Thursday, November 13, 2008

Those Luminous Mysteries

When I heard a media report that the late Pope had added new mysteries to the Rosary, I just didn't believe it, assuming that the religiously ignorant fourth estate had stuffed up again.

However, having learnt that their reports were correct, I must say I accepted the Pope's suggestion (which he was careful to state was only that, it being for Catholic piety to determine whether it be a lasting addition or not) with no troubles at all, since the new luminous mysteries do enrich the Holy Rosary.

Now, unfortunately even so harmless a suggestion as adding new mysteries pro opportunitate (not taking away nor altering the old) has in too many brought out the worst paranoid tendencies in Traditionalists: too many have I heard complaining about them in conspiratorial tones, and saying such mad things as "Our Lady didn't give them to St Dominic!"  - who do they think suggested them to John Paul II, Old Nick?

As my mate Justin pointed out recently when confronted by this immobilist attitude, seconding what I have read elsewhere, these mysteries of light act as a most powerful lens to focus upon Western Catholics the treasured interest of the Eastern Churches in these sacred mysteries of the life of Our Saviour:

  1. The Baptism of Our Lord by His holy prophet and forerunner John "for the fulfilling of all righteousness" is the great mystery of the Theophany, the revelation of the Trinity in the Son, the Voice, the Dove - and see what is made of all this by Aquinas (Summa Theologiæ, III, xxxix);
  2. The miracle at Cana was the first sign worked by Our Blessed Lord, at the intercession of His Holy Mother, and was a foreshadowing both of the Eucharist and of the eternal nuptial feast in heaven, as well as a blessing of marriage as a most holy covenant (hence its use as the Gospel pericope read at weddings in the Byzantine Rite);
  3. The preaching of the Gospel and the Divine call to repentance uttered by Our Most Blessed Lord - is this not His preëminent ministry, His exposition of sacred doctrine for our salvation, the handing over of His saving word to us by Him, the saving Word, during three years? - so thought Aquinas (Summa Theologiæ, III, xlii);
  4. The Transfiguration - one of the greatest of the Eastern feasts, the strengthening of the disciples in belief in Christ as King of Glory before their trial of faith at His Passion, the Passage from death to life He was to accomplish for us all at Jerusalem, the revelation of the splendour effulgent of His sacred humanity, the pledge of the Beatific Vision and our future glory (see also Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ, III, xlv);
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist, and therefore of the Priesthood, by Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ: Se dat suis manibus! - who would not love to dwell on this, so inextricably linked with the Sacrifice of Calvary?

Again, while having a constitutional round Lake Monger, I said my Rosary German-style, and thought on these deep truths: may I "imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen."

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