Why I’m Praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 4:19-20

Embracing Advent
I’ve been looking for ways to transform my Advent. For most of my life, I’ve approached it as just the liturgical season before Christmas. This year, instead of only anticipating Christmas, I want to enjoy Advent and celebrate the beauty of waiting and preparing for the coming of Christ. I knew the way to do this was through prayer, but I didn’t know how to approach this until I went on Instagram one day.

St. Andrew Christmas Novena
St. Andrew Christmas Novena

The Chaplet that Caught my Eye
I saw a beautiful post by Outpouring of Trust introducing her new St. Andrew Christmas Novena Chaplets. Because they’re handmade chaplets and they’re so gorgeous, they’re literally a beautiful way to pray. The St. Andrew Christmas Novena Chaplets are used to guide us in a powerful novena, which I’ll tell you more about soon. As soon as I saw these chaplets, I convinced my mom to get one for me as an early Christmas gift. It came in the mail just before I came home for Thanksgiving, and I’ve been excited to begin praying it since I ordered it!

What is the St. Andrew Christmas Novena?
The St. Andrew Christmas Novena begins on St. Andrew’s Feast Day, November 30th. It lasts throughout Advent and ends on Christmas Eve. Praying this Novena involves saying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena prayer 15 times a day. With its 15 beads, the St. Andrew Christmas Novena Chaplet from Outpouring of Trust takes the guesswork out of counting the prayers. It helps me focus on praying, and the purple and pink chaplet that I chose reminds me of the beauty of the Advent season.

What attracted me to this novena is the fact that it is “piously believed” that anyone who recites the prayer 15 times a day from November 30th to December 24th will receive whatever intention they pray the novena for. Can you believe it? Any intention will be answered by praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena! I’m praying the novena this year with an important intention. This novena will not only help me grow in prayer, but also in faith this Advent as I’ve been learning to pray with expectant faith. I invite you to grow closer to Christ and anticipate his coming with me this Advent by joining me in praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the LORD for he is good. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

Realizing That We’re Blessed
Gratitude is so important. I think it’s so beautiful that we set aside a day to give thanks, but how beautiful would it be if we incorporated gratitude into our daily routine? How much more gracious and loving would we be if we took a little time every day to count our blessings? I know it’s easy to get caught up in what we wish we had and how what we have can be better. If we pause for a moment, we’ll realize that we’re blessed more than we think we are.

Give Thanks to the Lord
Give Thanks to the Lord

Thanking God at All Times
I’ve noticed that, like most people, I thank God when something good happens. I never forget to thank Him when something goes my way. Naturally, I rarely thank Him when things aren’t going my way. When I’m struggling or when something doesn’t go my way, my immediate reaction is not to thank God, but to ask Him why He’s holding out on me. Instead of thanking Him for making me stronger or making me patient, I ask Him to take away the struggles.

I try to live by the verse Jeremiah 29:11, reminding myself that no matter what, God has a plan for good for my life. It’s easy for me to remember that and give Him thanks when my life is going well. I need to remember that the Lord is still doing great things for me even when I don’t feel them.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

Remember What He Blessed You With
My life is by no means perfect, but on Thanksgiving, I thank God for every part of my imperfect life. I praise Him for giving me so many loved ones, a place to live, food to eat, comfy clothes to wear, a higher education, and a blog for telling my story and helping readers grow in faith. When I get a bad grade, or have to do laundry, or get writers block, or have a scuffle with a loved one, I have to remember that these are still blessings from God. I’ve been learning to see Him in every area of my life and give glory to Him in all that I do. I think a great way to do this is to give thanks to Him at all times.

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

St. Catherine of Alexandria

When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.

Mathew 10:19

St. Catherine of Alexandria’s Life
St. Catherine of Alexandria was an Egyptian princess who lived during the end of the 3rd century. Due to her nobility, she was very educated, and she dedicated herself to studying the faith. Catherine made a vow of chastity, deciding that she would love no one more than Jesus Christ. Because of her devout faith, she refused to marry a powerful emperor who avidly persecuted Christians. He imprisoned Catherine and sent his pagan philosophers to refute her.

Gifted with her education and the Holy Spirit, Catherine not only astutely defended the faith, but she also converted the philosophers! She also converted the woman whom the emperor married instead of her, but the emperor executed his philosophers and his wife upon their conversions. The emperor finally ordered Catherine to be tortured and executed on a spiked wheel, but as soon as she touched it, it shattered, so she was beheaded instead. Catherine is the patroness of students, teachers, lawyers, and cyclists.

St. Catherine of Alexandria
St. Catherine of Alexandria

My Confirmation Saint
I admire St. Catherine of Alexandria so much that I took her name as my Confirmation name. Like Catherine, I grew up studying my Catholic faith, and I’m always on fire to learn more about it. I love to be intentional with important milestones and moments in my life, so when I was Confirmed in 2015, I wanted to pick a Saint who meant a lot to me. After researching and praying, I chose St. Catherine of Alexandria because I loved learning and I knew that no matter what God called me to do in life, I would always be learning or teaching in some capacity.

I’ve always heard that you don’t pick your Confirmation Saint; your Confirmation Saint picks you. As I grow up and grow deeper in my faith, I’m constantly unveiling the ways that St. Catherine of Alexandria has chosen me and how she accompanies me throughout my life.

I have always felt God calling me to bring others closer to Him. I still feel His call strongly, and I know that I can do this by telling others about Him and encouraging them to encounter Him. Without a doubt, I believe that being a Catholic writer is the way for me to embark on this mission. As I work on Radiant with Joy and branch out to write for other platforms, I feel God guiding me and St. Catherine interceding for me. I trust that this ministry is His plan for me, and I’m confident knowing that St. Catherine is with me throughout my journey.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

Learning and Discussing the Faith
Like St. Catherine of Alexandria, I want to continue learning about my faith fervently. I want to bring people to the Church and take as many souls to Heaven with me as possible. I continue asking for her intercession as I change hearts to look towards Jesus Christ, and I can feel her prayers working in my life.

I pray that the Holy Spirit grants us wisdom when discussing our faith so that we can bring each other closer to our Heavenly Father.

St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us!

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Singing Praises with St. Cecelia

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Psalm 95:1

Holy Earworms
Lately I’ve found myself singing hymns more often. Instead of singing my favorite pop songs, I’ve been catching myself humming and singing church hymns, like “O God Beyond All Praising” and contemporary Christian songs, like “10,000 Reasons.” This might be because I’ve been listening to this music more often, or it could be that I was anticipating St. Cecelia’s feast day.

How to Practice Holy Leisure: How we glorify the Lord through music
How to Practice Holy Leisure: How we glorify the Lord through music

St. Cecelia’s Life
St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians and singers. She made a vow of chastity, although she was forced to marry a man whom she initially didn’t want to. During her wedding, she sang praises to God in her heart, and she was at peace knowing that somehow everything would be okay. St. Cecelia not only kept her vow of chastity, but she also converted her husband and his brother!

Praising God Through Music
I asked for St. Cecelia’s intercession so much when I was younger because I was very devoted to music. I learned how to read sheet music by learning how to play the piano, and then I fell in love with singing. I loved singing in my high school’s chorus and cantoring for Mass in my home Parish. As I got more serious about dance, I started singing less, but I still sing for Mass at the Newman Center. Although my desire to stay involved in music might have dimmed, God has beautiful ways of keeping us on fire for what brings us to life.

My boyfriend, Nathan is a music education major. He told me that music is his way of praising God, and I see this in him whether he sings for church services or when he sings or plays trombone for concerts. St. Irenaeus said “The glory of God is man fully alive,” and I have no doubt that Nathan glorifies God through music, because he is fully alive indeed when he makes music. Nathan’s dedication to his art inspires me to say the least. I’m certain that God gave me Nathan so that I would continue praising him and encountering him through music.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

Always Sing His Goodness
St. Cecelia reminds me that music is a completely valid and beautiful way to go to our Heavenly Father. He delights when we use our art and our passions to glorify Him. There are times when I can’t help but sing to praise God. It could be because I’m overjoyed or because a song is stuck in my head and demands to be sung out loud. There are times when I know I’ll burst into tears if I utter one syllable, but I sit and listen to music and let the Spirit embrace me through songs. In any situation, we can always sing (or hum, or play, or whistle) a song to remind us of God’s goodness, love, and mercy.

St. Cecelia, pray for us.

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

How to do Little Things with Great Love

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3

Inspired by St. Thérèse
After St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s Feast Day this year, I challenged myself to intentionally do little things with great love. I knew that following her little way would strengthen my faith and bring me closer to God. I feel bad to say that I struggled with this at first, but only because I didn’t quite understand how to do little things with great love. I would find myself doing menial tasks and I would almost pop a vein telling myself, “Do it with love! Do it with love!” However, I finally figured it out one day at work in the dance department office.

I had such a repetitive task to do, so I quickly got bored with it. A minute or so into the task, I started praying the Rosary. I followed along with the Laudate app on my phone. As I incorporated prayer into my work, I felt myself put more of my heart into my work, and I did it with more joy too! That evening, I opened my prayer journal and wrote down some practical ways that I can do little things with great love. Since then, I began doing my tasks, chores, and work more lovingly.

Naturally, I want to share with you my approaches to doing little things with great love!

1 Think about the people who you’re doing the task for. When I’m doing something for someone else, whether it’s washing the dishes for my mom or making copies for one of my professors, I think about how much I love them and how much I’m helping them. Although I don’t do things for praise or thanks, making someone smile because I helped them brings me so much joy.

2 Find something joyful about the task that you’re doing. When I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua, my team and I helped to build the foundation of a new school. One of the things we had to do was mix cement by hand. Shoveling the mix was exhausting and dirty, but in a way, it was fun. I enjoyed experiencing something that I’ve never done before, and now I can remember it as a good experience when tell people about it.

3 Pray while you work. When my mom cleans the house, she doesn’t listen to music. Sometimes she listens to videos of Catholic speakers on her iPad, but she often enjoys the silence so she can pray. Especially when I’m doing something repetitive, like folding laundry or washing dishes, I like to pray the Rosary by holding rosary beads in one hand or by following along on Spotify. Praying while I work actually keeps me on track, and it helps me use what I’m doing to praise God.

4 Sing, hum, or whistle while you work. Music is so ingrained in my life that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m singing or humming. I’ll be working on a little project and I’ll catch myself singing a Church hymn. I really love to sing, and I love to sing songs that lift my heart to God. St. Augustine said “When we sing, we pray twice,” so I love to praise God with music.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

5 “Offer it up.” I heard this saying so much growing up, and it sounded like a cop-out every time until I really understood it. Not everything we have to do will be enjoyable. I’m only human, so of course there are days when I’d rather do something else than help someone. I’d rather do something fun instead of cleaning the bathroom sink or running an errand for someone. When I do a task reluctantly, it puts me in a bitter mood as I complete it. However, when I acknowledge that I don’t want to do something but do my best to do it out of love, it becomes redemptive. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, He asked His father if He really had to die (Matthew 26:36-39). Of course, He did, and He did it out of love. If Jesus could put an infinite amount of love into His Passion, if He could turn the most horrible thing humanity has done into the greatest act of love of all time, then any tiny task that is asked of you, you can do with love. This is what “offering it up” means to me.

How do you do little things with great love? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Meditating on the Luminous Mysteries

The Luminous Mysteries are the ones that I mediate on the least often, but that doesn’t mean that I love them less than the others. The Luminous Mysteries of the rosary allow us to reflect on the events during which Jesus revealed his divinity. Instituted by St. Pope John Paul II, the Luminous Mysteries remind us of the miracles that Jesus performed and help us to look forward to the Kingdom of God. Meditating on the Luminous Mysteries always fills me with awe as I realize how great and beautiful our God is.

Meditating on the Luminous Mysteries: Reflections for your meditations on the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary

The first Luminous Mystery is the Baptism in the Jordan

And when Jesus was baptized, … the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on Him, and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘this is My beloved Son, which whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:16-17

Jesus’ ministry began after his Baptism in the Jordan. At first, John the Baptist was hesitant to baptize Jesus. He felt unworthy, but Jesus reassured him, saying “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). During this Luminous Mystery, the Holy Spirit equips him as his Father proclaims that he is his son. I often meditate on this mystery to remind myself that I am a beloved daughter of God and he is pleased with me.

The second Luminous Mystery is the Wedding at Cana

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim.

John 2:5-7

Jesus performed his first miracle during the wedding at Cana. Prompted by the Blessed Mother, Jesus turned six jars of water into wine. Mary’s instruction of “Do whatever he tells you” to the servants is so beautiful to me. I think of myself as one of the servants, obeying Mary by following Jesus. As I’ve grown closer to Mary in the past year or so, I’ve also grown closer to Jesus. She always directs us toward her beloved son.

The third Luminous Mystery is the Proclamation of the Kingdom

“And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.”

Matthew 10:7-8

I remember hearing the Proclamation of the Kingdom in the Gospel readings during Mass. I heard it so often in Catholic elementary school that I almost didn’t like it. I didn’t quite understand what Jesus was instructing his disciples to do until I got older. Jesus commissioned the disciples to tell others about the Kingdom of God. He gives them the authority to cure the sick, raise the dead, and drive out demons. I’m confident that Jesus calls all of his disciples to mission, and I’m waiting with excitement to see how he calls me live the mission.

The fourth Luminous Mystery is the Transfiguration

And as He was praying, the appearance of His countenance was altered and His raiment became dazzling white. And a voice came out of the cloud saying, “This is my Son, My chosen, listen to Him!”

Luke 9:29-35

The Transfiguration is one of my favorite Mysteries to meditate on. I love to imagine what it would have been like to be on that hill with Peter, James, and John when they saw Jesus in his divinity. I like to think of how bright and white he became and what Moses and Elijah would have looked like. Like the apostles, I would have wanted to stay there, but Jesus had other plans. I can’t wait to see Jesus in his glory in Heaven, but until then, I’ll tell as many people as I can about the beauty of Jesus.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

The fifth Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist

And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given up for you” … And likewise the cup after supper, saying “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”

Luke 22:19-20

How incredible is it that we get to receive the true body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist? How astounding is it that, because God works outside of time, during the Mass, we transcend time and participate in the Last Supper? Jesus coming down from Heaven so that we can be united with him in the Eucharist is such a miracle. To be honest, I don’t always feel worthy of this union. I’m not important enough. I’m not good enough. I’m striving for holiness, but I falter. But every time I receive the Eucharist, I feel Jesus embrace me. As I offer a prayer of thanksgiving, I cherish my time in unity with my Savior. I often hear him whisper in my heart, “You are mine.” Meditating on this Luminous Mystery reminds me of this beautiful blessing of unity with Jesus Christ.

This is the last blog post in my series on the Mysteries of the Rosary! Should I do another blog post series? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary are my other favorite set of mysteries. Each time I mediate on them, I remember that I’m not alone in my suffering. However small it may be compared to Jesus’ suffering, I remember that he understands the pain that I go through. The Sorrowful Mysteries help me to remember that Jesus made suffering holy, and I do my best to view my pain as a blessing that brings me closer to him.

The first Sorrowful Mystery is the Agony in the Garden

Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane. He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.”

Matthew 26:36 &39

I relate to this Jesus so much. Instead of praying with him and being present, his apostles fell asleep when he needed them. He knew that the next day he would endure unspeakable suffering which would lead to his death. He knew that this is what he came here to do, but in his humanity, he grew anxious, and in his anxiety, he asked his father to be spared. I often ask God to take away my suffering instead of blessing me as I go through it. Instead of asking God to use my suffering for his glory, I ask him to prevent it altogether. Suffering is uncomfortable and no one wants to endure it, but there’s always goodness that comes from it.

Meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries: Reflections for your meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary

The second Sorrowful Mystery is the Scourging at the Pillar

The people said, “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children.” At that, he released Barabbas to them. Jesus, however, he first had scourged.

Matthew 27:25-26

Did you ever have an injury or an illness that caused unbearable physical pain? Did you ever tear your ACL or, like me, did you ever have strep throat that hurt so much you cried? Whatever you went through, Jesus went through it first during the Scourging at the Pillar. He suffered intense physical pain in solidarity with us. Know that when your body aches and burns, Jesus understands what you’re going through and he’s there beside you.

The third Sorrowful Mystery is the Crowning with Thorns

They stripped off His clothes and wrapped Him in a scarlet cloak. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they fixed it on His head and began to mock Him.

Matthew 27:28-29

Jesus could have died just from wearing the crown of thorns. It had fourteen sharp thorns that pierced the sensitive veins and nerves in his head. Any amount of pressure on the thorns would irritate these wounds. I’ve read that when he wore the crown of thorns, Jesus suffered in solidarity with those with mental illnesses. Sometimes I feel like I’m wearing my own crown of thorns when I get anxious about my life or when I feel unworthy or useless. The Crowning with Thorns reminds me that I’m more than what I suffer from and that intrusive and anxiety-inducing thoughts don’t come from God.

The fourth Sorrowful Mystery is the Carrying of the Cross

Jesus was led away, and carrying the cross by Himself, went out to what is called the Place of the Skull. There they crucified Him.

John 19:17-18

In Catholic elementary school we would pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. The older I get, the more I love praying the Stations of the Cross and reflecting on our Lord’s Passion. I think of how difficult the road to Calvary was for Jesus. I think of how he suffered willingly out of love for us. I think of how he remained gracious and patient as he suffered and didn’t grow irate with anyone. I think of how Jesus thought of all of his children individually during his Passion. In the darkest moments of his life, he kept going with immense love.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

The fifth Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion

The curtain in the sanctuary was torn in two. Jesus uttered in a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” After this, He expired.

Luke 23:45-46

The curtain in the sanctuary separated God from man. When it was whole, we were unworthy of approaching God, let alone being united with him. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in two. Now, nothing separates us from God. Jesus’s death and resurrection allows us to have eternal life. Out of the most horrible thing humanity could have done–crucifying the Son of God–the most beautiful thing happened. Nothing, not even death, can separate us from our Heavenly Father when we abide in him and he abides in us. He takes our sorrows and makes them blessings.

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Meditating on the Joyful Mysteries

The Joyful Mysteries were the first ones that I learned. When I learned how to pray the rosary in my CCD classes, we memorized the Joyful Mysteries. That was in second grade, and I actually didn’t even know there were more sets of mysteries of the rosary until I had to memorize them in fifth grade! The Joyful Mysteries have always been one of my favorites. You’ll hear about my other favorite mysteries later in this series. I love the Joyful Mysteries because they allow me to meditate on how God’s plan for Mary’s life unfolded. Meditating on these mysteries have made me a stronger and more faithful daughter of God. As I reflect on the beginning of Mary’s journey as the Blessed Mother, I humbly ask my Heavenly Father for her wisdom and courage to say “yes” to his will.

The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation

The angel said to Mary, “You shall conceive and bear a son and give Him the name Jesus, and He will be called Son of the Most High

Luke 1:31-32

I wonder how Mary must have felt during the Annunciation. I wonder if she felt scared or excited to become the mother of God. Regardless of how she felt, she humbly let God’s will be done. She said “yes” to God with grace. I pray that I can do the same in every aspect of my life. When God guides me to do his will, I pray that I can emulate Mary by giving him a wholehearted “yes.”

Meditating on the Joyful Mysteries
Meditating on the Joyful Mysteries: Reflections for you meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

The second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation

“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Blessed is she who trusted that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.”

Luke 1:42 & 45

Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary during the Visitation became the second part of the “Hail Mary” prayer. She acknowledged Mary’s holiness as she carried Jesus Christ in her womb. Mary, in her humility, directed that praise back to God. She sang praises to him with the Magnificat. I like to think of my sisters in Christ as my Elizabeths. Like Elizabeth was there for Mary, my friends and I support each other as we grow in our faith.

The third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity of Jesus

While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.

Luke 2:6-7

With this Joyful Mystery, we get to reflect on the joy of Christ’s birth year-round. The Son of God had an incredibly humble birth. Considering that Jesus was born in a stable with a manger for a crib, at that time, the Holy Family didn’t have much except each other. However, the Nativity was still perfect to them. This Joyful Mystery reminds us that when we have our Savior, we don’t need anything more.

The fourth Joyful Mystery is the Presentation in the Temple

When the day came to purify them according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem so that He could be presented to the Lord.

Luke 2:22

I never really understood this mystery until recently. I didn’t understand the beauty of this mystery until I read it closely in the Bible. When Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the temple according to Mosaic law, Simeon declared with joy that Jesus was the son of God. On that day, God’s promise to him had been fulfilled. He had lived long enough to see the Messiah, and now he can experience a happy death. This Joyful Mystery is also one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary because Simeon prophecised that Mary would endure much suffering during Jesus’ life. Mary has yet to reveal more about the mystery of the Presentation to me, but thus far, I have learned that joyful moments can contain sadness, and vice versa.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

The fifth Joyful Mystery is the Finding in the Temple

They came upon Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. All who heard Him were amazed.

Luke 2:46-47

Prior to this Joyful Mystery, another of the Seven Sorrows of Mary occurred. She and Joseph had lost Jesus. They searched for days before finding him still in the temple where they had visited a few days earlier. Imagine the joy but also the relief that finding Jesus brought Mary. I’ve had my share of faith droughts when I found praying difficult and I felt myself drifting away from Jesus. Eventually, he would help me stand up again so I could come back to him. When I did, the joy that washed over me made me never want to lose Jesus again. Although I never intentionally leave Jesus, the joy of returning to him, even after just a day, is such a blessing.

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Meditating on the Glorious Mysteries

Usually prayed on Sundays and Wednesdays, the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary allow us to reflect on the end of Jesus’s earthly ministry, Mary’s role in Heaven, and God’s plan and relationship with humanity. These mysteries are not stagnant events, but ongoing, relevant beliefs which encourage us as missionary disciples. As we meditate on the Glorious Mysteries, we understand how to live the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth as we prepare ourselves for it.

The first Glorious Mystery is the Resurrection.

You need not be amazed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was crucified. He has been raised up; He is not here. See the place where they had laid Him.

Mark 16:6

The name of my home parish is Resurrection, so I’m constantly reminded of the joy and the beauty of this mystery. This Glorious Mystery is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. On this, we meditate Jesus’ conquering of death by rising again. Because of this, we need not fear death, and we look forward to joining our Heavenly Father when we complete our earthly lives. Through the Resurrection, we gain eternal life.

Meditating on the Glorious Mysteries: Reflections for your meditations on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

The second Glorious Mystery is the Ascension.

Then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into Heaven and took His seat at God’s right hand.

Mark 16:19

Jesus had completed his ministry on Earth, and it was time for him to return to his father in Heaven. Before this, the last thing he gave to his Apostles was the Great Commission. He commanded that they go forth and bring as many people to him as possible. Imagine being there to hear these words from Jesus and then watch him ascend into Heaven. Seeing that alone would make me want to tell everyone I could about him.

The third Glorious Mystery is the Descent of the Holy Spirit.

All were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit promised them.

Acts 2:4

This Glorious Mystery always reminds me of my Confirmation, and as I meditate on it, I consider myself renewing my Confirmation. I think about how terrified the Apostles and Mary must have been in their upper room until the Holy Spirit granted them the gifts to go forth and share the Gospel. The Descent of the Holy Spirit reminds me of how much I need him. While I meditate on this Glorious Mystery, I humbly ask to receive his gifts so that I can be a better soldier of Christ, courageously bringing others closer to him.

The fourth Glorious Mystery is the Assumption.

May you be blessed, my daughter, by God most high, beyond all women on earth; and my the Lord God be blessed, the Creator of Heaven and earth.

Judith 13:18

To say that God takes care of his children is an understatement. He anticipates and readily fulfills our needs, even those that we aren’t aware of. When Mary, the Blessed Mother of God completed her life on earth, God did not allow her body to decay. She could have been an incorruptible like some of the Saints, but God had bigger plans for her. Not only her soul, but also her body Assumed into Heaven at the end of her life. God protects all of his precious creations and is looking forward to bringing us home.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

The fifth Glorious Mystery is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Revelations 12:1

When I meditate on this Glorious Mystery, what comes to mind most often is Mary’s humility. I can imagine Jesus placing a crown on her head as she humbly and graciously accepts it. I imagine her smiling as she gazes at the beauty of Heaven with excitement. Mary lovingly intercedes for us as we turn to her for her graces. She comforts us as a Mother should, and she always directs us toward her son. As we grow closer to her, we grow closer to Jesus.

This blog post is the first in a series on the mysteries of the rosary! I’ve learned that when you mediate on the mysteries of the rosary often, Mary will reveal more about the mysteries to you. I’m writing to share a bit about my reflections on the mysteries with you! Tell me what you think of the Glorious Mysteries in the comments below!

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!

Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory?

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

Colossians 1:9

What is Purgatory?
A coal miner is walking home from work when he passes his neighbor’s house. His neighbor is having a party and he invites the coal miner to join him. He insists that he comes, telling him how much he wants him there. The coal miner looks at himself covered in soot from head to toe. Disappointment sinks in as he realizes that he can’t go straight to his neighbor’s party. He tells his neighbor that he’ll come to his party, but he must take a bath first so that he doesn’t get soot all over his house.

I heard this analogy when I was a child, and I still think of it when I think of Purgatory.

Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory
Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory: Understanding Purgatory and the importance of praying for souls there

A Place of Penance
Purgatory is a place of penance that some souls have to go through before they go to Heaven. Maybe on Earth they didn’t atone for all of their sins, so they have to do more penance before they can enter Heaven. Therefore, Purgatory is not a soul’s final destination, but a pit stop on the way to Heaven.

According to Dante in his Divine Comedy, souls are happy to be in Purgatory because it means that they won’t go to Hell and, eventually, they’ll go to Heaven. Yes, souls might be relieved to be in Purgatory instead of Hell, but we should strive to skip Purgatory altogether by doing our penance on Earth. This way, we can go immediately to Heaven when our earthly lives are over.

Enjoying this post? Subscribe to Radiant with Joy!

Praying for the Souls in Purgatory
As the souls in Purgatory do their penance, prayers from us help them get to Heaven. Souls in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, which is why it’s so important that we pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Unfortunately, many people don’t know that Purgatory exists, and some don’t believe in it. This is especially sad considering that these people may have loved ones in Purgatory that they could be praying for.

When I was little, my mom taught me to pray for the souls in Purgatory in case one of our loved ones was there and for souls who don’t have anyone praying for them. Today, I still pray for all the souls in Purgatory with sympathy and confidence knowing that they’ll experience the eternal joy of being with our Father in Heaven soon.

Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great: a powerful prayer for releasing souls from Purgatory

O Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son Jesus, in union with all the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, and for sinners everywhere: for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and for those within my family. Amen.

Stay radiant!

Click the links below to visit Radiant with Joy’s social media and Etsy Shop!