April 30, 2013 by mattfradd
In this post, I will reflect upon the first joyful mystery of the rosary. And, if you’re interested, will follow up with a reflection for each subsequent mystery, so that there will be twenty in total.
Please let me know in the comment box if this is something you’d be interested in.
If it’s not, I wont bother.
It’s my desire to explore each mystery, seeing how each event fulfills an old testament type or prophecy, and then explore how that mystery can bear spiritual fruit in our lives.
The Rosary,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning.”
Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and of going counter to the warning of Christ: ‘And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7).’”
Because of this, it is vital that Christians familiarize themselves with the Scriptures in order to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ.
The Annunciation of Our Lord (Luke 1:26-38)
In Luke, the Angel Gabriel greets Mary with the title, “Full of Grace” (Gk. Kecharitomene) (1:28). This title indicates “that God has already ‘graced’ Mary previous to this point, making her a vessel who ‘has been’ and ‘is now’ filled with divine life.” The angel then tells Mary, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (1:31). Mary, having “no husband” (1:34), inquires as to how this will come about. The angel responds, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Mary embraces God’s will with trust and humility: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (1:38).
Reflecting upon this event, St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, thus did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” Just as the first woman (Eve) consented to the angel Lucifer and, in doing so, brought forth death upon her children, so the new woman (Jn 2:4; 19:26) consents to the angel Gabriel and brings forth life himself.
St. Justin Martyr recognized as much, writing, “[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38).”
This mystery inspires Christians to put their faith in God, who wants good for his children (Mt 7:11), rather than succumbing to the temptation, as Eve did, that God is in some way holding out on us.
 Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 12.
 Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, 47.
 Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), n. Luke 1:28.
 Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 22.
 Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 [A.D. 155].