Pope Francis often speaks about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not only among Catholics, but to the world at large. Frequently, His Holiness invokes her intercession and encourages Christian devotion to her. Among western Catholics, there is no devotion to Mary more popular than the Rosary.
Therefore, it proves fruitful to look at Pope Francis’ take on each of the Rosary’s 20 mysteries. Let us begin with the Joyful…
The Joyful Mysteries
1 – The Annunciation
From the Angelus Address: On the Gospel of the Annunciation (December 24, 2017):
Mary’s response is a brief phrase, which doesn’t speak of glory, doesn’t speak of privilege, but only of willingness and service: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38). The content is also different. Mary doesn’t exalt herself in face of the prospect of becoming, in fact, the Mother of the Messiah, but remains modest and expresses her own adherence to the Lord’s plan. Mary doesn’t boast. She is humble, modest. She remains as ever.
2 – The Visitation
From Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, during a pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of Sts Elizabeth and Zachariah (May 26, 2013):
Our Lady, as soon as she had heard the news that she was to be the Mother of Jesus and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting a child — the Gospel says — she went to her in haste, she did not wait. She did not say: “But now I am with child I must take care of my health. My cousin is bound to have friends who can care for her”. Something stirred her and she “went with haste” to Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:39). It is beautiful to think this of Our Lady, of our Mother, that she hastens, because she intends to help. She goes to help, she doesn’t go to boast and tell her cousin: “listen, I’m in charge now, because I am the Mother of God!”. No, she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother who always hurries to us whenever we are in need.
3 – Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
From Homily on the Nativity of Our Lord (December 24, 2014):
On this holy night, while we contemplate the Infant Jesus just born and placed in the manger, we are invited to reflect. How do we welcome the tenderness of God? Do I allow myself to be taken up by God, to be embraced by him, or do I prevent him from drawing close? “But I am searching for the Lord” – we could respond. Nevertheless, what is most important is not seeking him, but rather allowing him to seek me, find me and caress me with tenderness. The question put to us simply by the Infant’s presence is: do I allow God to love me?
4 – Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
From Homily on the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (February 2, 2015):
In our heart we can contemplate this double movement by imagining the Gospel scene of Mary who enters the Temple holding the Child in her arms. The Mother walks, yet it is the Child who goes before her. She carries him, yet he is leading her along the path of the God who comes to us so that we might go to him.
5 – Jesus is Found in the Temple
From Homily on the Feast of the Holy Family (December 27, 2015):
[How] comforting it is for us to reflect on Mary and Joseph teaching Jesus how to pray! This is a sort of pilgrimage, the pilgrimage of education in prayer. And it is comforting also to know that throughout the day they would pray together, and then go each Sabbath to the synagogue to listen to readings from the Law and the Prophets, and to praise the Lord with the assembly. Certainly, during their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, they prayed by singing the Psalm: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’ Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem (122:1-2).
Pete Vere is a canonist, author, and catechist. His books include Surprised by Canon Law (volumes 1 & 2), More Catholic Than The Pope, and Annulments: 100 Questions and Answers. Pete and wife Sonya are blessed with seven children. In his spare time Pete enjoys camping with his family, riding his Indian Scout motorcycle, and refereeing professional wrestling.