Updated, October 23, 2020 to add a line with a link to an earlier post and a video, which I included in the endnotes but somehow left out of the paragraph in which they belonged, cuz I’m talented that way.
+JMJ+ The weekly series on the soul, Part 42, will be posted next Thursday because today is a special day for me here at the blog and it snuck up on me and I didn’t realize it fell on a Thursday. Yes, I have a liturgical calendar but, sadly, it won’t slap me in the face and/or write my posts for me. (What, I bought the calendar, now I have to use it, too? Do I have to do everything around here? Oh, well, um, yes, I guess I do. Argh.) So, since October is the month of the Rosary and today is the feast day of Pope St. John Paul II, and the Rosary is so important to me (see, for example, the Rosary Project and the Live Rosary Archives on this site), that’s what I’ll write about tonight. (I’ll write more about why the Rosary is so important to me in another post soon, maybe for Monday’s post, before October is over.)
I remember when we got copies of the Pope’s Rosary letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, at the Catholic store where I worked. I grabbed a copy immediately. I’d already read Evangelium Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, and Fides et Ratio, and several others, and I’d also been studying the history of the Rosary, so I was excited to see what the Pope had to say. The Rosary was already my favorite form of prayer after the Mass and Divine Office.
I know a lot of people have a problem with the Pope adding anything to the Rosary. How dare he, they say. But popes have added to the Rosary many times. They’ve decided which prayers we’ll say and how we’ll say them, with a certain amount of freedom left to the faithful, too.
One addition people have a big problem with is the set of Mysteries called the Luminous Mysteries, the ones that focus on Christ’s public ministry and the sacraments. I wrote a post about this already so I won’t repeat all of that now. Suffice it to say that these are things that are very much ignored, neglected, or outright rejected, by our culture and even by many Catholics, so it’s important that we meditate on them.
I like the symmetry of the Mysteries, too, with the fourth set being added. Just look at it: the Joyful, the Luminous, the Sorrowful, the Glorious. There’s a pattern there and I don’t think it’s coincidental. I think it’s important, if only to point to the way the Luminous Mysteries complete the Rosary. Think of it: Four Sets of Mysteries, Four Gospels, Four Evangelists, three major rites of initiation plus confession. I’m not sure what to do with that last part. I just had the idea as I was writing this and will have to reflect on it awhile. And I can’t think of a better place to do that reflection but in the Rosary itself. I’m going to make a note about this in a moment so I won’t forget.
Really, I can’t imagine a better place to reflect on the public ministry of Christ than in the Rosary, and I can’t imagine the Blessed Mother having a problem with it, either. She’s always pointing us toward her Son. And Pope St. John Paul II was always listening to the Blessed Mother and to her Son, too, and I think he was on to something. He didn’t even “make up” the Mysteries, as I’ve heard some accuse him of doing, whatever is meant by that. They’re Biblical, taken from the Gospels. As Fr. Mitch and Fr. Calloway pointed out (in the video I linked in the post I mentioned), they were proposed in 1957 by Fr. George Preca (now St. George Preca) and shared with his Society of Christian Doctrine.
(I have to admit that I stopped watching the video right there and still need to finish watching. And if memory serves, I read somewhere that something similar to the Mysteries of Light were in use long before Fr. Preca’s version, though I’ll have to dig up the source for that. I’ll append it to this post in the notes if and when I find it. Just throwing that out there in case someone else knows. Maybe they mention it in the video. I’ll have to start over watching it to see.)
Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you, and may His peace be always with you.
And if you would, please pray for me. I’ve had to lay out some big bucks (big bucks for me) the last couple of weeks and today my portable oxygen machine stopped working. I have a big blue machine and tanks, but that little portable unit is so convenient. And a new one costs easily a couple of thousand dollars. Ack! Your prayers are most appreciated. You are in my prayers, too. Yes, you, reading this now. Your happiness, your ongoing conversion, and your salvation are important to me. So, rest assured, I pray for you. Please pray for me. God bless you! +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- The Rosary letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae by Pope St. John Paul II.
- Evangelium Vitae, The Gospel of Life.
- Veritatis Splendor, The Splendor of Truth.
- Fides et Ratio, Faith and Reason.
- Why the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary? Includes a video of EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, guest Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, discussing his book, 10 Wonders of the Rosary: Paperback. Kindle. (Amazon affiliate links. See Full Disclosure below.)
Image: Painting of Pope St. John Paul II, Wikimedia, photo by Mahto Hogue, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Madonna del Rosario, by Nicola Porta, Wikimedia, public domain.
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