The second Joyful mystery is the Visitation. This is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. It is found in Luke’s Gospel 1:39-56. After hearing that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant Mary went to visit her. Now Elizabeth lived a little some speculate it was south of Jerusalem, in Hebron or even in Ein Karem, wherever it was Mary traveled from Nazareth to visit about a 150 mile journey which would take a couple of days to get there. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed until she had given birth to John. The feast day is on 31 May for the Western Church and 30 March in the Eastern Church.
The feast was first celebrated by the Franciscans and by 1263 it was spreading around to other churches in the Franciscan Breviary. Pope Urban VI hoping to end the Western Schism in 1389 added it to the Roman calendar, the official list of feast days of the church. It wasn’t until 1969 when the feast was moved to May so that it would be between the Annunciation (25 March) and the Nativity of John the Baptist (24 June) to better align with the Gospels.
The fruit of this mystery is love of neighbor. As we approach the Christmas season we will expect to look out toward our neighbors and celebrate with them this great feast however how often is it that we care more about ourselves or what’s on the screens in front of us than those living next door. Let us all try to go out and meet our neighbors since we all live in a community and they are it.
The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation, the event when Mary was visited by an angel of the Lord, Gabriel, who told Mary that she was to be the mother of the Son of God. It is found in Luke’s Gospel 1:26-38. There is another shorter annunciation to Joseph that happens in Matthew’s Gospel 1:18-23. We can also find it mentioned in the Quran in various places of an Angel coming to Mary. The feast day of the Annunciation is March 25 and is one of the 12 great feasts in the Orthodox church as well.
The fruit of the mystery is humility. This is a great virtue to ponder as we enter into the season of Advent since Christ himself humbled himself to be born on earth. Mary also willingly said yes, Let it be done unto me according to your will. We need to try to become individuals who are willing to say yes and in this day and age it would be wonderful if humility became the in vogue thing, so everyone wouldn’t be talking about what they’ve done and how important they are in the world. Sure we can look to the saints like Francis of Assisi or Mother Theresa are two of the easiest examples, but most saints are great examples of living a humble life. If you want to turn to the living Pope Francis is noted for his humility and sure we can talk about some of those big names Warren Buffett as well as several big named celebrities, but everyone should show some ounce of humility.
The Fifth and final Joyful Mystery is the finding of Jesus in the Temple. As with many of the other mysteries this can be found in Luke’s Gospel (2:41-52). The story of the finding is the only event from the adolescence of Jesus that is in the Gospel and Bible. This event is when Jesus, Mary and Joseph all head to the Temple with some relatives for Passover. Jesus is about 12 year old. It goes that on the day they were returning Jesus lingers in the Temple, Mary and Joseph both assumed that Jesus was in the group. So after a day Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was missing and they turned back to find him. When they found Jesus, Mary asked “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” Jesus said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” but his parents didn’t understand what he meant. Yet Jesus went with them back to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents.
The fruit of this mystery is True Conversion (Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus) and/or Obedience. It would be nice if more people could live a pious life, this is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In a world that is starving for humility if we could all try to live a more pious and humble life that would be a godsend.
The fourth Joyful Mystery is The Presentation, the feast is on 2 February and it can be found in Luke’s Gospel 2:22-40. This event is a common Jewish tradition where the mother purifies herself and the first-born son is “redeemed” by use of silver coins from his birth-state of sanctity. This is one of the twelve Great Feasts in the Orthodox Church and is also known as Candlemas as candles can be blessed at this mass. The fruit of the mystery is Purity and Obedience. As a reminder to us of Simeon and Anna who were at the Temple and greeted Jesus, Mary and Joseph. These are great qualities that don’t seem to exist much in the world, let us make it our goal to try and make these things purity and obedience a part of our lives.
The third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity. This story can be found in Luke and Matthew’s Gospel. We all know what happens here Jesus is born. The fruit of this mystery is a bit more complex than other mysteries as it is multifaceted being Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor. This is perfectly illustrated in the Nativity as Jesus, the king of the Jews, was born in a cave/barn and placed in a manger since there wasn’t room at the inn.
Most everyone in the world today is attracted to the opposite of these things. Popes across the years have tried to stress these thing we need to care more about the Poor and forget about things of the world. This is one of the seven points in Catholic Social Teaching, as Pope Benedict XVI said “the love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel”. We need to become a society that cares about each other rather than one obsessed with being the best and having the most as this does nothing in the long run but create social problems.
The second Joyful Mystery is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth. This story can be found in Luke’s Gospel 1: 39=56. In the Western churches the feast is celebrated on 31 May and the Eastern churches celebrates it on 30 March. The fruit associated with this mystery is love of neighbor, since at the Annunciation Mary learned that Elizabeth was with child. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed for three months. Sure, Mary and Elizabeth were family but the general idea of love of neighbor, going out on a mission of charity, would be a wonderful thing if we could all do something like this. These are sort of outlined by the works of mercy, as how to love your neighbor. Let us all be able to stir the spirit within our neighbors like Mary did for Elizabeth when she her the voice of Mary the babe leapt in her womb. We need to bring love into the world all too often we are surrounded by hate in the world and that is never fun.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these decade posts so we begin going through them all again. We start with the Joyful Mysteries.
The first Joyful Mystery is The Annunciation, this is when the Angel of the Lord (Gabriel) came to Mary this is found in Luke 1:26-38. Gabriel came to Mary and Mary said Yes to become the Theotokos. This event also takes place in the Quran and according to Muslim tradition it took place during the month of Ramadan. The fruit of the mystery is humility. According to the Catechism humility is the root of prayer, so it is fitting that we reflect on humility as we begin the Rosary. It is one of the seven heavenly virtues the obverse of the seven deadly sins. Humility is something that we need more of in the world, too many people it seems are obsessed with themselves and forget about everyone else. Humans are social creatures and we should care more about others. I mean look at that TED talk from Pope Francis a couple of weeks ago in which humility played a big role. Let us all try to care more for other.
Laetitae Sanctae is another one of Leo XIII encyclical on the Rosary it is like several of the others which are implore the praying of the rosary in October. Pope Leo notes that the praying of the rosary devoutly not only helps the individual but also but society as a whole as well. His holiness goes on to say that there are three obstacles that arise in the world “first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.” These are tied to the mysteries of the Rosary.
The first, the distaste for poverty relates to the joyful mysteries where we focus on Christ as a child. So much of society says that we need to amass riches so we can buy this or that to become a better person and we should “work smarter not hard”. However it takes hard work to get rich. As we look at these mysteries we see “simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love – not of the false and fleeting kind – but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service.” This is what we need to bring into the world.
The second, repugnance to suffering relates to the sorrowful mysteries where we focus on the Passion of Christ. It is sad that violence has become so pervasive that in just about every movie it seem features some horrible act of violence, or really just turning on the news we hear of some murder. Society as a whole has become desensitized to it even when most of us haven’t seen it in person we’ve all seen it in the movie and television programs we watch. Sure we understand that violence is bad but we often forget about the suffering and grief left behind. Yet we must remember the actions of Jesus and follow in his footsteps, as St. Thomas says in the gospel “Let us also go, that we might die with him” (John 11:16)
The third and last one, forgetfulness of the future relates to the glorious mysteries where the focus turns to the resurrection and life in heaven. All too often we look to the future and our own personal safety with a mix of materialism and nationalism. Here is where the problem arises the militarization of individuals to serve their nation, but at the neglect of the world as a whole. We are all in the same boat and the more people rocking it the sooner we will capsize. Pope Leo put is as we may doubt if “God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.” Let us remember the eternal banquet that awaits us all.
Pope Leo then talks a bit about Rosary confraternities calling them the battalions who fight the battle of Christ under the direction of the Virgin Mother noting the victory at Lepanto. This, the rosary, is the Hope of the Church. Let us all take some time and pull out a rosary and pray it.
The fruit of this mystery is True Wisdom and True Conversion, Piety.
When you hear these fruits you think there will be some sort of knowledge that it is talking about, but it is more like the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sure when we were confirmed we learned the seven gifts and have most likely forgotten half or maybe even all of them. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) these are the gift that the Spirit have been given to us at Baptism and are strengthened at Confirmation. Piety is one of these fruits and it’s sort of like humility and piousness rolled into one thing. I hope that we can all learn some more about the fruits of the spirit and try to live our lives according to them in this upcoming year.
The Fruit of this mystery is Purity and Obedience
Purity is the absence of vice in your life it’s as basic as that. In his letter Paul goes on and on about what is unclean and clean/unpure and pure/body and spirit and says that we should all try to live in the spirit. Obedience is following what is told us. This is a straight forward fruit. we need to open our ears so that we can hear and follow. Paul shows us that living in the light is the way to go. As we near the beginning of a new year let us all take these virtues and try to add them into our live which seems to be surrounded by vices everywhere we look. For we are to live as Children of the light and bring the light out into the world to dispel the darkness.