QUAERITUR: Using a different set of mysteries during communal recitation of the Rosary.

From a reader:

I prayed the Rosary with some others today, but since it was Thursday they used the Luminous Mysteries. I, however, meditated on the Joyful Mysteries. Is that legit? Would I still qualify for an indulgence if I was meditating on different mysteries from the others?

Yes.  I think you would.

Go ahead and meditate on this or that set of mysteries as it pleaseth you.

An argument can be made for having everyone on the same page. Communal recitation does imply doing something in common, right? Some people might find it a bit distracting or disharmonious to have meditations on a different set of mysteries going on. That said, if you want to do your own thing, then do it. Of course that undermines a little the communal aspect of recitation of the Rosary, but… whatever.

I know that some people have not embraced the “Luminous Mysteries” for their own meditation. Fine.  They don’t have to use them if they don’t want to.  The mysteries are suggestions for our benefit, not iron-clad channels into which we are forced.

Our devotions don’t require perfect lockstep with everyone else.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I admit to being uncomfortable with the Luminous Mysteries at first as well.

    However, after what I call my “reversion” rosary, I’ve come to understand the Rosary as a whole (ALL mysteries) as the photo album of Jesus.

    Viewing each mystery of each set is like looking at a picture. Jesus is at the center of each picture (even when there are other people like the Blessed Mother, the apostle’s, etc in the photo, too). Looking at each photo as you would one of your own helps make the recitation of ALL mysteries a truly beautiful and fulfilling experience. It adds so much more meaning to the prayers.

    For example, during the Scourging at the Pillar, I imagine not only the Adorable Body of Christ (hanging, limp from pain, exhaustion and loss of Blood), but also the soldiers tasked with the torture. I pictured them, massive, brutish and possibly gleeful, being goaded into worse and more sinister whippings by the invisible demons that surely surrounded them. I also picture St. Michael the Archangel, no doubt present as well, barely able to contain his indignation and fury, held back ONLY by the gaze of His God and Master who wished to suffer this agony to save even those who would turn from Him. How St. Michael must have humbled Himself before His God… even as all others abused and tortured Him.

    So for something like the Luminous Mysteries, maybe it would help to peer at each one of those a little deeper. The Baptism of Christ, for example, has a whole BUNCH of people to ponder. St. John the Baptist acts as a matchmaker… presenting the Church’s future Spouse to the Faithful as “The Lamb of God.” Can you imagine the onlookers? All of them, who had been following St. John for YEARS, are now being told (by St. John, himself!) that Jesus is the Messiah he was talking about?!

    Oh – or Our Lady at the Wedding Feast. That mystery is so important… so vital! It is God’s brilliant way of proving to us of the incredible intercessor we have in the Blessed Mother.

    Wow… sorry… I’m going off here. I apologize. I do hope, however, that you take something away from my ramblings. The Rosary, when appreciated as a photo album, helps us take our time and really ENJOY looking at each picture… even the newer ones which we’ve never really gotten to ponder much together.

    That being said, I’d agree with Fr. Z that you can pray whichever mysteries you want whenever you want. Doubtful Our Lady would refuse those roses simply because they’re a different shade than the others being laid at her feet. :) All rosaries are gifts.

  2. MyBrokenFiat says:

    Oh my goodness… I really do apologize for that super long entry. When it comes to the Blessed Mother and the rosary, though, I really can’t help myself. *blush*

  3. When these new (for the rosary) mysteries were proposed, I thought they were called “Illuminous” – which is to say, casting light upon something, because through them Jesus revealed himself and “illuminated” the world. “Luminous” simply means shining or glowing, which is not quite the same thing. But “luminous” is more common usage in English than “illuminous,” which the spell-check for this combox is not recognizing as a real word. So, properly speaking, aren’t they “Illuminous” mysteries?

    At any rate, to the question being asked, Father’s answer is right on the money. The one thing I do not like about this fourth set of mysteries has nothing to do with preservation of tradition or avoiding novelty or their worthiness to be called mysteries or anything like that. They simply disrupt the weekly flow and rhythm of the mysteries. Beginning with Monday, they were nicely chronological… Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious. It is fitting that the new set be on Thursday given that was the day of the institution of the Eucharist, but the orderliness of the devotion gets messed up by it…

    …of course that kind of orderliness smacks a little of obsessive-compulsive disorder that really has nothing to do with the devotion itself…

  4. JKnott says:

    I have grown to see the value in the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. On the Road to Emmaus Jesus told the disciples that everything in Scripture is about Him. The mysteries of Light are a beautiful way to meditate on the words and actions of the Lord as he speaks of the Kingdom which include specifically repentence (and going further, the Beatitudes and parables etc.) This opens us up to more listening. Then, the mysteries are sacramental : the Eucharist and the priesthood. They are mystical and full of hope in the Transfiguration. In two mysteries we hear the Father speak and tell us Jesus is His Beloved Son and to listen to Him. And Mary joins the heavenly Father in telling us, “Whatsoevers He tells you, do.” So all in all, there are many of Jesus words to listen to and to pray for grace “to do” in the meditations that a saintly pontiff has suggested. I view this as pleasing to the Blessed Mother.

  5. Imrahil says:

    It is, say, not easy to concentrate on the Conception of Jesus from the Holy Spirit in the Blessed Virgin’s womb while praying with the congregation: “Hail Mary full of grace etc. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, who was baptized at the River Jordan.”

    (I suppose you prayed the Rosary in Italian style, though.)

    Dear @Doc Angelicus, but with the new weekly order, Saturday, traditionally the weekday specially reserved for the Blessed Virgin, gets its well-deserved Joyful Mysteries.

  6. jesusthroughmary says:

    @DocAngelicus –

    FWIW, Bl. John Paul II actually called them “Lucis Mysteria” – “Mysteries of Light”.

  7. lucy says:

    MyBrokenFiat – well said and thanks for some new things to ponder.

    I admit to liking the new mysteries, as I feel that it completes the picture for us of Jesus’ life. I do, however, know several trad types who will not “buy” into them. Sad.

    At our traditional Mass each Sunday, we pray as a community prior to Mass. Several of us are the leaders. At my turn, I always pray the Glorious Mysteries. The others do all manner of things, which slightly annoys me, but I can understand why they do it that way. Not every one prays the rosary daily and they feel that reciting a different one each week will touch each person somehow. At my turn, however, I do pray it daily and therefore want to keep my order of Sunday-is-for-the-Glorious Mysteries.

  8. Jitpring says:

    Here’s an excellent article on what’s really wrong with the suggested addition of 5 new mysteries:

  9. Random Friar says:

    If you are with a group, and you wish to meditate on different mysteries, I don’t see how this is troublesome at all. Provided, of course, that you don’t announce the alternate mysteries. Simply meditate on your own.

    I don’t mind if people want to pray something different from what the congregation is doing. But if you are going your own way, then very softly, please. The rosary is one of those things where we tend to fall into a kind of communal rhythm. For example, if they use “you” and “your,” then don’t pray too loudly the “thous” and “thys”.

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