The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary are the first of the three traditional sets of events in the life of Christ upon which Catholics meditate while praying the rosary. (The other two are the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. A fourth set, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, was introduced by Pope John Paul II in 2002 as an optional devotion.)
The Joyful Mysteries cover Christ's life from the Annunciation to the Finding in the Temple, at age 12. Each mystery is associated with a particular fruit, or virtue, which is illustrated by the actions of Christ and Mary in the event commemorated by that mystery. While meditating on the mysteries, Catholics also pray for those fruits or virtues.
Traditionally, Catholics meditate on the Joyful Mysteries while praying the rosary on Monday and Thursday, as well as on the Sundays from the beginning of Advent until the beginning of Lent. For those Catholics who use the optional Luminous Mysteries, Pope John Paul II (in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, which proposed the Luminous Mysteries) suggested praying the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Saturday, leaving Thursday open for meditation on the Luminous Mysteries.
Each of the following pages features a brief discussion of one of the Joyful Mysteries, the fruit or virtue associated with it, and a short meditation on the mystery. The meditations are simply meant as an aid to contemplation; they do not need to be read while praying the rosary. As you pray the rosary more often, you will develop your own meditations on each mystery.