The joyful mysteries, as John Paul II explains in the encyclical Rosarium Virginis Mariae, have deep roots. Meditate on them "It means delving into the ultimate motives of Christian joy and its deepest meaning. It means fixing our gaze on the concreteness of the mystery of the Incarnation and on the somber foreshadowing of the mystery of salvific sorrow. Mary helps us to learn the secret of Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is above all evangelion, 'good news', which has its center, or rather its very content, in the person of Christ, the Word made flesh, the only Savior of the world".
The Church establishes that the Joyful Mysteries are to be recited on Mondays and Saturdays, although, as we read in n. 38 of Rosarium Virginis Mariae "This indication does not intend to limit an appropriate freedom in personal and community meditation, according to spiritual and pastoral needs and, above all, liturgical coincidences that may suggest opportune adaptations."
Listed below are the five joyful mysteries of the Rosary. Next to each one you will find the corresponding Gospel passage, and a work of art through which to contemplate it.
"In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin who was betrothed to a man belonging to the family of David, named Joseph. The virgin's name was Mary.
The Angel came into her house and greeted her, saying, "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you." When she heard these words, she was puzzled and wondered what this greeting could mean. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for God has favored you. You will conceive 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. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
Mary said to the Angel, "How can that be, since I have no relations with any man?" The Angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will descend upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child will be holy and will be called the Son of God. Your kinswoman Elizabeth also conceived a son in spite of her old age, and she who was considered barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible with God."
Then Mary said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be fulfilled in me". And the angel departed.
Contemplate the Rosary through art: ''The Annunciation'', Fra Angelico here
"In those days Mary departed and went without delay to a village in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped for joy in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, exclaimed, "You are blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to visit me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the child leaped for joy in my womb. Blessed are you for believing that what was spoken to you from the Lord will be fulfilled.""
Contemplate the Rosary through art: ''The Visitation'', Raphael Sanzio here
"At that time a decree appeared from Emperor Augustus, ordering a census to be taken throughout the world. This first census took place when Quirinus ruled Syria. And each one went to register in his city of origin. Joseph, who belonged to the family of David, left Nazareth, a city in Galilee, and went to Bethlehem of Judea, the city of David, to register with Mary, his wife, who was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to become a mother; and Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
Contemplate the Rosary through art: ''The Adoration of the Shepherds'', Murillo here
"When the day set by the Law of Moses for purification came, they brought the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law: 'Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to the Lord.' They were also to offer in sacrifice a pair of turtledoves or young pigeons, as commanded in the Law of the Lord. Now there lived in Jerusalem a man named Simeon, who was righteous and devout, and he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was in him and had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah of the Lord. Led by the same Spirit, he went to the Temple, and when the parents of Jesus brought the child to fulfill with him the prescriptions of the Law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God."
Contemplate the Rosary through art: ''Nunc Dimittis'', Anonymous here
"The child grew and became strong, full of wisdom, and the grace of God was with him. Jesus among the doctors of the Law. His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. When the child was twelve years old, they went up as usual, and when the feast was over, Mary and Joseph returned, but Jesus remained in Jerusalem unnoticed by them. Believing that he was in the caravan, they walked all day and then began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem in search of him. On the third day they found him in the Temple in the midst of the teachers of the Law, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his intelligence and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were amazed, and his mother said to him, "My son, why have you done this to us? For your father and I were looking for you in anguish. Jesus answered them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" They did not understand what he was saying to them."
Contemplate the Rosary through art: ''Infant Jesus argues with the masters of the Temple'', William Holman Hunt here
Our Lady : Praying the Rosary
Our Lady : Praying the Rosary
Our Lady : Praying the Rosary