“Joy to thee O Queen of Heaven, Alleluia” – the moment when this is sung at midday on Easter Sunday is one of the most joyful moments of the year for me as it signifies renewal, refreshment and hope.
The veneration of Mary, Our Lady, has for centuries been a source of some consternation amongst Christians with many Protestants considering it the reserve of Roman Catholics. I imagine this is borne out of a long held misunderstanding; when we pray the prayers of Our Lady, we are not praying to her in worship, we are joining her in worship and how joyous it is to have her on our side.
The Rosary brings me great joy, not least because the Hail Mary is such a joyful prayer. “The Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou amongst women and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”. Mary was a young woman, a teenager; she must have been frightened by the message of the Angel but she understood her role and accepted the will of God. This is clear in Luke’s Gospel which tells of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth and is now known to us as the Magnificat – “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath magnified me and holy is his Name” indeed this is the 2nd joyful mystery of the Rosary.
Another joyful thing about the Rosary for me is that is a lovely way to experience the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus in small digestible chunks and take a few moments through the prayers to meditate or in less spiritual language, think about them and think what they mean to me know!
I feel more confident with the Rosary at my side and I rarely go anywhere without my beads physically with me however I do not really need them, the true joy in the Rosary is the prayers of Our Lady, Our Heavenly Queen, Our Heavenly Mother, put simply Mary! I can count them on my fingers if I need to. I know that whatever happens in my life, she intercedes for me, she remembers me, she gives my love to her Son, my Saviour – what can be more joyous than that?