I remember being told in great detail during my studies for the MA that mystery comes from the word mysterion (or something like that) and means “veiled” or something similar. I can’t remember the whole thing.
Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. It’s an interesting little insight in Jewish Law of Torah and Mizvah. From our standpoint the laws seem very strange indeed, and as much of it is in the priestly book of Leviticus they cannot be so easily explained as the Mosaic second law of Deuteronomy which he had to write to as the people just couldn’t keep the Law without some extra help.
So in accordance with Lev 12:4 Mary had stayed separated for forty days. (For a girl it was 80). On the 8th day Jesus had been circumsised into the Law and now on the 40th day she and Joseph went to the Temple to obey the rest of Lev 12 which demanded a ransom to redeem the first born son.
God of course has a sense of humour. The only other thing that could have it’s first born redeemed was a donkey. Yes, God is telling us what we are 🙂
The veiled moment in the Temple is that while Mary completes all that the Law requires for sinners, she has no sin. She presents her Son for redemoption but He is the Redeemer. Luke tells us that Anna of the tribe of Ashur was there. Scott Hahn points to the significance of this. Remember that at the time of Christ Israel is scattered. Judea is land to the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the Levitical priests, but the rest of the tribes are outside of this. The prophecy of the Messiah is that He will restore Israel, so Anna’s presence is a veiled reference to this.
When you say the rosary this even is a Joyful Mystery (the 4th) and we tend to contemplate on the wonder of the arrival of a beautiful baby and all that He means to us and what joy He brought to those around him.
But when you say the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows it is the first Mystery you contemplate, for Simeon speaks to Mary and says “And a sword shall pierce your soul also…” Mary will share in her Son’s Passion. Can you imagine a greater pain than watching your child being tortored to death? Like the mother in Maccabees Mary will stand firm in her love and faith,she will take up her cross as her Son demands and she will suffer greatly.
It makes our crosses seem a little lighter doesn’t it?