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The Joyful Mysteries

The Five Joyful Mysteries  are traditionally prayed on the Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays of Advent:

See all the prayers of the Rosary

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Prayed on the Crucifix)

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father (Prayed on the first large bead)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

3 Hail Mary’s… (Prayed on the first three beads)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be… (Prayed before the first decade)

Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

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Scripture:  In the sixth m onth the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel s aid to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end. ”

And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?”

And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you ; therefore the child to be born *  will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who w as called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.   (Luke 1:26-38).

Our Father. .. 10 Hail Mary’s Glory be …

Fatima Prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.

Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation

journey deeper joyful mysteries

Scripture: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of M ary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why i s this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be e  a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45).

Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity

journey deeper joyful mysteries

Scripture:  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be e nrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in  swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. An d an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace am ong men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:1-14).

Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple

journey deeper joyful mysteries

Scripture: And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord , “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” No w there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to h im by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit *  he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to d o for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eye s have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”

And his father and his moth er marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,

“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken ag ainst (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanu-el, of the tribe of Ashe r; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and p rayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:22-38).

Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding in the Temple

journey deeper joyful mysteries

Scripture:  Now his pare nts went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; a nd all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying whic h he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.   (Luke 2:41-52)

Concluding Prayers:

The Hail Holy Queen (The Salve Regina) Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Optional closing prayers:

Let us pray: 

O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. Grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pour forth we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary:

This prayer to Saint Joseph—spouse of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron saint of the universal Church—was composed by Pope Leo XIII in his 1889 encyclical,  Quamquam Pluries . He asked that it be added to the end of the Rosary, especially during the month of October, which is dedicated to the Rosary. The prayer is enriched with a partial indulgence ( Handbook of Indulgences , conc. 19) and may be said after the customary Salve Regina and concluding prayer. It may also be used to conclude other Marian devotions. (From )

To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.

Pope Francis asked that the following two prayers be added to the rosary for the month of May 2020 to help spiritually combat the coronavirus pandemic.


You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus’ suffering, and persevered in your faith.

“Protectress of the Roman people”, you know our needs, and we know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us. For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.


“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic.  Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply.  Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them.  Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew.  Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others.  Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need.  Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary.  Amen.

Scripture quotes taken from The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. See copyright information.

Featured image: Annunciation by Loenardo da Vinci via Wikimedia

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Praying the Rosary in October: The Joyful Mysteries

by The Ascension Team | Oct 7, 2016 | Mysteries of the Rosary | 3 comments

journey deeper joyful mysteries

October is the month we dedicate to the Holy Rosary , and today is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, so there is no better time to begin diving deeper into each mystery of this powerful prayer with renewed reverence. On each Friday of October, we will offer reflections on the mysteries of the Rosary, starting today with the Joyful Mysteries.

The Annunciation

Mary stands here at the turn of salvation history, embodying the faithful of Israel and making way for the Messiah. 

Mary and Gabriel

In fact, the angel’s greeting “Hail” (χαῖρε) is the exact same as that given to Daughter Zion in the Greek version of Zephaniah 3:14 . This is significant because “Daughter Zion” in the prophets generally refers to the eschatological people of God—that is, the people of God as God has called them to be; Mary, then, embodies this glorious radiance which God has always destined for his people. And the Zephaniah passage continues: “The King is in her midst” ( Zephaniah 3:15 ); indeed, in the Annunciation the King is in her midst, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin (see Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s  Daughter Zion , pages 42-3). 

Moreover, the angel doesn’t address Mary by name, but rather astonishingly as: “ Hail, full of grace .” This breathtaking greeting offers a glimpse of the grandeur of the Incarnation, as seen from heaven’s vantage point.

Further, the phrase “the Lord is with you,” used by the angel with reference to Mary, occurs throughout the Bible to indicate God’s presence and support for accomplishing his mission, as he did with Moses ( Exodus 3:12 ), Joshua ( Joshua 1:5 , 9 ), Gideon ( Judges 6:12 ), and Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 1:8 ). This means that Mary, too, stands on the cusp of some great moment in salvation history. And Mary responds with unflinching faith: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). In a sense, God’s plan hinges on the faith and obedience of the Virgin Mary; and for that, all generations call her “blessed” (Luke 1:42).

Sometimes much is made of the distinction between Jesus’ physical family and his spiritual family—the latter marked by those who “hear the word of God and do it” ( Luke 8:21 ; see also Luke 11:27-28 ). But a distinction need not entail a separation; and in fact, St. Luke portrays Mary as the one who quintessentially “hears the word of God and does it” (see  Luke 1:38-39 , 2:19 , 51 ); in other words, she goes before us as model disciple and embodiment of the Church; and in Luke’s sequel (Acts of the Apostles), she is there persevering to the end with the disciples ( Acts 1:14 ).

May we follow Mary’s path of saying “yes” to the Lord from beginning to end: “For with God nothing will be impossible” ( Luke 1:37 ). 

The Visitation

After the Annunciation, Mary arises “with haste” ( Luke 1:39 ) to visit Elizabeth, who greets her with familiar words: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” ( Luke 1:42 ). 


St. Luke then depicts Mary’s journey in a manner reminiscent of David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6 . Such a parallel would be enormously significant, since the Ark was the holiest object in all of Israel—made holy because it bore the very presence of God; overlaid with gold ( Exodus 25:11 ), it held the Ten Commandments, a jar that held the manna, and Aaron’s high priestly rod (see Hebrews 9:4 ). Likewise, Mary bears Jesus who is the Word of God Incarnate, the bread of life, and eternal high priest.

Moreover, the following parallels in both journeys emerge: David and Mary “arose and went” ( 2 Samuel 6:2 ; Luke 1:39 ); David leaps before the ark, as John leaps in the womb of Elizabeth ( 2 Sam 6:16b ; Luke 1:41 ); David asks, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me ” ( 2 Samuel 6:9 ), as Elizabeth asks how can “the mother of my Lord come to me ?” ( Luke 1:43 ); the Ark remains at the house of Obed-edom three months ( 2 Samuel 6:11 ), just as Mary remained at the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth three months ( Luke 1:56 ).

It’s hard to overstate what these parallels would mean: no Jew in the ancient world could have proclaimed his love for God and yet been indifferent to the Ark.

And just in case we missed it, St. Luke uses a very rare word in Luke 1:42 to describe how Elizabeth “exclaimed” ( anaphoneo ) such praises before Mary. This Greek word occurs only here in the New Testament, and only five times in the entire Greek Old Testament— every single time with reference to Levites praising the Ark of the Covenant (see 1 Chronicles 15:28 ; 16:4 , 5 , 42 ; 2 Chronicles 5:13 ; see also Scott Hahn’s  Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire , page 65). The reference, then, is unmistakable: here we have once again a Levite—in Elizabeth (see Luke 1:5 )—praising the Ark of the New Covenant.

Mary is revered for what God has done in and through her; but she is also called “blessed” for her great faith: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” ( Luke 1:45 ).

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Improve the Way You Pray the Rosary

Pocket Guide to the Rosary is a truly magnificent resource that incorporates the Bible, saints, and Catholic Tradition to help Catholics get more out of meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.

The Nativity

Ever since Jesus gave her to the Beloved Disciple, and him to her—from the Cross—Mary has been our mother.  She watches over us with motherly care, to be sure, but reading the infancy narratives draws our attention to another aspect of motherhood:  that she was found to be WITH CHILD of the Holy Spirit; that she BORE Jesus in her womb and gave birth to him. In that sense, anyone who bears Jesus in his or her heart and proclaims him or does his work in the world is doing the same thing – and is a child of Mary. 

New Mary study

Mary had just one biological son, Jesus.  But in Revelation 12 , John describes “the rest of [the] offspring” of the Woman who bears a male child who is to rule the nations—a direct reference to Christ and therefore to Mary, his mother.  They are “those who keep the commandments and bear testimony to Jesus” ( Revelation 12:17 ). I wonder if he had the infancy narratives in mind when he wrote this, as the same Greek words are used.

“Those who keep the commandments”

Mary KEPT [suntereo] in her heart the word of God she heard from the shepherds ( Luke 2:19 ); her children KEEP [tereo] the commandments or word of God ( Revelation 12 ).

“Those who bear testimony to Jesus”

“Mary was found to be WITH CHILD of the Holy Spirit” … ” a virgin shall CONCEIVE and bear a son” ( Matthew 1:18 , 23 ).  Her children also BEAR testimony to Jesus.  The English words “with child,” “conceive,” and “bear” all translate to the same Greek word, “echo.”

As we meditate on his word today, let us show ourselves as true children of Mary so that word might be conceived and born in us that we might bear it to the world!

Meditate on Luke 2:1-22 , the mystery of the birth of Jesus, focusing on the Blessed Mother.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be open to the word of God, to plant it in your heart and nurture it there. 

The Presentation

In the fourth Joyful Mystery we see how Mary is a beautiful example of faithfulness. In the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, we see her faithfully fulfilling all the necessary steps of a Jewish woman after giving birth to her first born son. The Law of Moses prescribed that the firstborn male needed to be redeemed by a sacrifice. This harkened to the time of the first Passover, when the angel of death passed over the houses of the Israelites who had blood from a sacrificed lamb over their doorways. From the time of Moses onward, the tradition of redeeming the firstborn son continued as a perpetual reminder of the saving grace of God. How fitting that Mary and Joseph brought God the Deliverer of Israel to the Temple to fulfill all righteousness. 


Just as later Jesus would be baptized by John in the Jordan, though he needed no salvation, Jesus was redeemed in the Temple as the first born son. Mary’s faithfulness to obey God’s command did not go unnoticed by Simeon and Anna who were waiting for Mary to bring Jesus to the Temple. Obviously they knew the Temple would be the first stop for the Messiah to appear on his mission to redeem the world. Perhaps it was with great anticipation Mary entered the Temple, expecting a sign of confirmation from God during this significant ritual. She was met by two prophets, who recognized the gift she brought to the Temple and ultimately brought to the world.

But this sign would also be mingled with grief. St. John Paul II reflected on the significance of Simeon’s prophecy to Mary that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also…”:

Simeon’s words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful. St. John Paul II, Redemptioris Mater , 16

As we go to Mass to receive this amazing gift that has been given to us through the hands of Mary and the prophets, let us also go in anticipation of what we can receive through the reading of the word, through the prayers and through the miracle of the Eucharist.

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

The account of the boy Jesus being lost and then found three days later in the Temple is the only scene of Jesus’ childhood reported in any of the Gospels. Now twelve years old, Jesus is old enough to enter the Court of Israelites. For the first time, he will be permitted into the area where the respected teachers of the Law convene to discuss the Scriptures. So much insight can be gathered just by reflecting on how Mary and Joseph can lose their boy at this time. 

Mary5 - Finding Jesus

This must have been a trying experience for Mary, and it foreshadows another time when she would be separated from her son: at his death on Good Friday.

The Holy Family was returning from their annual journey to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. This is one of the most important yearly feasts, and Jews from all over the ancient world would travel to Jerusalem to celebrate.

It is easy to wonder today how Mary and Joseph could leave their son behind in the big city of Jerusalem. What does this story story tell us that might shed light on how these holy and responsible parents could lose their child so easily?

When Mary finally finds her son three days later, she asks why Jesus has treated his parents this way. But Jesus replies, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) The Scriptures say that Mary did not understand this response from her son, but “kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51)

Mary’s example here can teach us about how to respond when we do not understand why God allows us to experience moments of trial, uncertainty, or darkness. God may be trying to teach us through these difficulties.

Mary’s experience of losing Jesus is one we might experience in our spiritual lives. We face trials that cause us anxiety. Prayer becomes dry. We wonder why these troubles have come upon us. We seek God and wonder where God is in our lives. Jesus may seem lost and far away, but in reality, he is doing the will of the Father in the temples of our souls.

For Discussion

What insights and inspiration have you received from the Joyful Mysteries? When you reflect upon The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, what is the Lord sharing with you at this point in your journey of faith?

This reflection on the Joyful Mysteries is a combined effort of several writers for The Great Adventure blog, including Dr. Andrew Swafford , Sarah Christmyer , Emily Cavins , Dr. Edward Sri , and David Kilby .

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Praying the rosary in october: the glorious mysteries, praying the rosary in october: the luminous mysteries, praying the rosary in october: the sorrowful mysteries.

Thank you for sharing insights into each of the Joyful Mysteries. I too, as John shared ponder over the loss of Jesus in the Temple. For me, this mystery shows Jesus care for his parents when he says “did you not know…”. It seems he was preparing Mary for the time he would leave her in this world, but would not be lost.

The finding of Jesus in the temple is one of the most difficult mysteries for me, and my question echos Mary’s. Why? Surely Jesus knew his parents’ love for him and that they would come looking for him, yet Jesus turns it around and asks them why they were searching for him, which is also not understood. I suppose one of the lessons of this mystery is that the path is not always clear. We must be OK with not having all the answers. We walk by faith and not by sight.

Jesus stayed behind because he was obeying the will of His Heavenly Father, which, difficult as it may seem, comes before even family. He asks Mary why she would be looking for Him because He was trying to convey that He is always in His Father’s house. Back then, that house was the temple. Now, it is the church where Jesus is located in the tabernacle waiting for all of us to be with Him when He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist.

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Praying the Rosary in October: The Glorious Mysteries

As the end of October draws near and we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, we reflect upon the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary that remind us of what God has in store for us beyond this life and this world. The Resurrection The world is coming to...

Praying Rosary in October: The Sorrowful Mysteries

Praying Rosary in October: The Sorrowful Mysteries

On this third Friday of October, we walk with Jesus to Calvary as we reflect upon the Sorrowful Mysteries. As with the other posts in this series, this post goes deep into each Mystery yet still does not exhaust their beauty. We hope you can join us as we accompany...

Praying the Rosary in October: The Luminous Mysteries

This is the second part of a series that will explore the Mysteries of the Rosary throughout October. These posts are longer than usual, but only because the riches contained in each Mystery deserve such great attention. We hope you can join us as we explore the...

journey deeper joyful mysteries

Let’s Pray the Rosary All Over The World

Joyful Mysteries

The First Joyful Mystery

The Annunciation

journey deeper joyful mysteries

The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God. Here’s a brief description of the meditation for the First Joyful Mystery:

The Annunciation: In this mystery, we reflect on the moment when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth and delivered the message that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. The Angel’s greeting, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you,” signifies Mary’s unique role in God’s plan of salvation. Despite her initial confusion, Mary humbly and obediently accepts God’s will, saying, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Through Mary’s “yes,” the Incarnation of Jesus begins, as the Son of God takes on human flesh in her womb.

As you pray this decade of the Rosary, you can immerse yourself in the scene, imagining the Angel’s appearance, Mary’s response, and the awe-inspiring moment when God became embodied within her. Reflect on Mary’s profound faith, humility, and willingness to fulfill God’s plan. Consider Her “yes” opened the way for God’s mercy to be poured out upon humanity through the birth of Jesus.

Prayer: While praying each Hail Mary, you may reflect on the Annunciation and ask for grace to emulate Mary’s faith and surrender to God’s will.

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Additional Reflection: As you meditate on the Annunciation, consider how Mary’s trust in God’s plan can inspire you in your own life. Reflect on times when you’ve been called to step out in faith, and ask for the strength to respond with a heart like Mary’s, embracing God’s will with humility and love.

The Second Joyful Mystery

The Visitation

journey deeper joyful mysteries

The Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is the Visitation. In this mystery, we contemplate the encounter between the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth, who is also miraculously expecting a child, John the Baptist. This encounter is a display of the joy, humility, and shared blessings between these two women. Here’s a brief reflection on the Second Joyful Mystery:

The Visitation: Mary, having received the Angel Gabriel’s message and conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit, sets out to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is in the later stages of her pregnancy. As Mary arrives and greets Elizabeth, something extraordinary happens—John the Baptist, still in Elizabeth’s womb, moves with joy. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth recognizes Mary as the “mother of my Lord” and blesses her for her faith. In response, Mary praises God in a song of praise known as the Magnificat, glorifying His mercy, power, and faithfulness.

As you meditate on this mystery, imagine the scene of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Consider the deep bond of love and support between these two women, both chosen by God for remarkable roles. Reflect on the significance of John’s joyful leap, recognizing the presence of the unborn Jesus. Contemplate Mary’s humility and the profound spiritual connection shared by these two expectant mothers.

Prayer: While praying each Hail Mary, reflect on the Visitation and ask for grace to cultivate a spirit of humility, joy, and gratitude in your own life.

Additional Reflection: Consider the relationships in your life and how you can bring joy and support to others, as Mary did for Elizabeth. Reflect on the ways in which you can recognize the presence of Jesus in unexpected places and people. The Visitation teaches us the importance of reaching out to others with love and generosity, sharing our blessings and embracing the ways in which God’s grace is at work in our lives.

The Third Joyful Mystery

The Nativity

journey deeper joyful mysteries

The Third Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is the Nativity, or the birth of Jesus Christ. In this mystery, we meditate on the wondrous event of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. It is a moment of great joy and significance as the Son of God enters the world as a humble and vulnerable infant. Here’s a brief reflection on the Third Joyful Mystery:

The Nativity: Mary and Joseph journey to Bethlehem as part of a census, and while they are there, the time comes for Mary to give birth. However, there is no room for them in the inn, so they find refuge in a stable or cave. In this humble setting, Mary gives birth to Jesus, wrapping Him in swaddling clothes and placing Him in a manger. The angels announce the birth to shepherds, who come to adore the newborn Savior. This event marks the fulfillment of ancient prophecies and symbolizes God’s immense love for humanity.

As you meditate on this mystery, imagine the serene and holy scene of the Nativity. Contemplate the significance of God choosing to enter the world in such a simple and humble manner. Reflect on the contrast between the grandeur of the divine plan and the modest circumstances of Jesus’ birth. Consider the awe and wonder that Mary and Joseph must have felt as they welcomed the Messiah into the world.

Prayer: While praying each Hail Mary, reflect on the Nativity and ask for grace to embrace simplicity, humility, and the true meaning of Christmas.

Additional Reflection: Think about the ways in which you can simplify your life and focus on what truly matters, especially during busy and distracting times. The Nativity reminds us that God’s greatest gifts often come wrapped in simplicity and hiddenness. Reflect on the beauty of Jesus’ birth and how it serves as an invitation to recognize the sacredness of every moment, no matter how ordinary.

The Fourth Joyful Mystery

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

journey deeper joyful mysteries

The Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. In this mystery, we contemplate the devout act of Mary and Joseph presenting the infant Jesus to God in accordance with Jewish law. This event also involves the prophetic encounter with Simeon and Anna in the temple. Here’s a brief reflection on the Fourth Joyful Mystery:

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple: Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph take Him to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the requirements of the Mosaic Law. As they present Jesus to God, they offer the prescribed sacrifices. At the Temple, they encounter Simeon, a righteous and devout man who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When Simeon sees Jesus, he takes Him in his arms and praises God, declaring that he can now depart in peace. Anna, a prophetess, also recognizes Jesus’ significance and begins to thank God and speak about Him to those awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

As you meditate on this mystery, imagine the scene of the Presentation in the Temple. Picture Mary and Joseph’s devotion and obedience to God’s law. Reflect on Simeon’s profound recognition of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, and Anna’s joy at the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Prayer: While praying each Hail Mary, reflect on the Presentation in the Temple and ask for grace to offer your life to God with a spirit of devotion and surrender.

Additional Reflection: Consider the role of obedience and dedication in your own spiritual journey. Reflect on how Mary and Joseph followed God’s instructions and presented Jesus with a heart full of faith. Contemplate the ways in which you can offer your life, talents, and challenges to God, trusting in His plan for your life. The Presentation teaches us the value of recognizing God’s presence in the ordinary moments of our lives and embracing the joy of encountering Christ in unexpected places.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

journey deeper joyful mysteries

The Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. In this mystery, we reflect on an incident from the childhood of Jesus, where Mary and Joseph search for Him after He went missing during a trip to Jerusalem. This episode provides insights into Jesus’ divine nature and His understanding of His unique relationship with God. Here’s a brief reflection on the Fifth Joyful Mystery:

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple: When Jesus is twelve years old, Mary, Joseph, and their relatives go to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. After the feast, as they are returning home, Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus is not with them in the caravan. Distraught, they search for Him for three days and finally find Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Mary expresses her concern, and Jesus responds with the enigmatic statement, “Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?” This event reveals Jesus’ deep understanding of His identity as the Son of God.

As you meditate on this mystery, imagine the scene of Mary and Joseph’s worry and relief when they find Jesus in the Temple. Contemplate the exchange between Jesus and His parents, and the profound truth that even at a young age, Jesus recognized His divine mission and relationship with God the Father.

Prayer: While praying each Hail Mary, reflect on the Finding of Jesus in the Temple and ask for grace to seek and find Jesus in your own life, especially during times of confusion or uncertainty.

Additional Reflection: Consider the times when you’ve felt spiritually lost or distant from God. Reflect on the importance of seeking Jesus earnestly, just as Mary and Joseph searched for Him. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple teaches us about the value of deepening our understanding of our relationship with God and recognizing His presence even in moments of questioning. It also reminds us of the importance of listening to and learning from the teachings of Christ.

How to pray the Rosary?

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. O God come to my aid; O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

At the beginning of each decade, announce the "mystery" to be contemplated, for example, the first joyful mystery is "The Annunciation".

After a short pause for reflection, recite the "Our Father", ten "Hail Marys" and the "Glory be to the Father".

An invocation may be added after each decade.

At the end of the Rosary, the Loreto Litany or some other Marian prayer is recited.

Our Father , who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary , Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father , and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen..

The Litany of Loreto

Hail, holy Queen , mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

“Journey Through Joy" is a podcast retreat designed to enrich your Advent season through a reflective exploration of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Hosted by Fr. Chris Looby, this series offers a spiritual journey that delves deep into the heart of Advent, inviting listeners to contemplate and internalize the profound lessons of these mysteries. In each episode, we focus on one of the Joyful Mysteries — The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation in the Temple, and The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Through insightful scriptural readings, thoughtful reflections, and guided prayers, this podcast aims to bring the stories and teachings of these mysteries to life, offering listeners a pathway to deeper faith and contemplation. "Journey Through Joy" is more than just a podcast; it's an invitation to a personal spiritual retreat. Whether you are listening at home, in your car, or in a quiet space, this series provides a moment to pause, reflect, and connect with the true spirit of Advent. Each episode encourages personal reflection and spiritual growth, reminding us of the joy, humility, and love that the Advent season embodies. Join us in this journey of faith and discovery, as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. "Journey Through Joy" is an ideal companion for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Joyful Mysteries and a more meaningful Advent experience.

Journey Through Joy: An Advent Retreat with the Joyful Mysteries Fr. Christopher Looby

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The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary Inspire Joyful Witnesses to the Gospel

“To meditate upon the joyful mysteries … is to enter into the ultimate causes and the deepest meaning of Christian joy.” (Pope St. John Paul II)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, “The Nativity,” ca. 1665-1670

The world would tell us that joy and peace are possible only when everything is perfect, when all tasks are finished. However, if we look at the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph reflected in the joyful mysteries of the Rosary, we know that the greatest joys came through struggle, through suffering, when everything was far from perfect. Through the joyful mysteries, God gives us a glimpse into how to weather the trials each of us faces in this world.

First Joyful Mystery — The Annunciation. In the Annunciation, when Mary received and assented to the Good News that she’d been offered the great grace of being the Mother of God, from a worldly perspective, saying “yes” would bring a heart pierced by a sword. How do we respond to the unknown, to the fears that come with the unknown of cooperating with God’s will even when it is hard, even when it will involve a lifelong challenge? We imitate Mary. We say, “Yes,” and we trust that whatever God’s plan is, it is bigger than ours, and oriented toward bringing as many souls as possible to Heaven.

Second Joyful Mystery — The Visitation. Mary’s journey to her cousin Elizabeth allows Christ to visit his cousin John even as both are within the womb. Travel for a young woman, even in service of her kin, would still have involved sacrifice and effort. Service to another, when she herself was in the same state, would have required great selflessness. Their meeting brought joy to Elizabeth, to Mary, to John and to Jesus. What is one of the lessons of this mystery? Service and selflessness and sacrifice, when born out of love, brings joy to all who give and all who receive, even though it requires much effort.

Third Joyful Mystery — The Nativity. The circumstances of our Lord’s birth could hardly be described as ideal or pristine, and yet in this cave surrounded by beasts, our Lord allowed himself to be born, to suffer cold and all the discomforts that come with being a helpless infant in this world. His Incarnation caused the shepherds and magi to gaze in wonder, the heavens to break forth in song and proclaim, “Joy to the world.” So in this moment, when want and need and even the threat of doom and death seemed to be all there is, joy bursts forward all over the world in response.

Fourth Joyful Mystery — The Presentation. When Mary and Joseph present Jesus in the Temple, Mary must contend with the prophecy of Simeon — “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” These words hardly comfort, and yet knowing that Jesus is the Christ allows her to keep in her heart this prophecy that one day her heart, Christ himself, will be pierced. To those of us facing a bad diagnosis or hard piece of news, knowing that Mary took into her heart and trusted God’s goodness shows us again how to go forward, and how to face what is to come.

Fifth Joyful Mystery — The Finding in the Temple. Losing Our Lord had to frighten Mary and Joseph as nothing else, and those three days of not knowing emphasize to us that when we do not know (which is often), we must trust Our Loving Father who does. Anyone who would seek Christ will also find God the Father, and anyone who trusts God the Father will find Christ. The Holy Spirit will see to it, guiding our footsteps and encouraging our actions, so that we can weather the anxiety of not knowing. These days, the plague of anxiety is a near constant if we do not hold tightly to the deeper reality of God’s ever-present, all-enveloping love. Even in these uncertain times, most especially in our trials and sufferings, God is ever present and offering us his infinite embrace. Jesus being about his Father’s business, is seeking to be found and offering himself to us at every Mass, in the Scriptures, and in all the opportunities we have to respond to the world sacrificially on a daily basis.

It is the task of every follower of Jesus to be a joyful witness to the Good News, and there is no circumstance in which we cannot proclaim the great goodness of our Lord and his offer of salvation both now, and in the world yet to come.

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Sherry Antonetti

Sherry Antonetti Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen . She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.

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journey deeper joyful mysteries

Reflections on the Holy Rosary with Fr. Ivan Olmo

The following is a 40 part series with fr. ivan reflecting on the mysteries of the holy rosary. the reflections are divided into the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries each with 10 brief meditations. we invite you to join us as we seek to grow in a deeper and intimate love of jesus christ our lord through the immaculate heart of our mother mary., thank you for praying and reflecting with your parish community, introductory reflection.

“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb. (1 Kgs 19:7-8)

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the grace of God, the Father who loves us beyond all telling, the peace of his Beloved Son, Jesus given to us so freely on the Cross and the joy of the Holy Spirit that has been lavishly poured out into our hearts, be with you. I am most humbled and grateful that our Lord has graciously allowed us to journey together into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, into his Holy Presence, into this holy time. Our journey truly has begun. Praise God. The phrase, “forty days and forty nights” reminds us of a time of prayer and preparation, a dedicated time of retreat. It is an opportunity to silence our thoughts and to quiet our minds. To put ourselves in a place where God can find us, where he can minister to our hearts and prepare us for the sacred journey that lies ahead. It is meant to be a time of spiritual retreat. A time to retreat from the things that distract us from God and a time to retreat to those things that attract us to God. I invite you to consider over the next forty days and forty nights how will you prepare to truly and really encounter God Almighty on his Holy Mountain? What do you absolutely need for the journey? What do you absolutely need to leave behind? Things, situations, attitudes, bad memories, stuff? As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus and journey into the sacred places where God walked with his people and ministered to their needs, as we experience the amazing moments and the miraculous events that have transformed our own death into eternal life how will you prepare? Let us take some time to consider God’s gracious gifts, his amazing grace, his profound love, his divine mercy, his desire for you. Let us take these next “forty days and forty nights” as an opportunity to pray and prepare our hearts, minds, spirits, bodies and souls as we do at every Mass, by calling to mind our sins and preparing ourselves spiritually “to celebrate the sacred and holy mysteries.”

Joyful Mysteries

Rosary reflection - 1.

“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” (LK 1:26-28)

Prayer is such an important part of who we are. It is how we communicate with God as Father, Brother and Friend. Prayer enables us to deepen our intimate and felt knowledge of the One who has created us and molded us in his image and likeness.  After we had tarnished our image through sin and self-absorption, prayer permitted us to restore the personal relationship with God through the One who suffered and died for us in order to recreate us into the beloved children of God we were meant to be. Prayer encourages and inspires us to go deeper into the scenes of the Bible and place ourselves into the scripture story, our story in order to more clearly hear the voice of God speaking to our hearts and inviting us to change and grow. One of my favorite scenes to visit is the Annunciation. Imagine placing yourself into the scene. Silence your heart. Quiet your mind. Take a deep breath and enter the scene. As you sit next to our Mother Mary, what do you want or need to say to her? What do you wish to tell her, share with her, ask her to pray for? What is she saying to you, teaching you, asking of you? What does the temperature outside feel like? Is it hot or cool, windy or breezeless, sunny or raining? Is the air fragrant with flowers, perfumes, fresh baked bread?  Are there any sounds of nature? Can you hear any birds in the background? What does Gabriel’s wings sound like, what does he look like, did he startle you? Did you pray with him when he said “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” Can you imagine being in Galilee where God decided to leave his throne in heaven and come down to ask Mary to be his his holy vessel and the Mother of his Beloved Son so that he can enter into our broken humanity, die to repair our sins and bring all God’s children safely back home to heaven? What is God saying to you right now? What do you want to say to God.  Tell him. He is listening.

Rosary Reflection - 2

[The Angel said to Mary,] “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (LK 1:28-30)

Have you found favor with God? A profound yet wonderfully challenging question to consider. But before you attempt to answer the question, like Mary, let us take some time to ponder the question then take it to prayer. Let us give it some serious thought for a moment then thoroughly take it to contemplation. First, let us consider who God is, who we are and what is the difference. God is God and we are not. God is Creator and we are his creation. God is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Creator of the Sun and Moon, Creator of the Planets and Stars, Creator of Time and Space, Creator of the Universe and Galaxies and everything contained in them. God is complete, perfect, pure, infinite, without need, unchangeable, the first cause of existence. God didn’t need us, never needed us, still doesn’t need us, will never need us. Yet he still chose to create us in the beauty of his image and likeness — not out of necessity, but simply out of love. Even when we disobeyed him and were banished from Eden, he still showed his great love to us by covering our shame with his tender love and divine mercy. Even when we said we will never sin again, we gave our attention and hearts to lifeless idols and still God pardoned our sins and accepted our offering of peace. Even when we lied and rejected the law of the Commandments and bore false witness against his Beloved Son, Jesus, who innocently became mortal for us and suffered greatly for our sins, was severely punished for our offenses and died a painful, shameful death because of our iniquities — God still loved us, desired us and forgave us — and even more amazing, God still loves us, still desires us and will forgive us every time we say we are sorry from our hearts. We have definitely found favor with God. Never be afraid to say it. We are the apple of his eye.

Rosary Reflection - 3

Rosary reflection - 4.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.” (LK 1:30)

To know the Lord, to love him and to serve him is at the heart of our Catholic faith and our Christian duty – it is our salvation. It is simply who we are, what we are about and what we must do to more fully realize our identity as beloved children of God. God invites us to more fully live out our call to become holy by becoming faithful witnesses of God’s love, evangelizers of the gospel and missionaries of mercy in the world and in our families.  We are invited to deepen our knowledge of God by understanding his divine plan and living in his holy will. We are invited to deepen our love of God in the Mass, through personal prayer and with deep devotion. We are asked to serve him in faith, in joy and in ministry through random acts of kindness and intentional works of mercy.  We can do this by spending more quality time with sacred scripture, by more fully entering into silent prayer, by more faithfully celebrating the Sacraments of God’s infinite love and divine mercy and by simply living every moment, every action, every thought, every situation, every conversation in accordance with God’s divine plan and his holy will. Mary is certainly our humble role model, our faithful example, our spiritual guide.  She abandoned herself, her thoughts, her will according to God’s Way, his Word, his Will. Mary loves us, intercedes for us, prays unceasingly for us.  Perhaps this is a good time to ask Mary for assistance with your preparation in all things. Ask Mary to spend some quiet time with you in prayer. Ask her for the grace to help you to more intimately and personally know God. Ask her to help you understand all the ways God has blessed you, your work, your family, your ministry. Ask her for the courage to know God’s plan for you and for the strength to entirely surrender to his holy will by saying yes to God from your heart, “May it be done to me according to your word.”

Rosary Reflection - 5

[Elizabeth said,] Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb… Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (LK 1:42,45-47)

In the eyes of the Church and in the souls of so many believers, the name Mary calls to mind so many splendid images of a special person who seems to always be available to us, especially in moments of great need; of a kind woman who is always willing to walk the distance with us no matter how long the journey might be; of a gentle soul who prays for us unceasingly even when we don’t have the energy or the desire to pray for ourselves; of a humble mother who is always so willing to come to our aid no matter what the circumstance might be. She simply wants to help us poor sinners, poor children of God, poor children of Mary. Mary’s name also invokes in us so many stories of how God uses her as an instrument to share the Good News of our salvation; to deliver us important signs and warnings when we drift too far away from God’s presence; to offer us motherly advice at the crossroads of life or in moments of deep discernment; to give us a gentle correction when we choose the wrong rather than choose the right or when we do the bad rather than the good; to provide us with loving inspiration when we are afraid and unable to move forward and to offer us help in moments of darkness, bleak situations or moments of dire need. The mere mention of Mary’s name brings strength to those who are weary, comfort to the sorrowing, hope to the despairing, faith to the unbelieving, something to brighten our day when everything else seems so heavy or everyone around us seems so gray. It brings to heart so many joyful memories that describe our awesome relationship with God, our awesome relationship with Mary, the Mother of God. Some immediate images that come to mind and heart are: Mother, Beloved, Immaculate, Blessed, Beautiful, Virgin, Star, Perfect, Holy, Pure, Vessel, Temple, Tabernacle, Grace, Intercessor, Mystical Rose and the one that might help us during this season to more fully anticipate the gift we desire to more purely celebrate is joy. The Church calls Mary the “Cause of our Joy.” What is the cause of your joy? Not what makes you happy for a brief moment but that which fills you with everlasting joy? For Mary, it is Jesus – God’s Love. Let us pray to our Lord that he would fill us with his love so that like Mary we may perpetually sing for joy.

Rosary Reflection - 6

Rosary reflection - 7.

The angel said to [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. (LK 2:10-11)

I often wonder and am really surprised how often God, an angel, prophet or Jesus approaches someone in the Bible and begins the conversation by saying, “do not be afraid.” Why be afraid of God when he loves us so much and wants to help us so much? When the Angel Gabriel first appeared to Zechariah in the Temple, and to Mary in her home, and to Joseph in a dream, and to the Shepherds in the field, he greeted them by saying, “do not be afraid.” There are many other scenes in the New Testament with similar greetings. For example, when Jesus calls the disciples he says to Peter, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Or when the disciples were caught in a storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water and said, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” There is also the beautiful scene of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. As God spoke to the disciples, they hid. Then Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” Or how about the time when Jesus heard that Jairus’ daughter died. He said to him, “Do not be afraid; just have faith and she will be saved.” Or the women who were heading to the tomb on Easter morning to bring spices for the body of Jesus but were surprised by an angel that said them, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” And finally, in the Book of Revelation, when John experienced Jesus in a vision, Jesus told him, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.” Jesus reminds us, we have nothing to be afraid of any more. God loves us and sent his Son Jesus to save us – not to condemn us.  So do not be afraid, but rather be loved.

Rosary Reflection - 8

[Simeon took the child Jesus] into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (LK 28:32)

On the eighth day, Mary and Joseph took the child Jesus into the Temple to present him to the Lord as prescribed by the law. In the darkness of a world covered over by sin, Christ enters humanity as “a light for revelation.” Once again we can reflect on the great moment when God brings order by giving the order, “let there be light.” Jesus comes into our world as the face of God, the face of Divine Mercy to make visible the Father’s face of infinite love and to show the world how much God desires us. God’s love for us is real. Light reveals, it makes known what is hidden and unveils what we are unable to see. However, our spiritual vision needs to be corrected, our gaze needs to be purified in order to behold God’s gracious gift of self and to see his light and to experience his glory. Simeon and Anna were both spirit filled people. They were filled with the hope that their eyes would personally behold the “Light of the World.” They longed for the anticipated Messiah. When Jesus revealed his light, his love, his life, Simeon and Anna saw it, rejoiced in it and drew others to it. Sadly, it was not seen by all but only by some. Why? Let’s take a moment to consider how they might have prepared to encounter the Christ, the One sent by the Father. The people who were not prepared for the coming of the Lord did not see him even though he was in their midst talking to them face to face. They could not see him. This will repeat itself many times with the Pharisees and Scribes who were unable to see Jesus because their own darkness prevented them from seeing his glorious light.  Simeon and Anna’s actions are helpful for our own spiritual journey as we search for the Light in our desperate times especially in bleak moments covered with despair, confusion and desolation. We hear that Simeon was a righteous, devout and holy man filled with the Holy Spirit and that Anna was a woman dedicated to the Temple and lived a life of fasting and prayer. These beautiful, spiritual disciplines are so beneficial to our spiritual senses for “blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” Let us pray that our Lord will prepare our hearts and light our way so we may see him in our hearts and encounter him personally and intimately in our prayer.

Rosary Reflection - 9

Rosary reflection - 10, luminous mysteries, rosary reflection - 11.

It happened in those days that Jesus came  fr om Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came  fr om the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (MK 1:9-11)

Our baptism is an important day in our spiritual life and an important part of our spiritual journey. It is the entryway into the Father’s heart, the gateway into heaven, the doorway into eternal life. It is then we become beloved Children of God, members of his Holy Family, heirs to his Kingdom. We share in the blessings of Christ, the graces of the Holy Spirit, the mercy of God. Do you know the date of your baptism? Have you celebrated it? Let us take a moment to reflect on the gift of your special day. Once again, invite yourself into sacred quiet and peaceful prayer. Detach yourself  fr om all possible noise and distractions. Enter into the prayer then enter into scene. Use your spiritual imagination to imagine what the church of your baptism looks like? Do you know the name of the church? Have you prayed to that Saint? When the priest asks, “what name do you give this child?” What name did they give you? Have you ever traced the Cross on your forehead given to you at baptism as you were claimed for Christ? Can you still feel the warm sensation and soothing effect of the Oil of Salvation applied to your chest to heal the wounds caused by sin? Have you embraced your baptismal promises to believe in God and to reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises? Do you believe in God? Do you reject sin?  Spend a moment reflecting on the prayer used to bless the water that brought you forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life. “We ask you, Father, with your Son to send the Holy Spirit upon the water of this font. May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life.”  Reflect also for a moment on the prayer used to anoint you with the Sacred Chrism. “The God of power and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has  fr eed you  fr om sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.” God has truly blessed us. Have you thank God for saving you?

Rosary Reflection - 12

Rosary reflection - 13.

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (MT 4:18-20)

People who have experienced a similar situation than we have or have undergone a similar circumstance seem to better understand us, they get us. They can better relate to what we have been through. They seem to better understand our struggles, our hurts, our pains, our impatience, our sorrows.  They understand our hardships, our illnesses, our exhaustion, our heartaches, our losses, our frustration. They understand it because they have been there and have personally suffered through it. That’s what I love about Jesus. He gets us, he understands us.  Having been born into our human weakness and frailty, Jesus understands our challenges and limitations, our temptations and frustrations, our shocks and surprises, our fears and our needs. He knows our bodies, our particular circumstance, the problems we face in life, the tough moments we have to face alone. He knows this because he has personally experienced the effects of our fallen and sinful state. Jesus knows the challenges we have gone through. He understands what we are going through right now and everything we will have to face later in life. He understands our lives are busy, our minds are restless, our time is over occupied. In order to help us, he graciously meets us where we are and invites us to follow him to a better place, a better life, a better frame of mind. Jesus will come and meet us at work or school. He will come and visit us in our lives and in our homes. He will come and meet us in our jobs and our occupations. He will come and meet us in any situation and in every circumstance. Don’t you just love that Jesus comes to meet us where we are? That’s what he did when he called the disciples. He met them where they where. It didn’t matter their particular state of life. Although we can learn and grow from the way the Apostles were called, the image of the fishermen leaves us with a beautiful Christ encounter to personally consider and take to prayer. Fishing was their livelihood. It’s what they knew. Their lives were dependent on it. However, we hear that sometimes they were unsuccessful at a catch.  But all that changes when Jesus comes to meet them where they are and fishes for them. He casts a wide net of confidence and joy. He lures them with words of truth, encouragement and everlasting life. Who can resist the sweet fragrance of his goodness, the voice of purity and truth, the beauty of holiness? They are “hooked”. They drop everything and follow Jesus. They become true fishermen. What about you? Are you hooked on Christ? Are you hooked on Jesus?

Rosary Reflection - 14

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.”  Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” (JN 2:5)

A wedding is a joyous occasion. It is a new beginning, a grand celebration, a happy feast. It’s just a great day. We know a wedding involves lots of coordination, preparation, planning, prayer. When the big day arrives, all the invited guest, relatives and family, friends and neighbors, peers and coworkers come together, they gather, they come to share in this happy day. Throughout our lives, we have many opportunities to celebrate joyous moments and happy occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baptisms. retirements. The question is, did we remember to invite everyone? Was Mary part of your coordinating, preparing, planning, prayer? How about Jesus?  Did you remember to invite him, to ask him for help, support, encouragement, prayer? We tend to forget to invite the members of the Holy Family to our events, family gatherings, daily prayer.  They love when we call upon them – they are happy to join us, intercede for us, to be with us in all stages of life, in every happy occasion and in every sad moment. They are happy to help. One of the prayers I recite often, especially when I am about to embark or start something new, like a new project, a new assignment, a new meeting, a new gathering is to say, “Lord, may everything I do begin with your loving inspiration, continue with your help and come to perfection under your guidance through Christ our Lord.” In other words, Lord, I invite you to join me before starting anything and to help me see it through. It is important that we understand before undertaking anything, especially something new, to ask Mary and Jesus to please accompany us along the way. To please come into this moment, into this idea, into this plan, into this celebration, into this situation, into this project – come so that everything begins, continues and finishes with the support of the Holy Family. The scene of the Wedding at Cana tells us that the couple took the time to invite Jesus and Mary to their special day. It was important for them to have Jesus and Mary there and share in their joy. As Mary so graciously does, she anticipates a need and asks Jesus to help.  Although Jesus says, “Woman, how does your concern affect me?” Jesus remains lovingly obedient to his Mother because she loves us. She is our Mother of Perpetual Help.  Have you invited Jesus and Mary into the planning and preparation of your life? Have you involved them in every decision, in every situation, every aspect of your life?  Have you invited them to be a part of your life because they certainly are a part of you.

Rosary Reflection - 15

Why do we fast? Well, at times we need to fast for medical reasons like when we have blood work done or when we prepare for a routine checkup or undergo a surgical procedure. We also fast for health reasons, to care for certain dietary concerns that can reduce health risks and to improve our overall wellness and wellbeing. We also fast for spiritual reasons. In ancient times, the People of God would fast in preparation to encounter God on his holy mountain and enter into God’s Holy presence. This ritual of purification was required to wash their bodies, purify their hearts and cleanse their minds in order to more fully enter into the Glory of God. For three days, God’s people would fast from certain foods, refrain from sin and avoid sinful activity in order to be holy before the Holy of Holies. They were to be purified in order to behold the Purity of God.  We more often than not attribute fasting to food similar to the observances and practices of the Lenten Season. But fasting is much more than refraining or abstaining from food since we are much more than body. We are also heart, spirit, mind, and soul. All these can uniquely contribute to or hinder our spiritual health and wellbeing. For example, to cleanse our minds in order to more fully enter into the Glory and Holiness of God, we can fast from impure and graven images. We can refrain from living and playing out fantasies. We can keep from judgmental and hurtful thoughts. We can stop worrying and begin to trust in God more fully. To consecrate our hearts in order to more intimately experience the Mercy of God, we can refrain from anger, get rid of malice, avoid hatred, eliminate envy and simply love more and forgive more often. To wash our bodies clean in order to be the Temple of God which we were created to be, we can fast from inappropriate touching, from obscene gestures, from impure acts, from bad language and from eating fast food in order to more fully become the Body of Christ.  To sanctify our spirits in order to more fully enter into the Kingdom of the Divine Will, we can fast from pride, from ego, from selfishness and from ambition in order to become more like Jesus who is meek and humble of heart. To purify our souls in order to be with God, we need to fast from blasphemies, idolatries, all mortal and grave sin and desire more the  road to saintliness, sanctity and holiness in order to make a full and faithful return to innocence and to the sacred.

Rosary Reflection - 16

“Do you ever wonder why we are here and say to yourself there has to be more to life than just this? Somehow we’re just not getting it.” These were the philosophical questions I asked that began a collision course between God’s Divine and Providential Plan and my limited and sad understanding of God, his love, his call, his will. The questions tore open a spiritual doorway into my heart that pushed me into the world of the discerning spirit and the opportunity to serve. The gateway that was opened to me that day, although neglected and ignored at times, could never be closed and certainly would never stop knocking until the call was answered and my heart was satisfied. These somewhat harmless but most profound and prophetic questions echo in the hearts of so many hungry souls and weary spirits who thirst and seek to respond to the possibility of entering into a deeper and more personal relationship with God by sharing in the mission and ministry of Christ. The mission and ministry of Christ seeks to bring about the happiness of individuals through the Teaching of the Law, the Preaching of the Gospel and the Healing of the hearts that are broken, the healing of the spirits that are wounded, the healing of the bodies that are aching, the healing of the souls that are hurting and the healing of the minds that have been tainted by sin. Jesus taught that the Son of Man would be mocked and rejected, persecuted and slapped, chained and scourged, crucified and killed but will be raised on the third day in order to bring out the salvation of souls and the restoration of the fallen humanity. We can help by sharing the truth. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God was at hand and that love and compassion, peace and joy, mercy and forgiveness would rule and reign forever. We can help by helping others to welcome God’s Kingdom into their hearts and homes. Jesus went  fr om town to town casting out sin and Satan, healing division and illness and restoring people to good health and into a loving and intimate relationship with God. We can help by allowing Jesus to heal us first. By allowing Jesus to enter into the hurt, into our pain, into our own suffering, into our own wounds and woundedness. Sharing in this awesome mission and ministry of Christ will certainly bring about our healing and the healing of so many other people for we will understand why we are here and will come to understand our purpose and come to realize there is nothing more rewarding than assisting Jesus to bring about our own salvation and that of the whole world.

Rosary Reflection - 17

“At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.” (LK 19:1-3)

My Lord, I beg you. I really beg you.  Fr om a body that wishes to bend its knees in humble adoration to praise you.  Fr om a spirit of profound humility that longs for an intimate encounter with you.  Fr om a restless mind tired of thinking, overburdened with temptation and just simply wanting to see you.  Fr om a heart that suffers spiritual homelessness when it’s unable to be united to you.  Fr om a soul overcome with a deluge of tears at the thought of you touching this innocence and seeing me, truly seeing me, as no one else can see me and sincerely gazing upon the beauty you created in me. So Lord, I beg you. I really beg you. Set your Holy gaze upon me right now, in this moment, please come in this instant, I’m begging you. Let your infinite vision gaze upon my finiteness and see me as I truly am in this moment, at this time, in this instance. Let your vision of Truth penetrate me to the core of my being as one who looks through a sheet of transparency paper and simply sees me, really sees me as I am. Please see me as I am. See me in my temptations, my tribulations, my  fr ustrations. Look upon me with the gaze of your sweet Mercy and please see in me, way down deep in me the source of my impatience, my lack of understanding, my perceived shortcomings and even those shortcomings I tend to dwell on. Please be moved with such compassion and pity for me and heal me, please heal me. Bring your healing balm deep within me. Let the eyes of Wisdom and Divine Charity see in me the wounded, broken humanity given to me at birth as a cross which has been broken unmercifully by others and wounded unmercifully by me but still so mercifully treated and loved by you. O Lord, you know and feel the sense of my spiritual urgency and would never intentionally ignore me or ignore the cries of your poor lowly creatures. Our hearts are forever connected, fused in an ocean of your divine grace. We believe and we are certain that you know us. We believe and know you experience our longing for you. We know and believe you hear our cries. You even hear our tears and the sound of our restless heartbeats. Lord, we are searching for you. We are longing for you. We are looking for you. Lord, please come to our assistance but we know, and we are confident that you are already on your way.

Rosary Reflection - 18

Pause for a moment and think about your worst fear. You know, that thing you fear the most. That thing that causes you to have sleepless nights, to over-eat, to weep uncontrollably. What if that thing really happened? What if the thing you fear the most came to pass? What is the worst that could happen? You lose your job, they find out you lied, you are embarrassed, you lose your life? Well, that could happen. But never forget that God loves you, he really loves you. God will never abandon you. God will save you. God’s plan is to have you with him in his heavenly Kingdom for all eternity. A place where there is no fear, no crying, no hurting, no pain, no dying. So even if your worst fear comes to pass, the Good News is that you will still end up with God. We fear hurt and pain and embarrassment and loss. That stuff really scares and disables us. But with God, there is endless love and mercy and consolation and peace even in moments of fear and hurt and embarrassment and loss. Especially in those moments. The moments when we need God the most. God’s gifts and God’s grace are more abundant than all our fears combined. Where there is fear, there is much more grace. When we are  fr ightened, God’s arms hold us even tighter. When we are scared, know that we are never alone for God is with us, he will never abandon you. The things that should  fr ighten us the most is our pride and our numbness to sin. These separate us  fr om God’s gracious gifts,  fr om his holy presence,  fr om his amazing grace. And that should really scare us. We need God. We really need him. We can’t live without him. Holy Fear is our strength in moments of temptation, in moments of fear, in moments of pride and even moments of sin. In these moments, God’s grace floods us with the knowledge that he loves us, the understanding that God is greater than all our fears, the wisdom to overcome our sin and the strength to get over our prideful condition. But we must cooperate with God’s grace. We must become meek and humble of heart like Jesus and surrender to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fear can disable us, imprison us, shut us down. Fear can cause fatigue and fill us with anxiety but only if we let it. Jesus says, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” God is always with us. He will never leave us alone. Plus, we must consider the fact that our greatest fear may never even come to pass. Jesus, we love you and we trust in you!

Rosary Reflection - 19

To be a Disciple of Christ is to follow him, to learn from him and ultimately to be like him. Every moment with Jesus was a teachable moment. An opportunity to learn, to listen, to obey, to grow. Jesus freely shared his thoughts, his knowledge, his heart, his wisdom with his disciples. He continues to do so with us. Jesus understands that we absorb instruction and knowledge differently. Not all in the same way or at the same rate or in the same capacity. Our upbringing plays a key role in our development. It affects how we learn, how we teach, how we experience, how we understand. This is an important lesson for all teachers. To understand that not all the students start from the same page or from the same place or from the same point of understanding. A good teacher understands the students; their abilities, their limitations, how they take in information, how they process it, how they learn and how they teach. Jesus understood this. He used different methods of learning. At times, the disciples listen to Jesus share prayers and beatitudes. At times, the disciples saw signs and wonders. Other times, the disciples experienced acts of mercy and healing. Other times, Jesus shared parables to engage the disciples’ imagination in order to contemplate what the Kingdom of God is like. Through the use of these different styles of teaching and learning, Jesus re-enforced the most important lesson of them all.  How to be loving, kind, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, charitable. How to be like Jesus. Some of the lessons were difficult to understand. Like why was it necessary for Jesus to be mocked, rejected, beaten and killed then rise on the third day? God forbid they said. But being the good, patient teacher that he was, Jesus helped the disciples to see, listen, experience, and imagine the importance of the lesson through the Transfiguration. They would come to learn and understand without a doubt the depth of God’s love and the power of his glory that would destroy death, forgive sin and restore life simply because God loves us.

Rosary Reflection - 20

Our spiritual lives play out in the rhythm of the Liturgical Year. We live in concert with the changes of its Seasons as we welcome the birth of the Christ Child, celebrate new life through him, honor his Passion and Death, then celebrate the joy of his Resurrection. Our lives seem to follow a similar pattern. Christmas brings us the joy of something new. A new year, new possibilities, a fresh new start. The season of Ordinary Time brings us the opportunity to learn more, to grow more, to better develop and form our Catholic faith and Christian identity. Lent, on the other hand, is a season to slow down the pace. It is a time to detach more, to pray more, to reflect more and to reevaluate our lives.  It is a great opportunity to take an introspective look within our hearts and within our lives and to determine what is hurtful or not helpful to our spiritual lives. It is an opportunity to let go. To be stripped of the things that distract us, that harm our spiritual growth and that keep us from more fully living out our living and dying in Christ. It is the definitive time of the year to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus to Jerusalem. It is there where we mourn and suffer the hurt, the pain and the effects of our sin. It is a moment of joyous hope and joyful expectation at the thought of being transformed into the risen Christ through the help of God’s grace. Of being transformed into a new creation and into a new life in Christ. We conclude the year by taking a retrospective look back to measure how we did. We identify what needs to change and determine if we are better prepared for the moment when Christ comes again in glory. The entire year is certainly important and critical to our spiritual journey. But in a special way we hold Holy Week close to our hearts as a the most sacred part of the Liturgical Year and the Season of Grace. It is at the heart of our Christian faith. In the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, we come to understand the source and summit of our faith. Jesus literally becoming food for us. Not just spiritual food but “True Food and True Drink” that we simply cannot live without. Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

Sorrowful Mysteries

Rosary reflection - 21, rosary reflection - 22.

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” (MK 14:32-34)

In the Agony in Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus invites us into a prolonged suffering. He welcomes us into his prayer, into his pains, into the depths of his sorrow, into the agony of his heart. We share the disciples lack of understanding. For this night is different than any other night. Jesus’ heart is heavy. His eyes sad. His face weary. Who could know a passion so pure? Who could understand a love so sacrificial? The disciples seem to be out of place, without words, without prayer, without sleep. They do not understand. Who could love this much? It is fear that keeps them and still keeps us from knowing this profound love. It is a lack of freely experiencing this profound love that prevents them and still prevents us from going deep into the Heart of Jesus. Deep into the place of Holy Love and Holy Communion. This is especially true when we know that it is our own sinfulness that caused Jesus’ affliction, his sadness, his concern. We are the cause of his great pain and intense suffering. It is our own fear of pain and sorrow that keeps us from asking Jesus, What is it? What’s wrong? Why are you troubled? Why are you trembling? Why do you look so frightened? Why are you so sad? At first, we do not want to know the answer because we feel it will involve something from us. Perhaps a change. Perhaps a sacrifice. Perhaps a choice. We don’t understand this kind of unconditional love that burns so intensely in our human body and in our human nature. We seem to oppose this kind of divine love. We seem to be habitually prone to selfishness, to self love, to making it about us and not about Jesus. But Jesus wants us to know that he wants to do this for love of us. He wants us to move pass the fear that cripples us and into the love that frees us. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reflects his agony and the great love he has for us. He so freely suffers to bring us relief. The flames of Jesus’ heart burn so brightly for us; ever so intensely – purifying, freeing, cleansing, suffering for our sake, suffering because of us, suffering for love of us. Jesus’ heart cries out to us. It speaks to us from a profound silence and a place perhaps unfamiliar to us. It sends forth a whisper that echos inside of us. “I love you. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.”

Rosary Reflection - 23

Rosary reflection - 24, rosary reflection - 25, rosary reflection - 26, rosary reflection - 27, rosary reflection - 28, rosary reflection - 29, rosary reflection - 30, glorious mysteries, rosary reflection - 31, rosary reflection - 32.

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles  fr om Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them. (LK 24:13-15)

At times we might feel alone, abandoned, neglected, even forgotten by God. The truth is, God is always with us. He will never abandon us, he will never neglect us, he will never forget us. He never has. He never will. The sad reality is, we more often than not, walk away  fr om Christ. We run  fr om him. We hide  fr om him. We run in the opposite direction because we do not really know him. We do not have an intimate knowledge of the profound love he has for us. We do not understand all he has done for us. We just do not know how to be loved. We do not know how to be loved because we have been hurt so many times – but never by God. Yes, it is true. God has never hurt you. God’s will is our happiness. His desire is to love us. He wants to be with us, but we run in the other direction. We hide  fr om his love. We run so fast and furious, so quick and hurried but we are so slow of heart, so slow to love, so slow to forgive, so slow to forget, so slow to be loved by God. Christ’s journey was toward Jerusalem. He never stopped. He never turned around. He never looked backed. He continually walked the Way of the Cross. He suffered and died and rose  fr om the dead as he promised. He set us  fr ee  fr om the bondage of sin and oppression and opened the gates of Heaven so we could truly be  fr ee and happy. That is God’s will for us. His desire for you. We must learn to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus who is the way to the Father, the means to our happiness, the journey home. We must go to Jerusalem and not run away  fr om it. We must walk the Way of the Cross. I love how Jesus meets us where we are and then walks with us even when we are heading in the wrong direction. He is ever so patient with us because he loves us, and he truly wants us to reach the Father. Jesus speaks to us constantly and always. Even when we do not hear him. Even when we chose not to listen to him. Even if we remain stubborn to change direction. Jesus still talks to us, he still guides us, he still cares. We may want to look at the Road to Emmaus as a spiritual walk or a spiritual exercise. Think about the times you were led away  fr om God, distracted  fr om your faith journey or strayed  fr om the truth because of the false things you believe about yourself, about God, about your relationship with Christ. If we allow Christ, he will help us when we have lost our way to see that the true way back home is the road that leads to Jerusalem – the Way of the Cross.

Rosary Reflection - 33

Rosary reflection - 34.

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (JN 20:26-27)

What do you believe in? Will the thing or person you believe in be able to save you or bring you to eternal life? Will they help you obtain eternal peace or eternal glory? Believing can be such a challenge for us especially when something or someone other than God has captured our attention, dominated our time or possessed our heart. We tend to look for hard facts or concrete evidence in order to believe. We believe we need to see something before we can believe in it. We place little trust or emphasis on what we can see or experience through the eyes of faith. Somehow, we make ourselves believe God does not understand our situation or believe God would be okay if we slightly believe what he has told us to be true. When we allow our personal feelings, or opinions, or judgements, or perceived needs to get in the way of our faith, we compromise what we have been taught and believe for something that is more convenient or better suits or meets our needs. We need to be careful living our faith this way. We need to be careful with living our faith based on what we believe should or should not be true rather than what God has told us to believe. We need to be careful with sharing our own personal beliefs as truth especially if they are not grounded in God, sound doctrine or the teachings of the Church. At times, we improvise our faith. We bend the rules or change the Truth in order to suit our needs. We collectively recite the Creed, our profession of faith at Mass. What if you had to prove your faith or were required to sign a document like a creed professing your faith and beliefs? Would you be comfortable in saying you believe in God, that Jesus died for you, that the Sacraments make you holy, that God speaks to you, that God has forgiven you, that God loves you, that we must keep Sunday holy, that we must go to Mass on days of obligation, that God chose life, that lying is a serious offense, that not praying or barely praying is a sin? Do you believe, truly believe, without hesitation or reservation that the bread and wine are truly changed into the Body and Blood of Christ? Do you believe that Jesus is truly and really present in Holy Communion?  Jesus said, “do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Rosary Reflection - 35

Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” (JN 21:5-7)

I recall as a child always wanting to be a grown up. A child wants to be older than they actually are. Remember when you said you were five but were barely four? We never said we were six years old. Instead we said we were almost six or six and a half or almost seven but never six. Remember saying, “when I grow up, I’m going to make lots of money, buy a big house and drive a fancy car. When I’m grown up, I can do whatever I want.” As children, we are asked to do grown up things like help around the house, assist the family, earn our keep. It is a good way to learn responsibility. Back then, it sounded so terrible.  It felt like slavery. Funny, today it doesn’t sound too bad, no stressful job, no anxieties, no worries, no responsibilities, no bills, no expenses, no loans, no car payments, no taxes, no headaches, no laundry, free room and board, food, water, shelter and health care, endless summer vacations, after school snacks. It all sounds good to me. It’s interesting that after three years of being with Jesus, learning from Jesus, suffering as grownups the lessons of the Gospel with Jesus, the disciples encounter Christ after the Resurrection and he calls them children. It is not children as in being childish or inexperienced or immature. But children as in being a beloved child of God. Jesus came into this world to suffer our humanity, our adulthood, our need to be grown up, our independence, our self-sufficiency. He showed us through his example. He taught us by his words. Jesus demonstrated how to be a true child of God by the way he lived and by the way he died. A child is simple, dependent, weak, vulnerable, defenseless, happy, always in the sense of awe. Think for a moment how our almighty and all-powerful God humbled himself and took the form of a poor, helpless, vulnerable child. He surrendered his power, his glory, his security, all his heavenly comforts to live as a child in our midst. He surrendered any concerns, all his will, all his independence, all in loving obedience to the Father. Jesus placed all his trust in the Father’s love and in faithful service to the Father’s will. Jesus was and is a good and faithful child and remained a good and faithful child throughout his life and even unto death – death on a cross. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (MT 18:3)

Rosary Reflection - 36

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” (JN 21:15)

Have you ever experienced the love of God? The love that is totally  fr ee, most unmerited and is beyond all telling?  The love that is completely unconditional, undying in nature and meant to be eternal? The love that is wholly sacrificial, without a doubt life changing, is perpetually life giving and is always available to us?  The love that words cannot describe, money cannot buy, people cannot fake, hearts cannot deny, the love that only God can give. You know the kind of love I’m speaking about, don’t you?  That holy love, that pure love, the love that heals as it wounds and makes you cry with joy.  That kind of love that makes you hope for the impossible, makes you a better person, makes you say I love you even to those who can’t love you in return, even to those who may hurt you again, even to those who dislike you. You know that special love that fills your heart with so much warmth that you can’t hide it, the love that helps you see the inner beauty in all things, the love that helps you see Christ, the love that inspires you to see Jesus in all people, the love that challenges you to look beyond the exterior and look into the heart of another. You know that love, right? The love that binds marriages together, builds relationships up, strengthens family ties, forms  fr iendships forever, the love that ends wars and brings everlasting peace. That is the kind of love God has for us. His love cannot be contained, it is meant to be unleashed. It cannot be buried like a talent; it must be shared so it can multiply and grow. God’s love cannot be kept a secret or be kept for oneself because it is always for another. God’s love cannot be taken  fr om you unless you say so. You cannot be separated  fr om God’s love unless you will it so.  But who would want to deny themselves of the most precious gift humanity has ever known or be separated  fr om the one thing that fills us with great joy and eternal peace? God is love and so are we. So beloved child of God, let us love one another as God has loved us. Jesus looks at you, loves you and asks you, “do you love me?” With all your heart tell him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Thank him for loving you so much.

Rosary Reflection - 37

Rosary reflection - 38.

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (ACTS 2:1-4)

A promise is a verbal commitment by one person to another consenting and agreeing to do or not to do something either in the moment or in the future or forever. A promise requires a faithful adherence to the terms and conditions of the agreement. A promise made in God, with God and through God becomes a solemn agreement, a holy vow, a sacred gift, a faithful commitment which unites individuals or groups of individuals into a sacred agreement, into an unbreakable bond with God.   Fr om the beginning, God enters into a loving covenant with creation and humanity. This covenant is meant to be forever as God says, “I will be your God and you shall be my people.” To prove his love, God promised to send his Son to save us  fr om our sins. And after his death and resurrection, Jesus promised to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit to teach us all that he said and did and to make us holy as God has created and called us to his holiness. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. The wind that breathed new life into humanity. The  fr esh breeze that breathed new life into us. Saint Basil the Great said the Holy Spirit restores paradise to us. Just as God breathed life into Adam, he breathes new life into us making us a new creation through the waters of baptism, the  fr esh water made holy by the Spirit then poured into our hearts bringing about newness, holiness,  fr eshness. The Holy Spirit is given to all who are baptized into Jesus Christ. He fills our hearts with the love of God then sets us aflame with the light and fire of his holy love. We tend to think of fire as something destructive. A deadly force that consumes everything in its path. The fire of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is something good and necessary for our spiritual life.  Saint John of the Cross compares God’s love to burning a log. He says, little by little the fire makes its way into the heart of the log, penetrating its very existence. It goes deep into the crevices of the log, burning away all its impurities. The fire eventually overtakes the log, consuming it until the log becomes the fire. It becomes something that warms and gives light. It becomes the thing that set it aflame. Like a fire to a log, the Holy Spirit consumes and purifies us and helps us to experience God’s love. Helping us to become the fire of God’s love. Helping us to become the One who has set us ablaze.

Rosary Reflection - 39

Alleluia, alleluia. Mary is taken up to heaven; a chorus of angels exults. Alleluia, alleluia. (Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Starting a garden is a lot of work. But with patience, with perseverance, with the help of God’s grace, it becomes a labor of love.  What a privilege it is to share in the beauty of God’s creation. I love the image of God as the Gardener and we the garden. I contemplate how God cares for us and cultivates the beauty of his creation within us – weeding it, pruning it, watering it. When creation permits God to be its gardener, it remains beautiful,  fr agrant,  fr uitful. But when creation rejects God’s grace, the  fr uit becomes sour, bitter, rotten, distasteful, no good, ugly.  The Master Gardener is ever so patient, merciful and kind.  He recreates; he brings forth a Mystical Rose – so full of grace, so sweet a blossom, without stain, beautiful to the eyes of one’s heart. He calls his sweet rose Mary. Her heart is a beautiful garden of God’s love.  A new Eden where God chooses to dwell.  A place to take in the goodness of his creation and rest in it.  Mary is the new Eve – faithful to God’s Word, obedient to his call, lowly in his sight. Our Beloved Mother is ever so open to allowing God to plant the seed of his love into the soil of her heart. She remains forever attentive to his loving instruction and perpetually receptive to God’s grace as he cultivates the seed of our salvation deep inside of her. The soil in Mary’s heart is good soil, holy soil, responsive soil – ever so vulnerable to God, ever so lowly, so helpless, so defenseless to the grace and the outpouring of God’s Spirit.  She allows God to be God.  She permits God to be the Gardener of her heart. And through the grace of God’s love, she brings forth the Blessed  Fr uit of her Womb; ever so innocent, ever so beautiful, ever so sweet – what a beautiful flower it is.  Jesus also shows us how to permit God to cultivate the innocence within our own hearts. He shares the grace and benefits of permitting God to till the soil within our own hearts so that his Word may be planted deep within us and the seeds of God’s love can become efficacious in our lives. Let us learn  fr om Jesus – let us learn  fr om Mary to remain open, available, attentive, receptive, and vulnerable to God – the Gardner of our souls. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (LK 11:28)

Rosary Reflection - 40

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (RV 12:1)

Love best describes who Mary is.  She is the Mother of God – she is the Mother of Love. Mary is filled with love because she is filled with God. There is no room in her for anything else other than God’s grace, other than God’s love, other than God. She becomes that which fills her; she becomes the essence of love, she becomes full of grace. Mary shows us how to humbly receive God’s gracious gift.  She allows God’s love to overshadow her. She allows God’s love to enter into the depths of her body and soul. She allows God’s love to fill the core of her heart and being.  Mary is totally and completely open and available to God.  She is totally and completely receptive and vulnerable to God’s love. Mary simply loves God and God simply loves Mary. God is pleased to dwell in Mary and Mary is pleased to dwell in God. This is a real and profound love.  We experience this profound love in Mass when we remain totally and completely open and available to God’s grace, when we become totally receptive and vulnerable to God’s love. In the Mass, Jesus makes God’s profound love visible to us through his Word and in his Eucharist. God invites us to permit the Power of the Holy Spirit to overshadow us, to penetrate our inmost soul, to touch our holy innocence, to welcome God into the depths of our being. Jesus invites us to love God and to simply be loved by him. To permit God to dwell in us and us to dwell in God. Like Mary, we should rejoice in the precious gift that has be given to us; the gift of God’s all-consuming love.  This is the love that became visible to us in the Nativity. This is the love that has ministered to us. This is the love that heals us. This is the love that forgives us. This is the love that was rejected for us. This is the love that died for us. This is the love that opened up the gates of Heaven to us. This is the love that has been poured into our hearts and is nourished and fed in Mass.  Does your soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord? Does your spirit rejoice in God our Savior?  Have you welcomed Christ into your heart, into your life, into your home, into your ministry, into your family?  Will you go in haste to share the Good News with your family, your  fr iends, your faith community, your coworkers, the world?  Father, bless you for our journey of love. Blessed are you for the gift of your love – Jesus. And blessed are you for the bearer of your gift – Mary.  May the love of God our Father and Mary our Mother and Christ our Brother remain in our hearts for ever.

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journey deeper joyful mysteries

Mini Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries

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First Joyful Mystery:  The Annunciation to Mary

Luke 1:28, 31, 38.  The Angel Gabriel said to Mary:  “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women…You shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus… Mary answered, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church :  #461-463, 491

Reflection:  In the quiet of a garden, God proposes (through an angel) and a woman accepts. Mary is accepting to walk into a mystery. She does not know what lies ahead on this new path, but she knows who is asking and she trusts in him. There are many annunciation moments in our life, and sometimes we hesitate to say yes because we cannot foresee the future or control what will happen. In this mystery, ask Mary to give you a deep trust in the one who invites you to follow. Ask her to help you trust that even if the path ahead is full of crosses, God will be walking with you. If you hold his hand in the darkness, he will give you strength, peace, and an intimate joy that nothing can take away.

Second Joyful Mystery:  The Visitation

Luke 1:42-44.  Elizabeth was filed with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy.

Catechism of the Catholic Church : #495-497, 717

Reflection : One of the wonders of God’s plan is that he chooses to associate souls, one to another, so that they help each other on their journey. As cousins, Mary and Elizabeth share a bond of kinship. But they also share a spiritual kinship because of how the Holy Spirit is acting in their lives, fashioning the Messiah and his prophet deep inside their wombs. During those months, Mary and Elizabeth don’t just sit around waiting. They are working, preparing for Elizabeth’s baby, quietly conversing, and praying. Together, they are like a little monastic community. In our lives too, God gives us spiritual friendships and soul-mates who help us grow closer to him. Sometimes he links our lives together for a larger purpose that will reveal itself with time. In this mystery, ask Mary to help you and your spiritual friends listen carefully for God’s voice in your lives, so that you can walk with him and with each other.

Third Joyful Mystery:  The Nativity

Luke 2:6-7.  “And it came to pass while they were there, that the days for Mary to be delivered were fulfilled. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothing and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  #437, 535-536

Reflection:   All of Bethlehem was dark and quiet when the Savior made his entrance into the world, and his first home was in the protective circle of Mary’s arms. Imagine how Mary’s heart shone with a love spanning the tender, protective love of a mother holding her baby in her arms and the profound adoration of a soul adoring her Creator and Lord in the flesh. This was a day of fulfillment and joy—one of many along a path also rich in crosses. Nine months ago, she had given that first “yes” in the garden. Now it had become a life, a beautiful baby. It was so clear now that everything—even the future crosses that would be her “birth pains”—were worth it. In our lives too, there are times when God asks us to make a choice that we do not fully understand, and the blessing reveals itself only later in time. Once the blessing comes, we understand that the only way to understand God’s plan was to live it. In this mystery, ask Mary for the grace to believe in the blessings that were promised in your own life, even if they seem slow in coming. The most exquisite flowers sometimes take the longest to develop.

Fourth Joyful Mystery:  The Presentation

Luke 2:22, 34, 35.  When the days of her purification were fulfilled they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…Simeon blessed them and said to his Mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church : #527, 529

Reflection : There had never been a presentation like the one that took place in the Temple that day, and there never would be again. Mary and Joseph were presenting the Only Begotten Son to the Eternal Father, in a temple that was merely the shadow and copy of the real temple in heaven. They were also acknowledging that this child was not their own, and that his first bond of kinship was to his Heavenly Father. Mary was not one to cling to her child with overprotective love, as some mothers do. Yet even she, the selfless and obedient one, was promised that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart on the day of separation. Why does God give us such beautiful gifts and then ask us to give them up?  Why does he allow a loving heart to be pierced with loss?  These questions must be brought to Mary, who suffered this sword in a terrible way, more than any mother, any father. Through this mystery, she can help your heart accept what your mind cannot understand.

Fifth Joyful Mystery:  The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Luke 2:46, 51.   After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…And He returned with His parents to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.

Catechism of the Catholic Church : #531-534

Reflection : All of the joyful mysteries are somehow tinged with sorrow, but they are also touched with light and glory. In the precocious wisdom of a 12-year-old boy, Jesus gives his parents and the teachers a glimpse of his true stature. He knows who he is and what he came for, even as a boy. But he did not begin by teaching, just as he did not begin by commanding. He began in the humble position of one who listens and asks questions. He also began in the humility of a boy who obeys his parents. Why does Jesus listen and ask questions when he already knows all of the answers with perfect certainty? And why did he obey his mother and father when he himself had called them into existence?  Perhaps Mary also reflected on these questions, wondering at the sweetness and respect with which God introduces himself into our lives, as a fellow pilgrim who lives our lives with us, whose questions make us reflect and grow, who listens to us with kindness and interest, and who perhaps has obeyed us—answering our prayers, forgiving our sins in confession, coming into our hearts in holy Communion— far more than we have obeyed him. In this mystery, ask Mary to help you see and touch this goodness of Jesus in your own life.


“God has given us talents and asks us for a response”: Fr. John Connor, LC, on his trip to Northern Mexico

“God has given us talents and asks us for a response”: Fr. John Connor, LC, on his trip to Northern Mexico

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Alex Kucera

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!

Unite in Prayer

Encouragement and inspiration for your spiritual journey., meditations on the mysteries of the rosary to pray for your child’s school.

journey deeper joyful mysteries

Every Monday, my Rosary group prays these mysteries for our kids and all the kids, who go to our school and belong to our parish community. It is a blessing to gather in prayer with other faith-filled women to invite God’s blessing on our community. Please feel free to pray these meditations for your kids and school or with your rosary group as well.

The Joyful Mysteries (Traditionally, to be prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)

First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation Angel Gabriel tells Mary she will conceive the child Jesus

Mary, when the angel asked you to be God’s mother, you said yes without hesitating, even though your yes came at great personal risk. As moms, give us the courage to say a joyful yes to God like you did, so we can bring your Son’s perfect love into the world. Surround our kids with angels, bless them with the grace to hear the gentle whispers of God’s guidance, and give them the courage to say Yes to whatever He asks of them, always.

Lord, give us the grace of humility.

Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth

Mary, when you were pregnant with Jesus, you rushed to help your cousin, who said “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.” As moms, help us to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, like you did, so we can bring Christ into the world in whatever way we’re called. Bless our kids with the gift of a deep faith and personal encounter with the Lord, which will strengthen their ability to trust in Your Son always.

Lord, give us the grace to love our neighbors as ourselves.

The Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus: Jesus is born in Bethlehem.

Mary, you gave birth to Your Perfect Son in a manger, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes. As moms, help us to navigate the materialistic world we’re living in, so we can prioritize God’s love above all material comforts, like you did. Grace our kids with a strong sense of God’s presence in their lives and a realization that Love is the greatest treasure on earth. Protect them from superficial mindsets that would lead them away from your Son’s perfect plan for their lives.

Lord give us the grace of interior poverty.

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple: Jesus is brought by His Mother and Father to be blessed in the temple.

Mary, you and Joseph brought Jesus into the temple to be blessed, even though He was the living God. As parents, help us to be humble and respectful of the traditions of the Church, always seeking blessings for our children and never thinking we can raise them without God’s help. Bless our kids with a strong desire to stay active in church as they grow. Help them to experience the value of faith community, so they are drawn to a deep love of the faith, which will stick with them throughout their lives.

Lord give us the grace of obedience to the law of God.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding Jesus in the Temple: Jesus was lost for 3 days in the temple.

Mary, you must have been so relieved to find Your Jesus in the temple seeking God after you thought you’d lost Him. As parents, help us to align our will for our children with God’s will for our children. When they are out of our sight or seem “lost” to us, help us to trust that they’re surrounded by angels and protected by God. Bless our children with the grace to courageously follow Christ, even if it means disappointing their peers or even us, as their parents if our will is not in alignment with Gods.

Lord give us the grace of Joy in Christ.

The Glorious Mysteries (Traditionally, to be prayed on Wednesday and Sunday)

The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection: “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.” (Matthew 28:6)

Jesus, Your resurrection was the ultimate triumph over sin and death. Help us to truly believe in Your power over this life and the next, so we can let go of our fear of death and suffering to more fully embrace a life of faith, while we’re here on earth. Help us to encounter Your resurrection power in our own hearts, so we can rise to the heights of sanctity and accomplish what You have planned for us in this lifetime.

Lord, fill our hearts with the grace of Faith.

The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension: “Jesus was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

Jesus, we can only imagine how glorious it was to witness Your ascension into heaven body and soul. Fill our hearts with hope in Your ultimate return to us someday. Even though You are out of our sight, help us to know You are always here with us in Spirit, and help us to encounter Your love in tangible ways.

Lord, give us the grace of Hope.

The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit: “There appeared to them tongues of fire … which came to rest on each one of them” (Acts 2:3)

Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit here with us. Descend like a tongue of fire into our own hearts. Light us up from the inside, guide, teach and protect us always, filling us with the gifts of the Spirit including wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

Lord, fill our hearts with the grace of supernatural Love for You, ourselves and others.

The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption: “Through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)

Lord, give us the grace of a happy death.

The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth: “in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun and … a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)

Lord, You honored your mother so beautifully by naming her Queen of Heaven and Earth. Please help us to grow into devotion to Her as one more way to honor You, our living God.

Lord, give us the grace of trust in Mary’s intercession.

The Luminous Mysteries (Traditionally, to be prayed on Thursdays)

The First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of our Lord: “A voice from the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Lord in our heart of hearts, we all long for the approval You showered on Your only son. Show us how to allow the Spirit of Christ to grow in our hearts, so we can gain the blessing of your approval as well. Lead us from the temptation to fill that aching need we have for Your approval through people pleasing, which will never truly satisfy.

Lord, give us the grace of openness to the Holy Spirit.

The Second Luminous Mystery: The Wedding at Cana: “Jesus performed the first of His signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed His glory.” (John 2:13)

Lord, give us the grace of faith in reaching Jesus through Mary.

The Third Luminous Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God: “Jesus appeared in Galilee proclaiming the good news of God” (Mark 1:14)

Lord, give us the grace of repentance and trust in God.

The Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration: “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2)

Lord, give us the grace of desire for holiness.

The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24)

Lord, give us the grace of adoration.

The Sorrowful Mysteries (Traditionally, to be prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays)

The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden: Jesus prayed, “Abba, father … not what I wil but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)

Lord, give us the grace of sorrow for sin.

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar: “Pilate … having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to be crucified.” (Mark 15:15)

Lord, give us the grace of purity.

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns: “The soldiers … plaiting a crown of thorns, put it on Him” (Mark 15:17)

Lord, give us the grace of moral courage.

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross: “They took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross.” (John 19:17)

Lord, give us the grace of patience.

The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Crucifixion: “Father into Your hands, I commend My spirit!” (Luke 23:46)

Lord, give us the grace of perseverance.

How have you been impacted by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my prayers.

written by Nicky Gant at

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St. Anthony Messenger

The flip side of the joyful mysteries.

  • Martin Pable, OFM Cap
  • May 2019 , St. Anthony Messenger

journey deeper joyful mysteries

A shadow hovers over the joyful mysteries of the rosary. In it, we can find parallels to our own lives.

Lately as I have been praying the joyful mysteries, I’ve become aware that there is a dark and stressful side to them. But rather than arousing in me a sad or distasteful feeling, I find them to be even more nourishing for my spirit. I invite you to walk through them with me.

The Annunciation to Mary (Lk 1:26‚38)

We all know the scene. It’s been pictured by artists for centuries. An angel appears to the Virgin Mary and tells her she is going to conceive and bear a child whom she should name Jesus. This conception will not take place in the usual manner, but “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Mary is both confused and fearful; but the angel tells her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

That’s asking a lot of a teenage girl. But Mary’s major fear (and here is the dark side) is: How can I possibly explain this to Joseph? We are not even married yet. What will my parents and the townsfolk think? In the Gospel of Luke, the angel simply tells her: “Don’t worry; God will take care of everything. Place all your trust in him.” At that point Mary simply surrenders to God’s will: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to your word. ” We are not told how Joseph responded to this news. But the fact that the Gospel of Matthew calls him “a just man” tells us that he trusted Mary’s word and took her as his wife.

We think of the times in our lives when we are asked to do or say something that others will not understand or will severely criticize. Like Mary, we feel paralyzed by fear. Yet we take the action or speak the truth because we believe the words the angel spoke to Mary: “Do not be afraid . . . for nothing will be impossible for God.” And in that act of faith and trust, we experience, in spite of our fears, the power and the wisdom of God aiding us.

The Visit with Elizabeth (Lk 1:39‚56)

The next scene in the Gospel of Luke is Mary’s visit to her elderly cousin Elizabeth. The angel had told her that Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy. Now, let’s be realistic about this. That visit was not a trip of a few blocks or even miles; it was more like 60 miles. I can imagine Joseph trying to persuade Mary not to make that trip. But when Mary persisted, Joseph probably insisted that a couple of his adult nephews accompany her. I used to assume that Mary’s purpose is simply to help her cousin in the time before the delivery of her child. But now I believe Mary also has another motive: She needs to talk to an older woman, a woman of faith.

Yes, there is a dark side to the joyful mysteries, a combination of joy and pain. But that can make them even more meaningful and relevant for our spiritual lives.”

Recall that Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, is unable to speak. But he is a Jewish priest with a deep knowledge of the Old Testament. After listening to Mary’s story, he is convinced that the child she is carrying is the longed-for Messiah. I can picture him writing out passages from the Scriptures that referred to the Messiah. He reminds them that the Messiah will descend from the family of David, to which both Mary and Joseph belong; that he will bring about justice for God’s people; will work great signs and wonders among them; and will be called the Prince of Peace. But—and here is the dark side of the Visitation—he will also be rejected by his own people and endure the sufferings so vividly described by the prophet Isaiah (53:1‚ 12).

In our own lives, too, there is always a mixture of good and bad news. It’s pleasant to visit family and friends; but sometimes the news we hear from them is not very happy. They’ve developed health problems; some of the children are not doing well; there’s talk about layoffs at work; their homes need repairs. Still, we are not sorry we called or visited. Perhaps we even receive some encouragement from them. I picture Mary returning home to Joseph with a grateful heart, knowing that her elderly relatives are praying for them.

The Birth of Jesus (Lk 2:120; Mt 2:112)

The third joyful mystery is the one we call Christmas: “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes. The events described by the Gospels are certainly joy-filled: the night sky bright with singing angels, humble shepherds kneeling at the crib of the newborn child, the Magi from the East offering the baby their precious gifts. At church we sing our favorite Christmas songs. We exchange gifts in memory of the One who gave himself totally to us.

But, again, the flip side. We can picture Mary eagerly awaiting her time to give birth, Joseph using his skills to build a fine crib for the child. But then comes the stunning news. The Roman emperor has decreed a total census—not only of Roman citizens, but also of Jews and others living in the empire. So Mary and Joseph have to make the arduous journey (again, about 60 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

journey deeper joyful mysteries

But now it is nearly time for Mary to give birth. When they finally arrive, every room for lodging is filled. One innkeeper offers to let them use his animal shelter; at least it is out of the wind and has a straw-filled manger to hold the child. The Bible does not relate the words or feelings of Joseph and Mary. But we can imagine them joining their Jewish ancestors who, time and again, cried out: “Why, dear God, is this happening?”

Is it not often the same with us, when our faith is being tested? When our well-thought-out plans get sabotaged by some unforeseen glitch? It is then that we are called to renew our trust in the wisdom and goodness of our God.

The Presentation in the Temple (Lk 2:2238)

Joseph and Mary are devout and faithful Jews. Their law requires parents of a firstborn male child to present him to God in a ceremony at the Temple in Jerusalem. The intent is to impress upon the parents that a child is a precious gift from God and that parents are entrusted with this gift. As this ceremony is being carried out, two elderly people come forward.

The first, Simeon, had been told by the Holy Spirit that he will not die until he has seen the Messiah. As Luke says, Simeon “took him [Jesus] in his arms and blessed God, saying: ‘Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace . . . for my eyes have seen your salvation . . . a light for revelation to the gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.'” In other words, this child has come for all people and nations as their Lord and Savior.

Next, 84-year-old Anna comes forward, and, Luke writes, “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” These dear elders, who have been waiting and praying so long for the coming of the Messiah, have seen their hopes fulfilled in this child. It’s easy to see why this is a joyful mystery.

But here’s the dark side. After blessing Joseph and Mary, Simeon goes on to tell them: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted [and you yourself (Mary) a sword will pierce]” (2:34‚ 35). So, when Jesus becomes an adult and begins his public ministry, people will have to choose: either to accept him and his teaching or to reject him. And as that drama plays out, Mary will suffer a broken heart.

This mystery connects closely with parents. Children are a profound source of joy and love for them. At the same time, they can become a cause for much anxiety and disappointment. Parents and grandparents often must live through these emotional swings. At the same time, they need to hold fast to their faith: that God loves their children even more than they do and will continue to hold them in his loving care.

Finding Jesus in the Temple (Lk 3:41,52)

Jewish law required adults to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for three major feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The Gospel does not state whether Jesus accompanied his parents before turning 12 years old. But on the return trip this time, they discover that Jesus is not with them. One explanation is that each parent presumed that Jesus was with the other. Luke tells us they spend three days looking for him—first among their relatives and friends, then back in Jerusalem. They finally find him in the Temple, “sitting in the midst of the teachers [rabbis], listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers” (2:46‚ 47).

Mary and Joseph, however, are upset and scold him: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” But instead of an apology, Jesus says, in effect, “You should have known I would be in my Father’s house.” But how were they supposed to know that without his telling them?

This event is regarded as joyful because the loss was temporary and the family was reunited. But again, there is another side. It is not difficult to imagine the emotional stress Mary and Joseph had to endure. Did they blame or criticize each other? Possibly, but I don’t think so; their love for each other overcame that. Rather, I imagine each of them feeling a deep sense of guilt: “Why didn’t I check on the boy and make sure he was with one of us?”

Once again, the Scriptures connect us with our own human experience. Who of us has not agonized over decisions, actions, or omissions that caused pain to others and ourselves? Feelings of guilt are not necessarily harmful and can even be healthy because they can lead us to change and to deeper self-knowledge. And spiritually they can move us to repentance and the experience of God’s loving forgiveness.

People sometimes tell me, “I know God has forgiven me, but I can’t forgive myself.” I refer them to the prophet Micah, who says that God “will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins” (7:19). Once they are confessed and forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they are gone. As I once heard a pastor say, “And God puts a sign there: No fishing!” Don’t keep going back into those waters.

Darkness and Light

Yes, there is a dark side to the joyful mysteries, a combination of joy and pain. But that can make them even more meaningful and relevant for our spiritual lives. We realize that holy persons like Mary and Joseph still had to struggle with stress and heartache in their lives, even amid their deepest joys—just as we often do.

Their example can give us the patience and encouragement we need in our own spiritual journey. And we invoke their intercession, knowing that they truly understand.

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1 thought on “The Flip Side of the Joyful Mysteries”

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I a 65 years old and I was feeling a bit depressed because they joy I used to have for Christmas was gone. Maybe because I am advanced in years, I told myself. As a child, I looked to Christmas with expectations and wonder. But now, it is almost one of those days, despite having spent the past two weeks with family. After I read this, I realized that Christmas is not just about joy, but also about sorrow; however, joy triumphs in the end. We may not always have joy in this life, but in the next one. We need to trust in God. Thank you.

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journey deeper joyful mysteries


journey deeper joyful mysteries

The Meditated Rosary / Sorrowful Mysteries

Sorrowful mysteries.

Tuesday and Friday

Mediteted Rosary from website “Journey Deeper” Voices are from Cecilia

journey deeper joyful mysteries

1st Mystery

The agony of in the garden.

"My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by, nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it." With you, Mary, may this also become our prayer in our trials.

 Jesus – "My table is always set, without interruption. I, the Master, have sacrificed everything! My Self, I give you."  

Spiritual Diary – January 16, 1964

journey deeper joyful mysteries

2nd Mystery 

The scourging at the pillar.

May our suffering, united to the scourging of Jesus, become a prayer offered with you Mary, for our family and for the world.

 Jesus – "When receiving Holy Communion, look deeply into your soul and feel the effects My Precious Blood produces within you. Do not be insensitive to that! It is not by habit that you should come to My table, but rather propelled by a love that will be fueled as it touches Mine, and which through Me, and in union with you, will burn away the sins of your soul..."  

journey deeper joyful mysteries

3rd Mystery

The crowning with thorns.

May the thorns which wound our heart make the garden of our life blossom in faith with You, Mary.

 Jesus – “Without faith and trust, no virtue can take root in you. They are the foundation of this holy project for which we are preparing."  

Spiritual Diary – March 24, 1963

journey deeper joyful mysteries

4th Mystery

Jesus carries the cross.

May our daily cross be made lighter by the sorrowful Cross of Jesus, which has become glorious by His Resurrection.

 Jesus – "We give you the strength and courage to take the first steps, but you should not delay accomplishing My will, or simply dismiss it with the back of your hand."  

Spiritual Diary – July 22, 1963

journey deeper joyful mysteries

5th Mystery

The crucifixion.

May the loving words uttered by Jesus on the Cross become seeds of life, love and forgiveness in every heart.

 Jesus – "If you do not come to Me, how then can I bestow My graces upon you? The fullness of graces is stored up in My Heart. My Heart is an unending source of love."  

Spiritual Diary – February 10, 1963

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