Praying the Rosary in the Year of Faith: The Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light
The Mysteries of Light
In 2002, Blessed John Paul II released an apostolic letter on the "Rosary of the Virgin Mary" (RVM) in which he referred to the Rosary as a "compendium of the Gospel". He also proposed that the practice of praying the rosary would be enhanced by additional "mysteries of light" for reflection.
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In 2002, Blessed John Paul II released an apostolic letter on the "Rosary of the Virgin Mary" (RVM) in which he referred to the Rosary as a "compendium of the Gospel". He also proposed that the practice of praying the rosary would be enhanced by additional "mysteries of light" for reflection. "Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way "mysteries of light". Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the "light of the world" (Jn 8:12).
"Yet this truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom. In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments - "luminous" mysteries - during this phase of Christ's life, I think that the following can be fittingly singled out: "(1) his Baptism in the Jordan, (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (4) his Transfiguration, and finally, (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery. Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus."
The Mysteries of Light" or "Luminous Mysteries" are now placed between the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries in our recitation of the Rosary on a sequential basis. Each of these mysteries points the believer to the central meaning of the Mission of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
First Mystery of Light: The Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan
"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 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." (Mt 3,13-17)
"The Baptism in the Jordan is first of all a mystery of light. Here, as Christ descends into the waters, the innocent one who became "sin" for our sake (cf. 2Cor 5:21), the heavens open wide and the voice of the Father declares him the beloved Son (cf. Mt 3:17 and parallels), while the Spirit descends on him to invest him with the mission which he is to carry out." (Blessed John Paul II, RVM 21)
From antiquity, the Christian church has pointed to the Baptism of the Lord in the river of Jordan, as the event wherein the full plan of God for His Church and the entirety of creation itself is made manifest. It is not only the beginning of the Lord's public ministry; it is the beginning of the new creation, re-constituted in Him.
The beloved disciple John wrote in His first letter: "See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
We shall be like Him for we shall "see" Him as He is? How? When we live in Him, we grow in holiness and manifest His glory for others. This process of conversion and transformation begins at our Baptism. He initiates the relationship, and it continues through our communion with Him in prayer, His Word, the sacraments and our life in the Church.
Through our own baptism we are incorporated into Christ. We enter into His Mystical Body, the Church. We live in Him for the sake of the world. We begin to see Him as He is and in the continuing encounter which that mystery entails, we become "like Him" for others. We become a "manifestation", an "epiphany" of God in a world stumbling along in the darkness of sin. We also become immersed in God.
The word "Epiphany" is not often used in Eastern Christianity, Orthodox or Catholic. It is replaced by the word "Theophany", which in Greek literally means the "manifestation of God." The Theophany speaks to the vocation of the whole Church and of every Christian to be immersed in God and bring the whole human race and the world along with us.
The Apostle Peter writes in his second letter to the dispersed ...
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