The Joyful Mysteries

I am writing these reflections on Easter Sunday. We must always think of Christmas and Easter together. It is very appropriate that the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection be contemplated through the window of his birth and death. The Joyful Mysteries take us to the beginning of our Redeemer’s life. We meditate upon his humanity, as one like us in all things but our capacity to sin, so that we can be inspired to grow to be more like him.

1. The Annunciation

“But the Angel said to her, Mary do not be afraid; you have for one God’s favour. Listen!

(Luke 1: 26-38)

How, and when, did Mary take part, and the initial part, in the world restoration? It was when the Angel Gabriel came to her to announce to her the great dignity which was to be her portion. St Paul bids us “present our bodies to God as a reasonable service”. We must not only pray with our lips, and fast, and do outward penance, and be chaste in our bodies; but we must be obedient, and pure in our minds. And so, as regards the Blessed Virgin, it was God‘s will that she should undertake willingly and with full understanding to be the Mother of the Lord, and not to be a mere passive instrument whose maternity would have no merit and no reward. The higher our gifts, the heavier our duties. It was no light lot to be so intimately near to the Redeemer of men, as she experienced afterwards when she suffered with him. Therefore, weighing well the Angel’s words before giving her answer to them- first she asked whether so great in office would be a forfeiture of that virginity which she had vowed. When the Angel told her no, then, with the full consent of a full heart, full of God‘s love to her and her own lowliness, she said, “Behold the handmade of the Lord; be done unto me according to thy word“. It was by this consent that she became the Gate of Heaven.

(Meditations and Devotions)

Pause and Imagine yourself with Mary.

Then, Pray One Our Father, One Hail Mary One Glory Be

2. The Visitation

“Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled“.

(Luke 1: 38-56)

Now, whatever want of amiableness, sweetness, attractiveness, really exists in holy men arises from the remains of sin in them, or again from the want of a holiness powerful enough to overcome the defects of nature, whether of soul or body; but, as to Mary, her holiness was such, that if we saw her, and heard her, we should not be able to tell those who asked us anything about her except simply that she was angelic and heavenly. Of course her face was most beautiful; but we should not be able to recollect whether he was beautiful or not; we should not recollect any of her features, because it was her beautiful sinless soul, which looked through her eyes, and spoke through her mouth, and it was heard in her voice, and compassed her all about; when she was still, or when she walked, whether she smiled, or was sad, her sinless soul, this it was which would draw all those to her who had any grace in them, any remains of grace, and the love of holy things. That was a divine music and all she did -in her mien, her air, her deportment, that charmed every true heart that came near her. Her innocence, her humility, and modesty, her simplicity, sincerity, and truthfulness, her unselfishness her unaffected interest in everyone who came to her, her purity -it was these qualities which made her so lovable…

(Meditations and Devotions)

Pause and Imagine yourself with Mary‘s cousin Elizabeth.

Then, Pray One Our Father, One Hail Mary One Glory Be

3. The Nativity

“And here is a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger“.

(Luke 2: 1-14)

May each Christmas, as it comes, find you more and more like Him, who as at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple- minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God.

(Parochial and Plain Sermons V,7)

Holy the womb that bare Him,

Holy the breasts that are fed,

But holier still the royal heart

That in his passion bled.

(Meditations and Devotions)

Pause, and Imagine yourself with the Shepherds arriving to see Jesus.

Then, Pray One Our Father, One Hail Mary One Glory Be.

4. The Presentation.

“When they had done everything that the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favor was with him“.

(Luke 2: 22-40)

Now, consider that Mary loved her Divine Son with an unutterable love; and consider too she had Him all to herself for thirty years. Do we not see that, as she was full of grace before she conceived Him in her womb, she must have had a vast incomprehensible sanctity when she had lived close to God for thirty years? -a sanctity of an angelic order, reflecting back the attributes of God with a fulness and exactness of which no saint upon earth, or holy virgin, can even remind us. Truly then she is the Speculum Justitiae, the Mirror of Divine Perfection.

(Meditations and Devotions)

Pause and Imagine yourself with Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

Then, Pray One Our Father, One Hail Mary One Glory Be.

5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

His Mother stored up all these things in her heart“.

(Luke 2:41-52)

He grew to twelve years old, and  again He appeared in the temple, and took His seat in the midst of the doctors. But here His earthly majesty had its end, or if seen afterwards, it was but now and then, by glimpses and by sudden gleams, but with no steady sustained light, and no diffused radiance. We were told at the close of the last-mentioned narrative, “And He went down with His parents, and came to Nazareth, and was subjected unto them”. His subjection and servitude now began in fact. He had come in the form of a servant, and now He took on Him a servant’s office. How much is contained in the idea of his subjection! and it began, and His time of glory ended, when He was twelve years old.

(Parochial and Plain Sermons VII, 6)

Pause, and Imagine yourself with Jesus and the Doctors.

Then, Pray One Our Father, One Hail Mary One Glory Be

May St John Henry Newman who has helped us meditate on the most sacred mysteries of the Holy Rosary pray with, and for us. Amen.

Illustration by Elizabeth Wang, Code: R-60037-CW, copyright © Radiant Light,