The Catechism taught: Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. (CCC 2708)
To meditate on the mysteries of Christ during the rosary, John Paul II advised that a biblical passage be read after the announcement of each mystery. He wrote: "In order to supply a Biblical foundation and greater depth to our meditation, it is helpful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the proclamation of a related Biblical passage, long or short, depending on the circumstances. No other words can ever match the efficacy of the inspired word. As we listen, we are certain that this is the word of God, spoken for today and spoken 'for me'. If received in this way, the word of God can become part of the Rosary's methodology of repetition without giving rise to the ennui derived from the simple recollection of something already well known. It is not a matter of recalling information but of allowing God to speak. In certain solemn communal celebrations, this word can be appropriately illustrated by a brief commentary."
Benedict XVI, who emphasized the importance of meditating on Scriptures to bring about a new springtime of Christianity, repeated this recommendation. He said that making this a regular practice would "encourage the memorization of brief biblical passages relevant to the mysteries of Christ."
Below are two lists of biblical passages that can be read after the announcement of the mystery.
Download a one page leaflet containing these passages here. In PDF here.
1. Annunciation. The angel came to the virgin Mary and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you! Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus….For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Lk 1:26-28, 31, 38) And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word.” His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. (Mt 1:23; Is 7:14)
2. Visitation. Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, and greeted Elizabeth. Elizabeth cried out, “Behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed.” Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Lk 1:39-40, 43-44, 46)
3. Birth of Jesus. Mary gave birth to her first-born son. "Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day a Savior, Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Lk 2:10-12, 19)
4. Presentation. Mary and Joseph brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice. Simeon took Jesus into his arms and said, “My eyes have seen your salvation, a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” His father and mother were amazed. “This child is destined to be a sign that is spoken against.” (Lk 2:28, 30, 32, 33-34)
5. Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. His parents found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were amazed. “Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” And he said to them, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work.” And he was obedient to them. Jesus advanced in wisdom and in age, and in favor with God and man. (Lk 2:46-52)
1.Baptism of Our Lord. When Jesus had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Lk 3:21-22) Christ lives in me. (Gal 2:20) See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are. (1 Jn 3:1)
2. Self-manifestation of Jesus at the Wedding of Cana. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled the jars up to the brim.…The master of the feast called the bridegroom, and said, “You have kept the best wine till now.” (Jn 2:3, 5, 7, 9-10)
3. Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and Call to Conversion. Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." (Mt 3:17) "There is joy...for one sinner who repents." (Lk 15:19) "Seek first God's kingdom and his righteousness." (Mt 6:33) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk 12:30-31) “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:19)
4. Transfiguration. While he was praying, his face shone like the sun and his clothing became white as light. And two men were conversing with him, who appeared in glory. A voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!”. (Lk 9:29. Mt 17:2; Lk 30-31, 35) Jesus said, “Only one thing is necessary.” (Lk 10:42) “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” (Ps 27:8)
5. Institution of the Holy Eucharist. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and wiped them. (Jn 13:1,4) And he took bread, gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body which will be given up for you.” “This is the chalice of my blood which will be poured out for you. Do this in memory of me.” (Lk 22:19-20) “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13:34)
1. Agony in the Garden. “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Mt 26:41) Jesus was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling on the ground. (Lk 22:44) “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Mk 14:36) Jesus said, “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3)
2. Scourging at the Pillar. “Which one do you want me to release to you?” (Mt 27:21) “Not this one but Barabbas!” (Jn 18:40) Then Pilate had Jesus scourged. (Jn 19:1) We thought of him as punished, struck down by God and humiliated. But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. On him fell the chastisement that brought us peace, by his wounds we are healed….The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Is 53:4-6)
3. Crowning with Thorns. Weaving a crown out of thorns, the soldiers fixed it on his head. And kneeling before him, they mocked him. They spat upon him, and kept striking him on the head. (Mt 27:29-30) I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you. (Is 54:8) Let us confidently draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy. (Heb 4:16)
4. Carrying of the Cross. Jesus went out, bearing his own cross. (Jn 19:17) He took up our weakness, and bore our sufferings...He makes himself an offering for sin…and shall make many righteous. ( Is 53:4, 10-11) “If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Lk 9:23) “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11:28, 30)
5. Crucifixion and Death of our Lord. They crucified him. “Father, forgive them.” (Lk 23:33-34) Standing by the cross, was his mother: “Behold your mother.” (Jn 19:25-27) There was darkness over all the land. (Mt 27:45 ) “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and he breathed his last. (Lk 23:46) Greater love than this no one has, that a man lays down his life for his friends. (Jn 15:13) He loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20).
1.Resurrection. “He has risen, as he said.” (Mt 28:6) Jesus came and stood among his disciples. “Peace be with you.” He showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.” (Jn 20:19-23) The new has come…entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:17-18)
2. Ascension of our Lord. “Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19-20) After he had spoken, he was taken up to heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. (Mk 16:19) He became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God has highly exalted him. (Phil 2:8-9) All things work for good for those who love God. (Rom 8:28)
3. Descent of the Holy Spirit. All these were persevering with one mind in prayer, together with Mary.... (Acts 1:14) When the day of Pentecost had come, suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house…And they were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak in other tongues…. (Acts 2:1-2, 4) and spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)
4. Assumption. Arise, my love, my beautiful one. (SS 2:10 ) "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom...Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25:34, 40) “My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk 8:21) Mary said, “For he has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid. For from now on, all generations will call me blessed.” (Lk 1:48-49)
5. Coronation of the Blessed Virgin. A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, …and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev 12:1) "Blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Lk 1:45) "Well done...You have been faithful in a little, I will set you over much." (Mt 25:21, 23) “Everyone who has given up houses or parents or wife or children or lands for my sake and the gospel will receive a hundred times more now in this this time, and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt. 19:29)
- Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you! And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word. When Christ came into the world, he said, Lo, I have come to your will, O God.
- He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.
- The Lord said, as he entered the world: Behold, I come to do your will, O God.
- Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name will be called Emmanuel
- Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, and greeted Elizabeth. Elizabeth exclaimed, Blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord...when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices at God my savior.
- Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
- And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
3. Birth of Jesus
- Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Going into the house, the magi saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him.
- While they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
- And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them
- Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
- Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
- Mary and Joseph brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Simeon took Jesus up in his arms, blessed God and said, My eyes has seen your salvation, a light for revelation to the gentiles, and for glory of your your people Israel.
- Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
5. Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
- His parents found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And he said to them, Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work. And he was obedient to them.
- And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
- And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.
1. Baptism of Our Lord
- When Jesus had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
- It is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.
2. Self-manifestation of Jesus at the Wedding of Cana
- The mother of Jesus was there...When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, They have no wine. His mother said to the servants, Do whatever he tells you.
- And Jesus said to her, O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.
- Jesus said to them, Fill the jars with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
- This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
3. Proclamation of Kingdom of God, and his Call to Conversion
- The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel. Whoever humbles himself like this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.
- From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.
- And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!
- And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
- Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
- Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
5. Institution of the Holy Eucharist
- Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
- This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
- And likewise the cup after supper, saying, This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.
1. Agony in the Garden
- And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling upon the ground. My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.
- My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed
- He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood
- Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.
2. Scourging at the Pillar
- They cried out, Not this one but Barabbas! Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.
- He released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified
- We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
- Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.
- I gave my back to those who beat me
3. Crowning with thorns
- The soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they fixed it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
- And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him. And they began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him.
- For all my foes I am an object of reproach, a laughingstock to my neighbours, and a dread to my friends
- I gave my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.
4. Carrying of the Cross
- They took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.
- And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and they led him away to crucify him.
- And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.
- Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers
5. Crucifixion and Death of our Lord
- And Jesus said, Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do. He said, It is finished; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Being found in human form, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even unto death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him, and given him the name that is above every name.
- And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
- There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
- When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son! Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your mother!
- Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), I thirst. ...
- Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, The King of the Jews. With him they crucified two revolutionaries
- They shall look at him whom they have pierced
- Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believe in me, though he dies, yet shall he live. Whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die.
- The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!
- He went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there.
- Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord!
- We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.
2. Ascension of our Lord
- You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and to the ends of the earth. When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
Lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.
- While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them
- Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
- The Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
- God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
- Ascendit Deus in iubilo, et Dominus in voce tubae.
3. Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles
- All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.... When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
- And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.
- And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
4. Assumption of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
- Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For he has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid; For from now on, all generations will call me blessed. For he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name.
- Come then my love, my lovely one. Show me your face, let me hear your voice. For your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.
- Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your strength.
- Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it
5. Coronation of the Blessed Virgin
- The king has fallen in love with your beauty. How resplendent is the daughter of the king, with her robe spun from gold! A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
- For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed
- Come: thou shalt be crowned (Cant 4:7, 12 and 8).
- At your right stands the queen in robes of gold, finely arrayed.
- Blessed are you among women