Often, when I’m saying my prayers or praying a decade of the rosary before bed (those nights you just can’t get to sleep? Try a decade of the rosary; it’s so peaceful and calming, it helps me almost right away!) I usually count on my fingers (I’m scared I’ll fall asleep on it and break my rosary!) and don’t worry about remembering what mystery I’m on. It’s a pretty informal way to pray the Rosary, but it’s calming and a peaceful and prayerful way to end my day. On the other hand, when I have time before Mass or am making time to stop by Adoration, my favorite set of mysteries to pray is the Joyful Mysteries. There is such a beautiful peace about them, they’re downright JOYFUL: full of the happiest moments of Christ’s and Mary’s lives.
The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
“And when the Angel had come to her, he said,“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you,” Luke 1:28
The first Joyful Mystery signals that it’s time for the Lord to arrive. The moment that the Lord’s people had been waiting CENTURIES for had finally arrived! The incarnation of our Lord still depended upon Mary using her free will to choose to be the Mother of our Savior. She did, obviously, and we are all a better humankind for it! Mary was a humble, happy servant of the Lord, and we learn from her the virtue of humility in this instance.
The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
“…Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"Luke 1:42-43
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was already pregnant with her own miracle gift from the Lord. The Holy Spirit guided her words when Mary, pregnant with our Lord, came to visit her. Mary then stays with her cousin, and serves her and helps her until the birth of her son, John the Baptist. From Mary in this mystery we learn to love others and sacrifice self.
The Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus
“She gave birth to her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,” Luke 2:7
Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to comply with the decree that all the families be counted. Christ entered the world with very little, and shows us that earthly things aren’t what is important. The shepherds and Magi come to do homage and pay respect to our Lord. Mary shows us humility, again, by having her Son in a manger and wrapping him in humble swaddling clothes.
The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple
“…They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the Law of the Lord,” Luke 2:22-23
Mary and Joseph took their Son to be baptized in Jerusalem, following the customs and traditions from centuries. After they fulfill the requirements of consecrating him, they return home. Their obedience in following the customs and commands of the Lord, even for their Son who IS the Lord, gives us a spectacular example of parenthood
The Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding Jesus in The Temple
“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…” Luke 2:46
When Joseph and Mary had lost track of Jesus, they searched for three days and finally find him studying with the teachers and likely giving them a run for their money. Joseph and Mary were filled with anxiety and worry, but when they finally found Jesus, He told them, “Why wouldn’t I be doing my Father’s work?” and this was the start of Christ’s ministry.. They were so joyful at finding their Son safe and sound. Jesus then goes back home to Nazareth with them, an excellent example of obedience.
Next time you’re making time to pray a rosary, consider praying the Joyful mysteries and reliving the happiest, most wonderful moments of our Mother’s life.
Reflection question 1: Which of the Joyful Mysteries speaks to you the most?
Reflection question 2: Would you have had the courage to respond with the same love as our dear Mother during these joyful times?
Act: Pray for courage and obedience, and to be as graceful as our dear mother!