulfilled in us as witnesses of Jesus Christ before being offered up to God in Heaven (Paradise) and given new bodies as promised would occur in everlasting life.
Of this participation to assure our reception of God’s grace St. Augustine said: “God, who created you without you, will not save you without you.”
St. John Damascene (c.676-c.754-787) preached of this holy order and sequence of events pertaining to Our Lady saying: “Lift up your eyes, O people of God. See in Sion the Ark of the Lord God of powers, and the apostles standing by it, burying the life-giving body which received our Lord. Invisible angels are all around in lowly reverence doing homage to the Mother of their Lord. The Lord Himself is there, who is present everywhere, and filling all things, the universal Being, not in place. He is the Author and Creator of all things. Behold the Virgin, the daughter of Adam and Mother of God; through Adam she gives her body to the earth, her soul to her Son above in the heavenly courts. Let the holy city be sanctified, and rejoice in eternal praise. Let angels precede the divine tabernacle on its passage, and prepare the tomb. Let the radiance of the spirit adorn it. Let sweet ointment be made ready and poured over the pure and undefiled body. Let a clear stream of grace flow from grace in its source. Let the earth be sanctified by contact with that body. Let the air rejoice at the Assumption. Let gentle breezes waft grace. Let all nature keep the feast of the Mother of God’s Assumption.” And in doing so, let us remain forever amazed! Amen.
The Prophecy of the Lord
These meditations all deal with the prophecies that build the House and Tabernacle of the Lord as “Thy Kingdom Come” through praise of the Lord. Wisdom is attained, contained, glorified and procured from our Lord as sought when found within His Temple doors. With Jesus’ Divine Presence within His Church in the Eucharist and the reminder of His death by crucifixion on the Cross, we comprehend why the Crucifixes are centered in His Church above the tabernacles and on the altars, as we stand in awe before the Lord – worshiping within His House and keeping vigil after His burial (as in our personal lives) in fear of the Lord. The Beatitude and Crowning of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth assures us that our Blessed Mother’s principle desire is to share her eternal view of God’s Son in His Kingdom to Come as His and our Holy Queen.
Pope St. Gregory the Great spoke of the importance of studying prophecy saying: “Since we can no longer see the likeness of the glory of the Lord in the spirit of prophecy, we should seek it continually and desire to contemplate it in Holy Scripture, in the teachings sent from heaven and in the doctrines of the spirit. The Holy Scriptures are food and drink to nourish us [….]. The obscure pages, which cannot be understood unless further explanation be provided, are food, because everything must be explained in order to be properly understood, just as everything must be chewed in order to be swallowed. We do not chew what we drink: when the teaching is clear, we swallow it whole, because we are in need of no further explanation. The prophet Ezekiel will hear difficult and obscure words, so he is told to eat the scroll, not to drink it, as if to say, ‘Meditate on this teaching and understand it well.’” Sustain us Lord in Your Spirit and holy prosperity that makes our hearts to swell!
We are reminded by St. Thomas More (1477/78-1535) of these important mysteries in saying: “Either Christ has a Church in the world continually and until the end of the world, or else He has a Church sometimes, and sometimes not at all. Could we think that He had a Church while He was here Himself, and perhaps awhile after, but – mysteriously – none since? No… that can in no way be, since He must necessarily still preserve His Church somewhere; otherwise, how could He be with His followers continually until the end of the world?
As we pray Lord, please… continually proclaim through Your Church how we are sustained by Your Grace in Holy Eucharist and always offered great consolation in this eternal belief!
 Letter to the Ephesians, 14, 1-2.
 Gen. 3:4-5.
 Adversus haereses, 3, 24, 1-2.
 Mt. 3:16.
 Summa Theologiae, III, q. 45, 1.4 ad 2.
 Apoc. 22:13.
 Apoc. 3:11-14.
 Mt. 10:32-33.
 Comm. in Gal., 1, 7.
 Ad Corinthios, 26.
 Ennarationes in Psalmos, 144, 11.
 Commentary on 1 Corinthians, ad loc.
 Sermon, 169, 13.
 Sermon on the Feast of the Assumption
 Homiliae in Ezechielem prophetam, 1, 8; 10, 32.
 On the Catholic Church, CPATS.org.