In this first week of Advent, voices from east London help us pray the first Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

Hear them explain how meditating on the Annunication helps them to discern and respond to God's call on their lives.

Click here for an introduction to the People's Rosary Project, and a guide to how to pray the Rosary

Click here for the page on the second Joyful Mystery - the Visitation.

Click here for the page on the third Joyful Mystery - the Birth of Christ.

Click here for the page on the fourth and fifth Joyful Mysteries - the Presentation and Finding in the Temple

The Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

The virgin’s name was Mary. 

And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 

The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 

Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’

The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 

Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’

Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1.26-38

How do I discern God's action in my life, and what he is calling me to do?

Community organiser Marzena Cichon Balcerowicz explains how praying this Mystery has helped her discern God's presence and hear his call - amidst the turbulence of the pandemic.

When I hear God's call, how can I respond with courage and obedience?

Susan Graves explains how meditation on Mary's courage and obedience inspires her own response to God.

How can we see God's grace at the work in the lives of those around us?

Sister Julienne works in an east London care home. Meditating on the Annunciation has helped her to recognise and celebrate the holiness of others who are working on the frontline during the pandemic.

With the 'yes' of Mary, God not only watches and walks with his people, but becomes one of us and takes on our flesh.

In Mary’s ‘yes’ there is the ‘yes’ of all of salvation history and there begins the ultimate ‘yes’ of humanity and of God: there God re-creates, as at the beginning, with a ‘yes.'

This is why today is the right day to thank the Lord and to ask ourselves: am I a man or woman of ‘yes’ or a man or woman of ‘no’? Or am I a man or woman who looks away, so as not to respond?

Pray that the Lord grant us the grace to take the path of men and women who knew how to say ‘yes'.

Pope Francis

You are invited to pray the Rosary now.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

If you have not prayed the Rosary before, you can read our introductory page here.

Next week, we will hear reflections from Caroline Alfred, Rámond Mitchell and Sister Therese Bora on the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1.39-45).

If you would like to pray the Rosary in an online group this Advent, email peoplesrosary [at] theology-centre.org

The People's Rosary is a project of the Centre for Theology and Community and De Mazenod Retreat House in east London.

Images: Ethiopian icon of the Annunciation, sunrise in New South Wales

We are grateful for the support of the Lady Peel Trust in developing this project.