Author’s Note: This article is the second in a five-part series examining the beauty and medication of the Most Holy Rosary. This series is dedicated to the memory of Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., whose love and dedication to the Rosary inspired its widespread use and understanding in our time.
The Luminous Mysteries
The Joyous Mysteries leave us with the directive that we are responsible for our faith by keeping our eye and heart on Jesus. Jesus never forces Himself on us. But how do we keep close to Him, surrounded by all of the temptations and secularism of this earth? Jesus lived on earth, and by meditating on each of the holy Luminous Mysteries, we can follow Jesus’ guideposts and teachings to live in Him each day. He literally walks by our side the entire way. Listen.
The First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of our Lord (Matthew 3:13-17)
John the Baptist protests that it is Jesus who should be baptizing him, but Jesus insists. This is His first directive to us: Begin your life by becoming a child of God. Accept the gift of grace which Baptism offers, and then recall your Baptismal promises regularly. Denounce Satan and rely upon the Holy Spirit. Shortly thereafter, Jesus shows us exactly how to do that. He goes to the desert to pray for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11). There, He is tempted by the Devil to be powerful, prideful, and wealthy: the three categories of sinfulness into which we fall. Each time, Jesus returns to the Scripture to rebuff the Devil, and so should we.
Are we staying “in the Word”? Are we turning to God whenever Satan sneaks into our lives? Let us make use of the gift of grace which God has given us, and the words of Jesus, to stay close to Christ and to continue to follow His narrow path.
The Second Luminous Mystery: The Marriage at Cana (John 2:1-12)
Jesus now begins his ministry. He changes water into wine through the intercession of His Mother. There is so much to contemplate here. First, we can count on Mary to intercede for us. Jesus won’t refuse His Mother. Second, there is no concern too small to bring before the Lord. Remember, however, to bring your NEEDS to Him and not your PLANS for Him to follow. Mary didn’t ask that Jesus make more wine: she merely informed Him that the wine had run out. Third, Jesus can make the most amazing things happen from ordinary items (clay jugs of water) and through ordinary people (waiters at a wedding). Finally, remember Mary’s final recorded words: “Do whatever He says.”
Do we pray regularly and freely, trusting that God hears our every need? Then, do we take the time to quietly listen, and then “do whatever He says”?
The Third Luminous Mystery: Christ’s Manifestation of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15)
Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is literally our road map for living. Most importantly, however, Christ perfects the Law of Moses with His mercy. His Beatitudes lay out exactly how we should strive to live. They are truly a mirror of Christ Himself: pure of heart, humble, meek, comforting, peacemaking, suffering for righteousness. How contrary this is to the world’s view that power, pride, self-centeredness, and self-comfort are the benchmarks of success! Best of all for us, Jesus invites us to His forgiveness. He seeks mercy instead of our sacrifices, and He gives us His mercy through His sacrifice.
There is so much contained here, that one could spend a life time contemplating the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus summarized it best: Are we treating others the way that we would want to be treated? If Jesus grants us His forgiveness, should we not forgive others?
The Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-35)
Along with the Apostles Peter, James, and John, we see Jesus for who He really is: the Son of God. Standing between Moses and Elijah, He is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. Most importantly for us, He is God. Through Him, we can be transformed into a new person. With Him, we can do God’s will on earth. Because of Him, we can leave our past life and start anew.
Do we truly believe that we can leave our past and start fresh with Christ? Will we cling to the things of this world, or will we allow Him to transfigure us?
The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist (Mark 14:22-25)
When we are hungry and empty, Jesus provides us with the Living Bread. He completes the fulfillment of the Old Covenant by becoming the new Passover in which He is the sacrificial Lamb. Jesus truly thought of everything for this journey to salvation: a map, guideposts, and food and drink along the way. And when we feel that we need to touch Him, there He is, in the form of a simple wafer of bread and a sip of wine.
How can we refuse the God who has giving us everything we need to truly be happy in this life? But there’s more! He knows that we fall and we sin. He will give us the ultimate gift: His death for ours, so that we can live with Him forever. How great is our God!
Next month: The Sorrowful Mysteries