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Praying the mysteries of light


"The rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the heart of the Mother of God.”

– St. Pius X


When Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12) We can participate in this light when we pray the luminous mysteries of the rosary.


When he was elected pope, St. John Paul II declared, “The rosary is my favorite prayer.” He noticed that there seemed to be a gap between Jesus’ infancy and hidden life (the joyful mys-teries), his passion (the sorrowful mysteries) and his resurrection (the glorious mysteries). In order to achieve a fuller “compendium of the Gospel” in the rosary, St. John Paul proposed in 2002 to add the luminous mysteries, or the mysteries of light, which focus on Jesus’ three-year public ministry.


These five mysteries, traditionally prayed on Thursdays, reveal how Jesus shone his light of life into the darkness of our world.


The Baptism of the Lord. “After Jesus was baptized … he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and coming upon him.” (Mt 3:16) This mystery invites us to be open to the Holy Spirit. How is God speaking to us in our daily lives?


The Wedding in Cana. “His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (Jn 2:5) This mystery asks us to approach Jesus through Mary. Where in our lives do we see Mary’s motherly love?


The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and Call to Conversion. “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” (Mt 10:7-8) This mystery calls us to bear Christian witness through our words and deeds. How can we live in a Christ-like way that inspires others to faith?


The Transfiguration. “While he was praying, his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” (Lk 9:29) This mystery gives us spiritual courage by showing Jesus in his full glory. How can our faith help us be brave?


The Institution of the Eucharist. “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you.’” (Lk 22:19) This mystery inspires us to love our Lord in the Eucharist. How can Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist sustain us during challenging times?

With the help of the luminous mysteries, may we share the light of Christ by allowing his light to shine through us for others.


By Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D, Director of online learning at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education




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