4 Reasons Why I Love the Luminous Mysteries

I love praying the Rosary.  It joins movement with spoken word and deep spiritual reflection on the life of Christ.  Since it makes me do three things at once (very trinitarian, right?), it is perfect for my self-diagnosed ADD.

Since its official recognition in the 12th century, the Rosary, as most know, was based around three main Mysteries- the Joyful (which are actually quite sorrowful in light of the cross), the Sorrowful (which are even more sorrowful than the Joyful) and the Glorious (which just plain rock in their gloriousness).

However, since Blessed John Paul II (a fellow Rosary lover) created the Luminous Mysteries, I gotta say they have become my favorites.  Here are some reasons why:

1. They focus on Christ, the Teacher

One could argue that ALL of the Mysteries are good for teaching, but it is the Luminous Mysteries that paint Jesus as an instruction-describing, advice-giving, feedback-providing Educator   In each mystery, He teaches large/small groups how to truly live a good life, celebrate successes and correct errors.

2. They Sacrificially Balance the Rosary Week

The traditional daily recitation schedule for the Rosary used to look like this:

Sunday- Glorious, Joyful, and very rarely , the Sorrowful Mysteries (the Mysteries prayed depended on the liturgical season when it was prayed)

Monday- Joyful Mysteries

Tuesday- Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday- Glorious Mysteries

Thursday- Joyful Mysteries

Friday- Sorrowful Mysteries

Saturday- Glorious Mysteries

Since Ordinary Time mammoths the rest of the liturgical schedule, the Glorious Mysteries almost always were prayed three times a week (and why not, they’re just that awesome!)

With the inception of the Luminous Mysteries, however, balance was given to the weekly recitation schedule, but at a sacrificial cost.  It now looks like this (with some variations during Lent and Advent):

Sunday- Glorious Mysteries (ALWAYS)

Monday- Joyful Mysteries

Tuesday- Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday- Glorious Mysteries

Thursday- Luminous Mysteries

Friday- Sorrowful Mysteries

Saturday- Joyful Mysteries

Notice how the original Mysteries now have two days each?  Notice how the Luminous Mysteries only get one day?  Just like a Teacher, the Luminous Mysteries sacrifice fame for balance and clarity.

 3. They Complete Mary’s Mission

Mary is the patroness of the Rosary, and for centuries the greatest advice she ever gave to her children went unheard via the beaded blessing.

 “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).

Without the Luminous Mysteries, we were able to meditate on the mission of Christ, but it wasn’t until the Luminous Mysteries came about that Mary’s mission to us was directly addressed. The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana does just that; it unites our vocations to Christ through the intercession of Mary.  Finally, her mission is complete.

4. They Bring Us Into Full Communion With Christ

This one is easy.  How could the Catholic Church not have a Mystery dedicated to its most sacred Sacrament? Thank you Blessed JPII for giving us the Institution of the Eucharist in Rosary prayer.

Light has always been the symbol of hope, learning, and life.  This trinitarian symbolic light manifests itself in the person of Christ.  The Luminous mysteries bring “light” to all who pray them and it even sheds a little bit onto the other mysteries.  

The Rosary, a Christian Teacher’s Best Resource

For a very long time, the Church faithful have received many graces in the contemplative prayer of the Rosary.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Rosary looks a bit like this: 
Each bead represents a repetitive prayer that is said (normally out loud) which creates a certain tone of “background music” that is perfect for putting yourself in the presence of God.  Each set of 10 beads is meant to put yourself into a scriptural moment of Jesus’ life.  Each day, these Biblical moments change from the Joyful times of His birth, the Luminous moments of His teachings, the Sorrowful times of His death,  and the Glorious moments of His resurrection.  In short, the Rosary is a very effective way to ponder the life of Jesus so that we can then imitate His virtues in our daily lives.
Christian Teachers (not just Catholics either) have everything to gain from this method of prayer because it brings clarity to our spirits and reason to our vocation.  At the end of each day, we know full well whether it was Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, or Glorious.  A well prayed Rosary helps us unify such sentiments with the life of Christ, thus unifying His love for us with our love for Education. 
It just so happens that October is the month of the Rosary.  I would encourage the entire Guardian Angel community, Catholic and Protestant alike, to take some time and pray the Rosary this month.  You can dedicate it to the salvation of your students, the success of your school or for whichever other intention you desire.  For more information on how to pray the Rosary, check out Tomsdomain.com. It gives a good explanation that will take you through the step-by-step process. 

If you do not have an actual Rosary, do not worry.  The website will lead you through with just a couple mouse clicks.  Even if the site wasn’t available, your fingers are just as good of a Rosary as the actual beaded strings.  Also, as a quick word of advice, don’t worry if the repetitive prayers seems more like a mantra then a spiritual moment with God. 
The more you contemplate the scriptural mysteries that the Rosary provides, the easier it is to go deeper into the setting in which Jesus presents Himself to you.  Don’t be afraid to let Him take you by the hand and guide you through His life.  You’ll be surprised just how much you’ll learn about your own.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!