Random Catholic Musing: the Joyful Mysteries ought to be called the Terrifying Mysteries. Sure, they're joyful -- but we call them that thousands of years later when we know how everything plays out. Rephrased, these 5 rosary decades are:

  1. Unwed teenager notified of unplanned pregnancy she could be executed for. She gets to tell her fiancé he's not the father.
  2. Aforementioned teenage girl's first family reaction to said pregnancy.
  3. 15-year-old gives birth alone in a cave in a strange town without access to medical care. She is immediately visited by hoboes wielding weapons (shepherds were not cuddly, polite people) yammering excitedly about some trippy-sounding vision that involves the baby.
  4. While registering her infant's birth, young mother hears very disturbing prophecy about swords piercing her heart. Fun for the whole family.
  5. 12-year-old boy disappears from family trip, still missing after 3 days; distraught parents hunt in city.

It's easy to forget this when all the Christmas cards are filled with excessively twee poetry set in italic calligraphy and soaring orchestral music. I don't like twee poetry; sentimental historical depictions make me gag. But terror? I can do terror. I can do aloneness and unplannedness, and societal pressure and being lost and getting approached by random people who might look a little sketchy, and having to tell people things they probably don't want to hear.

I just can't do it with quite as much grace -- for me, that part is the mystery -- but I reckon that's why Mary is a saint.