The 3rd Joyful Mystery

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May 13, 2013 by mattfradd


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.

Below is the third joyful mystery. To see other mysteries, click here.

The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20)

In the second chapter of the Gospel according to Luke we have the only account of the birth of Christ in all four gospels. While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, in response to a decree from Caesar that all should be enrolled, “the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (2:6-7).


That Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the hometown of King David where he was later anointed, is illustrative of the fact that Jesus is the new and rightful king whom “the Lord God will give…the throne of his father David” (Lk 1:32). “Jesus, says Gabriel, is the anointed Davidic ruler who will regather the tribes of Israel, together with all the nations, into his glorious Kingdom.”[1]

It is also significant that Christ be born in Bethlehem as it fulfills that which was prophesied by Micha, “But you, O Bethlehem Eph’rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old,

from ancient days” (Mic 5:2).

Though, from a worldly point of view, this nativity of Christ may appear to be a mundane event, seen through the eyes of faith it is the in breaking of God’s kingdom. As C.S Lewis notes,  “Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”[2]

Personal Application

This mystery inspires Christians to great confidence; for just as the God of the universe choose to be born in a stable, so too does he choose to be born in the heart of anyone who will accept him, regardless of the state of their soul.


[1] Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, n. Luke 1:33.

[2] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001), 46.

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