Celebrate the anniversary of the luminous mysteries with song, prayer and action.
by Heidi Indahl
Fifteen years ago this month, St. John Paul II introduced the world to the luminous mysteries, or mysteries of light, through an apostolic letter entitled “Rosarium Virginis Mariae.” The luminous mysteries give light to the mission of Jesus and in the same way encourage us to share our light with the world. Here are three ways to celebrate and let your light shine this month with your family:
Sing A Little Song
Do you remember “This Little Light of Mine” from your school days? It’s perfect for singing with young (and young at heart) children to remind all of us that our job is to keep our light strong and protect it from things that will try to hide or extinguish it. You may also remember “Give Me Oil In My Lamp” or be interested in a newer tune like “Let Your Light Shine.”
Pray By Candlelight
Start a decade of the rosary in the dark, lighting one small tea light or taper candle with each Hail Mary. The more you pray, the lighter it gets. In the same way, our prayers bring light to a dark world AND have the bonus of helping us protect our light, received in our baptism, that we sang about in the first activity!
Spread Some Peace
In his letter, St. John Paul wrote:
A number of historical circumstances … make a revival of the rosary quite timely. First of all, the need to implore from God the gift of peace. The rosary has many times been proposed by my predecessors and myself as a prayer for peace …. one cannot recite the rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace, especially in the land of Jesus, still so sorely afflicted and so close to the heart of every Christian.
Have a family peace challenge. Brainstorm some people, places and situations that need a little peace right now, and come up with a creative way to infuse some peace into the circumstance. If you are stuck, consider spending an hour walking around a local park, mall or even college campus smiling at people and simply saying hello!
Pope St. John Paul II proposes the mysteries of light
Here’s the portion of Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope St. John Paul II’s October 16, 2002 apostolic letter on the rosary, in which he proposes the luminous mysteries (see #19):
Of the many mysteries of Christ’s life, only a few are indicated by the Rosary in the form that has become generally established with the seal of the Church’s approval. The selection was determined by the origin of the prayer, which was based on the number 150, the number of the Psalms in the Psalter.
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. In the course of those mysteries we contemplate important aspects of the person of Christ as the definitive revelation of God. Declared the beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, Christ is the one who announces the coming of the Kingdom, bears witness to it in his works and proclaims its demands. 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” (Jn 9:5).
Consequently, for the Rosary to become more fully a “compendium of the Gospel”, it is fitting to add, following reflection on the Incarnation and the hidden life of Christ (the joyful mysteries) and before focusing on the sufferings of his Passion (the sorrowful mysteries) and the triumph of his Resurrection (the glorious mysteries), a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his public ministry (the mysteries of light). This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer’s traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and 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.