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Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

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The Annunciation - The First Joyful Mystery of the Rosary
Stained-glass window of the Annunciation in St. Mary's Church, Painesville, OH. (© Scott P. Richert)

A stained-glass window of the Annunciation in Saint Mary's Church, Painesville, OH.

(Photo © Scott P. Richert)

The First Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is the Annunciation of the Lord, when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary to announce that she had been chosen by God to bear His Son. The virtue most commonly associated with the mystery of the Annunciation is humility.

Meditation on the Annunciation:

"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). With those words—her fiat—the Virgin Mary placed her trust in God. She was only 13 or 14; betrothed, but not yet married; and God was asking her to become the Mother of His Son. How easy it would have been to say no, or at least to ask God to choose someone else! Mary had to have known what others would think, how people would look at her; for most people pride would prevent them from accepting God's Will.

But not Mary. In humility, she knew that her entire life depended on God; how could she turn down even this most remarkable of requests? From a young age, her parents had dedicated her to the service of the Lord; now, this humble servant would devote her entire life to the Son of God.

Yet the Annunciation is not only about the humility of the Virgin Mary. In this moment, the Son of God "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself . . . " (Philippians 2:7-8). If Mary's humility was remarkable, how much more so that of Christ! The Lord of the Universe has become one of His own creatures, a man like us in everything but sin, but even more humble than the best of us, because the Author of Life, in the very moment of His Annunciation, became "obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8).

How, then, can we refuse God anything He asks of us? How can we let our pride stand in the way? If Mary can give up all worldly reputation to bear His Son, and His Son can empty Himself and, though sinless, die the death of sin on our behalf, how can we refuse to take up our cross and follow Him?

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