While Joseph was no longer alive during Jesus' public ministry, considering him aids our contemplation of these mysteries.
The Luminous Mysteries, or the Mysteries of Light, focus on the public ministry of Jesus. St. John Paul II’s addition of the mysteries filled in the gap between Christ’s childhood (Joyful Mysteries) and his passion, death, and resurrection (Sorrowful Mysteries).
Most certainly, St. Joseph had already died by this time of Jesus’ public ministry, yet his life, especially with Jesus and Mary, touches upon these mysteries and can provide us a moment to reflect on his presence in each of the rosary mysteries.
Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
John the Baptist was a relative of the Holy Family. Artists throughout time depict childhood play dates between Jesus and John. And there’s a good chance St. Joseph would have known this holy man to whom Jesus now entrusts his own baptism.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on the relationship of the Holy Family with Elizabeth, Zechariah, and John the Baptist.
Wedding Feast of Cana
This wedding feast for the unnamed couple in Cana demonstrates Mary’s powerful intercession with her Son. With no mention of Joseph, we presume he has passed from this life at the time of the wedding. As Mary celebrates with this couple, perhaps she recalls her own wedding celebration which she celebrated with her betrothed many years earlier. Now she attends as a widow, grateful for their life together.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on the nuptials of Mary and Joseph.
Proclamation of the Kingdom
As Jesus begins his public ministry, he proclaims the Kingdom of God and teaches about the Kingdom of Heaven. As Jesus grew in age and wisdom with his parents during his childhood, he most likely proclaimed the kingdom to them. Now, what Joseph and Mary already had received, is shared with a wider audience for the sake of their salvation.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on what Jesus would have talked about with his parents as he advanced in years.
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor for this special moment and glimpse of heaven, when Moses and Elijah appear and speak to Jesus and the voice of God the Father is heard. Jesus would have learned about these Old Testament figures from Joseph and Mary, in their daily prayers, reading of scriptures, and at synagogue.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on Jesus learning the stories of the Old Testament during his childhood as he sat on his father’s lap.
Institution of the Holy Eucharist
Jesus gathers with the Apostles to celebrate the Passover. During his life, he would have celebrated many Passovers with Joseph and Mary. As the only child, he would have asked those questions while at table and Joseph would have answered. Joseph, the leader of prayer, was training and forming Jesus for this moment, when he would lead the prayer on the night before he died and offer us a covenant immemorial.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on the Passover meals the Holy Family celebrated or how Joseph as the Universal Patron of the Church has great concern for the Church’s celebration of the Eucharist.
Concluding the Rosary
Pope Leo the XIII in his 1889 encyclical Quamquam pluries recommended to the faithful during the month of October to end the rosary with a prayer to St. Joseph. This prayer can be added at any time. After praying the Hail Holy Queen and any other prayers you add, why not close with this recommended prayer to St. Joseph?
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.