The Luminous Mysteries

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday was a challenging day. The beginning of the semester is always hectic, and I end up running on just four or five hours of sleep each day. Not even a Starbucks triple espresso could help me much this morning.

Driving to campus, my anger, fatigue, and frustration from work and other life events became too much. What to do?

I tried spontaneous prayer, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Someone told me once to recite the Our Father or Hail Mary prayer in such times. The key to recited prayers is to say it with all your heart, though — “say it like you mean it.”

So I prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. During rush-hour traffic, my mind and heart were taken away to a higher place, above the hustle and bustle of daily life. I no longer focused on being at a standstill on the highway and possibly arriving late for class. The holy power of the Rosary lifted me above all that.

I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts and meditations that I had while praying the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary this morning.


1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River – Fruit of the Spirit: Openness to the Holy Spirit

This really set the tone for the Mysteries. It humbled me and caused me to examine my anger and frustration issues. Why was I letting petty things get the best of me? Don’t I have the Holy Spirit in me?

Even Jesus, the Son of God, is baptized. The Scriptures say that the Holy Spirit came down like a dove upon Him (Matthew 3:16). God was showing me that I had to let go of control; He is Lord and, until I surrender to Him, I will continue to be frustrated and angry at the little things in life — and everything is little in God’s eyes.


2. The Wedding Feast at Cana – Fruit of the Spirit: Fidelity

I particularly love this Mystery because it shows Mary’s maternal bond with Jesus. The wedding feast at Cana is where Jesus performs His first miracle of His ministry; and, at first, He tells his mother that it isn’t time yet. But, how could he refuse his beloved mother? At her request, Jesus changes the water into wine so that the wedding party could continue (because what is a wedding reception without wine?).

Interestingly, Mary tells the attendants to “do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5) This opened my eyes and forced me to examine my heart. Are there any areas of my life in which sin still dominates? What do I need to do to get rid of it? Fidelity means being true to your spouse; Christ wants our full loyalty and not just part of it.


3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God – Fruit of the Spirit: Desire for Holiness

For me, this is the high point of the Luminous Mysteries. Jesus’ ministry is in full swing, and it’s now time for Him to announce to the world that God’s Kingdom has come! What a glorious image.

One thing I love about the Rosary is that it is meditative: I can picture Jesus among the people, His dusty sandals leaving prints on the ground, the murmur of the townspeople as they marvel at His words, and the sun beating down on His flesh.

I’m reminded of the Good News of the Scriptures and how God has called me to be one of His children. I desire what The Lord desires, and we become one.


4. The Transfiguration – Fruit of the Spirit: Spiritual Courage

This Mystery somehow reminds me of Jesus driving out the moneychangers from the temple (Matthew 21:12), displaying the fire of righteous anger and zeal for His Father. When Christ is transfigured before the eyes of three of His apostles, it is a dazzling and radiant event that they would never forget.

The fruit of the Spirit compels me to view my trials and tribulations in light of the transfiguration (no pun intended). When someone opposes me or sets out to cause me harm for whatever reason, I must remember that the Devil is at war with God, and that unseen warfare also plays out in the material world. Seeing the bigger picture is comforting and takes the focus off myself.


5. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist – Fruit of the Spirit: Love of Our Eucharistic Lord

What would my faith be without the Holy Eucharist: the body and blood of Christ? If it weren’t for Jesus offering Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for me, then everything that I believe would be in vain; life would be meaningless.

Christ is always present in the Eucharist and desires to help us. However, we must allow him to do so. Revelation 3:20 essentially says that we must make the decision to let Jesus heal us.

By this point in the Mysteries, my batteries are fully charged and I’m ready to stop my “woe is me” whining. Jesus came to set the captives free. Prayer and meditation on these Mysteries allow me to let Him set me free.

Final Thoughts

Of course, prayer, whether it be vocal, meditative, or contemplative, isn’t the same as chanting a magic spell and seeing the immediate effect appear before your eyes. If God doesn’t answer, it doesn’t mean He is ignoring you or is indifferent to your problems and concerns. God has a reason for everything that He does.

So, if you’re feeling F.I.N.E.* (faithless, insecure, neurotic, emotional), stop for a moment and pray. If you can’t bring yourself to pray, then at least think about everything in your life that you’re thankful for. We should all count our blessings.


*title of an Aerosmith song

About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

8 responses to “The Luminous Mysteries

  • Pilgrim Jet

    Hello bro! This is such a wonderful post! I especially love the fact that every mystery has a fruit of the Spirit. I’ve also learned a lot from your reflections and have come to appreciate the Luminous mystery more.

    Thank you for this inspiration! 🙂

    • Topaz

      You’re welcome, sis! I am still fairly new to the rosary — I’ve only been praying it regularly for the past 12 months or so. It has made a huge impact on my spiritual life!

  • Ashley D. Hamilton

    Thank you for having the courage to share your experiences with the world. We have a tough life ahead of us but with the support of our loved ones, it won’t be an unbearable journey. You’ve taken the first and most difficult step of allowing people into the reality of your depression. I wish you nothing but the best of luck and remember, you aren’t alone in suffering from this illness.

    • Topaz

      I really appreciate your encouragement. It is tough, but, as you said, we have loved ones to help us. I have also found that by changing my mindset and being positive, I can achieve my dreams and help others.

      Finding individuals who suffer from the same illness really helps as well. Thank you again for your comment. It means a lot to me.

  • Ashley D. Hamilton

    In a world where mental illness is looked upon with suspicious or even disdain, we need all the encouragement we can get. I remember reading (or hearing, cannot remember) someone talking about how we have no social stigma for getting a cast for a broken leg but attempting to fix a mental illness earns sideways glances and mutters.

    While I understand there are some who, unfortunately, suffer from dangerous mental illness, no one wants to be ill and I would bet the vast majority of those who suffer from mental illness would wish it away if they could.

    Fortunately, those of us who suffer tend to be more understanding with each other. So yes, the more of us who talk the larger our networking. After all, we know.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Topaz

      Thank you! I totally agree.

      I have read some blogs where it seems the authors don’t want to get well. I was reading a report or something that said some people who suffer from mental illness don’t want to get well (i.e. take medication, go to therapy) because they are afraid it would make them into “robots.”

      From my experience, it makes me more of myself; I have the same personality and character, and I am anything but a robot form of myself.

  • Ashley D. Hamilton

    I wasn’t myself on medication. I was some pale ghost of myself. I’ve never responded well to any medication. But not all medications work for people. Everyone’s body chemistry is slightly different after all.

    But some people do work well on it! You being one example. While medication is not something I will speak up for until all other avenues are exhausted, I will not look down on anyone who decides to take medication. We must all make our own choices for our health and safety. And anyone who is trying to help themselves, no matter the choice, deserves my support and encouragement.

    • Topaz

      For many years, I avoided medication because I thought I could get well without it. I tried everything from will power to drinking.

      It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom last year that I realized I needed some heavy-duty help. As you said, everyone is different.

      For the first time ever, I can see and feel the changes in myself. I gave up everything negative that I was in before; I wanted no bridges that would take me back to that dark place.

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