The 1st Joyful Mystery


April 30, 2013 by mattfradd

1st joyful mysteryI’m trying something new here.

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

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.”[1]

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).’”[2]

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.”[3] 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.”[4] 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).”[5]

Personal Application

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.


[1] Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 12.

[2] Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, 47.

[3] Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), n. Luke 1:28.

[4] Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 22.

[5] Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 [A.D. 155].

32 thoughts on “The 1st Joyful Mystery

  1. Meadi8r says:

    Keep on!

  2. Teresa says:

    I like it! Please keep doing the reflections!

  3. Alain says:

    Thank you. We need more.

  4. Ian Bakk says:

    I like it!

  5. Julie says:

    I would love to see you continue with this. As a protestant seeking the Catholic faith I want to learn as much as I can about the mysteries.

  6. Yes please! I’m a new convert and this is something I have yet to master.

  7. Ligia Trujillo says:

    Yes I am interested! Keep on meditating about this holy mysteries 🙂

  8. Alice says:

    Yes, Please

  9. Chris says:

    Please do continue with these reflections. I must admit that there are times where I struggle with praying the rosary and these reflections aid in helping me to obtain more focus! Thanks!

  10. Kath says:

    absolutely keep doing this. and thank you

  11. Tasha says:

    can’t wait for the “the visitation” mystery as my daughter is named after it; “Mary Elizabeth”!

  12. Kathleen says:

    Matt, I think it’s a great idea as I struggle sometimes with keeping the Rosary fresh, so it doesn’t dissolve into a mindless exercise. By the way, if I wanted to ask you a question, how can I do that? I tried to find a link or email for you before but was unsuccessful.

  13. Meghan Gray says:

    I love it! Thank you 🙂

  14. Charbel says:

    Great work with the meditations! Keep them coming!

    Just one thing if you can clarify:

    In the meditation you mention Mary as having no husband. Don’t know if that is the best translation of Luke 1:34.

    I was under the impression that in those times, there were two stages to marriage. The first stage, betrothal, was when the marriage was effectively made. The Virgin Mary and St. Joseph had concluded this stage. The second stage of marriage was the social formality of the public celebration. This may have never taken place due to their flight to Egypt but their marriage was still valid.

    Tim Staples comments on this under the title ‘the affirmative argument’ in the following article:

    Thanks heaps Matt, God Bless you.

    • mattfradd says:

      Thanks, Charbel. Without having heard what Tim had to say, here’s my take. The Greek behind “I have no husband” as translated in the RSV is “ginosko ou aner.” Which literrally translates “to know not man.” So yes, it seems that Tim is right. Of course, Tim being my boss and all, he is always right! 😉

      • Charbel says:

        Thanks Matt for the clarification. I guess it shows how important translations can be in getting the right message across.

        Tim would be a great boss to have, what a blessing.

        God Bless you and look forward to future meditations.

  15. Agnes Reynolds says:

    very good keep it up. Thank you very much.

  16. carloshelms says:


    As a Catholic re-discovering the Church, this is exactly what I need.

    Thanks, Matt!

  17. Normita says:

    Wonderful post, especially the reminder that the Rosary is a contemplative prayer and not a mindless repetition . Love the message of Faith in God’s plan in the Joyful Mysteries…

  18. Kendra says:

    Love! I especially love that it is brief and that you bring in the early church fathers.

  19. Jeanne says:

    Thank you, this will be an excellent resource. Please continue.

  20. justariana says:

    That’s a wonderful idea, Matt, thank you and I looks forward to the rest. This will help me as I’m trying to develop the habit of meditating upon and praying the rosary daily. God bless you.

  21. Sam says:

    I loved it. Keep ’em coming.

    • Lorraine Brown says:

      Thanks I really need to have this meditation today and it was very helpful.Please keep them coming . “Pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners”-Our Lady of Fatima!

  22. Vasco says:

    Matt, please continue with the rosary reflections. It’s such a wonderful method of prayer that is so under appreciated.

  23. aidan says:

    Yep, very helpful, please continue.

  24. Kevin Naylor says:

    Please continue.

  25. […] Read my “1st joyful mystery” meditation here. […]

  26. fatima says:

    This is beautiful Matt, May God and Our Blessed Mother richly bless you as this will definitely enrich my praying the Holy Rosary which is truly the weapon of our time. I look foward to subsequent reflections

  27. Cyndi says:

    Thank you! I do love these rosary reflections!

  28. Margaret says:

    Absolutely glorious! Please share your reflections. Thank you!

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