Short Meditations for each Hail Mary
by Fr. Richard L. Rooney, SJ.
The Joyful Mysteries
1. Our Lady, rapt in prayer, is kneeling in her little home in Nazareth. (Hail Mary, etc.)
2. Suddenly, a bright light glows in the little room. (Hail Mary, etc.)…
3. Unafraid, Our Lady looks up to see the Archangel Gabriel standing before her.
4. For a moment, he gazes at her lovingly, and then speaks: “Hail, Full of Grace!”
5. He asks her to be God’s Mother and awaits her reply.
6. Mary asks but one question: What of her vow of virginity?
7. The angel explains that she is to be at once virgin and mother.
8. Without further hesitation, our Lady bows her head in loving submission: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”
9. “Be it done to me according to thy word.”
10. Then the angel departs and leaves the Word made flesh dwelling in Mary’s womb.
1. Our Lady had heard from Gabriel that her cousin, Elizabeth, is to have a baby.
2. Wishing to help her, Mary journeys from Galilee into the Judean hill country to Elizabeth’s home.
3. Coming to her cousin’s front door, our Lady greets her.
4. The presence of Mary’s Son within his Mother causes Elizabeth’s son, John, to leap with joy in his mother’s womb.
5. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth cries, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
6. Filled with God’s joy and love, our Lady chants her glorious Magnificat: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”
7. For three months she stays there helping Elizabeth.
8. She washes dishes, mends clothes, sweeps the floor, prepares the meals.
9. She talks and prays and works with her elderly cousin.
10. Then, her services being needed no more, she takes the long journey home.
The Nativity of Our Lord
1. An edict from Caesar Augustus in Imperial Rome starts Joseph and Mary on the tedious road to Bethlehem.
2. Arriving there, they can find no room in the inn. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
3. At last, they find shelter in a hillside cattle shed.
4. There, in the stillness of the star-sprinkled night, Mary brings forth her Son, whose only Father is God.
5. She wraps him in the swaddling clothes which she has woven in preparation for his coming.
6. She lays him tenderly in the manger’s straw.
7. There, she and Joseph adore their infant God.
8. On a nearby hillside, shepherds watching over their sheep are startled by angel voices bringing tidings of great joy.
9. They leave their sheep and come running to the feet of the Lamb of God. They kneel in simple faith to adore the tiny Good Shepherd.
10. All the while, Bethlehem and the wide world are sunk in unheeding slumber. They do not know that the Savior, Mary’s Son and the Father’s is in their midst.
The Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple
1. The time of Mary’s legal purification draws near. She wraps the Child in warm clothing and takes him to Jerusalem with Joseph to present him to the Lord, his Father.
2. At the temple, Joseph purchases two doves, the offering of the poor.
3. Mary gives these offerings to the priest, and he prays over her.
4. And she, the immaculately spotless one, is cleansed!
5. As they come away from the altar, the aged Simeon meets them.
6. Eagerly, reverently, he takes the Child in his arms.
7. He sings his song of joy and dismissal now that his eyes have seen God’s salvation sent to all people.
8. Looking at our Lady, he prophesies that a sword of sorrow will pierce her heart.
9. As they turn from Simeon, Anna, the prophetess, rejoices also to see the tiny King Messiah.
10. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they return to Nazareth.
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
1. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus (now a boy of 12) travel with a caravan up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
2. The days of the feast being over, Mary and Joseph set out for home. But the Child Jesus remains in Jerusalem.
3. Terror seizes Mary’s heart when she finds at the end of the first day’s journey that her Boy is not with them.
4. Mary and Joseph return to Jerusalem anxiously, sorrowfully, seeking him.
5. For three heartbreaking days, they search in vain.
6. At last, they find him in the temple, listening to and asking the wise men questions.
7. With mingled sorrow and joy, Mary wonders:
8. “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”
9. They do not understand his answer about his Father’s business.
10. Jesus then goes down with them to Nazareth, remaining there in obscurity and obedience for 18 long years.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony in the Garden
1. Our Lord and the apostles leave the Last Supper room for Gethsemane, the garden at the foot of Mount Olivet.
2. Our Lord takes Peter and James and John into the inner garden with him.
3. He begins to grow sorrowful and fearful, to be heavy and sad.
4. And he says to them, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here and watch with me.”
5. And going a little further into the garden by Himself, our Lord falls flat on the ground, and he prays that this hour, this chalice, pass from him.
6. And being in agony, he prays the longer, His sweat becomes as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.
7. He goes back to his disciples. And finding them sleeping, he says to Peter, “What? Could you not watch one hour with Me?”
9. Once again he finds his disciples asleep; so he returns to pray a third time, saying the selfsame words.
10. At last, he returns to the sleepy three, wakes them, and goes to face Judas and the multitude.
The Scourging at the Pillar
1. Pilate, calling together the leaders of the people, says, “I…find no cause in this man…I will chastise him, therefore, and release him.”
2. So our Lord is led away by the soldiers to an inner courtyard in the middle of which is a low whipping post.
3. They tear off his clothes, laying bare his back.
4. They make him stretch himself across the whipping post and fasten him there.
5. Then, getting their heavy whips, they take their turns lashing his back.
6. Men have been known to die of such a scourging.
7. Our Lord writhes in agony under these cruel lashes.
8. The soldiers, with many a crude jest, continue their cruel sport.
9. At last, weary with it all, they stop the scourging—but not until our Lord’s back is one gaping wound.
10. Finally, they release Him. Think of the agony that is His while He straightens up to stand erect!
The Crowning with Thorns
1. The terrible scourging has not satisfied the brutal soldiers.
2. This Man has claimed to be a King, so they began to ridicule him.
3. They kick a rough bench into place to be his throne.
4. An old, discarded military cloak is thrown about his shoulders.
5. He is placed on his throne and given a reed for a scepter, and they pay him mock honors.
6. “A crown! The King must have a crown!”
7. Looking about, they find a mass of thorns having long, cruel spikes.
8. Shaping it into a crown, they place it on his head…
9. …and force it into place with the flat of their swords.
10. They cry out: “Hail, King of the Jews!” They strike him and spit on him. And bowing their knees, they mockingly adore him.
The Carrying of the Cross
1. Washing his hands of the whole affair, Pilate condemns Christ to death.
2. The heavy Cross is dropped upon his weary, pain-racked shoulders.
3. As he stumbles along the rough streets of Jerusalem, our Lord slips and falls.
4. He comes face-to-face with his courageous, grief-stricken Mother.
5. Afraid that He will die before reaching Calvary, they make Simon of Cyrene help him with his Cross.
6. In an act of kindness, Veronica wipes his face with her veil.
7. Despite Simon’s help, the weakened Christ falls again, this time more heavily.
8. He rises to find the women of Jerusalem weeping at his sad plight.
9. Again, even more heavily, he falls to the ground.
10. Dragged to his feet and pushed forward, he arrives at Calvary, where he is stripped of his garments and readied for the sacrifice.
The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord
1. The Cross is prepared for its Victim.
2. Our Lord is brought to the Cross and cast down upon it.
3. The nails are driven into place in his hands and his feet.
4. At last, struggling and sweating, the executioners lift the Cross and its precious burden aloft and jarringly fix it in the rocky socket prepared for it.
5. Jesus our Lord is crucified!
6. He dangles there between earth and sky for three agonizing hours.
7. He pleads for his executioners: “Father, forgive them!”
8. Our Lord lovingly gives John to Mary and Mary to John.
9. He rewards the good thief’s defense of him with the promise of heaven.
10. At last, his work perfectly done, he gives a loud cry, bows his thorn-crowned head, and lays down his life.
The Glorious Mysteries
1. Easter Sunday dawns bright and joyous. Our Lord rises gloriously from the tomb.
2. The holy women, anxious to anoint his body, hurry to the Lord’s tomb.
3. They are amazed and frightened to find the stone rolled back.
4. The angels still the fears of the women, saying, “He is not here, but is risen.”
5. Our Lord appears later to Mary Magdalen and soothes her broken heart.
6. She rushes back, bursts into the room, and cries, “I have seen the Lord!
7. The risen Jesus manifests himself to the contrite Peter.
8. He walks with the two who are going to Emmaus and reveals himself to them in the breaking of the bread.
9. Our Lord comes through the barred doors that evening and greets the rest of the disciples with the words:
“Peace be to you.”
10. He breathes upon them and gives them the power to forgive the sins of the men for whom he died.
The Ascension into Heaven
1. Our Lord shows himself alive to his disciples during 40 days.
2. Then, at last, he leads them out again to Mount Olivet.
3. He promises that the Holy Spirit will come upon them.
4. He charges them to teach and baptize all nations “even to the uttermost part of the earth.”
5. These things being said, he is taken up into heaven.
6. And there he takes his seat at God’s right hand.
7. They continue to stand there with mixed feelings, gazing up into heaven.
8. And, behold, two men in white garments are suddenly with them. The men ask, “Why stand you looking up to heaven?”
9. Then the men tell the disciples that this Jesus, whom they have seen taken up, shall come back again.
10. The disciples leave Olivet and go back to Jerusalem.
The Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost
1. The followers of our Lord go back to the upper room.
2. There, with one mind, they persevere in prayers.
3. Besides the apostles, the women and the Mother of Jesus are there.
4. The days between the Ascension and Pentecost pass in this union of love and worship.
5. On Pentecost Sunday, when they are all together in one place, suddenly they hear a sound “as of a mighty wind coming.”
6. It fills the whole house where they are sitting.
7. They see “parted tongues as it were of fire.”
8. And they are all filled with the Holy Ghost.
9. They begin to speak different languages, as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.”
10. Filled with apostolic zeal, they go forth from the room to conquer the world for Christ.
The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into Heaven
1. After all the apostles dispersed, our Lady went to live with John, the beloved disciple.
2. Her days on earth are now drawing to a close.
3. Those who knew her in life are gathered at her bedside.
4. Naturally, they are sad at the prospect of losing their Mother.
5. But they do not sorrow as those who have no hope.
6. They do not languish in fruitless and unavailing grief.
7. They place her body in the tomb.
8. Later, to their amazement, her body is not there.
9. Joyously, they realize that Mary’s Son would not permit his holy Mother’s body to see corruption.
10. He has assumed her body as well as her soul into heaven, to be with him.
The Coronation of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven
1. Our Lady is borne triumphantly, body and soul, into heaven.
2. There she is placed on a throne next to her divine Son.
3. She is crowned queen of angels and of men.
4. The Father rejoices in his daughter’s triumph.
5. The Son looks with exultant love on this first and greatest prize of his earthly conquest.
6. The Holy Ghost delights in his spouse.
7. He delights in the beauty of body and soul that he has wrought in her.
8. From her throne, our Lady graciously dispenses love and peace to men.
9. Even as we say this rosary, she gives us yet more of God’s love.
10. One of heaven’s greatest joys will be our final union with Mary, our Queen, and Christ, our King.