Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
“The sign of the cross we wear on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday is not there only one day a year. It is the cross that is burned on our foreheads by the fire of the Holy Spirit to mark us as God’s own lambs in Baptism. We show it once a year to remind ourselves that we belong to God. We remind ourselves that we die, daily, to sin. We remind ourselves that Jesus’ resurrection is our future. We will return to dust, but God is not finished with us. We renew the Baptismal covenant of God in this season of repentance, renewal, and rejoicing. We all will be cleansed in the Vigil’s Baptismal Flood.”
The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
In Gethsemane, Christ experiences a moment of great anguish before the will of the Father, against which the weakness of the flesh would be tempted to rebel. There Jesus encounters all the temptations and confronts all the sins of humanity, in order to say to the Father: “Not my will but yours be done.” This “Yes” of Christ reverses the “No” of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. The cost of this faithfulness to the Father’s will is made clear in the following mysteries.
“He made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs, giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic’. And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.”
“I was going to Damascus, armed with full powers and a commission from the chief priests, and at midday as I was on my way, I saw a light brighter than the sun come down from heaven. It shone brilliantly round me and my fellow travellers. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you, kicking like this against the goad.’ Then I said: Who are you, Lord? And the Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason: to appoint you as my servant and as witness of this vision in which you have seen me, and of others in which I shall appear to you. I shall deliver you from the people and from the pagans, to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, and receive, through faith in me, forgiveness of their sins and a share in the inheritance of the sanctified.’”
“But now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single ‘New Man’ in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single body and reconcile them with God. In his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.”
Peace I bequeath to you,
my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
“Those who have not yet received the gospel are related in various ways to the people of God:
“In the first place there is that people to whom the covenants and the promises were made and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers, this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.
“But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the creator. In the first place among these there are the Muslims; they profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and along with us adore the one and merciful God, who will judge mankind on the last day.
“Nor is God himself far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and every other gift, and who as Saviour wills that all men be saved.” Excerpted from the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council; from the Week 2 of the Year: Wednesday Office of Readings.
The Second Mystery of Light: Self-Manifestation at The Wedding at Cana
The first of the signs, given at Cana, when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers.
The role that Mary assumes at Cana accompanies Christ throughout his ministry. The revelation made directly by the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan and echoed by John the Baptist is placed upon Mary’s lips at Cana, and it becomes the great maternal counsel which Mary addresses to the Church of every age: “Do whatever he tells you.”
This counsel is a fitting introduction to the words and signs of Christ’s public ministry and it forms the Marian foundation of all the “Mysteries of Light”.