I have always experienced the Rosary and its fruits as independent items, that is, when I meditate on the carrying of the Cross, I grow in the fruit of patience by exploring how patience corresponds to the act. I then move on to the Crucifixion and grow in fortitude as I contemplate His death.
And so on.
However, when praying the Joyful Mysteries the other day, I realized how much the mysteries and their corresponding fruits tell us about daily life and our relationship with Christ over time.
The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation and the fruit is humility: when Mary received God’s will and said “yes” fully to His entrance into her life. It begins the entire meditation of the rosary. All other mysteries follow accordingly.
This is fitting. Nothing in God’s providence can follow in our own life if we do not first have our own “personal annunciation.” We must first experience Christ asking to enter our lives and we must respond “yes,” before God’s other joys can come to fruition.
Only when we have accepted Christ’s plan for us, can we then move to love our neighbor – the fruit of the second mystery, the Visitation. By taking the joy of Christ which now resides (quite literally in Mary’s case) within us to our neighbors, we may become the vessel for another person’s “personal annunciation,” as well as “Mary” to our “Elizabeth” friends.
This “personal annunciation,” seems to result in an “eternal annunciation,” of sorts. God continually approaches us to ask if He may enter more fully into our lives. When we say “yes,” we repeatedly imitate Mary in her response. In humility, we receive the Lord, and in receiving the love of God we are able to bring Christ into the world.
In this way, our own life echoes the act of the Father and the Son from which proceeds the Holy Spirit. The communion of our love with God bears a third fruit in our own “personal nativity.” That is, just as the Father, eternally pouring love out onto the Son, and the Son, eternally receiving the love of the Father creates the Holy Spirit, so too do we create our own trinity with God which brings about a birth of Christ in our lives and in the world.
The first two mysteries and their fruits (Annunciation and humility and the Visitation and love of neighbor) then work together in us to bring about our own nativity – third mystery.
This “personal nativity,” then leads us to our fourth mystery- the Presentation. It is fitting that we give all of our work back to Him, as it is not really our work, but rather, it is the work of the Father done through us. Thus, we each experience the Presentation in the Temple in the faithful fulfillment of our vocation and in the act of returning to God that which He lovingly gave to us and did through us.
In our obedience, the fruit of the Presentation, we align ourselves ever more with God’s will, so that in the fifth mystery we are able to wondrously experience the Joy of Finding Jesus in the temple of our work again and again.
Then it begins again. When we have full joy of finding Jesus in our daily life and work, we are faced with His eternal annunciation again: May I come ever deeper into your life?
We choose, once again, whether or not to allow Him in, to allow Him to repeatedly transform us until we, just like Mary, make Christ flesh in us. When we say “yes” to Him enough that we are no more, it is Christ made flesh in us that goes to our neighbor, gives birth to more love, presents His work to God (on the Cross), and finds the joy that comes from loving Him alone.
The life of the Christian is truly a joyful one indeed!