The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary
A Guide for Our Families
Mary can help us understand the meaning of our experiences and hear the message God wishes to communicate through the life of our families
Surrounded by admirers since he was first elected, Pope Francis says he feels like a grandfather when youths lean close to him to take a selfie. His genuine affection for the faithful shines forth in the impromptu photos and in his thoughtful teachings on the family as the reflection of God’s communion of love in our midst. Spending so much time amid his large family of faith, Pope Francis acknowledges the very real challenges for families and offers us the Holy Family as a model of faith and simplicity.
While the ever-virtuous Holy Family can seem out of reach, the Joyful Mysteries of the holy rosary offer us a way to journey with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph during their early struggles, from Jesus’ conception until he reaches age twelve. Pope Francis says that by reflecting on these mysteries regularly we understand “the mystery of Christmas and the secret of Nazareth, exuding the beauty of family life!”
In the First Joyful Mystery, the annunciation, the mighty angel Gabriel visits Mary, a young virgin from northern Israel, and announces that God has chosen her to be the mother of the long-awaited messiah. It is actually the second annunciation in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Gabriel first visits Zechariah, Mary’s relative, and strikes him mute for skeptically questioning that his aged wife’s prayers to conceive a son have been answered. Notably, when Mary questions Gabriel, he patiently explains the working of the Holy Spirit, and she gives her consent. There is a great deal to learn in this mystery. While angels may not visit our family so dramatically, we can all call on the angels and saints in prayer for protection and intercession. We can also ask God to give us Mary’s innocent faith rather than Zechariah’s doubting heart, hardened over many years of seemingly unanswered prayers. Most of all, we can pray to be open to the gift of life whenever and however God offers.Pope Francis says that by reflecting on these mysteries regularly we understand “the mystery of Christmas and the secret of Nazareth, exuding the beauty of family life!”
With so many subtle and (not-so-subtle) attacks on family life, affirming children as a true gift from the Lord is essential for individual families and the entire Church to thrive. If you have a young family in your midst, go out of your way to be kind to them. Young, frazzled parents feel pressured to have it all together, more so now than ever before, especially in this age of what might seem perfect on the internet. Tell them that successful meals just need to be eaten, not photographed and posted online. Assure them that kids do belong in Mass and will eventually learn how to participate. Promise them that one day they will clean the house, it will stay clean, and that day may be bittersweet. If you are a struggling young parent, ask for help. You really are a part of a family of faith, so even if your relatives are distant emotionally or geographically, sidle up to an older couple or seasoned family at church and ask for advice or a helping hand. Sometimes folks just don’t know what you need until you ask.