QUAERITUR: Do we have to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary?

From a reader:

I have a kind of…confused question for you here, im told that i dont need to say the Luminous Mysteries, im told Pope John Paul II “suggested” it, not declared that it must be said, i wonder this because i just read somewhere that heresy/schism is excommunicatable…id really like to think that not saying them wouldnt grant such a punishment……i know its completly valid and accept by The Church….but im sure you already know the claims for it, and against it….i really dont know what i should do, and i realllllllyyyyyy dont want to be excommunicated..haha and if its all the same to you Father, if im lucky enough for you to read this…please edit most of this out if your putting it on the front page :p


Well.. no.  I don’t think I will edit most of this out. I shouldn’t have to do your work, too.

But to the question.

We are not obliged to pray the Rosary.  It is a devotion we are free to embrace.  If we do pray the Rosary, we are not obliged to use the Luminous Mysteries.  You can feel free to use just the three, classic, sets of mysteries.

As Pope John Paul reminded us in his Letter for the year dedicated to the Rosary, praying the Rosary redirects us back to the Lord.  Mary teaches us how to gaze at the face of Christ.  The Rosary is a power means of intercessory prayer as well.

I highly recommend praying the Rosary.  And please, dear readers, pray for me right now as well.

And you don’t have to use the Luminous Mysteries, either.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. capchoirgirl says:

    I love the luminous mysteries–they are my favorite now, replacing the glorious.
    Funny story–I received a double lung transplant in 2005. While I was waiting for the call (listed, but organs weren’t available yet), my mom asked me what rosary set they should pray while I was in the OR. I said the luminous and she made a face, saying, “Awww, I don’t know all those by heart yet!”
    (I have no idea if they complied with my request, but I’d like to think they did.)
    The rosary is so powerful.

  2. pbewig says:

    Sometimes I make my own mysteries: the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the parable of the prodigal son, Peter walking on water, the calling of Saul, Jesus hands the keys to Peter, whatever the Gospel is for the current day, and many more.


  3. jbas says:

    I suspect the late pope was mostly trying to revive interest in the Rosary when he recommended the Luminous mysteries. His move did get attention, even of the secular press.
    Also, I have Mass intentions available for Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (x3: OF parish, OF jail & EF parish) which I will apply to your (Fr.Zuhlsdorf’s) intentions.

  4. LaudemGloriae says:

    Tonight, family rosary for your intentions, Father.

    It will be the Luminous mysteries because that’s what we Tivo’d from EWTN (Holy Land Rosary – kids’ favorite). Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, Ora Pro Nobis.

  5. albinus1 says:

    I kind of like the Luminous Mysteries in and of themselves, but adding them to the Rosary destroys the symbolism that the 150 Hail Marys of the 15-decade Rosary (with Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries) represent the 150 Psalms. So, before the addition of the Luminous Mysteries, to pray a complete Rosary (15 decades) was symbolically to pray the entire Psalter. But, obviously, that’s a trivial objection, though symbols aren’t unimportant.

  6. RichR says:

    While I have read the SSPX’s arguments against the new mysteries (immemorial tradition, correspondence of 150 Hail Mary’s with 150 psalms, institution by Our Lady so it shouldn’t be changed), I have to ask two things:

    1) If it leads people to a closer relationship with God, isn’t that more important than retaining mere externals? It’s not like you are attacking a dogma of the faith. You’re simply adding more meditations to the structure of the Rosary. Don’t we add feast days and Propers to the Mass? It doesn’t change the structure of the Mass, it just augments it.

    2) If anyone could augment a Catholic devotion, shouldn’t it be the Pope? And if any Pope was the one to do it, wasn’t this one the most Marian of Popes?

    I don’t usually pray the luminous mysteries, but I have nothing against them either.

  7. New Sister says:

    The Luminous Mysteries are so beautiful — “The Wedding at Cana” is my favorite!!

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    I am surprised that the SSPX is not defending the immemorial tradition of having no rosary at all.

  9. MJ says:

    I pray the rosary every day. I don’t pray the luminous mysteries. If I’m somewhere where they are being said, I “substitute” the classic mysteries, the ones appropriate for whichever day it is, and pray those instead.

  10. ppb says:

    From Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae: “I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ’s public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion.” So it’s clear that praying the Luminous Mysteries is not a requirement.

  11. bookworm says:

    Like Father said, the Rosary is an optional devotion, not an “official” liturgy like the Mass or the Divine Office, so people are free to adapt it to their needs. We already have a number of variations like the Fatima Prayer and a number of different concluding prayers.

    Almost 20 years ago Bishop Edward O’Rourke of Peoria, Ill. (now deceased) proposed that a set of “Mysteries of Jesus the Divine Teacher” be added to fill the perceived gap between the Joyful Mysteries and Sorrowful Mysteries. Bishop O’Rourke had been retired for several years at the time, and emphasised that this was just an idea of his he had been thinking about for a while and offered as an aid to people’s prayer. (He passed away before the Luminous Mysteries were promulgated.)

    If I remember correctly his mysteries went like this: 1. Christ’s Baptism; 2. The Wedding at Cana; 3. The Sermon on the Mount; 4. The Parable of the Prodigal Son; 5. The Transfiguration.

    As you can see, Bishop O’Rourke’s mysteries #1, #2 and #5 match three of the later Luminous Mysteries, while #3 and #4 could be folded into the Third Luminous Mystery, Christ’s Proclamation of the Kingdom, which is pretty broad and one could have a LOT of different possibilities for meditation there.

  12. Bender says:

    Not praying the Luminous Mysteries is not a sin.

    But having a disrepectful attitude toward the teachings of Blesed Pope John Paul II, including his “suggestions,” or having an antagonistic or uncharitable, if not outright hostile, attitude toward Blessed Pope John Paul II himself, might be.

  13. Geoffrey says:

    As the editor and publisher of “The Rosary in Latin and English” (ISBN-10: 0-9741900-0-4 / ISBN-13: 978-0-9741900-0-6), we did get a few returns / refund requests when our traditionalist customers realized we included the Luminous Mysteries (for optional use). Some of the accompanying letters were not very charitable.

    Personally, I love the Luminous Mysteries, and enjoy praying them every Thursday. I have never understood the objections of traditionalists. Sure it doesn’t match the 150 psalms, but does that matter? Sure it is said that the Holy Virgin taught the original 15 mysteries. Could not the vicar of her Son propose 5 more? Considering Blessed John Paul the Great’s immense love and devotion to her, I doubt the Holy Virgin would mind!

    An SSPX laywoman once told me that the Luminous Mysteries were in an effort to make the Rosary more Protestant-friendly. Really? Can someone say the Second Luminous Mystery: The Manifestation of our Lord at the Wedding Feast of Cana, which speaks of the Holy Virgin as Mediatrix of all Graces? And how about the Fifth Luminous Mystery: the Institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist?

  14. LouiseA says:

    There’s no such thing as an SSPX laywoman. To read what SSPX priests think about the Luminous Mysteries, go to sspx.org under miscellaneous.

  15. Charles E Flynn says:

    People who find the traditional rosary too repetitious may prefer this variant, approved by Pope Paul VI:

    The Rosary With Fra Angelico and Giotto .

  16. Holy Father Dominic was inspired to give us the Rosary in its present form (i.e., meditation of the mysteries in conjunction with vocal prayer), so, pursuant to the Rule for Dominican Laity, we recite the Rosary daily. I personally very seldom pray the Luminous Mysteries, because I find that they fit awkwardly into the week; plus, I like to preserve the aspect of the Rosary as Mary’s Psalter (150 Hail Marys = 150 Psalms). But there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the Luminous Mysteries. There are indeed other variants on the Rosary, and other chaplets said on rosary beads (e.g., the Divine Mercy chaplet, the chaplet of the Holy Wounds, etc.)

  17. Alice says:

    There is a 3rd Order of the SSPX, so, yes, it is possible for a laywoman to be a member of the SSPX.

  18. chcrix says:

    I didn’t originally like the idea of the Luminous mysteries. Yet, when I considered them it seemed to me that in fact they filled a hole that I never realized existed and they have become quite essential. My favorite is the Transfiguration.

  19. Random Friar says:

    You’d think the late and blessed Holy Father could’ve asked us Dominicans for a heads-up before he published that!

    They are very beautiful mysteries, but it plays havoc with the rhythm of the Rosary, as others have mentioned. I hate trying to figure out in my head “Wait… what Mysteries again?” Too set in stone in my rock-for-a-brain.

  20. SPWang says:

    Whilst not against the Luminous mysteries I’m sort of un-easy with them. Our Lady requested we say al least a 3rd of the Rosary each day (at Fatima?) and, ya know, 200 Ave’s divided by 3…well that number gives me the heebeegeebees…

  21. Prof. Basto says:


    In Portuguese (the language spoken by Our Lady when speaking to the three little shepherds of Fátima), the word for one set of mysteries of the Rosary is “terço” (literally, third part). So, when Our Lady requested the praying of the third part (“rezar o terço”, praying of the terço) each day, that request can only mean praying one group of mysteries a day.

    The reason why the word meaning “third part” also means “a group of mysteries of the Rosary” in Portuguese is easy to understand: traditionally, for centuries, there were only three groups of mysteries (joyful, sorrowful, glorious), so that one group of mysteries corresponded to one third part of the Rosary.

    Furthermore, in 1917 when Our Lady appeared, a 3rd of the Rosary corresponded to one full group of mysteries.

    The actual Rosary praying instrument in Portuguese can be called either Rosário (Rosary) or Terço (Third Part), and that name derives from the fact that the instrument normally contains enough Hail Mary and Holy Father beads for one to pray one third of the Rosary.

  22. pledbet424 says:

    There is an article in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, 1917 edition, referring to the origin of the Rosary. I used to believe that St Dominic gave us the Rosary (which he received from Our Lady), but the evidence to support this is pratically nonexistent. This seems to be just a pious belief, with no real foundation. A lie travels half way round the world before truth puts it shoes on.
    The mysteries of the Rosary were regularized by Pius V, centuries after St. Dominic’s death.
    If the Pope suggests a new set of mysteries, that is good enough for me.

  23. Among my collection of rosaries is a fifteen-decade Rosary. I often take the time to pray all fifteen decades in one sitting. I have yet to see a twenty-decade Rosary, and I suspect the Earth will alter its axis every so slightly, before a Dominican is ever spotted wearing one.

    Preferences of various readers notwithstanding, the Luminous Mysteries could not possibly be part of the Rosary as it is traditionally understood, over many centuries, and in the words of many Popes, as “The Psalter of Our Lady.” They could no more be than could the late John Paul II have created fifty new Psalms to include in the Old Testament.

    The Luminous Mysteries are a supplement to that which is already whole, and the truth alone demands that they be presented as such — it’s okay, you can still “like” them; really! But to even imply that the Pope somehow took it upon himself to “add” mysteries to the Rosary (which he did not intend), is the impression created by the church goods industry, in virtually every book or recording published in recent years for this devotion. To them, it’s about the money, and anything associated with John Paul II — his virtue and legacy are not in contention here — SELLS!

  24. laurazim says:

    The Luminous Mysteries are a favorite in our family, particularly for our 5-year-old son who so adores Our Lord that he fairly radiates his joy when he proclaims the second mystery: The Wedding Feast at Cana. He talks often about this mystery, but in terms of “that Big Party” where he will be able to sit at the feast table with Jesus and Mama Mary and never, ever have to leave. And he also loves to chat about the fifth mystery: the Institution of the Eucharist…he waits for that time during Mass when he whispers, “Just like Jesus really did!”

    Vocations talk time!! We’re thankful for the opportunity, too (though we frequently talk about vocations with all of our children–that sweet 5-year-old is the fourth of our six, and the younger of two sons). Growing up with this beautiful addition of the Luminous Mysteries, I think the next generation will wonder what all the negative or questioning fuss was even about.

  25. sea the stars says:

    Would it not be better to view the Holy Rosary as 15 decades parallellig the 150 Pslams, but the 15 mysteries being composed of any mysteries you choose e.g 5 sorrowful, 5 glorious, 5 others
    or 5 joyful, 5 luminous, 5 sorrowful etc. In this way the parallel with the 150 Psalms is seen to be not broken at all.

  26. Clemens Romanus says:

    I like the Luminous Mysteries, but personally don’t use them because I like to sing the antiphons/hymns from the Cantus Selecti during my recitation. These were, of course, organized/composed years prior.

  27. As I understand the arguments against adding another set of mysteries, they really seem to me to apply more to whether one should view a full rosary as consisting of three or four sets of mysteries. As I understand it , a full rosary does indeed still consist of 15 decades and not 20. However, I don’t personally see that that is really a definitive argument at all against praying the mysteries of light, especially for those of us who usually do not pray more than 1 set of mysteries in a day. I have also heard that the mysteries have changed a little over time anyway.

    I personally like the mysteries of light and pray them. However, it would not bother me if in praying with others, they preferred not to, whereas I would probably be a little taken aback if someone objected to praying one of the traditional sets of mysteries.

  28. “However, I don’t personally see that that is really a definitive argument at all against praying the mysteries of light, especially for those of us who usually do not pray more than 1 set of mysteries in a day. ”

    Even for those who do pray a full set every day, there is surely no rule against praying a full rosary and a bit, or even varying the mysteries used? So, it’s not that I personally consider the arguments definitive against using the mysteries of light for those who do pray a full rosary every day. Then again, that is just my impression.

  29. I should say, the above applies to the numerical arguments, as I understand them.

  30. Actually, I should have said the numerical argument of correlation to the 150 psalms. There may of course well be other numerical arguments put forward. :-)

  31. I wrote: “I have also heard that the mysteries have changed a little over time anyway.”

    Actually, I’m wondering now if I might have misunderstood what I heard or read, that there were some variations in the mysteries also earlier. I probably did misunderstand it, so I retract the statement as it is based on too uncertain a memory and information.

  32. For those praying 15 decades daily, it makes sense to stick with the traditional mysteries. Of course, some now pray 20 decades daily, and I’ve heard that some Dominicans do indeed wear 20-decade strings of rosary beads with their habits.

    In my case, already praying 5 decades daily on the standard schedule, after John Paul II released Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I simply added the 5 luminous mysteries to my daily routine (rather than substituting them for one of the traditional three sets). I generally offer the standard mysteries of the day for temporal intentions (e.g., health and welfare of friends and relatives), and the luminous mysteries for spiritual intentions (e.g., for papal intentions and objectives).

    Whereas daily use of the luminous mysteries might sound repetitious, I have found they they offer great scope and flexibility for a repertoire of systematic contemplations based on scriptural events and references, while remaining more “traditional” in my contemplations of the standard mysteries.

    An additional possibility for flexibility is to just pray one or several luminous mysteries daily rather than all five, perhaps one mystery at a time in available moments.

  33. irishgirl says:

    I used to pray the Luminous Mysteries when they first came out, but now I don’t anymore. I also know of traditional Catholics who don’t like them. They feel that John Paul II ‘mutilated’ the Rosary by adding them.
    And when I hear a traditional Catholic bad-mouth the late Holy Father for adding them (or as I heard on a tape I have, ‘To Luminous, or not to Luminous’), I merely tell them that they were SUGGESTED; they were not MANDATED. If I’m praying the Rosary in a group and the Luminous Mysteries turn up, I just go along with everyone else. Usually I pray my own private Rosary in the morning, using the classic Mysteries.
    Sometimes, on national holidays (Canada Day on July 1, Independence Day on July 4) and major Saints days, I’ll pray a special Rosary.
    For example, for the 10th anniversary of September 11, I offered the decades in honor of ‘The Saints of New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania’:
    1) Mary Immaculate (our nation’s Patroness, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC)
    2) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (born in NYC, emigrated to Baltimore, which is near DC)
    3) St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (immigrated to NYC from Italy, and is now buried in NYC)
    4) St. John Neumann (arrived in NYC from Bohemia, ordained in Old St. Pat’s, and Bishop of Philadelphia)
    5) St. Katherine Drexel (born near Philadelphia, and buried in Bensalem, a Philly suburb)
    I learned this ‘trick’ (for want of a better word) from the priest-director of the Secular Order Discalced Carmelite group I used to belong to.
    Of course, I do something like this privately-I don’t impose on anyone.

  34. digdigby says:

    “You can’t say the rosary too often.” – It is NOT for everyone. St. Therese didn’t particularly care for it. She is a doctor of the church. The church is a treasure trove of spiritual practices and bracing disciplines and delightful musings outside the obligatory practices.

  35. Re: the Rosary hymn from Cantus Selecti —

    If I’m not mistaken, there are some very nice Luminous Mysteries verses in Latin available out there, because that’s just What Catholics Do. And of course, if you can’t find them, you can always adapt Latin hymns about the various events that became the Mysteries.

  36. wolfeken says:

    A point that needs to be made is that this invention by JPII was yet another break from tradition that created division and disunity.

    I only attend the traditional Latin Mass and follow the 1962-based calendar. Therefore I don’t attend the novus ordo, and have worked around that with family and friends.

    But now I can’t even pray the rosary with them, for Pete’s sake!, without a conflict coming up as to which mysteries prevail. For hundreds of years the custom was joyful on Mondays and Thursdays, sorrowful on Tuesdays and Fridays and glorious on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

    We need more unity, not more division, in the Catholic (catholic!) Church. I’m not sure what the point of JPII’s invention was, other than novelty.

  37. “I have also heard that the mysteries have changed a little over time anyway.”

    The rosary has indeed evolved over time. That said, it has been from the beginning, and has evolved over time, in deriving its structure based upon the 150 Psalms, for those who could not read, let alone pray the Office. Hence its once having been known as the “poor man’s psalter.” Even the addition of the “Fatima aspiration” attributed to Our Lady did not alter this structure.

  38. Centristian says:

    pbewig says:

    “Sometimes I make my own mysteries: the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the parable of the prodigal son, Peter walking on water, the calling of Saul, Jesus hands the keys to Peter, whatever the Gospel is for the current day, and many more.”

    I’m glad I’m not alone in that respect; I like the idea of switching it up, too. Although I love the Mother of God, I have never been a fan of the Rosary, as such. I made a sincere effort to appreciate the traditional Rosary, for years, but I just never really could.

    I gave up on the Rosary altogether, for a while. It’s just one of an endless variety of possible devotions, for one thing; a Christian can take it or leave it. Furthermore, I am not concerned about the private apparition-centered admontions that the Rosary must be prayed by everyone, that it must be prayed daily, and that it must be prayed a certain way because “Our Lady requested this” and “Our Lady told the children that”.

    I have found, however, that it is possible to enjoy the Rosary if I reimagine it as a prayer with a liturgical structure. I am inclined, for example, to eliminate the Paters and Aves and the Apostles’ Creed that traditionally launch the Rosary and to begin, instead, with an introductory rite and a penitential rite, followed by the Kyrie and the Gloria.

    From there, on to the decades and the contemplation of, say, the readings and/or propers of the Mass of the day. The contemplation of only one reading or one proper prayer might extend through all five decades. A “spiritual” communion involving the (obviously symbolic) consumption of actual bread and wine might even feature. The reading of St. John’s Gospel (the “Last Gospel” of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form) often seems like a good way to conclude.

    I’ve never contemplated the “Luminous” mysteries introduced by Pope John Paul II, as such (not that I have any sort of a problem with them), but it’s also been many years since I contemplated the so-named “Joyful”, “Sorrowful”, or “Glorious” mysteries. I was once advised by a spiritual director that I should “pray how I can, and not how I can’t”. I find that giving the Rosary this sort of liturgical structure and atmosphere makes it not only tolerable but interesting to me.

  39. John Nolan says:

    I read somewhere that the rosary was brought back by the crusaders who had witnessed the Moslem custom of praying with beads. Is this true?

  40. Gail F says:

    My, what scrupulosity some have. No one, anywhere, ever has to pray the rosary. If you do pray the rosary, you can pray it any way you like. I imagine that many people have always just said the simple prayers without thinking or meditating on ANY mysteries — not everyone is the same! And while David Alexander is completely right about the 150 prayers and the psalms, many people only ever pray one or two decades at a time, so what does it matter which mysteries they pick to do so?

  41. “And while David Alexander is completely right about the 150 prayers and the psalms, many people only ever pray one or two decades at a time, so what does it matter which mysteries they pick to do so?”

    It doesn’t. Nor was anyone’s personal choice of devotional life a matter of contention in my remarks. My comments were confined solely to the matter of what properly constitutes the Rosary, and why. I also contended as to why, not only could the Luminous Mysteries not be included in that definition, but that the late pontiff never intended for them to be.

  42. St. Rafael says:

    The Luminous Mysteries were a complete and utter mistake. I wished Pope John Paul II had made them it into a stand alone chaplet instead of doing the unheard of, changing the Rosary. There can be no “option” to the Mary’s Psalter. All the other Popes knew better. None of them dared touch the Rosary.
    Here’s a great article for those who want to understand why Catholics are so opposed to the new mysteries:

    The Twenty Mysteries of the Rosary?

  43. Centristian says:


    “A point that needs to be made is that this invention by JPII was yet another break from tradition that created division and disunity.”

    A counterpoint that needs to be made is that “JPII” was hardly the first to break from the traditional method of praying the Rosary.

    For example, about 300 years after the Rosary first emerged (around 800-900 AD), it became popular to recite the Angelic Salutation with the Rosary. I say the Angelic Salutation and not the “Hail Mary” because there was no “Hail Mary” yet. The name of Mary, as we know, is not even included in the Angelic Salutation. Before the Angelic Salutation emerged into the Rosary devotion, the Rosary included only 150 repetitions of the Lord’s Prayer. The innovation of adding the Angelic Salutation to the Rosary is attributed to St. Peter Damian (not St. Dominic).

    The “standard” series of meditations common today date from the 18th century with Rosary innovator St. Louis de Monfort, who wrote them. Then there are all the private revelation-oriented add-ons that have been tacked onto the Rosary over the years (“O, my Jesus, forgive us our sins…”, “St. Michael the Archangel…”, “Savior of the world, save Russia”, &c).

    So you might want to give Pope John Paul a break on this score. The Rosary is not a liturgy, it’s a just a private devotion, and the fact is that it doesn’t take a pope to alter it. Anybody can alter it, anyway they see fit.

  44. Centristian:

    While some of St Raefel’s remarks may be a matter of some conjecture (especially as they pertain to the intentions of the party in question), none of the things you mention (NONE of them) deviate from the general structure of the Rosary as inspired by that of the Book of Psalms, and from which the title of “the Psalter of Our Lady” is derived.

    Every man is entitled to his own opinion, and to his own preferences in his devotional life. He is not entitled to his own facts.

  45. Manwithablackhat wrote :”“I have also heard that the mysteries have changed a little over time anyway.”
    The rosary has indeed evolved over time.That said, it has been from the beginning, and has evolved over time, in deriving its structure based upon the 150 Psalms, for those who could not read, let alone pray the Office. ”

    Yes, I understand that. But if a full rosary did and still does consist of 150 decades (which I have been led to believe it still does), then is it really a travesty if there is another set of mysteries to pick from or to supplement with? One may surely take it or leave it. I understand then that it causes problems in a group setting. But I guess I only really understand why it might become a great cause of contention from the point of view of the integrity of a full rosary if one found oneself in a group in which the four sets of mysteries were prayed as if they definitely constituted a new 20 decade rosary. Because surely, all the themes are noble themes of meditation, so if a person really didn’t feel like he had prayed his daily 5 decades if he prayed the mysteries of light with someone, at least he had meditated and could supplement with a traditional set if he felt the need.

    Of course, I do acknowledge that there may be issues here that I don’t understand properly.

    And I also retract my former total retraction of the above statement in quotation which manwithblackhat responded to. I don’t know what I was at, but am quite ill today, so that probably precipitated unreasonable doubts on the issue to overcome reason to the extent of carelessly exaggerating the possibility that I might have misremembered the basic point of what I had read (rather than heard!) entirely. (insert embarrassed emoticon here!)

    However, I am quite hazy on what I actually did read on the subject of the extent to which some of the mysteries varied and/or changed. And, as the rosary has been of the utmost help and importance to me in my spiritiual life, I would like to find out more about its history, so if anyone has a good book recommendation, that would be welcome!

  46. pledbet424 says:

    Catholicofthule, try starting here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm
    This is from the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia. An informative article on the beginning of the Rosary.

  47. Dr. Eric says:

    For those who complain that the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary destroy the symbolism of the 150 Psalms, I would like to remind them that the 15 Decade Rosary has 153 Hail Marys in it.

  48. Thanks, pledbet424.

    And obviously I meant 15 decades, not 150 decades above! Good grief!!! :-)

  49. Servus Mariae says:

    @Dr. Eric

    Actually, a 15 decade rosary has 150 Aves.. the opening three with the Pater and Credo are not a part of the rosary. The rosary consists of 15 decades of 150 Aves, 15 Paters and 15 Glorias. The Credo, Salve etc., do not form a part of it.

    Regarding the Luminous Mysteries.. I don’t see a point. Christ’s public ministry was all about His sacrifice on the Holy Cross. This was the culmination of His public ministry. If you want to meditate on Christ’s public ministry the Sorrow Mysteries are perfectly suitable for that. Another mentioned the Wedding Feast of Cana being a great mystery concerning Our Lady’s role as Mediatrix of all Graces.. I must wonder what they meditate on during the 5 Glorious Myster, the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin! Surely this is an excellent mystery to meditate on Our Lady’s role in salvation and her intercessory powers with God?

    The Luminous Mysteries are simply unnecessary and disrupt the flow of Our Lady’s Psalter and really are a slap in the face regarding the organic development of the Rosary tradition (the 150 Paters in imitation of the Office, Our Lady’s divine sanctioning of the rosary when she gifted it to Saint Dominic, Pope Pius standardising the mysteries (which clearly demonstrate that mysteries existed prior to the standardisation otherwise he wouldn’t have standardised them, which throws the argument out the window that he created them), etc., etc.

    Really, if Our Lady wanted 5 extra mysteries, she would have said something at Fatima.

  50. capchoirgirl says:

    Wow. Perhaps we need something else to get all worked up about? It’s an optional devotion. You never have to do it. I personally think JPII gave us a great gift with these new mysteries, but if you don’t feel that way, then don’t pray them. This is a crazy amount of angst for something that is truly, utterly optional.

  51. carl b says:

    What is the correspondence of days of the week with sets of mysteries in the traditional Rosary?

  52. Supertradmum says:

    I personally do not use the Mysteries of Light, but one good thing which came out of the change, was a renewed interest in the rosary.

  53. irishgirl says:

    capchoirgirl-I’m with you totally! I don’t know why people get all worked up over using or not using the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.
    I wish that they would go back and read what Blessed John Paul II actually wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation for the ‘Year of the Rosary’ instead of getting all ‘agita’. He said the additional mysteries are AN OPTION!
    When I pray the Rosary privately, I add three extra Hail Marys at the end, in imitation of Blessed Jacinta of Fatima, for the Holy Father’s health, safety and intentions. In recent months I’ve tacked on two more Hail Mary’s, one of which is ‘for all priests and seminarians, especially those who are dear to my heart’….and you’re included in that, Father Z! I mention you by name, along with several other priests (and one Bishop)!

  54. I wrote: “But I guess I only really understand why it might become a great cause of contention from the point of view of the integrity of a full rosary if one found oneself in a group in which the four sets of mysteries were prayed as if they definitely constituted a new 20 decade rosary.”

    Of course, even if the full rosary was considered now to consist of 20 decades, and there appears to be no absolute concensus on the matter and my understanding that a complete rosary is still 150 Hail Marys regardless of which mysteries are prayed may be mistaken, I’m not sure it was right of me to employ the word ‘new’ about the rosary if viewed in this manner.

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