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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

The Holy Rosary
The Luminous Mysteries

In his Apostolic Letter on the Most Holy Rosary (Rosarium Virginis Mariae) given October 16, 2002 the beginning of the 25th year of his Pontificate, Pope John Paul II introduced the Mysteries of Light.

“I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion….. It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5) (John Paul II Rosarium Virginis Mariae #19)

The mysteries of light are placed between the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries. Each one of the Luminous mysteries sheds light on an important aspect of Christ’s mission. Pray the rosary as usual up to the first decade then follow with the meditations below.

The First Luminous Mystery
The Baptism in the Jordan

At 30 years of age, Jesus is ready to start his public ministry. This begins with his baptism by John. After Christ arises from the river, the heavens open up, the Spirit of God descends and God proclaims, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

At his baptism Jesus modeled for us the basis of the whole Christian life and the gateway to life in the Spirit. In “baptism we are freed from original sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.” CCC #1213

This sacrament brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Read the following passages from Scripture before praying this decade: Isaiah 40:3; 42:1; Luke 3:3-6; 15-17; Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; John 1:29-34.

The Second Luminous Mystery
The Wedding at Cana

Here Jesus performs his first miracle at His mother’s request. Appealing on behalf of the newly-weds, Mary said to her son, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3) What may seem of small importance is symbolic. The Gospel shows the power of Mary’s intercessions as she makes known to Jesus the needs of this couple. In doing this she placed herself between her Son and mankind making known all our wants, needs and sufferings.

Mary’s response to the servants may well be an address to us and the Church at every age, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) Read the following passage from Scripture before praying this decade: John 2:1-11.

The Third Luminous Mystery
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
And the Call to Conversion

Jesus preached in synagogues, streets and the hills of Israel, forgiveness of sins for all who draw near to his mercy in humble trust (Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47-48) through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which he has entrusted to his Church. (Matthew 9:2-8; John 20:21-23) “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

“The Greek word for converting means: to rethink—to question one's own and common way of living; to allow God to enter into the criteria of one's life; to not merely judge according to the current opinions. Thereby, to convert means: not to live as all the others live, not do what all do, not feel justified in dubious, ambiguous, evil actions just because others do the same; begin to see one's life through the eyes of God; thereby looking for the good, even if uncomfortable; not aiming at the judgment of the majority, of men, but on the justice of God—in other words: to look for a new style of life, a new life.” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers, Jubilee of Catechists, December 12, 2000)

Read the following passages from the Scripture before praying this decade: Matthew 5:1-12; Mark 1:14-15

The Fourth Luminous Mystery
The Transfiguration

“The mystery of light par excellence is the 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” (Luke 9:35) 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.” (John Paul II Rosarium Virginis Mariae #21)

Read one of the following passages from the Scripture before praying this decade: Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36

The Fifth Luminous Mystery
the Institution of the Eucharist

The final mystery of light is the institution of The Eucharist “the source and summit of the Christian life.” (Lumen Gentium #11, Pope Paul VI November 21, 1964)
As a foreshadowing of this unique bread, the Eucharist, Our Lord performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. “Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.” (Matthew 14:19)

As a Catholic this image is extremely familiar, experienced at the heart of every Mass, during the Eucharistic celebration when bread and wine are transformed by the priest, acting in persona Christi, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

The Church, faithful to the Lord’s command, continues to do this in his memory and and will continue until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion at the Last Supper; “He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they add drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”” (Mark 14:22-24)

Before praying the final decade of this rosary and the concluding prayers read the following passages from Scripture: John 6: 35, 41, 47-51; Matthew 26:26-30; Luke 22:14-20

Our Lady of the Rosary
The Baptism of Christ, Alessandro Allori
The Baptism of Christ Giovanni Bellini
The Marriage at Cana Giotto di Bondone
The Marriage at Cana Gerard David
The Sermon on the Mount Carl Heinrich Bloch
The Transfiguration Fra Angelio
The Transfiguration Giovanni Bellini
The Institution of the Eucharist Nicolas Poussin
The Institution of the Eucharist Joos van Wassenhove

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