By Jim Dunning
(This article was originally published in the October edition of "Irelands Own" magazine. The webmaster would like to gratefully thank the author, Jim Dunning, for his kind permission in reprinting it here.)
Traditionally, The Rosary has consisted of three main categories: the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. Within each category are found five mysteries which mirror events described in scripture, with the exception of the last two, namely, Our Lady’s assumption and her crowning in Heaven. For some reason the three years of the public life of Jesus, beginning with his baptism in the Jordan, were not included. Pope John Paul II, an ardent advocate of the Rosary, which he fondly described as ‘my favourite prayer’, believed that the gap could be filled by adding five mysteries relating solely to the ministry of Jesus.
The first of these is ‘The Baptism in the Jordan’ (Luke 3 : 21-22), when Jesus insisted on being baptised by John the Baptist, in spite of the latter’s objections. The heavens opened wide and the voice of the Father was heard., saying : ‘Thou art my beloved Son ; in thee I am well pleased.’
The third Light mystery is called ‘The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God’ (Mark 1 : 15), which refers to that period when Jesus came into Galilee announcing : ‘The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.’ This call to repentance leads to the introduction of that ministry of forgiveness which culminated with the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This was entrusted to the disciples by Jesus when he told them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit ; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them ; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.’
The fourth of these mysteries is ‘The Transfiguration ‘ (Luke 9 : 28-36), when Peter, James and John were privileged to see Jesus transfigured in splendour, and to hear a voice from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him.’
The fifth Light mystery, ‘Institution of the Eucharist’ (Matthew 26 :26-29), refers to the introduction of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, when Jesus offered his disciples bread and wine, saying, ‘Take and eat ; this is my body…..all of you drink of this, for this is my blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins.’
Traditionally, the Joyful Mysteries are said on Mondays and Thursdays, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Glorious Mysteries on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Pope John Paul suggested that those wishing to include the Mysteries of Light could insert them on Thursdays, moving the Joyful Mysteries from Thursday to Saturday. If all of this sounds somewhat involved, it should be remembered that the daily recitation of five mysteries only takes about a quarter of an hour.
It should also be remembered that Our Lady promised many graces and her special protection to all who devoutly and regularly pray the Rosary. As Pope John Paul II wrote in an Apostolic Letter: ‘Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.’
-"All Generations Will Call Me Blessed" by Jim McManus C.Ss.R.