Joyful Mystery Meditations

Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary are traditionally prayed on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays during Advent and Christmastide. Some pray the Joyful Mysteries every day during Advent and Christmastide as a devotion. These mysteries of Joy focus on the God of the universe Who in a sense “empties Himself” of His divinity and is made man in all humility (Php 2:7-8) incarnate of the ever Virgin Mary, Who sanctifies from the Womb of Mary, and Who teaches His parents at His finding in the temple and then humbly submits to them. 

On Meditation

Meditation is a deeper and more efficacious form of prayer than vocal, and according to various Saints and Doctors of the Church such as St Alphonsus Liguori and St Theresa of Avila, meditative prayer is necessary for one’s spiritual life and even eternal salvation. The purpose as with all prayer is to elevate the heart and mind to God. Therefore, when in meditation if one’s mind and heart are particularly found to be directed to God in charity or contemplation, the soul should remain there as long as God permits. St Louis de Montfort among many other Saints recommend praying slowly and intently for a tremendous spiritual benefit. For the first Saturday devotion, in fact, a fifteen minute meditation on just one mystery is typically recommended to fulfill the requirement. 

The following individual meditations contain enough depth to be dwelt upon for an entire decade. They may also be read with one meditation for each Ave or stopped and meditated upon further when one is found to be compelling. The linked full texts of relevant Scriptures are available for additional insights into the mystery, and the sacred images provide a direction and window into the divine life. 

Additional information with further meditation and full sources are available and linked to in the end notes section at the bottom of the page.

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

Primum Mysterium Gaudiosum: Annuntiatio

Spiritual Fruit: Humility | Docility to the Will of God

Mathew 1:18; Luke 1:26-38

O God, Who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. (Collect for Annunciation)

  1. From the moment of her Immaculate Conception, God prepared Mary to be the mother of the Incarnate Word.
  2. The Angel Gabriel is sent to the Virgin named Mary, which means “Star of the Sea,” the one destined to bring forth the Light of the world, as the prophet foretold: “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means, God with us.” [1]
  3. The Angel Gabriel brings from heaven a message of the greatest of divine graces granted to any creature: Ave Maria, gratia plena. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” [2*]
  4. “What angelic purity even may we venture to compare with that virginity, which was worthy of becoming the shrine of the Holy Spirit, and the abode of the Son of God.” [3]
  5. The angel declares to Mary: “Fear not…thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus”—the name to which every knee shall bow. “And of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
  6. Mary asks how this can be since she has made a vow of perpetual virginity, thereby showing her preference and great love for chastity to the angelic tidings. [4*]
  7. The angel explains, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee,” to cover thee as with a veil, and the Holy of Holies within thy womb shall be called the Son of God.
  8. The host of heaven awaits in silence. Mary answers with her fiat in all modesty and humility of heart and mind: Ecce ancilla Domini “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.”
  9. “Blessed art thou among women, for thou hast brought forth life. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world; the mother of our Lord brought salvation.” [5]
  10. From that very moment in the womb of Mary was conceived the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Et Verbo caro factum est… “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

May the grace of the Mystery of the Incarnation come down into my soul and make me truly (humble)(fill in the virtue of your meditation.)

The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation

Secundum Mysterium Gaudiosum: Visitatio

Spiritual Fruit: Charity towards Neighbor | Fraternal Charity
Works of Mercy: Visit the sick, Comfort the Afflicted

Luke 1:39-56

Bestow upon Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace: that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn feast of her visitation may bring us an increase of peace. (Collect for Visitation)

  1. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth who was barren in her old age conceives a son named John who was prophesied by an angel to “be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb.”
  2. The Blessed Mother embarks on a long journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, “hastening on account of her joy.” [6]
  3. Mary enters the house of Zachary and greets Elizabeth with the words: “Peace be to thee.” The voice of the Virgin was as the voice of God Incarnate in her. [7]
  4. At the sound of Mary’s salutation to Elizabeth, John the Baptist is immediately sanctified in his mother’s womb, cleansed from original sin, and filled with the spirit of prophecy. [8*]
  5. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, cries out with a loud voice: “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
  6. Continuing in great humility and reverence, “How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” This greeting prefigures Mary’s title as Mater Dei, Mother of God. [9]
  7. “For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped with joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.” [10*]
  8. Our Lady replies in her famous Magnificat, which throughout the course of the centuries her children repeat with her in praise to God: “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
  9. “Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” These words are a prediction of that honor that the Church in all ages will pay to the Blessed Virgin.
  10. The Mother of God remains with Elizabeth for about three months humbly serving her until the birth of John the Baptist.

May the grace of the Mystery of the Visitation come down into my soul and make me truly (charitable).

The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity of Our Lord

Tertium Mysterium Gaudiosum: Nativitas

Spiritual Fruit: Detachment | Poverty of Spirit
Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, harbor the harborless

Luke 2:6-19; 1 Corinthians 15:45-48

Grant us, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we on whom the new light of Thine Incarnate Word is poured, may show forth in our works that brightness, which now doth illuminate our minds by faith. (Collect for Nativity)

  1. In obedience to the decree of Caesar, Mary and Joseph travel three days journey from Galilee to Bethlehem, the House of Bread, to be enrolled because Joseph was of the house of David.
  2. The days are accomplished that Mary should deliver her Son, but there is no room for them in the inn. The world remains either bitterly opposed to Christ as Herod or indifferent as the innkeepers.
  3. At midnight in the piercing cold, the most pure Virgin Mary gives birth to the Lord Jesus in a cave. “The first man was of the earth, earthly: the second man, from heaven.” [11]
  4. The Blessed Virgin, preserved from the punishment of original sin, experiences no labor pains in childbirth. Her virginity and womb remain intact, “as the rays of the sun penetrate glass.” [12]
  5. The Blessed Mother is more of a parent and is more connected to Jesus than any other mother can be to her child, for all other children have both a father and a mother, whereas Christ received all of his human substance solely from his mother Mary. [13]
  6. The Mother of God wraps the Infant in swaddling clothes and lays Him in the manger, a feeding trough for animals, symbolizing that Our Lord will one day become the Bread of Life in the holy Eucharist.
  7. The King of the universe enters the world in extreme poverty, His body placed on itchy straw, between two brute beasts, in a manger, as a model for all to live in complete detachment from things in the world.
  8. That night an angel announces to shepherds, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”
  9. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.”
  10. The shepherds go in haste and find Mary, Joseph, and the Babe. In reverential fear and awe, they come and adore the Infant, their King, Creator, and God.

May the grace of the Mystery of the Nativity come down into my soul and make me truly (poor in spirit). 

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation

Quartum Mysterium Gaudiosum: Presentatio

Spiritual Fruit: Obedience | Purity | Wisdom
Work of Mercy: Ransom the captive

Luke 2:21-39

O GOD, who by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience her intercession for us, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of Life, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord. (Collect for Circumcision)

  1. In obedience to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph take the Infant Jesus to the temple to be presented to the Lord. 
  2. As written in the law, every first-born male shall be dedicated as holy to the Lord; consecrated on account of the immunity of the Hebrew firstborn granted by God when in the time of Moses the firstborn of the Egyptians were smitten by an angel. [14]
  3. Mary and Joseph redeem their Child, as the law prescribed, with five shekels, symbolizing the five wounds of Christ with which He would redeem the human race. [15]
  4. In accordance with the law, for the purification, they offer a pair of turtledoves in sacrifice, the offering of the poorer classes, since the Holy Family always lived in poverty.
  5. “In this conception, and in this child-birth, there was nothing impure, nothing sinful, nothing that had to be purged, for this offspring is the fount of purity, and is come to make a cleansing of sins.” [16]
  6. Jesus and Mary would not have been subject to the law of Moses being without sin; nevertheless, to teach obedience, they submit to it fully. “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience.” [17]
  7. God had revealed to a just and devout man Simeon that he should not see death until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon came by the Spirit into the temple and receives the Child into his arms blessing God.
  8. Simeon says the Nunc Dimitis: “Now Thou does dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy Salvation.”
  9. Simeon blesses them and says to Mary His Mother: “Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted.”
  10. Simeon prophecies to Our Lady’s sorrows: “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce,” speaking to her inward martyrdom she is to suffer. “The pains she escapes in childbirth she bears at the time of His Passion.” [18]

May the grace of the Mystery of the Purification come down into my soul and make me really (wise and pure).

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding Jesus in the Temple

Quintum Mysterium Gaudiosum: Inventio in Templo

Spiritual Fruit: Piety | Diligence | Devotion to the duties of our state of life |
“Conversion of Sinners, Heretics, Schismatics, and Idolaters” (St Louis de Montfort)
Spiritual Work of Mercy: Counsel the Doubtful, Instruct the Ignorant

Luke 2:41-51

O LORD Jesus Christ, Who, being subject to Mary and Joseph, didst sanctify home life with ineffable virtues, grant that, with the aid of both, we may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family, and attain to eternal fellowship with them. (Collect for the Feast of the Holy Family)

  1. At the age of twelve, Jesus and His parents take their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the solemn feast of the Passover, which the Holy Family keeps for seven days. [19]
  2. Jesus asks leave of His parents to spend time with kinsfolk. After going to them, He soon withdraws quietly to the temple. Jesus remains in Jerusalem after Mary and Joseph depart in order to shed a ray of His wisdom and Divinity. [20]
  3. Thinking that He was among their company, they travel a day’s journey, and seek Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And not finding Him, they return to Jerusalem, seeking Him.” [21*]
  4. Mary’s heart is full of grief in one of her seven sorrows, as she and Joseph diligently search for Him for three long days. [22*]
  5. On the third day, they rejoice to find Jesus in the Temple — for the place of God incarnate is in the Temple — there is He to be sought and there is He to be found.
  6. The twelve-year-old Child, Son of a carpenter, is found sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. All who hear Him are astonished at His wisdom and His answers.
  7. Mary says to Him in wonder and reverence: “Son, why has Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.” [23*]
  8. Jesus responds in instruction and consolation: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” 
  9. Jesus, the Incarnate Lord, goes down with His parents to Nazareth and is subject to them, demonstrating an example of profound humility and perfect obedience.
  10. The Blessed Mother keeps all these words pondering them in her Immaculate Heart.

Prayer after decade: May the grace of the Mystery of the Finding of Jesus in the Temple come down into my soul and truly (convert me).

End Notes: 

[1] Cornelious Lapide, The Great Biblical Commentary, Gospel of St Luke Chapter 1, v. 27.
[2*] Mary is called “blessed among women,” the same said of Jael and Judith who were precursors, yet here in a far more excellent way for she excels them and all virgins a thousand times in blessings, gifts, and graces. Jael and Judith are two famous women in biblical history who dealt the death blow to the enemy of God. Jael crushed the head of the Canonite general (Judges 4-5), and Judith cut off the head of the Assyrian king’s general putting an end to wars (Judith 13). Our Lady likewise crushes the head of the serpent, the Devil (Genesis 3:15). 
[3] Ibid.
[4*] Mary is consistently seen as a type of the Ark of the Covenant, which bore the presence of God within. When King David went out to retrieve the ark, he like Elizabeth said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (2 Kings 6:9). Also when David approached the ark, he danced (2 Kings 6:13), much like John the Baptist danced in the womb when the new ark, Mary, approached Elizabeth. Lastly, the place where the ark dwelt for three months was blessed (2 Kings 6:11), just as Elizabeth was blessed for three months when Mary remained with her until the birth of John the Baptist. Cornelious Lapide, The Great Biblical Commentary, Gospel of St Luke Chapter 1, v. 34.
[5] St Augustine, Sermon 18 de Sanctis.
[6] Ibid, Chapter 1, v. 39.
[7] Ibid, Chapter 1, v. 41.
[8] Ibid. 
[9] Council Of Ephesus – 431 A.D.
[10*] Symbolically this “dancing” in the womb prefigures John’s own martyrdom, as the dancing of Herodias’s daughter would be the means by which he would be beheaded. Cornelious Lapide, The Great Biblical Commentary, Gospel of St Luke Chapter 1, v. 44.
[11] St Andrew Novena Prayer in Anticipation of Christmas.
[12] Cornelious Lapide, The Great Biblical Commentary, Gospel of St Luke Chapter 2, v. 7.
[13] Ibid.
[14] See Exodus 11-13.
[15] Cornelious Lapide, The Great Biblical Commentary, Gospel of St Luke Chapter 2, v. 22.
[16] Ibid.
[17] St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies. Book 3, Chapter 22
[18] St John of Damascus, de Fide, lib. iv. cap. xv.
[19] Cornelious Lapide, The Great Biblical Commentary, Gospel of St Luke Chapter 2, v. 43.
[20] Ibid.
[21*] When people would come from the temple, the men would be in one company and the woman in a separate company, while the children often went in either company indifferently, so that Joseph through no fault of his believed Him to be with His mother, and Mary through no fault of her own imagined Him to be with Joseph (Bede, Catena Aurea).
It has also been revealed to Mystics such as Venerable Mary of Agreda that God the Father diverted the Blessed Mother’s thoughts by holy and divine contemplations that she did not notice the absence at first (Mystical City of God, Book 5, Chapter 1).
[22*] “Truly Miserable and Unhappy are those Souls which have Lost God. If Mary Wept the Absence of her Son for Three (3) Days, how should Sinners Weep, who have Lost Divine Grace, and to-whom God says: “You are not My People, and I will not be yours”. For this is the Effect-of Sin; it Separates the Soul, from God: ‘Your Iniquities have divided-between you and your God’.” (St Alphonsus Liguori, On the Dolors of Mary).
[23*] “By these Words, she had no Idea of Reproving Jesus, as Heretics Blasphemously Assert, but only meant to express to Him, the Grief proceeding from the Great Love she Bore Him, which she had Experienced during His Absence” (St Alphonsus Liguori, On the Dolors of Mary).

All other quotes may be found in the Scriptures cited after each mystery above.