Mary’s perfect joy, one of the fruits of Her union with Her divine Spouse, the Holy Spirit, overflowed from the inexhaustible springs of Her tremendous faith and deep love. The perfection of Her joy is shown not so much in its magnitude as in the fact that She rejoiced even in sharing in the sufferings of Her Son, the Redeemer, becoming thus the “Cause of our Joy,” the co-cause of the salvation of the human race.
“Rejoice always” (1 Thess 5: 16). This is a repeated invitation of the Holy Spirit throughout the Sacred Scriptures. If we, sinful and imperfect as we are, are called to “exult with a joy unspeakable and triumphant” (1 Pet 1: 8), what words could possibly describe the joy of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? If we are called to experience the fruits of the Holy Spirit, “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modesty, continence” (Gal 5: 22), how much more did She, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, experience the joy of the Spirit in all its fullness! She Herself gives witness to this joy and gratitude in Her Magnificat. “My soul magnifies the
Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for the Lord has looked with favor on his handmaid” (Lk 1: 46-48). Notice the twofold source of Her joy: God Her Savior and the graces God has bestowed upon Her. Indeed, the source of Her joy was first and foremost Jesus Christ. The name “Jesus” means God-Savior; thus Our Lady rejoices literally in Her Jesus. This gladness which She found in the Heart of Christ is extended to all of us too. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice” (Phil 4: 4).
The Immaculate Virgin found joy in Jesus as He dwelt within Her most pure womb for nine months after the Annunciation. With joy She brought Jesus to St. Elizabeth and filled the soul of St. John the Baptist with gladness. She gave birth to Him in joy at Bethlehem and adored Him with loving gratitude amidst the songs of Angels and the wonder of St. Joseph and the shepherds. With joy She and St. Joseph conferred upon Him the name of “Jesus,” and 40 days after His birth She exulted in presenting Herself in union with Jesus at the Temple. The serene smile of the Blessed Mother radiated from Her face because Her joy was ever in Jesus, Her God Savior. No trial or tribulation could diminish this joy; rather, every suffering She endured for the love of Christ only served to augment Her joy.
“What gladdens our hearts most is that by Her “Yes” to God’s plan—“Yes” to becoming the Mother of God; “Yes” to redeeming us in union with Jesus; “Yes” to being the Mother of the Church—She became Causa nostrae laetitae, the Cause of our Joy! By saying “Yes” to the Archangel Gabriel She brings the Source of all joy into the world— the Word made flesh. By saying “Yes” to the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus She causes gladness to enter the hearts of all the sinful children of Adam…”
For if St. Peter, the first Pope, exhorted all the faithful to “rejoice in so far as you are partakers of the sufferings of Christ” (1 Pet 4: 13), then She rejoiced exceedingly since She suffered the full measure of Christ’s sufferings in Her maternal Heart and experienced the most perfect conformity to Her Beloved Jesus on the Cross.
Not only did She esteem it purest joy to suffer in union with Jesus (cf. Jn 1: 2) since it united Her with Her Beloved, but She rejoiced in hope (cf. Rom 12: 2). St. Peter went on to say that we ought to find joy in our sufferings in order that we might “also rejoice with exultation at the revelation of His glory” (1 Pet 4: 13). Her hope was twofold. The Blessed Virgin was animated by hope because Her suffering as Coredemptrix brought about the conversion of poor sinners, and because She looked forward to the Resurrection of the dead and the glory of the life to come. Our Lady never despaired, but trusted in God’s promises.
“What gladdens our hearts most is that by Her “Yes” to God’s plan—“Yes” to becoming the Mother of God; “Yes” to redeeming us in union with Jesus; “Yes” to being the Mother of the Church—She became Causa nostrae laetitae, the Cause of our Joy! By saying “Yes” to the Archangel Gabriel She brings the Source of all joy into the world— the Word made flesh. By
saying “Yes” to the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus She causes gladness to enter the hearts of all the sinful children of Adam…”
Jesus is joy, and Her joy is our joy. In fact, She continually offers Jesus to us in His Word as we meditate on His life, death and resurrection in the Holy Rosary and Sacred Scripture. She continually offers Jesus to us in His Sacrament of Love, the Holy Eucharist; She invites us to receive Him worthily, to adore and love Him, to live and die in His company as She did. It is Her desire that we might sing Her Magnificat with Her Heart: “My soul magnifies the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
In this way we too can “abound with joy in all our tribulation” (2 Cor 7: 4) as we follow and even unite ourselves to our Crucified Savior in union with the Sorrowful Mother. In this way we can rejoice in our sufferings as they unleash grace for poor sinners (cf. Col 1: 24). If Our Lady of Fatima was sad in saying, “How many souls go to Hell because there is no one to pray and sacrifice for them,” She was also joyful over those would accept Her invitation to be victims for the salvation and sanctification of souls—starting with the three children Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta. In union with the Immaculate we exult at the mystery of the Word made flesh, at His miraculous birth, at His hidden life, at His public ministry and teaching, at His Passion and Resurrection. Her joy is our joy, and Jesus Himself indicates that we are to share in the joy that the Mother-Coredemptrix experienced in having given birth spiritually to the Church: “The woman about to give birth has sorrow, because her hour has come. But when she has brought forth the child, she no longer remembers the anguish for her joy that a man is born into the world” (Jn 16: 21). “The woman” is a clear reference to Mary (cf. Gen 3: 15; Jn 2: 4; Jn 19: 26; Gal 4: 4; Apoc 12: 1). After drawing the saddened Apostles’ attention to the joy that Mary was about to experience in bringing forth the Church in “travail” and the “anguish of delivery” (cf. Apoc 12: 2), Jesus links their joy to Hers by saying, “And you therefore have sorrow now; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one shall take from you… Ask, and you shall receive that your joy may be full” (Jn 16: 22, 24).
On Easter morning She was filled with joy upon seeing and embracing Her Risen Lord and Son. Pope John Paul II, in a General Audience, said, “How could the Blessed Virgin, present in the first community of disciples (cf. Acts 1: 14), be excluded from those who met her divine Son after he had risen from the dead? Indeed, it is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared… Welcoming the risen Jesus, Mary is also a sign and an anticipation of humanity, which hopes to achieve its fulfillment through the resurrection of the dead.” Even on Easter, Her joy is our joy… the Risen Savior manifests Himself and His glorified wounds to His disciples and fills them with joy!
Besides rejoicing in Jesus, the Immaculate invites us to rejoice with Her in all that God, in His loving Providence does and has done for us, His unworthy children. As She rejoiced because “the Lord has looked with favor on his handmaid,” so too we should rejoice in Jesus and in all the countless blessings God has bestowed upon us. God has been exceedingly good to us; we literally need an eternity to thank the Most Holy Trinity for all the graces and blessings He continually showers upon us. In conclusion, let us heed the Holy Spirit’s loving invitation to give thanks to the Good God in all circumstances (cf. 1 Thess 5: 18). Let us praise the Lord and incessantly sing, yes, with the very the Heart of our Mother, “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing in your hearts to God by his grace” (Col 3:16).