Monday, 21 December 2009

The Luminous Mysteries

Father Hunwicke's blog has raised in passing some interesting points about the Rosary, and in particular the Luminous Mysteries.

I have made two pilgrimages to Walsingham, the second of them about five years ago. During each visit we followed the custom of praying the Rosary as we walked in procession from Friday Market to the Slipper Chapel. The first time, we prayed the classical Rosary of fifteen Mysteries, finishing it when we were still at some distance from the Chapel. From that point we trudged along in silence; and then, as we approached the Chapel, its bell rang out to welcome us. It was a beautiful experience.

On the second visit, the Rosary included the Luminous Mysteries. The sound of the bell competed with our Glorious Mysteries; and we were well into the grounds before we had finished. I felt a slightly harassed atmosphere had overtaken the proceedings. I don’t know if they still attempt the twenty Mysteries these days.

This is only my personal view, but I don’t think the Luminous Mysteries should automatically be included in the recitation of the Rosary; and indeed I understand that they were offered by Pope John Paul II as an optional addition. Perhaps they could be prayed at times as a separate devotion. Each of the Luminous Mysteries is certainly of great importance as a subject for contemplation; although I confess that I have found “The proclamation of the Kingdom” to be rather diffuse, unlike the precise events referred to in the other nineteen Mysteries.

It took me some years to appreciate that the traditional three chaplets were not intended to say everything about the life of Christ, but were devised to represent the story of salvation as witnessed and experienced through the eyes of His beloved Mother. Once I had absorbed that, I started to appreciate – and, I hope, to benefit from - the riches of it. For the most part, I prefer to stick with this form of the Rosary.

Having said that, it happens just now that I am saying several chaplets each day, and I have started praying the Mysteries of Light to provide some variety. Still finding “The proclamation of the Kingdom” rather diffuse, though!

In case I’m not able to post anything more before Christmas, I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Day.


Patricius said...

The traditional fifteen mysteries are easily visualised and each has a long history in Christian iconography. "The Proclamation of the Kingdom" is a phrase which may mean something to a scripture scholar but has it engaged the hearts and minds of the saints down the ages?

JARay said...

What you are referring to as The Proclamation of the Kingdom I have always regarded as the sending out of the 72 by Jesus to proclaim his coming to the surrounding countryside. He gave them power to heal the sick and to cast out evil spirits. On their return they excitedly told him that they had exercised this power. Jesus' reply was to tell them that far more importantly, their names were in the Book of Life. He also makes the remark that he saw Satan thrown out of heaven like a bolt of lightening.