The 20 mysteries of the rosary and their corresponding meditations cover the highlights of the life of Christ and His mother, Mary. Four times through this coming liturgical year, we shall post a blog on a set of five mysteries that coincide with the Gospels of the liturgical year. Please permit me to share insights I obtained while meditating on the holy rosary. You might like to incorporate some of these meditations among yours or add to them.
Conceptually, the rosary is a litany of repetitive prayers, which act like background music, while the focus is to meditate upon five of 20 different mysteries of the life of Christ and His mother, grouped according to the joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious events portrayed or alluded to in the Bible. See www.americaneedsfatima.org. The rosary is said with the aid of beads and a connected crucifix, marking the beginning with the Apostles Creed. This is followed by an Our Father for the intentions of the Holy Father, three Hail Mary prayers for the increase of Faith, Hope and Charity plus a Glory Be. Then each decade or mystery includes one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be (Praise).
For those who say the rosary every day: The Joyful Mysteries are usually said on Monday & Saturday; the Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursday; the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday; and the Glorious on Wednesday and Sunday. However, the Sunday rosary may also use the mysteries that correspond to the season of the liturgical year.......Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. Furthermore, the Sorrowful Mysteries may be said during the entire Holy Week and the Glorious Mysteries are usually said for the entire Easter Week. Of course one may meditate on any set of mysteries. There's no rigid rule.
“The family that prays together, stays together.” Prayer has healed millions, ended wars, overthrown dictators, stopped the advance of militant Islam into Europe in 1571 and again in 1683, both chapters in a one thousand year old war that includes today's War on Terror. This certainly gives credence to two quotes by Alfred Lord Tennyson: “A world at prayer is a world at peace” and “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”. These were the themes promoted by Father Patrick Peyton in his Family Rosary Crusade and other programs. God used his magnetic personality to attract most of the top movie stars of the day to act on his Family Theater program on radio and television. His cause for canonization is advancing.
THE LUMINOUS MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY
The Luminous mysteries correspond to the public life of Christ before the Passion and Resurrection. It would be Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. That is the few weeks between the Christmas Season and Lent as well as between Corpus Christi and Advent. Pope John Paul II added them to make the rosary more complete in covering the highlights of the lives of Christ and His mother. Imagine that you are there following Our Lord during His public life.
Below are meditations for each decade or mystery. One may use the entire meditation or read and reflect only upon the Bible passages as he or she can imagine being there as an observer. In bold is a recommended shorter version when time is limited as for the recitation of the rosary before Mass. Anything in italics is a quote taken directly from the Bible. The facts of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are all biblical.
The First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of Christ by St. John the Baptist
Many came to be baptized and acknowledged their sins. John was there to prepare the way of Christ. His message was: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: "A voice of one crying out in the desert, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths'" (Matthew 3:2-3)....... “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).
Christ showed the importance of Baptism by permitting St. John to baptize Him. Then the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove and came upon Him. God the Father spoke: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17). This is the first public manifestation of the Holy Trinity and another epiphany of God's glory. Other options include reading and reflecting during the recitation of this decade on Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 11:2, 42:1, 53:12; 2:1-11; Matthew 3:1-17; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3:2-22; John 1:22-34; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 5:21; 2 Corinthians 4:14, 5:15, 21; 2 Peter 1:17.
The Second Luminous Mystery: The Wedding at Cana
The Lord's presence shows the value that He places upon the institution of marriage. When the wine ran short, Mary in her love saw a need and said to her son, "They have no wine" (John 2:3). This is Mary's first known act of intercession. Jesus said to her, "My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:4-5). May we do likewise in doing what Christ tells us to do. Mary just had the sure faith that her son would not disappoint even though He did not yet want to be under the scrutiny of public life. Thus we have the change of the substance of water into wine. Later we shall see the transubstantiation of wine into the blood of Christ. This miracle shows that Christ cares for our earthly needs as well. Other options are to read and reflect on Deuteronomy 29:2; Luke 19:37; John 2:1-11; 3:2, 4:48, 6:14, 10:25, 32, 38; 14:12; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:4.
The Third Luminous Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). He asked His apostles to go “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand'” (Matthew 10:6-7) May each one of us do our part in furthering the Kingdom in our everyday lives......in the home, in the parish, in the community, on the job, in every activity......through prayer and example, by word and deed. Other options include reading and reflecting on Isaiah 59:20; Mt 5:3, 8:11, 16:18-19; Mk 2:17; Luke 4:14-21, 12:32, 15:7, 24:46-47; John 20:22-23; John 21:15-19; Acts 3:19; Rev 3:19.
The Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration
By taking Peter, John, and James our Lord wanted to prepare the apostles for the scandal and shame of the cross by showing His glory. Peter, John, and James also witnessed the beginning of Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here we see Moses and Elijah together with Christ, thus showing the union between the Old Testament and the New Testament.......one being the promise and the other being fulfillment. May we be transfigured one day in heaven as St. Paul said in Philippians 3:21 that Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body”. Other options include reading and reflecting on Exodus 24:12, 16-17; Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Kings 19:8,11; Matthew 17:1-13, 14:32-34; 28:3; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:16-19.
The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist