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The Mysteries of the Rosary

Joyful Mysteries

1. Annunciation
This story is told in Luke 1. It is the beginning of the life of Jesus and the mystery of our salvation. Mary's humble and prompt acceptance of this strange request and angelic appearance is a wonderful example for each one of us, who are called to imitate her in complete acceptance of God's will for us. Even if we aren't exactly sure where we will be going, we still must be ready to do what God has planned for us.

2. Visitation
This story is also told in Luke 1. Mary, when she heard from the angel that her older cousin was pregnant as well, went immediately to visit and help her cousin. This was not easy or usual for a young, pregnant girl to leave suddenly and travel a fair distance, but Mary did it anyway because she was so loving and charitable towards her cousin. This is a wonderful example of devoted service and care for others in one's life, even when it may not be simple or easy to do so.

3. Birth of Jesus
This story is told in Luke 2. This is one of the highest points of history, of the Church year and of the mysteries of the rosary. It is such an awesome mystery that Jesus, God Himself, became visible to mankind in human flesh as a helpless baby. It is all the more astonishing that He chose to be born to humble parents and was born in a stable, surrounded by animals, and only shepherds came to adore the divine baby. This is indeed a great example of being willing to humbly accept even what is below our dignity for love of God and neighbor.

4. Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
This story is also told in Luke 2. Mary and Joseph obeyed the law of Moses perfectly and presented Jesus in the temple after forty days. As God, Jesus did not need to be presented to God, but Mary and Joseph believed in obeying the law of God. This reminds us that obedience to God's laws and the laws of the Church, which He set up, is important and necessary.

5. Finding of Jesus in the Temple
This story is also told in Luke 2. When the Holy Family went to Jerusalem for Passover, Jesus stayed behind a few extra days to teach in the temple. This was the first manifestation of the ministry of Jesus, and although His parents are understandably upset and worried, they display a certain level of understanding and patience, knowing that their son is God and that there are certain things which they do not comprehend. It is an example for us to accept the will of God, even if it is not exactly what we think should happen or what we want.

Luminous Mysteries

1. The Baptism of the Lord
This story is told in Luke 3. This event began the public ministry of Jesus, as He went to John the Baptist and asked to be baptized. After His baptism, God the Father and the Holy Spirit appeared. This is one of the few times that the Trinity makes an appearance together in the Bible. God the Father tells us to listen to everything Jesus says and does. Jesus also demonstrates the importance of receiving Baptism.

2. The Wedding at Cana
This story is told in John 2. Jesus works His first public miracle at the request of His mother. This is a wonderful affirmation of marriage, as the miracle benefits the marriage feast and saves the newlyweds from the embarrassment of not having enough to drink for all the guests. It also shows the powerful intercessory powers of Mary. At first Jesus is not willing to help, because the proper time for revealing Himself has not arrived, but the persistent asking of His mother persuades Him to help the couple.

3. Preaching of the Kingdom
This mystery is more of an overview of the main parts of the gospels. It spans the three years of Jesus' public ministry, as he went about teaching the people about the kingdom of God and its nearness. This mystery encourages us to read the gospels, find out what Jesus taught and put it into practice in our own lives. It also encourages us to be preachers of Jesus, through our actions and words.

4. Transfiguration
This story is told in Luke 9. Jesus shows a preview of His resurrected body to His closest apostles to prepare them for the coming trials of His passion and death. This mystery reminds us that we too will be resurrected in glory if we follow Jesus. It gives us hope and a goal to live our lives well.

5. Institution of the Eucharist
This story is told in all four gospels. At the Last Supper, right before His death, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist, prefiguring His death on the next day and leaving us a memorial of that passion and death to be celebrated until the end of the world. To leave us His body and blood in the Eucharist and Holy Communion is perhaps the greatest gift that He could have left on the eve of His death. This mystery invites us to reflect how the Eucharist affects our lives.

Sorrowful Mysteries

1. Agony in the Garden
This story is told in each of the gospels. Before He was arrested, Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was at this time that the weight of all sins, past, present and future, descended upon Him. It was so traumatic that He began to sweat blood. He prayed that God's will be done, even though He knew that that would entail much suffering and His eventual death. This ultimate and complete abandonment to the will of God is what we all must strive for.

2. Scourging at the Pillar
This story is told in John 19. It is one of the physical tortures which Jesus underwent during His passion out of love for us. Looking at all He underwent, even before His death, we cannot but be struck by the love He must have for us to have suffered all that for our sake.

3. Crowning with Thorns
This story is told in John 19. This is not only a physical suffering but a humiliation as well. The thorns pressed into His skull would have hurt immensely, but even more would have been the emotional pain of the mocking of the soldiers. They were laughing that He pretended to be a king, not realizing that He was indeed their creator. Instead of judging them, let us remember that every time we sin we also pretend that we know better than God.

4. Carrying of the Cross
This is part of the passion story in each of the gospels. Despite His weakness from all the tortures He was subjected to, Jesus had to carry the heavy cross Himself out to the place of His crucifixion. This is a very tangible reminder that Jesus has told us that we must join Him in carrying our daily crosses if we want to be His disciples.

5. Crucifixion
This story is told in each of the gospels. Jesus' great love for each of us and the human race is completely evident in this scene, as He sacrifices His life for the redemption of every person. This is the most powerful example of His teaching that the greatest demonstration of love is to sacrifice even to death for one's friends. This is the kind of sacrificial love to which we are all called.

Glorious Mysteries

1. Resurrection
This story is told in all four gospels. As St. Paul says, if Jesus died and did not rise, the Catholic faith would be useless and foolish. It is because of this greatest miracle, that Jesus was not conquered by death, that there is reason to believe. The resurrection reminds us that death is not the end.

2. Ascension
This story is told in all four gospels. Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus left the earth for good and went back to Heaven. This mystery gives us hope that we too will join Him in Heaven at the end of our lives. He is there, waiting for us, so that if we live in love of Him, we will also go to Heaven and join Him.

3. Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
This story is told in Act of the Apostles 2. After Jesus' ascension into Heaven, He did not leave them alone, but sent them the Holy Spirit to guide them in preaching to the nations. This mystery of the rosary is a demonstration of God's love for humanity, and that He will never leave them alone. It also shows the necessity for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Sacrament of Confirmation.

4. Assumption
This mystery of the rosary concentrates on Mary and the privilege she was given to be taken to Heaven body and soul without her body corrupting. This was a fitting honor for Mary, because her body held Jesus for nine months. God would not want the temple of His son to rot away like normal bodies, but instead to be honored because it is holy in a special way.

5. Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
This mystery celebrates the place of Mary as queen of Heaven and Earth. As the mother of Jesus, the king, she is indeed the queen. As the perfect queen, she looks out for all her subjects, who are also her children. She wants to make sure that they have every grace and benefit that they need to live a good life. She will be tireless in interceding with her Son for every necessary grace. We should always be ready to pray to her at any time of need, for ourselves or for our neighbor.

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