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The Luminous Mysteries

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The Luminous Mysteries

Standing, as we are, between the Lord’s Baptism and the Wedding at Cana, I’d like to spend a little time considering the Mysteries of Light – or Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.

John Paul II once said, The Rosary is my favourite prayer. A marvellous prayer! Marvellous in its simplicity and its depth.” Despite this, I’m sure I was not the only one to be amazed by his introduction of five new mysteries of the rosary in 2002.

He was offering “a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his [Jesus’] public ministry… without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer’s traditional format… to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary’s place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory” (RVM 19) .

The Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, in which he introduced the Mysteries of Light is well worth a read for anyone wishing to revitalise or re-discover the rosary in ones own prayer life.  John Paul II therein recommends reading from scripture at the beginning of each mystery, as ‘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”’ (RVM 30).

For that reason, I’m not going to write a meditation on each of the decades of the Luminous Mysteries.  Rather, I’ve extracted the Pope’s description of each decade (from RVM21) and included his scriptural references for your own use. The Mysteries of Light are

1. Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan.  As Christ descends into the waters, the innocent one who became “sin” for our sake (cf. 2Cor 5:21), the heavens open wide and the voice of the Father declares him the beloved Son (cf. Mt 3:17 and parallels), while the Spirit descends on him to invest him with the mission which he is to carry out.

2. Jesus’ self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (cf. Jn 2:1- 12), when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers.

3. Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him in humble trust (cf. Mk 2:3-13; Lk 7:47- 48): the inauguration of that ministry of mercy which he continues to exercise until the end of the world, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which he has entrusted to his Church (cf. Jn 20:22-23).

4. Jesus’  Transfiguration, traditionally believed to have taken place on Mount Tabor. The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit.

5. Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery, in which Christ offers his body and blood as food under the signs of bread and wine, and testifies “to the end” his love for humanity (Jn 13:1), for whose salvation he will offer himself in sacrifice.

Thursday’s the day for Luminous Mysteries, but not necessarily so, as ‘what is really important is that the Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation‘ (RVM38).  Let’s pop off to the Prayer Wall, then, and bring those intentions to the Lord through Mary…

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