The Annunciation of the Lord to Mary

1st Joyful Mystery

The Angel Gabriel declares Mary as the handmaid of the Lord. She will conceive by the Holy Spirit, and bear a son who will be called the Son of the Most High. Mary accepts this honor, while also accepting, without fully understanding, the pain and sorrow that would accompany its fulfillment. This mystery teaches us that even the purest joy we experience in this life necessarily entails suffering. It is with full reliance and trust in God that we are able to accept our suffering in order to fulfill our mission and forward God’s plan of salvation with humility and love.

The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

2nd Joyful Mystery

Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who learns that she has conceived a child in her old age. Their visit is marked by happiness and thanksgiving as they rejoice in the wonderful gifts of God. Mary, with the Holy one inside of her, makes Elizabeth’s unborn child leap within her womb. Though such a simple visit, both are moved with God’s love and strengthened by His Grace. This mystery teaches us that we are to cherish our encounters with others. Each person God puts in our path is an opportunity to love, and share in the blessings God has bestowed upon us.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

3rd Joyful Mystery

The time for the birth of Christ has come. Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem where they find there to be no room at the inn. Mary is left to give birth to her Son in a modest and meager stable. Along with the interminable glory of Christ’s birth, Christ’s entrance into the world is marked by poverty and suffering. This mystery teaches us the virtue of poverty in spirit. Christ calls us to continual detachment from earthly things, and in so doing; we move closer to Christ and join our sufferings with His.

The Presentation of our Lord

4th Joyful Mystery

In observance of the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary take the child Jesus to be presented in the temple to God. Although not subject to this law, Jesus submits in obedience, and in like manner, Mary, not subject to the law of purification, humbly submits herself to it. It is at this time also, that the old man Simeon beholds the Son of Man. Simeon immediately recognizes the child as the King and Savior foretold, and declares the fate of Jesus as a sign that will be contradicted. This mystery teaches us the importance of purity in thought and deed. It is in humility that we are able to see our weaknesses and failings, while we recognize our constant need of God’s mercy and grace.

Finding Jesus in the Temple

5th Joyful Mystery

At twelve years of age, Jesus goes with his parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. It is on their return journey home that Joseph and Mary realize that their son is missing. Joseph and Mary seek Him endlessly. On the third day, they find Jesus preaching in the temple amongst teachers, who were at once astonished at his wisdom. Despite their grief and anxiety, Jesus assures His parents that all is well, as He is doing is Father’s work. Although Joseph and Mary do not fully understand this at the time, they will see that this event foreshadows the mission of ministry and sacrifice that Jesus will fulfill in obedience of His Heavenly Father. This mystery teaches us that submission to God our Father comes before all else. There is always joy to be found when we seek Jesus in the spirit of obedience.