The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

The First Joyful Mystery

 The Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary. Luke 1.


Six months later the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young woman there who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. Her name was Mary. Gabriel came into her presence and greeted her, saying: “What joy! You have been shown great favor—the Lord is with you.” Mary was much disturbed at his words, and was wondering to herself what such a greeting could mean, when the angel spoke again: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive and give birth to a child, and you will give him the name Jesus. The child will be great and will be called ‘Child of the Most High,’ and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will reign over the descendants of Jacob forever; and to his realm there will be no end.” “How can this be?” Mary asked the angel. “For I have not known a man.” “The holy Spirit will descend on you,” answered the angel, “and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and therefore the child will be called holy, and ‘Son of God.’ And Elizabeth, your cousin, is herself also expecting a child in her old age; and it is now the sixth month with her, though she is called barren; for no word from God can fail.”  “I am the slave of the Lord,” exclaimed Mary; “let it be with me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.


Fruits of the Mystery: Humility, Surrender, Saying Yes to our Calling, Faith



The Second Joyful Mystery

 The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Luke 1.


Soon after this Mary set out, and made her way quickly into the hill country, to a town in Judah; and there she went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child moved within her, and Elizabeth herself was filled with the holy Spirit, and cried aloud: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But how have I this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, as soon as your greeting reached my ears, the child leaped within me with delight! Happy indeed is she who believed that the promise which she received from the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, my spirit delights in God my Savior; for he has remembered his humble slave; and from this hour all generations will count me happy! Great things has the Almighty done for me; and holy is his name. From age to age his compassion rests on those who fear him. He has used the power of his arm; he scattered the proud of heart, he overthrew princes from their thrones, and the humble he uplifted, the hungry he has loaded with good things, and the rich he sent away empty. He has stretched out his hand to his servant Israel, ever mindful of his mercy (as he promised to our ancestors) for Abraham and his race forever.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her home.



Fruits of the Mystery: Caring for others, Praise of God, Servanthood, Mercy, Exaltation


The Third Joyful Mystery,

 The Birth of Jesus. Luke 2


While they were there her time came, and she gave birth to her first child, a son. And because there was no room for them in the inn, she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. In that same countryside were shepherds out in the open fields, watching their flocks that night, when an angel of the Lord suddenly stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were seized with fear.  “Have no fear,” the angel said. “For I bring you good news of a great joy in store for all the nation. This day there has been born to you, in the town of David, a Savior, who is Christ and Lord. And this will be the sign for you. You will find the infant in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.”


Fruits of the Mystery: New Creation. A Fresh Start. Joy. Fulfillment of a Promise.



The Fourth Joyful Mystery

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Luke 2


When the period of purification of mother and child, required by the Law of Moses, came to an end, his parents took the child up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, in compliance with the Law of the Lord that “every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord,” and also to offer the sacrifice required by the Law of the Lord—“a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” There was at that time in Jerusalem a man named Simeon, a good and devout man, who lived in constant expectation of the consolation of Israel, and a holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, Simeon came into the Temple, and, when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the Law, Simeon himself took the child in his arms, and blessed God, and said: “Now, Master, release your slave, according to your word, in peace, for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations— a light of revelation to the gentiles, and to be the glory of your people Israel.” While the child’s father and mother were wondering at what was said about him, Simeon gave them his blessing, and said to Mary, the child’s mother: “This child is appointed to be the cause of the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign much spoken against—yes, the sword will pierce your own heart—and so the thoughts in many minds will be disclosed.”


Fruits of the Mystery: Prophecy, Revelation, Presentation of Gifts, Preparation. Patience, Bittersweet Joy.


The Fifth Joyful Mystery.

 The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, Luke 2


Every year the child’s parents used to go to Jerusalem at the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they went according to custom to Jerusalem, and had finished their visit; but when they started to return, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, without their knowing it. Thinking that he was with their fellow travelers, they went one day’s journey before searching for him among their relations and acquaintances; and then, as they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching everywhere for him. It was not until the third day that they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, now listening to them, now asking them questions. All who listened to him marveled at his intelligence and his answers. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him: “My child, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” “What made you search for me?” he answered. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” His parents did not understand what he meant. He went down with them to Nazareth and submitted himself to their control; and his mother treasured all that was said in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and the gracious presence of God and people as he also grew in years.


Fruits of the Mystery: Celebration, Trust, Lost and Found, Fulfillment, Awe


Bible verses taken from: Taussig, Hal. A New New Testament: A Bible for the Twenty-first Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.



The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

God wants us to have complete joy. He created us for it. Jesus came so we could be immersed in complete joy: “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (John 15:11). The Joyful Mysteries celebrate when joy entered the world, when God entered into the mess of the world because of his incredible love for us.

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation. This is Mary’s moment, the moment when her “yes” changed the world. Imagine the monumental courage that would have required. Think about it. An angel appeared to Mary, and told her she would be the mother of the savior, the mother of God. She was a teenager, only a child. And what the angel said made no earthly sense. What was Mary thinking? What would have happened if she had said no?

The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation. God turned Mary’s world upside down. What did Mary do? She rushed off to serve her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant in her old age. It was Mary’s first reaction. Too often our first reaction is one of selfishness: “I don’t feel like it,” “I’ll do it later,” “Can’t someone else take care of it?” But Mary had an instinct to serve, an entrenched humility.

The Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus. The world is a mess: war, poverty, corruption, greed, selfishness, violence, abuse, injustice. The face of evil torments ordinary people every day, and yet God chose to put himself in the middle of our mess. The humility of God is incredible. He places himself right in the middle of our mess as the solution to it. We don’t deserve it. We have no claim to it. God gives us a new beginning, a fresh start, freely and without merit.

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation. Mary presented Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem, dedicating him to God according to the Jewish custom. As she did so, a man named Simeon said something astounding, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:29-30). Have you ever waited for something with great anticipation? Did you wait patiently? What are you waiting for in your life right now? Simeon had waited. He had waited patiently, and prayed patiently for the savior. Now, he took baby Jesus in his arms. Imagine the emotion as he pulled the child to his chest. His face filled with a strange combination of joy and anguish. Joy for the present, anguish for the future he knows the child will face.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. On their way home from celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph actually lost Jesus. God, the Creator of the universe, had entrusted Jesus the Messiah to Mary and Joseph’s care—and they lost him. Imagine what they were thinking and how they were feeling: grief, torment, distress, anguish, torture. So often we lose Jesus in our own lives and don’t even notice.

Accessed January 30, 2021.