Praying the Mysteries of Light

Additional Reading

Personal reflections about praying the new Mysteries of Light.

POPE JOHN PAUL II marked the 24th anniversary of his election as Pope with the introduction of a set of five new mysteries to the Rosary. He told an estimated crowd of 17,000 pilgrims at St Peter's Square, "We must rediscover the profound mysticism contained in the simplicity of this prayer, dear to popular tradition."

Like the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, the new "Mysteries of Light" or the "Luminous Mysteries" are dedicated to chapters from Jesus's public ministry: I. Christ's baptism in the Jordan River; II. His first miracle at the wedding of Cana; III. His proclamation of the Kingdom of God with the
invitation to conversion; IV. His transfiguration, when He revealed His glory to
Peter, James and John; and V. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.

Seeing the Light

The rosary is to me a source of comfort and security in painful and nervous moments such as when I was warded in hospital and during my travels abroad. But when I was an unbaptised convent school girl, praying the rosary for me was just merely reciting Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Bes. It was not until years later-more than 15 years after baptism-that I learnt to include the contemplation of the Mysteries in my rosary recitation. But even then, it was never easy.

However, I can relate well to the new Mysteries of Light. Perhaps it is because these episodes of His life figured strongly during my more recent meditative periods, praying in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises as taught by St Ignatius of Loyola.

What do these new mysteries mean to me and how do I relate to them? Let me share with you my personal reflections on these five biblical texts. At the urging of our Holy Father to "conclude each mystery with a prayer for the fruits specific to that particular mystery," I would also like to share my private intention, or 'wish-list' if you like, for each mystery.

The First Luminous Mystery: THE BAPTISM IN THE JORDAN

And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17

How God must have loved His Son, Jesus! I imagine the looming voice that came out of the clouds, urging us to listen to Jesus, the Beloved One of God. In faith I believe that God loves me too and I am also very much His beloved. At the end of life's journey, I yearn to hear God call to me, "My beloved, my good and faithful servant, welcome home."

As I behold the face of God's Beloved, I pray to recognize Christ in others and to be mindful that the Holy Spirit resides within me. I pray to be alert lest I miss Jesus in my daily work and in my relationships with spouse, children, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues and the man in the street.

Lord, that I may see Your Face.

The Second Luminous Mystery: THE WEDDING AT CANA

His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." John 2:5

Here the mother's quiet exhortation, "Do whatever he tells you" points us to Jesus and His Divinity. Here the mother coached her son to act, yet was humble enough to wait upon her son's readiness to spring to action. I imagine the cool demeanor of Our Lady as she went about her tasks and duties unhurriedly. To ponder is an excellent verb to describe the actions of our Blessed Mother. Let us ponder then with dearest Mother Mary and let us learn to wait upon the Lord-He who turned water into wine when the time was right. His blessings are abundant and overflowing.

I pray to have the humility of Mother Mary and I pray to be attentive to God's voice. I learn to wait with the Blessed Mother. To ponder. I pray for patience to witness divine miracles unfolding in my life.

Lord, that I may maintain a spirit of gratitude and to give thanks always.


"But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-he said to the paralytic-"I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." Mark 2:10,11

The message of Jesus is one of conversion, forgiveness and love. When we are transformed from within and are filled with God's love, then forgiveness is a choice we offer to our fellow beings. I imagine unforgiveness as a hard stone locked within our hearts and it prevents love from entering or leaving. The spirit of love is better than the worthless and negative energies of wallowing in unforgiveness and self-pity. Therefore, we too must arise, forgive and be forgiven, and move on.

Pray for conversion of heart, especially of hardened hearts. Our Lady is a great intercessor. She has led many to Jesus and as loving mother to all she will heed our fervent call for conversion-of ourselves, loved ones, friends, enemies and of the world. I pray for the grace to forgive and I beseech God to pour forth love in my heart.

Lord, let this love be unconditional and rooted deeply in Christ's willing and magnanimous sacrifice on the Cross.

The Fourth Luminous Mystery: THE TRANSFIGURATION

And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. - Luke 9:29

As we stand with Jesus at Mount Tabor, the dazzling aura of Jesus radiates to surround us. We who are standing in His midst are caught up too by the brightness and glory that is God's and God's alone. I imagine the radiance of Jesus seeping through each cell of our bodies and we too are transfigured. We put on Christ. We dazzle. Our whole being, our actions and our words speak of the glory of God.

I pray to have the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit within me always so that the Light within will radiate out to touch the people around me.

Lord, that I may be transfigured and be clothed in God's radiance and majesty.


Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13

"This is my Body, this is my Blood. Take and receive." What a beautiful legacy Jesus left to us! This holy sacrifice is re-enacted at every Mass and it is a shame for us to miss the beautiful and sacred moment when the host and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour. I imagine angels, holy men and women gathering before the Lord's table and we, the privileged faithful on earth, are invited to partake of this sacrificial meal. Indeed, we are one Body in Christ. Let us worship and adore.

I pray to be more attentive at Mass and to love the Eucharist as life itself. The Body of Christ gives strength and nourishes my soul. The Blood of Christ cleanses my sinful desires and actions and protects me from every evil.

Lord, that I may understand the truths concerning the Eucharist so that it may indeed be the highlight of my Catholic faith.

Keeping the mystery alive

The Mysteries of Light reveal to me an active and dynamic Jesus, working at the ground level, intermingling with the crowds and ever so mindful of the Father's Will.

At a personal level, I enjoy praying the rosary in a group setting, but if I am alone, I like to pray accompanied by CDs by Dana and Fr Kevin Scallon entitled "The Rosary" and "Mother of Mercy - A Rosary of Healing" (available in Catholic bookstores). Dana's melodious voice and singing provide a beautiful interlude in between decades of the rosary and I play these CDs almost daily at bedtime. You bet I'm eagerly awaiting the release of a new recording that will include the Mysteries of Light!

Copyright MMII, Diana Tan. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Diana Tan is a Singapore-based freelance writer and web designer. Her interests are wide-ranging - spirituality, reading, writing, life coaching, holistic counselling, hobby crafts such as rosary and jewellery making and drawing. She hopes to reach the world for Christ through her writing.

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