As a rose receives the rain to be fruitful in beauty amidst thorns; so too, the Blessed Virgin Mary receives the Holy Spirit to be fruitful in the beauty of woman amidst the thorns of her Son’s passion. Mary is the Mystical Rose. She receives the Holy Spirit, bears forth her Son and experiences the sorrows of his passion. This is why we, as Catholics, give such high honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is the greatest witness of Jesus Christ.
For example, let’s compare Mary to other key person’s in the Gospels. How about the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Matthew and John only lived with Jesus for the last three years of his life. And Luke and Mark didn’t even know Jesus in his earthly life. They became disciples after Pentecost and learned about Jesus’ life from the apostles or Paul. Or, how about Paul, who wrote 13 letters of the New Testament? Isn’t he a greater witness to Jesus life than Mary? But like Mark and Luke, Paul never knew Jesus in his earthly life. Paul learned of Jesus from revelation and through contact with the apostles. And John the Baptist? He knew Jesus for 30 years but he was beheaded in the first year of Jesus’ public ministry. Even St. Joseph, Jesus’ foster father, died sometime before Jesus began his public ministry. Neither John the Baptist nor Joseph witnessed Jesus’ death or resurrection or ascension.
But… Mary is the only person who personally witnessed the entire life of Jesus Christ with her own eyes. She was present at the Incarnation when she conceived Jesus in the womb and continued to be present at his birth, his childhood, and raised Jesus throughout his youth. Mary even launched Jesus’ public ministry at Cana, accompanied him throughout his travels and was with Jesus during his suffering and death. Mary stood at the foot of the cross and she received his lifeless body when he was taken down from the cross. Even after his death, Mary was with the disciples when Jesus appeared after his Resurrection and she was present at his Ascension. Finally, Mary was with the Apostles in upper room where Pentecost took place and she even lived with St. John in his home till she herself was assumed into heaven (cf. John 19:28). Mary is the only person who witnessed Jesus entire life: before, during and after.
For this reason Mary is the Mystical Rose. Mystical… because she witnessed the entire life of her Son. Rose… because she is radiant beauty amidst the thorns of her Son’s suffering. This is why we pray the rosary. The Joyful mysteries are about Jesus’ childhood; the Luminous are about his public ministry; the Sorrowful are about his suffering and death; and the Glorious are about his Resurrection and Ascension. When we pray the rosary we are seeing Jesus’ life through the eyes of his Mother: the greatest witness of Jesus Christ.