St. Seraphim Of Sarov assigned certain petitions to each mystery, and one of his disciples added more, but you can find those in Anthony Steblin's little book. In these 15 reflections I want to share my own thoughts - but well, you know I read a great deal, so only God knows what is original and what came back to me from someone I read years ago. I really owe a great many writers for what I deem to be my own thinking - maybe we all do. My first thought on the birth of Mary goes straight to her mother and father, and the deep gratitude we ought to have toward them for the lives they led - righteous and absolutely faithful to God even in the face of condemning neighbors and even snippy temple priests. Tribal Israel considered them cursed by God because they had no children. In God's Kingdom, down is up, and up is down, so by humbling themselves, God raised them up and they who were last became first - for their child was to become First Lady of our earth and represented the whole human race, and really the entire suffering creation in giving God's Son his human nature. Our contribution. For this, their little girl became Theotokos - the God-bearer! Joachim and Anne, held in contempt by tribal beliefs were not only vindicated, but truly exalted by God. And in this life no less. How like God, whose defining core is love! Most of us don't receive that Divine Kiss of "Well done good and faithful servant" until we die. Thank you mother Anne and father Joachim for your courage and faithfulness. Please pray for us, that we might learn from you!