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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mysteries of the Rosary - The Joyful Mysteries

mysteries-of-the-rosary
Mysteries of the Rosary - Image by Michael 1952 via flicker
I tend to pray the Rosary while I drive to work, every morning.

Very often as I pray the Rosary, it truly hits me that the mysteries of the rosary, truly are a mystery.

I've come to the realization that the Joyful Mysteries should actually be called the Anxious Mysteries.

These are the lessons from the Joyful Mysteries that I get from each of the five decades.

Mysteries of the Rosary - 1st. Joyful Mystery

The Fist Joyful Mystery is the Anunciation. We have been taught from young to view this as a joyful occassion when God asked Mary to become the mother of the Savior and heaven awaited in suspense until Mary said Yes. You can speculate that when Mary agreed, Heaven erupted into  a raucous party.

But how often, do we contemplate the anxiety Mary would have felt with this responsibility. The gossip mongers would have wagged their tongues about Mary getting pregnant before being married. Being bethrothed did not give entitlement for sexual relations. Mother Mary would have known that this assignment would turn her life upside down.

We even have modern day talking heads who create fictional stories about the conception of Jesus...

Paul Verhoeven – who wrote “Jesus of Nazareth” – will direct the project which will show that Jesus is not the son of God and was conceived after Mary was raped by a Roman soldier.

Mysteries of the Rosary - 2nd Joyful Mystery

The Second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation. When we pray this decade we always think about how sweet it was that Mary went in haste to help her elderly cousin who was also expecting. But do we also think about how anxious both Mary and Joseph would have been about travelling. They didn't have the comforts of modern day cars that can handle any type of road condition and protect a baby in a mother's womb.

Mary and Joseph only had a donkey and it's not a comfortable ride. A mistep by the donkey could result in a fall and Mary could have had a miscarriage. Once again we see Mary looking beyond such negative possibilities and just trusting God.

Another lesson, I get from this mystery is that Mary went to help without any solicitation from Elizabeth. That's how Mother Mary works, even when you don't ask for her help, she intercedes. Another example is during the wedding at Cana, scripture doesn't record that the host requested for Mary's help. Mary wasn't a wine maker, so why would they even ask her - she was only a housewife and wife of a carpenter.

Mysteries of the Rosary - 3rd Joyful Mystery

The Third Joyful Mystery - The Birth of Jesus. Don't we all know the joy of Heaven during this event. Choirs of Angels were singing.

And this mystery we all know had some anxious moments when the Holy Couple were looking for a decent inn to give birth to Jesus in. In the end they had to make do with a stable. Could Mary have felt misrable (like an mother does) that she couldn't even give birth to her baby in a stink-free evironment. Would any mother today even consider a barn to give birth in?

Hang on, there was another moment of anxiety too. Joseph was a carpenter and who would assist Mary in delivering the baby. Did Joseph have the skill set of a midwife. Do you think they managed to get a midwife? I doubt it very much. Somehow, they managed and Mary embraced her baby who was born with the animals - probably the only living things who knew their creator was right next to them.

Mysteries of the Rosary - 4th Joyful Mystery

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the Fourth Joyful Mystery. Surely, you would think, that there could probably not be any anxious moments here. But I think that Mary and Joseph would have wanted to offer a lamb instead of doves. After all, wouldn't a lamb be more fitting when you present God's Son in His own Temple?

Probably Joseph was also anxious about whether he had sufficient funds to even buy a couple of doves. He was probably out of work for weeks since he left Nazareth for the census and subsequent birth.

Mysteries of the Rosary - 5th Joyful Mystery

I'm sure everyone can feel the anxiety of Mary and Joseph in this situation, when the teenage Jesus goes AWOL. Of course it's a joyful occasion when the missing child is found. Imagine the concern of the parents for 3 days! How do they even ask God for help? Do they tell him with a sheepish grin that they lost His Son?

Ironically, this joyful mystery is joyful not because Jesus was found but that He was found in the Temple. This is pointing out to us that we will find joy when we find Jesus in the Church and that is possible when we visit the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle.


Although I've tried to highlight anxious moments in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, my biggest take home message is that despite being anxious, we have to trust in God like the Holy Couple did and things will be joyful in the end. Anxiety will surely turn to Joy. That's the promise God gives us.