Last night while praying the rosary during my holy hour, it occurred to me that the each of the Joyful Mysteries can be meditated on in light of Blessed Sacrament.
The first decade of course is the Annunciation which is when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and Jesus was conceived. It struck me that just as God physically entered into Mary in a very real way and she then carried him inside of her, we also have a similar experience when we receive the Eucharist. God physically takes up residence inside of us and becomes one with us in an extremely intimate way. Similar to Mary, partaking of the Bread of Life makes us living tabernacles and is a mystery we can’t fully understand but that changes our very being.
The second decade is the Visitation in which Mary travels to and spends time with her relative Elizabeth who is also pregnant. The correlation to the Eucharist here is that once we have received our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we must be moved to take Him to others and serve each other. Mary could have just stayed put and done her own thing in preparing for Jesus’ birth, but she saw that her cousin was in need and so she gave up her time and made the long journey to be with her all while dealing with the uncertainties in her own life. A former parish priest I knew growing up, always would talk about how the Eucharist needs to transform us and changes us as we leave the doors of the church so that we can help build up the Kingdom of God in this life.
The third decade is Nativity in which Jesus was born. The Eucharistic connection here is the hidden Messiah. As I knelt in the Adoration Chapel before the Bread of Life, it hit me that it takes eyes of Faith to see past appearance of bread and grasp the reality of who is present in that little white host. This isn’t so different then the faith needed by the shepherds and wise men who came and worshiped the Baby King in the manger. Who could fathom that God would come to earth in a dirty stable and take on the form of a helpless infant born into poverty. Would we have recognized who this child is if we had been present there? And do we recognize Christ present to us today hidden in the Eucharist?
The fourth decade is the Presentation in which Joseph and Mary presented the Baby Jesus in the temple and offed a sacrifice according to the law. The Eucharist Meal we participate in at every Mass is truly a sacrificial meal. At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest says, ”Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” Of course this is referencing the bread and wine that will become the Most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus, but I always think of it as broader then just this. We are offering our very selves…everything we have. At the presentation of our Lord, Joseph and Mary offered two turtle doves as that is all they could afford. Now God takes our seemingly insignificant gift and transforms it into something amazing. And similar to the old man Simeon who took the Baby Jesus in his arms in the temple and rejoiced, we too should be filled with joy at the reality of receiving our Lord and Savior in our own hands at Communion.