Monday, June 3, 2019

A Reflection on the Luminous Mysteries

Editor's note: This is another great contribution from the one and only Holly Vaughan. You can follow her on Twitter here! 

Ever since my conversion to Catholicism I have been determined to love the Rosary.  I struggled, questioned and studied my way into a relationship with the Blessed Mother, but even through that process I was drawn by the Rosary which was clearly, as John Paul II said, the prayer of the Gospels. That said, my devotion to it sadly ebbs and flows. I would love to tell you that I pray it daily, but all I can honestly tell you is that I want to pray it daily. Sometimes I have a good run, sometimes there’s several days in between. Thankfully our parish prays it during a Holy Hour three times a week and that keeps me on track when I otherwise probably wouldn’t fit it in. I have also taken to putting a handy “marker” on my rosary, so I can pray a decade when I have time, mark where I left off, and pick it back up where I left off at the next opportunity.

I also fight distractions in the Rosary, which seems to be a common problem. I recently listened to a talk by Brant Pitre that renewed my love of this prayer, and taught me quite a bit that I didn’t know. (I don’t get a thing if you buy that talk, I bought it myself, think it’s incredible and highly recommend it.) Clearly, my relationship with the Rosary has had it’s high and low points, but I still love the prayer and am determined to stick it out even at the times when it’s hard. And as Meg Hunter Kilmer said in her blog post about her relationship with the Rosary - our God is a God of surprises, and sometimes He will speak to you clearly when you least expect it. Recently I have been studying on the argument of some Protestant believers that God works alone and we shouldn’t talk to the Saints, have a ministerial priesthood, etc. and the way the Catholic Church counters those arguments. This was clearly (subconsciously) on my mind as I picked up my Rosary a couple of Thursday’s ago to pray the Luminous Mysteries. What I’m going to share with you here is simply what I heard as a result of my meditation on those mysteries, in hope that it might prove fruitful to you as well.

First Luminous Mystery - The Baptism of the Lord
John the Baptist was clearly a part of Christ’s salvific mission in many ways, but very directly here when Jesus “baptized baptism.” John was clearly hesitant, and seemed to feel unworthy to do what Jesus asked of him, but Jesus was persistent in His call and John responded and baptized his Lord. Jesus could have instituted Baptism any way He wanted (he could have baptized Himself even!), and He chose to do so with the assistance of John the Baptist.

Second Luminous Mystery -The Wedding at Cana
This is one of my top three favorite Rosary mysteries - alongside the Visitation and the Agony in the Garden. Mary’s participation in God’s plan is apparent from the Incarnation, but we see it so plainly here when she, out of love for the couple at the wedding, becomes a catalyst so to speak, for Jesus launching His public ministry. Again, He could have began His ministry in any way, with any miracle, but He chose to do so at the request of His Blessed Mother instead of acting alone.

Third Luminous Mystery - Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Jesus literally sends out His disciples to spread His teaching and proclaim the Kingdom of God. He didn’t do all of the work Himself, He included us, through His disciples. He also didn’t expect them to work alone - He sent them out two by two.

Fourth Luminous Mystery - The Transfiguration
Jesus knows that the mission He has called His disciples to will not be easy. He leads His inner circle up the mountain and blesses them with a glimpse of His divine nature, providing them with an experience that will encourage them in the hard times to come, and giving them an assurance, especially through the appearance of Moses and Elijah, that they are a part of God’s plan and that He will be with them through it all.

Fifth Luminous Mystery - The Institution of the Priesthood and the Eucharist
We see very clearly here the Lord’s intent to not work alone, but through His Church, and through us. He institutes the ministerial priesthood, who is our source for the Sacraments right up to today and also the Sacrament of the Eucharist - the source and summit of our faith. In the Eucharist we also see Christ literally fulfill His promise, through His priest’s ability to confect the Eucharist, to be with us always until the end of the age.

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