Praying for Joy During a Pandemic
With your family, pray through the joyful mysteries of the Rosary with the meditations below. Pause after each mystery to further contemplate how you might be called to apply the “5 ingredients for joy” to your own life — particularly during this unique season.
The Annunciation + Docility
Docility means to be teachable and ready to accept the will of God no matter how it is delivered to us. Gabriel the Archangel came to Mary and presented the will of God. Without hesitation Mary responds “Yes, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let what you have said be done to me.” Mary exhibits no anxious forebodings about the afflictions she will endure. Mary has no hesitations or doubts; she does not demand a sign. This is God’s will; therefore it is her will. We all want to be happy but do not know what is best for us. We are fickle, growing weary today of what delighted us yesterday. We can only be sure of getting what we really want if our will is God’s will.
In what ways am I called to be docile to the will of God through the difficult circumstances of this pandemic? What might God be trying to teach me in this unique season? Am I open to His teaching? His will?
The Visitation + Others First
Gabriel tells Mary that her cousin Elizabeth, in her old age, is already six months pregnant with a son. Mary’s first thought is not of her own needs; her first thought is of the needs of others. Mary anticipates what Elizabeth needs and immediately goes to great lengths to care for her. Mary travels roughly 90 miles to visit Elizabeth — a distance likely traveled by foot. Mary went to great lengths (literally!) to care for another, in a time when she had much to consider and attend to in her own life.
Do I anticipate the needs of others and value others’ needs above my own? It is easy to focus on my own suffering, especially during this trying season. In what ways am I called to serve, support, and pray for others?
The Nativity + Humility
One aspect of pride is an obsession with controlling everything, insisting on one’s own way, or being overly anxious about the events of the future. In contrast, consider Mary and Joseph, who are content with a stable as the birthplace and nursery for their first-born Son. In their humility they recognize their limitations. They cannot control all the factors of their circumstances; there is no room at the inn. They accept their limitations peacefully, knowing God is their Father and He will provide for them. They are content with the stable. And because of their humility, look what God sends: three kings to take care of them with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
What circumstances am I trying to control that I should entrust to God? In what ways am I trying to force myself (or my family) into the inn rather than accepting the stable? Do I trust God to provide for my family?
The Presentation + Gratitude
Joseph and Mary go to the Temple in Jerusalem to thank God for the gift of their Son, and they offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. All happiness is incomplete which has not learned to recognize the source from which it flows and to return thanks to God. For what am I grateful? To whom I am grateful? Do I give credit and thanksgiving to God? How have I responded to His love for me? Happiness follows gratitude.
Write or mentally compose a list of all of the blessings or “silver linings” that you and your family have experienced during the pandemic. Give thanks to God for each blessing.
Finding Jesus in the Temple + Patience
While Jesus is lost for three days, Mary and Joseph must endure patiently, trusting that God will provide. Patience is a form of courage whereby we endure hardships cheerfully. Patience enables us to accept pain, suffering, and loss with confidence and joy because we know that God he will work hardship for our greatest good. Patience is to endure cheerfully when you face things you did not choose, do not like, cannot change, and cannot understand because we trust that God works all things for good for those who love him (Rom.8:28).
Take a look at the hardships and losses that your family is facing. Consider all that you did not choose, do not like, cannot change, and do not understand. Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of patience in suffering and entrust all to God.
These Rosary meditations were adapted from the School of Faith’s Daily Rosary podcast; 5 Step Strategy for Joy, by Dr. Mike Scherschlight; July 11, 2020. You can join the movement and subscribe to the podcast at dailyrosary.net