The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life and Passion. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Saint John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.

So, why do we meditate on the mysteries?

When Catholics recite the twelve prayers that form a decade of the rosary, we meditate on the mystery associated with that decade. If we merely recite the prayers, whether vocally or silently, we are missing the essence of the rosary.

When we pray the rosary, we may have specific intentions in mind as we work our way through the mysteries. Or perhaps we envision the scenes from Scripture that correspond with each mystery.

Meditating on the spiritual fruit of each mystery — a specific virtue that we can aspire to live out in our own lives like Jesus and Mary — can make our prayer experience deeper and our devotion more spiritually fruitful. Meditating on the fruits of each mystery of the rosary is a way to preach the rosary with our lives, pursue and attain virtue, and become more of the person that God is calling each of us to be.

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

We make the sign of the cross while holding the crucifix and recite the Apostle’s Creed. This Creed is dated from the earliest period of the church. It is not only a statement of our beliefs, but it is a very powerful prayer. The Creed outlines salvation history and calls us to acknowledge the Lord for who He is and what He has done for us.

Apostle’s Creed

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.

On the first large bead we recite the Lord’s Prayer. The Our Father is called the Lord’s Prayer because it was given to us by Jesus. The Lord’s Prayer contains the traditional Jewish formula of prayer which begins with praise and thanksgiving and moves toward petition.

The Lord’s Prayer

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.

We pray a Hail Mary on the next three beads. The Hail Mary is a combination of two scriptures. First, we hear the words of affirmation from the angel Gabriel. Second, we hear the word of Elizabeth who also affirms Mary as the mother of Jesus.

 

The 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.

As we pass on to the fifth bead, we say The Glory Be to the Father. This prayer is given in praise of the Trinity. It also acknowledges the sovereign Lordship of our God over all time-the past, the present, and the future.

The Glory Be

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.

Next, we pause and call to mind the mystery that we are to pray.

First Joyful Mystery-The Annunciation

“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary, “may it be done to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

The archangel Gabriel appears to Mary and brings her the message of the fulfillment of the promises of old. Mary says, “yes” to God’s plan and Jesus is conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Receiving the Love of Jesus

Mary, your yes” is a model for us. Through your prayers, help us to say yes to what the Lord has planned for us. Open our hearts to the love of Jesus. Just as you are a handmaid, teach us to be humble servants of Jesus’s love. Pray that we may hear God’s Word and put it into practice.

We pray for parents, that they will pass faith on to their children.

On the fifth bead of the rosary, we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Next, move from bead to bead, praying one Hail Mary on each of the next ten beads. After we have prayed the 10th hail Mary, pray the Glory Be.

After finishing each decade, some (myself included) say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: 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.

We now pause and call to mind the second mystery that we are to pray.

Second Joyful Mystery-The Visitation

“Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me.” (Luke 1:43)

Mary proceeds in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is also touched by the power of God. Elizabeth and Zechariah are able to conceive a child even though they were thought to be sterile. With God, nothing is impossible.

Sharing the Love of Jesus

Mary, you were not only able to say yes to God, but your yes was something that simply had to be shared. Mary, you reached out to help your cousin, Elizabeth, to share your faith with her. You received comfort and love from God and you gave comfort and love to others. Help us to bring the love of Jesus to others.

We pray for the unborn and for expecting mothers and fathers, that they may celebrate God’s gift of life.

On the next large bead of the rosary, we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Next, move from bead to bead, praying one Hail Mary on each of the next ten beads. After we have prayed the 10th hail Mary, pray the Glory Be.

Pray, 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.

We now pause and call to mind the third mystery that we are to pray.

Third Joyful Mystery-The Birth of Jesus

The word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.   (John 1:14)

Since there was no room in the inn, Jesus was born in a stable and was lovingly placed in a manger. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The angels see what many do not see. They sing a new song in praise of what god has done for us.

Giving Birth to the Love of Jesus

Mary, your trust in the Lord opened the door to God in a precious way. Teach us to trust in God so that we can bring the real presence of Jesus to others. Help us to discover the joy that you knew at the birth of Jesus!

We pray for all children, that they may know the love of Jesus!

On the next large bead of the rosary, we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Next, move from bead to bead, praying one Hail Mary on each of the next ten beads. After we have prayed the 10th hail Mary, pray the Glory Be.

Pray, 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.

We now pause and call to mind the fourth mystery that we are to pray.

Fourth Joyful Mystery-Presentation in the temple

Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace.

With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples. (Luke 2:29-31)

In obedience to the law, Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus, to the temple to offer their first-born son to God. Simeon, the prophet, recognized the Messiah in this newborn babe and sang a song of praise. Anna also rejoiced in the Messiah.

Presenting the Fruit of Our Love

Mary, you have offered your Son at the Temple to the Father. Help us to offer all that we treasure to the Father with the same trust and abandonment to the will of God. Mary, help us to be in tune with God’s presence like Simeon and Anna. Help us recognize the Lord and respond to Him in faith.

We pray for the elderly, that they may be esteemed for their wisdom and cared for by the faithful.

On the next large bead of the rosary, we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Next, move from bead to bead, praying one Hail Mary on each of the next ten beads. After we have prayed the 10th hail Mary, pray the Glory Be.

Pray, 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.

We now pause and call to mind the fifth mystery that we are to pray.

Fifth Joyful Mystery-Finding in the Temple

His parents were astonished when they saw him, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you.” (Luke 2:48)

Mary and Joseph experienced the sense of loss and pain when they did not know where Jesus was. After three days, they found Him in the Temple where Jesus said, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Finding the Love of Jesus

Mary, you know the pain of separation from Jesus. For three days you searched for the Lord with sorrow. Help us when we feel alone and away from the Lord. Pray that we may find the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle at Church and in the temple of our hearts. Help us to seek Jesus always.

We pray that our youth may mature in faith, hope, and love.

On the next large bead of the rosary, we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Next, move from bead to bead, praying one Hail Mary on each of the next ten beads. After we have prayed the 10th hail Mary, pray the Glory Be.

Pray, 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.

At the end of the fifth decade, we pray the Hail Holy Queen. Mary helps us as pilgrims moving toward our final destiny in Christ. She is our advocate who helps us to endure the hardships and to discover peace.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
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 toward us,
and after this our exile
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.

The Concluding Prayers:
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

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 while 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. 

Conclude the Rosary with the Sign of the Cross (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen).

Prayers of the Rosary
The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary
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