FIRST JOYFUL MYSTERYMary was alone; pure, simple, happy, in God, when the Archangel came to offer her the desire of every maiden of her race.
In that supreme hour she might have been perturbed by a delight too ecstatic for a mortal heart; but she was stilled by the high necessity of embracing with it a like lot to her Son's, a suffering as transcendent as her joy. She knew why God would put on flesh; she knew that He, our Life (who as God hath life in Himself) came to take from His mother a mortal life, the power to die. Could her heart endure to crucify itself by giving up her child to insult, suffering, and death? Mary alone of all creatures could have done it, because she alone had been created and fitted for this end. She said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word;" and in lowly love and perfect stillness she received the coming of God.
Son of Mary, conceived by the Holy Ghost, have mercy and hear our prayer. . . .
Mary, overshadowed by the power of the Most High, pray for us.
SECOND JOYFUL MYSTERYMary arose with haste. She hurried to her cousin's house. She yearned to carry the miracle within her, where the divine power was already miraculously at work. Did she know that the forerunner would adore his Lord? Did she only guess that where God was so present in blessing and in chastisement, her Babe and she would be acknowledged? or did she crave a refuge for a little in the hills to ponder on what now she knew, before she should begin her martyrdom by facing silently the alarm of tender, holy Joseph? Her heart, even her heart, was full to bursting. No word of hers was to tell her husband of her high calling and his own. As yet. she was even to go through the piteous agony of his suspicion. And yet her heart was full of ecstasy. In the house of the speechless Zachary, the unborn, speechless infant leapt for joy at the sound of her voice, and his aged mother proclaimed the dignity of Mary, and abased herself before the mother of her Lord.
Well had our Lady come here by Holy Ghost, for here she freely may break forth, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." Once only in all her life (for us), this once, the Alleluia of her heart must ring out. The first Christian hymn is this of Mary; the expression of the divinest joy mortal can ever know; good for every Christian when, in Holy Communion, God comes to enter into him. We are not only unworthy (that was Mary), we are degraded and defiled; yet that divine indwelling is vouchsafed also to us, and though no other mortal love, or sacrifice, can ever equal hers, each heart can try to make his own our Lady's song of joy.
Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, inhabiting the Immaculate, of Thy mercy grant our prayer. . . .
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for us.
THIRD JOYFUL MYSTERYFrom the coming of the Holy Ghost, Mary had been rapturously conscious that she was God's living temple; that hidden in her body, taking form from her substance, was He whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, whom she had adored and served; but whom now she worshipped with a passionate love of union and possession. In her, the Infinite was small. In her, God had assumed not only the features of humanity but her own, the likeness of His mother. As her expectation neared its term, Mary longed for the hour when He should manifest Himself. Surrounded by the heavenly court (unseen, unheard, adoring), she waited God's mysterious pleasure. Yet she would fain have never let Him go. It was the beginning of their parting. And when
the Desire of all nations, the well-beloved, co-equal Son, lay in her arms, so small and weak and helpless, how Mary longed that her sole worship by its wholeness and its ardour might make up to Him for the ignorance, indifference, and hatred of the world. She heard the angels' song; she saw the shepherds' adoration and the wise men's worship; she knew the love and reverence of Joseph, but she, the humblest of all creatures, knew that no created adoration could approach her own; for He that is mighty had done for her great things. He had kept her immaculate. He had taken her to be His Bride, and that flesh in which the Word of God was clothed, He had accepted of her substance.
O Babe in swaddling clothes, Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Saviour, have mercy on us, grant our prayer. . . Mother, sweetest, pray for us.
FOURTH JOYFUL MYSTERYIn this mystery we have Mary's ceremonial profession of self-sacrifice. She went to the temple humbly imitating her Son. Though He was equal
with the Father, He "emptied Himself" for our salvation, and through Mary He became "obedient unto death." Though she was the immaculate Bride of the Father, and Mother of God the Son, she consented to hide her blessedness, and carried her divine Babe to the temple with the typical price of redemption. She was humble not only for herself, but for Him. She made as if He were the child of Joseph; and she (Virgin of virgins) a woman needing the sacrifice of purification. But her humility was met by God's love. Her Infant was hailed and adored as our Salvation, the Light and Glory of the world; and she was associated in the very temple with Jesus in the anguish He had come to suffer, and the work He had come to do: "thine own soul a sword shall pierce." And Mary did not flinch. She stood fast in faith and love and lowliness; the cost well counted. She had been counting it ever since that day when she was made doubly unlike all women, by the coming of the Holy Ghost, that she might conceive the Redeemer. She offered Jesus unto God. She offered her own heart as well; she pledged herself to refuse God nothing; to be content to see the Son of her womb despised, insulted, tortured, forsaken, crucified; to hold Him all through life as only hers that she might renounce (not the eternal, inconceivable delight of being His mother, but)
the womanly craving for His ease, for His being well esteemed and loved. She would never drag upon Him, she would never afflict Him by pity or self-pity. She would love those who hated Him, because He loved them. She would even love His torments, because they were His will; He had come to suffer.
Victim of our salvation, presented by Mary unto God, vouchsafe to grant our prayer. . . .
Mary, the Immaculate Conception, pray for us.
FIFTH JOYFUL MYSTERYThe loss of Jesus would fill Mary with distress. Her husband and she for three days sought Him sorrowing. Mary would accuse herself of incredibly forgetting Him; of its being her own fault that He was gone away; but when they found Him, He reminded them that He was man to do God's business; He appealed to their knowledge that it must be so. And then, after this bitter grief, after shaking her soul with terror, after giving this one chance to the teachers of the law of confessing Him their Master, He gave His mother eighteen years of joy: the joy of such a home as earth never before contained, and never will again except in imitation. He gave us the example of a perfect Son, subject to His mother,
in youth, through manhood, into middle life; subject not only to His mother, but to His mother's husband, Joseph.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give
my heart to you.
Jesus, Uncreated Wisdom, have mercy, grant our prayer. . . .
Mary, frightened, sorrowful, and happier than happy, pray for us.
taken from Three rosaries of our Lady (1880)
which can be downloaded free