Nazarene mysteries are fun to ponder

Published 7:15 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

By Steve Stricker

Lent 2024, deep in meditation, especially while saying my Rosary which is an awesome prayer into the life of the Holy Family, was “divinely guided” to the following:

In 1208, the Virgin Mary appeared to Spanish priest, St. Dominic Guzman, near Toulouse, France, giving him instructions as how to revive her “Psalter” i.e., Rosary to three meditative mysteries, Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious.

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But there was a huge gap between finding the Christ Child in the Temple at age 12, crucified at age 33, and Ascending into heaven.  So in 2002, Pope John Paul II (all-time hero) introduced the “Mysteries of Light,” the Illuminous Mysteries to fill this gap. This lets those of us who say a Rosary at least once a day know what our Lord was doing from age 30 at the beginning of his ministry when he was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist to his horrific death.  But what about from age 12 to 30, his crucial developmental years?

Aa a simple flawed human, far from Pope, just a devout pious Catholic, attending daily Mass, saying my Rosary at least once a day, including a decade daily for our “Living Rosary” group of St. John’s, being very visual, was searching for the life of our Holy Family from Jesus aged 12 to 30 and came up with the “Nazarene” mysteries, i.e., telling the life of the Holy Family in Nazareth after the Joyful and prior to the Illuminous Mysteries. 

The First Nazarene Mystery: “The Holy Family’s Home” – where did they live?  Joseph was a carpenter, a good one who lived in a simple house with an attached workshop that he built. When God quite suddenly tapped him out to be Mary’s husband, his bachelor home was not suitable for the Mother of God and God – so he needed to modify it.

Married to Mary, pregnant with baby “God” stayed with her cousin Elizabeth for three months. During this time, Joseph made his house worthy of the newborn Christ and his virgin wife, before and after the birth of our Lord, so Joseph added a room for Mary and Jesus – then expanded his workshop. 

The Second Nazarene Mystery: The Holy Family Finances – how did they live?  Joseph was a carpenter and most income came from his work, while Mary contributed with her embroidery, sewing, canning, house cleaning, and Jesus helped by doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.  

The Third Nazarene Mystery: The Holy Family’s Daily Food – what did they eat?  Nazareth only had a population at that time of around 480, but being close to the Mediterranean Sea was a ready source of fish products and game from the surrounding hills, eggs from their own chickens, grapes to eat and for wine, vegetables from the garden Mary tended, milk from Alice the goat, cheese and butter.

The Fourth Nazarene Mystery: The Holy Family’s Daily Routine – what did they do each day?  Joseph was no doubt up first each day to start a fire, taught his carpentry skills to Jesus who helped him in the shop, Mary then fixed a breakfast of toasted bread, eggs, cheese and milk, helped Joseph and Jesus with carpentry projects, tended to her sewing, household cleaning, and getting Jesus off to school with a lunch.

The Fifth Nazarene Mystery: The Death of Joseph.  After many normal, happy family years in Nazareth, Joseph, now near the age of 50, died surrounded by the love of Mary and Jesus in the most peaceful death of anyone.

I truly need another 50,000 words and for one to be Catholic to get all this, so that would be about 1% of the North Mississippi population and Oxford. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the spiritual imagery, writing this, and also, humbly, attached my NAZARENE MYSTERIES idea in correspondence to Pope Francis and the Vatican…sure he was just busy and hasn’t had time yet to reply….