I love to meditate again and again upon the Joyous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary (especially before and after Holy Mass and Holy Communion, which can essentially be reduced to a great truth and mystery, upon which Saints such as Sts. Alphonsus and Louis-Marie expounded: that the faithful soul is to arrive at the perfect possession of Jesus only through Mary.
1) The First Joyous Mystery – The Annunciation of Blessed Mary the Virgin, and the Incarnation of the only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father – In this Mystery, the soul contemplates the Blessed Virgin as the mirror of all virtues, especially purity and humility, which are requisite to cultivate an interior life worthy of the Holy Ghost. He Himself, for Whom the Patriarchs and Prophets yearned and foretold by divine inspiration, greets the little Maiden fore-chosen from all eternity as His Mother by the Archangel St. Gabriel with the sacred Ave, reversing Eva’s name and heralding the Redemption of fallen man. In an act of a peerlessly heroic faith, hope, charity, humility and adoration, the Virgin pronounces her precious Fiat, which accomplishes a wonder far exceeding the creation of the world at the ancient Fiat recorded in Genesis.
Whereas it was written in sacred yore, "Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new" (Eccles. ch. i., 10), the Blessed Virgin can cry forth to the soul devoted unto her and yet slipping into tepidity, "How long wilt thou be dissolute in deliciousness, O wandering daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth: a Woman shall compass a Man" (Jer. ch. xxxi., 22).
2) The Second Joyous Mystery – The Visitation of Blessed Mary the Virgin unto her kinswoman St. Elizabeth, and the Sanctification of the Precursor St. John the Baptist – In this Mystery, the soul is lead to contemplate the patronage and tutelage of Mary Most Holy as the means whereby to attain to Jesus, after having striven to cultivate an interior life worthy of such a great Patroness and Mother. Even here, the young, hidden little Maiden of Nazareth begins to exercise her divinely-ordained office to which she had been predestined from all eternity as supreme and universal Arbitress and Mediatress of the infinite graces and merits of her Divine Son: at her salutation the Lord replenishes the Blessed Virgin’s aged kinswoman with the Holy Ghost and a greater faith vivified by still greater charity, whilst the unborn St. John is sanctified in the womb and consecrated as His Precursor. The Magnificat uttered by Our Lady is a wondrous sacrifice of praise unto the inexhaustible clemency and wisdom of God for the great Mysteries He has deigned to work on behalf of His elect.
As it was written of the holy Ark of the Old Testament, "And the ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household" (II Kings ch. vi., 11), so the Blessed Virgin, the true Fœderis arca (Litaniæ Lauretanæ Beatæ Mariæ Virginis, Rituale Romanum, Tit. XI, cap. iii.; Romæ: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1954), abode three months with her kinswoman, and is ready to visit us and our households with celestial graces and blessings if only we have recourse to her efficacious tutelage, especially by means of the Most Holy Rosary.
3) The Third Joyous Mystery – The Nativity of the Infant Jesus at Bethlehem, Adored by the Angelic Choirs and Humble Shepherds – In this Mystery, the soul is lost in wonder at the ineffable thaumaturgy of the virginal Maternity of Mary Most Holy and the self-abasement of the Lord God as a little Child confined in time and space. The faithful behold an admirable example that ought to be imitated in the simplicity and innocency of heart that enabled the Shepherds to first receive the Angelic announcement of the Nativity before all the other children of Israel and be first to adore the new-born Lord. The soul is at the same led to aspire to a magnanimity and generosity of praise and self-oblation as exemplified in the Sages and their mystical gifts.
Beholding the infinite and eternal God become as a little Infant, poor and rejected, born in a stable, we ought to exercise ourselves in humility and surrender to a pious wonder and devout terror at such ineffable loving-kindness, crying forth together with the Prophet, "O Lord, I have heard thy hearing, and was afraid," and yet offering our hearts to this little Infant, saying with the same Prophet, "I will rejoice in the Lord: and I will joy in God my Jesus" (Hab. ch. iii., 2, 18).
4) The Fourth Joyous Mystery – The Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem and the Purification of Blessed Mary the Virgin – The soul, whilst contemplating this Mystery, beholds how indispensable is docility to the Holy Ghost and the patronage of the Blessed Virgin in order to attain to Jesus, for it was thus that Simeon at last gazed upon the Son of the Eternal Father, the fulfillment of all the types and oracles of the Old Testament. A boundless and generous love, filial self-abandonment to Divine Providence and a spirit of continual prayer as exemplified in Simeon’s Canticle Nunc dimittis, is the response that such great graces demand.
The holy ancient Simeon was enabled to attain to such great grace by reason of his utter self-abadonment to Divine Providence in filial love and earnest humility, purposing to fulfill the will of God in all things, relying not on self but on holy grace and by the same grace awaiting the vision of the Messias on earth and in Heaven, echoing the sentiments of King David, "I will appear before thy sight in justice: I shall be satisfied when thy glory shall appear" (Ps. xvi. 15). We, who have the Blessed Virgin Mary as our Mother and Queen, let us have recourse to her that she may be unto us an Illuminatress, who pours forth the splendors of the Holy Ghost unto the souls who go to her with humility and devotion, and whose illustrious virtues will spur them to follow her examples, as the Apostle St. Paul wrote, "Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid" (Heb. ch. iv. 16).
5) The Fifth Joyous Mystery – The Invention of the Infant Jesus by the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph amidst the Doctors of the Law in the Temple at Jerusalem – This holy Mystery is an epitome of unfathomable profundity of the interior life of the Christian soul in this world: to seek Jesus in the obscurity of faith by prayer, penance and mortification, under the magisterial tutelage of Holy Mother Church and by the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. The three days of anxious and perplexing obfuscation that Mary and Joseph suffered and offered up to the Heavenly Father as a sacrifice of praise and propitiation are for the soul so many startling examples of the purifications necessary for the progress of the interior life, even unto the apices of mystical prayer, wherein even in this earthly exile the faithful soul attains to Jesus by contemplation illumined by the gift of wisdom, which is the plenitude of infused faith, and guided more by the Holy Ghost than by the soul’s own finite efforts, which diminish as the soul ascends higher and higher unto the heights of the interior life. The hidden and humble life of Nazareth is the ultimate result of this interior growth, whether fully in the contemplative life of holy Religion, or in a still more hidden manner in the apostolic life, and it is a prelude to the everlasting beatific vision and possession of Jesus in Heaven.
As our Lord had spoken to Isaias, saying, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts" (ch. lv. 8-9), we ought to recognize how inadequate and limited are our own notions. How are we to attain to perseverance in the love and service of Jesus if we rely on self? It is as it is written, "He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool: but he that walketh wisely, he shall be saved" (Prov. ch. xxviii., 26). And what is this path if not that of which King David sang, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord" (Ps. cxviii. 1)? And who shall show us the way to Jesus if not she of whom it was written, "How beautiful are thy steps in shoes, O prince's daughter!" (Cant. ch. vii., 1), the immaculate Maiden who was found worthy to be the Mother of God yet remaining ever Virgin, vanquishing the ancient serpent according to the divine curse pronounced against the same serpent, "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Gen. ch. iii., 15)?
Thus the Joyous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary show us a wondrous compendium of the interior life and the necessity of the patronage and tutelage of the Blessed Virgin Mary in order to attain to Jesus.