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Mini Meditations on the Luminous Mysteries
U. S. A. | SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
A resource for praying the Rosary hand-in-hand with Mary.

rosario

 


First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of Jesus


Matthew 3:13-17. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."


Catechism of the Catholic Church: #1223-1225


Reflection: Like their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth, Jesus and John were associated in the plan of God. John had a specific role to play as the forerunner announcing the arrival of the Messiah and proclaiming a baptism of repentance. By the hand of John, Jesus is baptized in waters that symbolize his upcoming death, and as he rises again, the Spirit descends and the Father’s voice is heard echoing across the Jordan. This mystery of Jesus’ baptism offers a glimpse of that other baptism he will undergo on the cross—a total submersion into sin and death, two abominations that never should have been, but that man’s free will brought into the world. By this baptism, Jesus is saying that he is ready to take it all on, that he is not afraid of our sin, and that he will do this for us because he loves us. In this mystery, Mary can help us to face our own challenges, especially the ones we fear most. Perhaps it is a long postponed confession, or an overdue reconciliation with a family member, or an act of honesty about something we would rather leave in the shadows. She can teach us to plunge into those cold waters with the confidence that we will rise again, made stronger and purer by the Father’s grace.


Second Luminous Mystery: The Wedding at Cana


John 2:1-5. On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."


Catechism of the Catholic Church: #1612-1617, 1335, 2618


Reflection: The wedding in Cana is the first moment when Jesus performs a public miracle – an act of power that makes people start asking the crucial question: “Who is this man?” Mary is there with him, with her discreet and serene presence. When the wine runs short, she approaches Jesus with an implicit request that she knows will have tremendous consequences: “They  have no wine.” Mary knows that if he works this miracle now, their hidden life together will never be the same, that he will leave Nazareth and begin his public ministry. It is a sacrificial request inspired by the Holy Spirit, and Jesus acts on it because he perceives the Father’s will behind her words. In fact, his hour has come. He works the miracle, and the great mystery of his identity begins to attract attention. In our lives too, there are moments when other people with their needs and requests are actually the voice of God speaking to us, asking us to take a step that perhaps we know will have big consequences. Perhaps the timing is inconvenient, or we would rather not get involved. But that inconvenient request could be God’s way of imploring us to step into an important mission in his plan. In this mystery, Mary can gain us the grace to “do whatever He tells you.”


 


Third Luminous Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom and the Call to Conversion


Matthew 5:3,6. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.


Catechism of the Catholic Church: #1427, 1989, 670


Reflection:  One of the ways that God reaches man is through words. The spoken word—and even the written word that seems to leap off of the page when we read it—has the power to pierce and move hearts. And when that word is full of truth, it has a mysterious resonance in the heart, a kind of magnetic attraction for the soul that is truly hungry for what is right, true, and good. When Christ came to proclaim the Kingdom of God, he made a series of appeals to the heart—invitations to a life of greater poverty, simplicity, honesty, and wholehearted service. Some perceived the beauty of that call and rose up to follow it. Others did not. Why?  Perhaps some become entrenched in their own supposed righteousness, so burdened by the need to maintain appearances that they cannot rise up in response to the call. The accessories of success keep them weighted down. Others are so hungry for God, in some cases, so humiliated by life, that they feel entirely free to let go of everything, even their pride. Others are simply pure of heart, focused on what is good and not on self at all. There are so many reasons why some do and some do not follow Jesus, and he alone knows the story of each soul. Where do we stand?  What does he see in our hearts?  In this mystery, we can ask Mary to show us the way to get closer to that eternal Kingdom where obedience sets us free.


Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration


Mark 9:2-7. After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. 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. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 


Catechism of the Catholic Church: #444, 459, 556, 568


Reflection: In the Transfiguration, another moment of supernatural light bursts through and shatters the ordinary appearances of business-as-usual. Jesus allows them to see the dazzling light of glory, and to hear the Father’s voice attesting to his Son. If Jesus’ baptism prefigured his Passion and Death, the Transfiguration prefigures his Resurrection into glory. In the shining face of Jesus, the new Moses, the apostles see the glory that will be waiting for them too, once the sufferings of this life are through. Peter wanted to set up tents on the mountain, but he had it all backwards. They were not meant to dwell in that experience; it was meant to dwell in them, as a memory that would travel with them like a torch to enlighten the hard times ahead. In our lives too, sometimes we find ourselves nostalgic for our own mountain-top experiences, wishing we could return to bask in that blissful glow. But like Peter, we’ve got it all backwards. Those moments are given to us as an encouraging memory to spur us on in hard times, as a glimpse of the greater joy that lies ahead of us. In this mystery, Mary can help us remember that no matter how deep and shadowed the valleys—discouragement, depression, confusion, loneliness, anxiety— the light of heaven is real and there is much to look forward to. The best is yet to come.


 


Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist


Matthew 26:26-29. Jesus took bread...and gave it to his disciples saying: ´Take this and eat it, this is My Body´...and taking the chalice: ´Drink of this, for this is My Blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many unto the remission of sins.


Catechism of the Catholic Church: #1322-1327


Reflection: The Eucharist is the greatest gift given to man… and probably one of the least appreciated. In this Last Supper—a supper that the disciples do not fully realize will be their last—Jesus opens his heart with such a deep yearning to give himself to his beloved ones. The disciples know that they are loved, but they have no idea how much. They do not yet realize that he is literally holding his heart in his hands and breaking it in front of them, offering it to them to eat. They are doing their best, but they cannot understand it all now. The Holy Spirit will help them to understand, little by little, through their own experience of loving others as Jesus has loved them. In our lives too, we grow in our ability to understand the mystery of the Eucharist only insofar as we learn to love others. There is a shell of egotism around the heart—sometimes camouflaged under the name of a virtue (detachment, prudence, giving others their space, not getting emotionally involved)—and as long as that shell is there, the heart will never be broken. But neither will it grow as it could. In the Eucharist, Jesus loves to the extreme. He does not protect his heart, but lays it on a paten as a free gift. Some souls have responded in love for him. But others have abused the gift of that heart, breaking it with their sins and sacrileges. Mary, the first heart to be broken by love, can teach us not to be afraid to learn to love like Jesus: taking the first step, risking rejection, giving people a chance, offering a sincere friendship… In this mystery, we can ask her for the courage to love others without fear.



PUBLICATION DATE: 2009-10-23


 
 


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