The Joyful Mysteries were the first ones that I learned. When I learned how to pray the rosary in my CCD classes, we memorized the Joyful Mysteries. That was in second grade, and I actually didn’t even know there were more sets of mysteries of the rosary until I had to memorize them in fifth grade! The Joyful Mysteries have always been one of my favorites. You’ll hear about my other favorite mysteries later in this series. I love the Joyful Mysteries because they allow me to meditate on how God’s plan for Mary’s life unfolded. Meditating on these mysteries have made me a stronger and more faithful daughter of God. As I reflect on the beginning of Mary’s journey as the Blessed Mother, I humbly ask my Heavenly Father for her wisdom and courage to say “yes” to his will.
The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation
The angel said to Mary, “You shall conceive and bear a son and give Him the name Jesus, and He will be called Son of the Most HighLuke 1:31-32
I wonder how Mary must have felt during the Annunciation. I wonder if she felt scared or excited to become the mother of God. Regardless of how she felt, she humbly let God’s will be done. She said “yes” to God with grace. I pray that I can do the same in every aspect of my life. When God guides me to do his will, I pray that I can emulate Mary by giving him a wholehearted “yes.”
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The second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation
“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Blessed is she who trusted that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.”Luke 1:42 & 45
Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary during the Visitation became the second part of the “Hail Mary” prayer. She acknowledged Mary’s holiness as she carried Jesus Christ in her womb. Mary, in her humility, directed that praise back to God. She sang praises to him with the Magnificat. I like to think of my sisters in Christ as my Elizabeths. Like Elizabeth was there for Mary, my friends and I support each other as we grow in our faith.
The third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity of Jesus
While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.Luke 2:6-7
With this Joyful Mystery, we get to reflect on the joy of Christ’s birth year-round. The Son of God had an incredibly humble birth. Considering that Jesus was born in a stable with a manger for a crib, at that time, the Holy Family didn’t have much except each other. However, the Nativity was still perfect to them. This Joyful Mystery reminds us that when we have our Savior, we don’t need anything more.
The fourth Joyful Mystery is the Presentation in the Temple
When the day came to purify them according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem so that He could be presented to the Lord.Luke 2:22
I never really understood this mystery until recently. I didn’t understand the beauty of this mystery until I read it closely in the Bible. When Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the temple according to Mosaic law, Simeon declared with joy that Jesus was the son of God. On that day, God’s promise to him had been fulfilled. He had lived long enough to see the Messiah, and now he can experience a happy death. This Joyful Mystery is also one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary because Simeon prophecised that Mary would endure much suffering during Jesus’ life. Mary has yet to reveal more about the mystery of the Presentation to me, but thus far, I have learned that joyful moments can contain sadness, and vice versa.
The fifth Joyful Mystery is the Finding in the Temple
They came upon Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. All who heard Him were amazed.Luke 2:46-47
Prior to this Joyful Mystery, another of the Seven Sorrows of Mary occurred. She and Joseph had lost Jesus. They searched for days before finding him still in the temple where they had visited a few days earlier. Imagine the joy but also the relief that finding Jesus brought Mary. I’ve had my share of faith droughts when I found praying difficult and I felt myself drifting away from Jesus. Eventually, he would help me stand up again so I could come back to him. When I did, the joy that washed over me made me never want to lose Jesus again. Although I never intentionally leave Jesus, the joy of returning to him, even after just a day, is such a blessing.