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Why four sets of Mysteries of the Rosary? Why not five or even seven?

May 8, 2012 143 Comments

In recent years Pope John Paul II added, very profitably I think, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary as a way of extending our meditation on the Gospel as the rosary is prayed.

Some one well termed the Rosary, “The Gospel on a string.” For the faithful who pray it regularly, there is indeed the specific recollection of most of the basic truths of the Gospel: from the infancy and childhood of Jesus (joyful mysteries), through his public ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom (Luminous mysteries), through his Passion and death (Sorrowful mysteries) to his Resurrection and the extending of his glory upward and outward (the Glorious mysteries).

And I wonder if we are finished as the Church in the assembling of the mysteries. I say this for two reasons.

First having four mysteries spread over a seven day week is a bit clumsy. Four into seven goes (as we used to say in the day of long division) is “1, remainder three”. Or as we say in the age of the calculator: 1.75. In other words, it’s not an even fit. I suppose it would be optimal to have seven sets of mysteries, one for each day. But even if we had five mysteries, one for each weekday, that would be a start. The weekend could then feature the Joyful and Glorious mysteries again.

A second reason it would be nice to have at least one more set of mysteries is that it helps fulfill even more the notion of the Rosary as the Gospel on a string. The more events we can commit to memory and pray over the fuller will this notion become.

Now surely I do not want to get ahead of the Church in a matter like this and would not recommend in any way that the People of God simply start making another round of mysteries up.

Yet still I wonder about a fifth set of mysteries. Has any thought been given to this? Since I have no idea where the luminous mysteries came from (did JP II make them of his own accord, or did others introduce him to the concept – I have not read anywhere of their origin).

But if, per chance, other mysteries where to be introduced, what would they be? Personally I like to mediate a lot on the healing power of the Lord. So many come to me, and come to the Church seeking healing. And healing was at the heart of Christ’s ministry. Furthermore, the many physical cures worked by Christ also have spiritual dimensions and thus a double meaning. For example blindness is not simply a problem with the eyes, but our souls too can be blinded and in need of illumination).

WIth that in mind, if there were to be some new mysteries I would like to see “The Healing Mysteries.” And perhaps they would be these:

I. The First Healing Mystery, Jesus give sight to the Blind – There are several scriptures that could be used, but the best is probably the healing of the man born blind in John’s Gospel:

As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth….[And Jesus said to his disciples, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he made some mud with his saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (Jn 9:1-7 selected verses).

In this mystery we meditate not only on the healing from physical blindness but also the spiritual blindness of which so many of us suffer. Our minds are darkened and we cannot see God’s glory, or the meaning and purpose of our life. And how we struggle to understand and make sense of things.

The passage also links the recovery of our spiritual vision to baptism: the man went, washed, and came back able to see. It is no surprise that the Eastern Church refers to baptism as illumination.

By this first healing mystery we begin to see, our darkened minds are illumined and we move from darkness to light, from confusion and dark despair to clarity and bright hope.

II. The Second Healing Mystery – Jesus opens the ears of the deaf – Here the Scripture would be:

And they brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. Jesus took him aside, away from the crowd and put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. (Mark 7:32-35).

And here too we do not simply think of physical deafness and muteness, but also of their spiritual counterparts.

For it happens that we are often deaf to the good news that God wants us to hear. Many things block our hearing. Perhaps it is hurts of the past, or lack of self worth, perhaps it is worldliness, stubbornness, prejudice, or ignorance. Perhaps it is the poor witness of parents or others who should have proclaimed the Word to us, but did not.

What ever it is Jesus can heal and remove the things that block us from hearing that we are loved and that a saving and transforming grace can change our life.

And, having our hearing improved, we can begin to speak properly. Touching our tongue, Jesus puts his words in our mouth and gives us courage to speak, speak a word that helps others and also helps us.

III. The Third Healing Mystery – Jesus heals the lame and paralyzed – Here too there are several passages that come to mind. But John’s version is richest:

Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. (Jn 5:1-11)

Here too we think not only of physical paralysis, but also of spiritual lameness. For many of us, on account of our sin and weakness, have trouble walking uprightly. And we lack strength for the journey to the promised land.

Perhaps too we are paralyzed by fear or weighed down with sorrow. It may also be that we are too encumbered by worldly things,  and the Lord needs to help us let go of unnecessary things, baggage, or addictions.

By the Lord’s healing power we can be freed and strengthened to walk again and the path before us to the promised land can be reopened.

IV. The Fourth Healing Mystery – Jesus heals of Leprosy

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. (Luke 5:12-13).

Leprosy is a disease that disfigures us and leads to death. So is sin. And from all our sins which disfigure us and have often made us outcasts, the Lord grants a healing touch.

The Leper in this Gospel is humbled and desperate. He cannot overcome his condition. And very often we experience this with our sin, that we are powerless and incapable of simply overcoming it. Only Jesus can change this leper’s terrible state.

In addition, Lepers could not live in close relation with others, they had to live on the fringes of town. And so too does sin harm our human relationships and cause hurts and divisions that are often difficult to overcome.

In all our struggles, the healing touch of Jesus can restore, forgive and heal, not only the individual, but also broken relationships.

V. The Fifth Healing Mystery – Jesus Casts out demons.

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned….When [the townsfolk] came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; (Luke 8:26-33)

We all have demons, and the man in this story had many. They had varying effects on him, he was naked (sexual issues?), and could not live in a house (no family, no roots, no commitments, no love), and he lived among the tombs (he had many death directed drives). Further no one could control him, no one prevail upon him. The demon caused him to brake free from every limit, and to reject community with others. He preferred solitary places.

What are your demons? Sensuality, greed, rebellion, fear, anger, lust, sloth, envy, addiction, gluttony, or one of hundreds, thousands, “legions” of others? We need Jesus to drive these demons out, one by one.

I am a witness, he can and does drive these sorts of demons away. He can give us peace and restore us to our right mind. I am a witness, are you?

OK, Five healing mysteries.

One weakness to my list is that it involves all men. Perhaps then, the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage can be substituted for the paralyzed man.

But you get the point. One more set of mysteries to round out the five weekdays. Are there other sets of mysteries you know of or might suggest?

Let us recall that we ought not get ahead of the Church or go in different directions without remembering the communal nature of the rosary. Nevertheless, it is worth discussing. For if the five luminous mysteries could be added, perhaps others as well. And the Gospel on a string grows just a bit more.

Let me know your ideas, If not these five, are there other sets of five? Remember, its all just for discussion.

Here is a song about healing grace:

Comments (143)

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  1. Matt says:

    Interesting. But does anyone actually pray the Luminous Mysteries?

    I don’t.

  2. TaylorKH says:

    I think that you have something there Monsignor. Very interesting. We could also do something like the “Divinity Mysteries” with St. John’s “I AM’s” – it would be a good learning / teaching tool on the divinity of the Son, Jesus Christ, and a tool against the followers of Arius.

  3. K. Louise says:

    Perhaps someone will find this interesting.

    Mysteries of Pardon

    1. Jesus forgives the faithful: So you may know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins, I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.

    2. Jesus forgives the loving: Those who love much are forgiven much.

    3. Jesus forgives the ignorant: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

    4. Jesus forgives the criminal: Today you will be with me in paradise.

    5. Jesus forgives all future repentants: Whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you hold bound are held bound.

    When I say this on a rosary, I use 9 Memorares instead of the last 9 Hail Marys on each decade in honor of the 9 Memorares the Missionaries of Charity said in Rome to end the rain before an appearance of the Holy Father. My intention is for an increase in the number of Confessions.

  4. Bender says:

    **Since I have no idea where the luminous mysteries came from (did JP II make them of his own accord, or did others introduce him to the concept – I have not read anywhere of their origin).**

    Bl. Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae19. 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. In the course of those mysteries we contemplate important aspects of the person of Christ as the definitive revelation of God. Declared the beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, Christ is the one who announces the coming of the Kingdom, bears witness to it in his works and proclaims its demands. It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9:5). . . .
    This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer’s traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary’s place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory. . . .
    21. Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way “mysteries of light”. Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the “light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Yet this truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom. In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments – “luminous” mysteries – during this phase of Christ’s life, I think that the following can be fittingly singled out. . . Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus.

    From this last part about a fitting proposal, it sounds as if the Pope merely made a considered artistic/editorial/personal decision about what might be good examples of “enlightenment,” of revelations of the truth of who and what Jesus is. Reading his explanations of each, perhaps he saw a sacramental connection to each of the ones he chose?

    In any event, in speaking of the freedom of individuals and characterizing these particular mysteries as a proposal, it also sounds as if the Pope was open to people using other examples of “light” if they wanted, as well as adding additional subjects.

    Many of the “healing mysteries” would seem to fit within a “luminous mysteries 2.0.” Howver, other mysteries of “light,” of revelation of Jesus, are possible (“luminous mysteries 3.0?”) — (1) Reading from Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth and proclaiming, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (2) The bread of life discourse. (3) Jesus saying to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (4) The discourse ending with “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” (5) The trial, wherein (in Mark) when asked if He is the Son of God, Jesus says, “I AM.”
    (or instead of two “I am” mysteries, Peter’s profession that Jesus is the Messiah, or maybe something dealing with Jesus as teacher?)

    • Yes, these mysteries also shed light

    • Susan Heyboer O'Keefe says:

      Even though the pope phrased the Luminous Mysteries as a way to give the devotion “fresh life” and to “enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary’s place within Christian spirituality”–in language that does seem merely considered, as Bender says–I would not be at all surprised to find out that the Luminous Mysteries were a private revelation from the Blessed Mother, John Paul II’s great love, who ever guided him to Christ.

      As mystical as that is, is there a more logical explanation? (not that God ever worried about logic). The new mysteries seemed to catch everyone by surprise.

  5. Restless Pilgrim says:

    Oh, I like this a lot!

    Back in the days when I wasn’t very happy with Marian devotion I used my rosary beads to pray all kinds of Scripture. I initially began with the ten commandments but my favourite was the Beatitudes and bits of Matthew’s Gospel (I called it “The Kingdom Rosary”). I still do it, in fact. I find it really helps me meditate on the teaching of Christ.

  6. Bender says:

    Although there is the matter of private revelation to consider, perhaps some topics showing that mysteries did not end with the Apostolic Age, but continue throughout history, as well as touching upon eschatology and new life in the resurrection of the body — (1) Jesus appearing to Peter, “Quo vadis?” (2) The Virgin of Guadalupe with child, bringing new life and ending a culture of death. (3) Our Lady of Lourdes, bringing healing and hope. (4) Our Lady of Fatima, imploring penance and ensuring that, despite the sufferings of the faithful, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. (5) Divine Mercy in Jesus appearing to Sr. Faustina.

  7. Ruth Ann Pilney says:

    I like this idea very much. So, I will ponder what other sets of mysteries might fill out those that we have already. I like your set about healing. I would definitely include the woman with the hemorrhage because it happens to be one of my favorites.

  8. Deacon Russ Shupe says:

    maybe five Apostolic or you could call them Ecclesial Mysteries beginning with Jesus calls the twelve, the primacy of Peter, Jesus washes the feet of the twelve, Jesus confers the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins in John 20, and the great Commissioning.

    • Or perhaps the priestly mysteries might be a term.

      • Daniel says:

        I’d be careful to keep any mysteries Christocentric. The suggestion here of “ecclesial” or “priestly” mysteries seems to focus on the Apostles or the structure of the Church which don’t seem to be an appropriate direction for prayer. Just a thought…

        • Heaven forfend Daniel that the Church founded on the apostles might acutally be somehow compared to or associated with Christ. Oh, wait a minute, isn’t the Church the mystical body of Christ or something like that?? And if structure is bad…isn’t Jesus as head of the body part of the Structure and aren’t we as members part of the structure….or am I missing something?

          • Shari says:

            In my parish we are asked to pray for vocations. This would be a nice series to meditate on, while praying for vocations or for our priests and bishops.

          • Daniel says:

            Nobody said structure is bad, but the rosary seems to be a meditation on Christ. There’s a distinction [in my mind] between meditating on the “agony in the garden” or the “tranfiguration” and the “primacy of Peter”. Perhaps that distinction doesn’t occur to others, and that is fine.

  9. Mundabor says:

    when I read the title of this blog post my spontaneous question was… why not three?

    Do we live in such a slavery of numbers that everything must fit exactly in… what, exactly? If you ask me, we have to become too rational, too technological, and too fond of numbers.

    Of course, everyone of us is free to create his own set of Gospel meditation, and should certainly do it if he thinks it fruitful.

    But as for the official set of mysteries, I for myself like to have things done as I know my grandmothers did them, and their grandmothers did before them. I echo what others have said, not many pray the luminous mysteries.

    If anyone is interested, I have written about the matter, giving several other reasons why I personally think it wise to leave it at … three. Once again, it being a private devotion everyone can shape his meditation as he best pleases, the traditional set is merely the one traditionally suggested and followed by most.


    • Elizabeth says:

      Mundabor: Very nicely said. I’m in total agreement with you and you said it much more charitably than I could. I never pray the “luminous” mysteries. The Rosary is the Rosary, as given to St. Dominic according to tradition. I too prefer to pray the Rosary as it has been prayed down through the centuries, through the fingers of the Saints, in accord with the 150 Psalms.

      If 3 isn’t good enough anymore, now 4 (suggested, by the way, not an official change by Pope John Paul II). And as can be seen by many of these posts, why the heck not keep adding more and more? After all, the New Testament is filled with mysteries upon mysteries.

      • I am not sure I find mundabor’s post Charitable. For the record I do not consider my a slave to numbers, neither do I see my self as a technocrat or rationalist. I am a poet if you will and a lover of Scripture. And as for you Elizabeth, I do propose a “why the heck not keep adding more and more” mentality. I would surely limit the number to no more than seven, one for each day. Your all or nothing thinking introduces fear and chaos to the mix which is not the intent of this post or suggestion, which is, as always, under the authority of the Church.

        One may hold, as you do that the Rosary from St. Dominic is forever fixed. But that said, there are and have been other adaptions widely added by the faithful. E.g. the fatima prayer, the prayers for the Holy father to get the indulgence etc. I remember a pitched battle in one of my early parishes between one group, who hated the Fatima prayer and wouldn’t say it in protest when the rest of the rosary prayers said it after Mass. Reason, Rosary is forever fixed. No changes. And the beat goes on. In the end the Fatima prayer is ubiquitous if you ask me, and thus in public recitation, out of charity one ought to say it. I think the same is true of the Luminous Mysteries now, everywhere I go, and the Rosary is publicly prayed on a Thursday they are prayed. Even in private recitation, it is more imporatnt for me to pray with the universal Church. Thus, while you are free to set aside the luminous mystery, I’d personally rather pray with the Pope and universal Church.

        So in the end, I do not propose a “free for all” or a why the heck mentality as you say, I propose to pray with the Church and would not personally pray the rosary apart from the universal practice. Only if new mysteries were proposed and encouraged by the Holy Father would I incorporate them. THough, as I say I sometimes use my beads to help with other prayers (e.g. Divine Mercy or certain litanies), but I do not call these things “The Rosary”

        • Bender says:

          Praying with the Church is a very big valid concern when considering additional non-“official” mysteries, as opposed to everyone doing their own thing, separate and apart from the communion of the faithful.

          That said, the actual prayers remain the same regardless. Merely the meditation is a bit different. But in the prayers themselves one does still pray with the entirety of the faithful of the Church. (Even praying a joyful rosary on a glorious day is still praying with the Church since, being eternal, I would doubt the Church Triumphant is constricted to the weekly calendar.)

          And I am not so sure that the Church who has gone before us, i.e. those in heaven, do not already meditate upon the entirety of Jesus’ life when praying, including the time from age 12 until the Agony in the Garden, which is a huge gap in the traditional-official joyful, sorrowful, glorious mystery format. Perhaps it is in not meditating on these other times of Jesus’ life during the Rosary, as we officially do now, that we fail to pray with the entire Church?

          Said in another way — In prayer, it is right and good that we pray as one body, with the entirety of the faithful, with the Church. Right now, when praying the Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, we pray with the entire Church. When meditating on Jesus and the various times of his earthly life apart from the Rosary, we meditate with the entirety of the Church. Thus, in making alternative combinations of the two, Rosary prayers and meditations, can it really be said that it is separate from the Church to go beyond the joyful, sorrowful, glorious mystery format?

        • Patt says:

          I am sticking to my ancient ways—but everyone is certainly free to pray as they wish. Is it written in concrete that we MUST say the rosary (3-4) a particular way? St. Dominic’s way is good for me.

          • No technically there aren’t a lot. But I have repsonded a lot elsewhere in these comments about the fact that the rosary is often prayed pubilcly and in groups. Thus there is some input from the wider CHurch necessary (according to my pastoral sense) before cahnges are introduced in public recital. And although you may “stick to your ancient ways” what would you do on a thursday at the local parish? Pray the luminous? Walk out? What if you we asked to lead a mystery? WOuld you annonce the luminous or the joyful? These sorts of questions go beyond the private.

          • Patt says:

            In public –I will comply.I will let others lead the prayer.. and state the mystery on Thursdays. Praying privately, I shall say the Joyous mysteries. Our Lady at Fatima, asked we pray the rosary, and that is how I pray it (15 decades) —as I go to Adoration during the week. I have noticed not many say the rosary during Adoration… just an observation.

        • tom says:

          Dear Father,

          Although I understand the intent behind the Luminous mysteries, they disrupt the Rosary as Mary’s Psalter, which is a term which Our Blessed Mother has used in Apparitions.

          As far as the Fatima prayer being an addition to the Rosary similar to the Luminous Mysteries, it should be noted that it is not man that requested this prayer, but the Blessed Mother herself at Fatima, a Church-recognized apparition.

          • tom says:

            Apologies…Dear Msgr….

          • Yet some dispute it anyway, that is my point. They are unmoved by your distinction.

          • Bender says:

            Although I understand the intent behind the Luminous mysteries, they disrupt the Rosary as Mary’s Psalter

            The Mysteries of Light no more disrupt the Rosary than the apparitions of Mary disrupt divine revelation.

            The apparitions of Mary (and Jesus) are private revelation, which, unlike with the public revelation of the Gospels and Apostolic times, the Church does not require that anyone believe or adhere to, including Fatima, even if the competent authorities determine that they are “worthy of belief.”

            Devotions are not static and set in concrete — they are organic and continually bearing new fruit, especially Marian devotions.

          • Jennifer says:

            Totally agree!

        • Mundabor says:

          My dear Monsignor Pope,

          I respectfully allow myself to think Elizabeth read me better than you did. My remark against the slavery of numbers is not a reproach to you personally, but rather a criticism of a society in general less and able able to think other than in term of “exactness”; at the point that to have three sets of mysteries for seven days is seeing as, in some strange way, “not matching”; a thought which, I am sure, never entered St. Dominic’s mind.

          As to the variations to the Rosary, I pray the Fatima prayer with my daily rosary, but I do so (exclusively) because I believe in the Fatima apparitions. Between individual preferences and the Blessed Virgin my choice is, and always will be, to follow the latter.

          Then of course, there is no obligation to individually pray those set of mysteries, and everyone can do how he or she pleases. But I see no reason to change the harmony, beauty and tradition of what was done in the past. I actually think that *to do things as they were done in the past has a special value*, particularly in these troubled times.

          There is a beauty in tradition, in knowing I am doing what has been transmitted to my generation and my generation will transmit to the following ones, that I personally consider much more poetic than innovation. Unless of course the Blessed Virgin innovates, in which case I am all for Her innovations.

          With best regards and unchanged esteem.


        • Blake Helgoth says:

          You do all know that the Rosary as given to St. Dominic did not have 15 mysteries fixed to it, right? It was not until Pope St. Pius V fixed them at 15 mysteries that everyone used the same mysteries. Before that there were upwards of 150 mysteries with rosary books to use with different mysteries in them. Plus, there are multiple different Rosary rites in the Church – the Dominic, the Latin, the Abrosian, and one other that I alway forget. These different rites have different prayers. For example, the Dominic Rosary does not use a creed at all and the Official Latin Rosary does not include the Rosary prayer at the end, but the Dominican one does. The people who do not pray the Luminous mysteries because it is not the “part” of the official Rosary do not, I think, know their history. Now, wether the Luminous mysteries have the same endulgence value is another question. I do think the church needs to look at this question.
          Regarding more mysteries, I think we need to make them simple enough that children can still memories all of them. If it gets to complex, I think people will quit trying to memorize them at all.

          • Ah, Blake, too bad your remark did enter the conversation sooner. You are right, I do not know the full history of the Rosary and it would seem that many others here do not either. So it would appear that the devotion didn’t come from Mary forever fixed and never to be touched. Not the impression to be sure that some here have of the devotion if your historical perspective given us is to be beleived.

    • Caroline says:

      Another thought–keeping the number of mysteries smaller could have the benefit of making sure we focus more on the really key events–as it stands, we now pray the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious at least twice a week (Glorious three if you don’t pray Luminous), and for some, the Luminous once…but if we keep adding mysteries, there’s less chance to reflect on these ones.

      While children are capable of more than we ask of them these days, it might be more difficult to teach them seven different sets of mysteries, one for every day of the week–you can do it, but maybe it’s better that they are meditating on the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous mysteries multiple times a week. If I remember right, the Rosary started when people couldn’t read to recite the Psalms so they prayed Hail Marys instead–so I guess I’m thinking back to the logic here.

  10. Mundabor says:

    Apologies: “we have become”.


  11. Felix says:

    A Maltese friend told me that a Maltese priest, subsequently declared “Blessed”, promoted a set of five extra mysteries very much like the ones that Bl JP II promulgated. This is presumably the historical origin.

    As to extra mysteries, I suggest the “Precusor mysteries”, coming from the Old Testament. These could be
    The Creation and Fall of our first parents
    The Flood and the Saving Ark
    The promise to Abraham and the birth of his son, Isaac
    The Burning Bush and the Covenant with Moses
    The Ark of the Covenant and the Covenant with King David.
    As you’ll note, all of these are rich with typological significance applicable to Our Lady.

    Having said all this, and noting the holiness of Bl JPII and the Maltese priest, I nevertheless question the wisdom of adding extra mysteries. As previous Popes explained, the traditional Rosary has a deep structure of transformation in its three-fold stages of Joy, Sorrow, and Glory.

    (Remember that Bl JPII was clear that the Luminous Mysteries were optional. For my part, I say the traditional mysteries, and sometimes say the Old Testament mysteries.)

  12. Fr Levi says:

    Maybe something to remind us of discipleship & the Church?
    1. Jesus calls the first disciples: I will make you fishers of men;
    2. Jesus calls the 12;
    3. Jesus sends out the 70(72) ‘take nothing with you for the journey …’
    4. Jesus tells his disciples to take up their cross and follow him
    5. Jesus gives the Great Commission: make disciples of all nations, baptising them etc …
    a bit rough and ready – but perhaps the beginning of something!

  13. Laura says:

    I love these! I have also often thought how fitting it would be to have five sets of mysteries. It’s so much more balanced.

    I understand there is a German custom of praying the “Comforting” mysteries, which are about Jesus’ presence with His Church and His future coming. I’ve considered incorporating these, particularly on Mondays which are traditionally dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

    Also, your Healing Mysteries are very similiar to the Healing Miracles of the Ecumenical Rosary (, which are Jesus healing: 1) Centurion’s Servant, 2) Haemoraging Woman, 3) Blind Man, 4) Lazarus and 5) Five Men with Leprosy.

    The only problem really is that Jesus just heals, blesses and teaches *too* many people! How do you choose??

  14. JuneT71 says:

    I have frequently choosen meditations from the Old Testament which are pre-figurements of Christ and/or his saving work. Many of them I pick are from the Easter Vigil liturgy. This reminds me of the entire plan of salvation and how the Father desired this from the Fall.

  15. MSharkey says:

    I like these very much. Perhaps another set of mysteries could be found under the rubic of Mercy/Forgiveness. Personally, I find the command to forgive as the Lord forgives to be very challenging. On the other hand, most of the existing mysteries are profound enough to accomodate meditations on Mercy, Healing, and Divinity. Maybe, we should deepen our meditations on the mysteries as they are first? Thanks Monsignor. I always enjoy coming to this site.

  16. Fr. Seraphin says:

    At first it was a bit awkward to remember the Luminous Mysteries but now I love them. They add to reflection on Christ’s life. I like your idea of even another set of mysteries to do the same. And thanks for your reflections.

  17. FGA says:

    “Bl. Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae — 19. 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… ”

    It is a shame that the Queen of Heaven and Mediatrix of all graces just did not know what we needed when giving the gift of the Holy Rosary – oh well thank goodness we have JPII.

    Perhaps in his honor we can now add the Assisi mysteries, the kissing of the Koran mysteries and the I apologize for being Catholic mysteries….. Too many to mention.

    I am not questioning and will not question how individuals are led when they pray (using the Rosary or otherwise). If one feels drawn outside of the “normal parameters” of a given prayer so be it. However to suggest that the gift of Our Blessed Mother is somehow incomplete shows astounding arrogance. Perhaps someday another Pope will be apologizing for JPII.

    • Jason C. says:

      FGA, You give your position no credit whatsoever by phrasing things so negatively. I agree with the point I think you were trying to make, but you just come across as rude here.

      Monsignor, I think what FGA wanted to say was that we necessarily approach this issue based on our answer to this question: Where does the Rosary come from? If we say it’s wholly, or even mostly, man-made, then the proposals for amendment, addition and subtraction from the Rosary all pass muster; but if we say its source is supernatural or a product of private revelation approved for wider use, then, well, I believe we must resist tinkering with it, even if our ends (making the Rosary a better didactic tool, a better spiritual tool, etc.) are laudable. Obviously, FGA takes the latter approach, though FGA’s attitude reveals that FGA should probably just pray more. Bl. Pope JPII didn’t answer this question in his apostolic letter on the Luminous Mysteries, the first sentence of which reads: “The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium.” As to its origin, he just said, “The history of the Rosary shows how this prayer was used in particular by the Dominicans at a difficult time for the Church due to the spread of heresy. Today we are facing new challenges. Why should we not once more have recourse to the Rosary, with the same faith as those who have gone before us?”

      So–since the question is unanswered “officially”–I think we have to be sensitive to where people are coming from on the Rosary.

      • Not entirely sure understand your bottom line here. Are you saying that becasuse the rosary was a weapon against heresy in that time that we are free to adapt it in our own time (under the direction of the Bishops and Pope) or that we should use it exactly like it was then since it is a universal tool against heresy in its original form? (Thanks for your fraternal encouragement of FGA).

        • FGA says:

          Monsignor Pope and Jason – Thank you for your kindness.

          In my reply let me first, and most importantly, apologize for the tone of my original post. Although I am obviously no fan of Pope John Paul II, my words were intemperate and uncharitable. For any who were offended or hurt by my comments I am truly sorry

          Once again let me make it clear that in criticizing the additions made by John Paul II I am not questioning how individuals prayer in their private prayers. Like any good conversation, prayer can take us many places we never envisioned when we started. If your time with Our God and Our a Lady in the Rosary takes you (in natural progression) to surprising places then praise God. If, however, you intentionally change the Rosary in any way, it ceases to be what it once was; and since what it was and is, is a gift, this is I believe an insult to the giver.

          And while this is just my opinion I will close by saying that I believe any attempt to “improve” the Rosary of our Blessed Mother is as arrogant and ill advised as if I (who cannot draw even a straight line) attempted to improve on the works of Caravaggio or Michelangelo.

          Oh – one more thing… : Jason said “FGA’s attitude reveals that FGA should probably just pray more.”
          So true! I will work on that!

  18. SouthernMom says:

    I ask this only out of curiosity, as I am still learning, but I’ve read that some more “traditional” Catholics reject the Luminous Mysteries because of Our Lady’s revelations to St. Dominic and the children at Fatima that there are only three sets of Mysteries. Can anyone comment on this? Thanks.

    • Well of course you’re seeing some of what you describe right in the comments here. I remain surprised at the amount of rejection, especially given they came from the Pope. I dont mind preferences being expressed for the three only but I do take offense at those who say the Pope was wrong or did a bad thing. I was raised in the days of dissent (60s and 70s) and as a conservative, job one was to support our Holy Father and the bishops. But some conservatives (not all) seem to want the Chruch they want without being bothered by popes and bishops. Its not the k ind of conservative I was raised to be. Dissent, or cal ling the hierarchy out of touch were things dissenters on the left did. Now its just as likely to hear a conservative talk that. its sad really. and according to me a throwing overbaord of one of the main planks of Catholic conservativism. Without reverence for the hierarchy, we’re just like protestants.

      In terms of the rosary Catholics are free to like othe luminous mysteries or not. Why traditional Catholics reject them might go to fact that they like tradition and dislike or distrust innovation. Tere is no doubt we have been though difficult years of wreckless innovation in certain parishes. But that does not make every innoation wrong. Hence, though conservative oand traditional myself, i remain more open to new ideas than most of my conservative firends would wish. But i am a priest and want to be open to the wider Church and surely be reverently submijtted to my Archbishop and the Pope

  19. Vijaya says:

    Father, this is probably the first time I disagree with you. Of course, I love the idea of mysteries that focus on healing, or His promises, or the OT, but I find that when I pray the entire rosary (only some days) I do not meditate on the Luminous mysteries. Jesus’ earthly life is so enormous, we could never begin to contemplate it all … so I think it’s best to have the original three, for public prayer.

    I cannot explain why I feel like this. I do often spend time thinking about our Blessed Lord’s life, but the rosary as given by Mary herself to St. Dominic, is perfect. I’ve read that the 150 Hail Mary’s correspond to the 150 psalms.

  20. Nathan says:

    Great Idea. The more we can meditate on the Life of Christ as revealed in Scripture the better and what more powerful tool than the Holy Rosary. I suppose there would be some people who would reject it, but to those I’d remind them neither St. Dominic nor the Blessed Mother would reject meditating on the Luminous (or any new) Mysteries suggested by the Holy Father as neither refused to submit to the teachings (or suggestions) of Holy Mother Church.

  21. Jim says:

    I believe–and I hope Msgr. Pope will correct me if I’m wrong–but as the rosary is a sacramental and therefore not an absolutely necessary part of the practice of faith, each of us is allowed to pray whatever mysteries, contemplations, or meditations help bring us closer to our Lord. If we pray the proposed healing, precursor, or discipleship mysteries (or any others; I don’t mean to slight any of the suggestions), the Inquisition won’t knock on our doors; if we share them, and they grow and become commonly used, we won’t be schismatic. If these other groupings of mysteries help you, pray them.

  22. Dante says:

    I love the idea of a 7 mystery-set rosary (or perhaps a 6, with Sundays repeating the particular set most appropriate to the liturgical season). As far as Blessed JPII and the Luminous Mysteries – I recall reading that there has been many pre-JP II “luminous-like” mysteries suggested and that he drew from among these. I also recall reading that Paul VI in Marialis Cultus recommended and approved of the faithful composing there own mnystreries for private prayer, And finally I has seen a set of mysteries based on the miracles of Jesus (much like the ones you offer) and they were termed the “Wondrous Mysteries”.

  23. Bender says:

    On the matter of the “official” Rosary —

    It should be noted that the Rosary falls under the category of popular piety and devotion. That is, it is one of those aspects of Church worship that derives from the laity, not the hierarchy, from the bottom up, rather from the top down. CCC 1674-76. While the Magisterium and bishops may properly regulate such devotions to ensure they remain consistent with the deposit of faith, still, devotions such as the Rosary are born of the sense of the faithful.

    Once upon a time, saying the joyful mysteries of the Rosary was a novel concept. Saying the Rosary at all was a novel concept. It was nontraditional. But the Catholic faithful, prompted by the Holy Spirit, did it spontaneously, and the “official Church,” i.e. the hierarchy, followed.

    If the faithful today were to similarly spontaneously add aspects to the Rosary (e.g. the Fatima prayer (or say the Divine Mercy chaplet on Rosary beads, following a Rosary format)), it is within their province to do so, so long as such is not contrary to the revealed truths of the faith. And if, instead of doing so spontaneously, they were to follow the invitation of the most Blessed John Paul II, who may very well have been prompted by Mary herself to suggest the Mysteries of Light (totus tuus), that too is within their province to do so.

    • Agreed Bender, in terms of your central point. However I would be a little more careful as a pastor before allowing my parishioners to start adding or tampering with the rosary in public meditation. The rosary is in a special category from my pastoral perspective since, though a private devotion is publicly recited so often. Hence, with this caution I agree with your insight.

  24. JOHN BAINES says:

    I find the Rosary helpful by meditating
    on Our Lady of Guadalupe image,Our Lady of Las Lajas,
    The Holy Face of Manopello,Turin shourd and the Fatima
    miracle. Amongst other miracles

  25. Cassandra says:

    The luminous mysteries are sound enough doctrinally and would have made a nice separate chaplet, but introducing them into the Rosary itself was a pastoral disaster. It was not an organic liturgical development, but very much an addition of something new. It continued and reinforced the era’s constant changing and innovating with novelties, and it resulted in a contorted Rosary. The order is messed up because as JPII noted, it would be wrong to move the Sorrowful from Friday and the Glorious from Mary’s Saturday. A set of Joyous got thrown out altogether, and the Joyous are far more profound with its Incarnation and Nativity than the sacramental luminous. Not only is there a break from the Psalter but a dilution of the link with the supernatural virtues. St. Thomas warns about the dangers of upsetting tradiitions, even human ones, that the people have become accustomed to, even going so far as to advise against changing a *bad* law if the resulting good would not significantly outweigh the disruption. When they were introduced, I remarked (only half in jest), that JPII would have done better if he had introduced two new days of the week for the new mysteries. The contortions to make a 4th set fit in were really that bad.

    I know that the least criticism of moves by JPII immediately raise the hackles of those with personal affection for him, but until such people can accept that he made mistakes, that affection is not really genuine–it’s not an embrace of all that he was, just what is deemed desirable. It makes Benedict’s job of undoing his mistakes that much harder and obstructs Benedict’s ministry, all under the guise of loyalty to a past pope–not much different than the actions of sede vacantists. After the passing away of this age’s JPII devotees, the luminous mysteries will also pass away as just a failed novelty.

    As for speculation on yet more new mysteries, Father, tradere means to pass on what you were handed, not to invent new novelties. It’s just vanity to want to invent, and foreign to Catholicism–unless you’re suggesting Mary gave these to you in a new vision?

    • Don’t you think “pastoral disaster” is something of an over-reaction. I mean especially when the Chief shepherd of the flock introduced then in his role as Shepherd. I would avoid being more Catholic than the Pope and more “pastoral” than the Cheif shepherd. At least give the Pope the benefit of the doubt. Which I guess wouldn’t work, since you don’t seem to have any doubt. But for the rest of us, who do have some doubt, I will remind myself of this truth, JP II was Pope and I was not, and there is probably a reason for that. So I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and accuse him of grave pastoral errors. Why should the lumnious mysteries be “so upsetting” ?? It could be that part of what makes them upsetting is the rigidity of some people rather than grave pastoral errors on the part of the Successor to Peter.

      • Cassandra says:

        Yawn. It’s the same old story with you. Rather than looking at the issue at hand, you immediately start in with an *ad hominem* attack on anyone questioning a move. I stated upfront that the luminous mysteries would make a nice chaplet of its own. St. Thomas supports my contention that changing traditional devotions is bad. But all you can do is attack me personally because you have absolutely no rebuttal to the arguments themselves.

        But it isn’t just me that recognizes JPII made pastoral mistakes. JPII — Assisi disaster; B16 — appearance at Assissi to ensure correction of religious indifference. JPII – communion in the hand standing in Papal masses; B16 – return to kneeling and on the tongue. JPII – bungled SSPX resolution; B16 — backward somesaults to regularize. JPII — attempt to restrict the TLM; B16 — correction of error regarding purported abbrogation. JPII — scandalous papal masses; B16 — attempt to bring more dignity to masses with new MC. B16 could do a *lot* more if it weren’t for the failure of JPII devotees to confuse personal affection with sainthood and therefore to enshrine JPII’s every move.

        Even you, yourself, criticize the 4th set in recognizing that it causes issues within the week. The usual *company man* procedure is to ignore unsightly issues. Why bring it up, Father? As an issue, or to justify twiddling with the Rosary some more?

        In regard to being more Catholic than the Pope: do you think you are more Catholic than Alexander VI? I would certainly hope so. If you were priest then, would you emulate him and have a lady on the side too, or judge him as acting not becoming a Pope. From there to evaluating other popes is just a matter of degree, not of kind–just as calling JPII “The Great” and *NOT* calling Pius XII or Paul VI also “Greats” judges the latter unfavorably. Those who praise JPII are just as guilty of sitting in papal judgment as those who do not praise. It’s just that in such praising, they get to feel more self-righteous and loyal.

        JPII’s insertion of a new set of mysteries is endemic of the liberal and progressive mindset that is too impatient for the hard work to restore devotion to the traditional devotions. Instead, there is an introduction of something “new and exciting” in the hope of grabbing a jaded people’s attention.

        I don’t doubt your sincerity in your efforts to be a good a priest, and likely you are better than most, but the *ad hominem* against any discussion of whether mistakes have been made only retards the correction of them.

        • JP II we love you! John Paul the Great you really rate!

          But in the end Cassandra, I going to resist and rebuke attempts by Catholics to be dismissive of Papal decisions, even if they be of a pastoral nature. I just think we ought to give religious submission of mind and will even to non-infallible teachings of the Pope. In the end the mysteries are optional for you, but don’t question the pastoral judgements of the chief shepherd of the flock so easily. It’s just some optional mysteries. It’s over-kill Casandra to question the pope’s pastoral leadership as you have, and might I add a little ad hominem ??
          By the way why dont we all avoid using the over used phrase ad hominem. It is not only over used but usually misused and over extended, as i would argue you have done here. I am not poking fun at your appearance or some personal characteristic, I am disagreeing with your views and attitude about the Pope and that your seeming claim to have better pastoral sensibility than the cheif shepherd of the Flock. And to call the luminous mygsteries or their inclusion doctrinally unsound is way over the top and not in your competance to say. Use your freedom, prefer the three, but stop there. Many obviosuly do like and appreciate the fourth set. Maybe JP II was not so pastorally flawed afterall

        • Bender says:

          Speaking of the sense of the faithful — it is the faithful laity who spontaneously get to decide who is “Great” and who deserves “santo subito.”

          And there is good reason for calling the most Blessed John Paul “Great,” as anyone who actually experienced the “life” of the Church before him, including the time before October 11, 1962. But, as I’m sure he would tell you, it is not he who is personally “great,” but He who worked through him is Great.

          • Bender says:

            By the way — we have been terribly unfair to Pope Paul VI, both during his life on earth and continuing to his life in heaven. He was a lot “greater” than people have given him credit for, including self-proclaimed “traditionalists.”

  26. Martin says:

    Monsignior, initially I like what you propose, but after some more thought, I feel that it’s best to just leave the Rosary officially at 3 mysteries. That doesn’t mean that people are not free to privately pray whatever else they would like to meditate on when reciting the Rosary. Part of my reasoning is to keep it simple, which helps me pray better.

    • But JP II never got your memo about three, so now we’re up to four. So perhaps you mean four? I mean what, for example would you do if you walked into your parish and/or some other setting on a Thursday? Would you walk away from the Lumnious mysteries prayers would you join the others? At some point this question goes beyond the merely private.

      • Martin says:

        I hope that I didn’t come across as snarky, and please excuse me when I am ignorant. I did mean three.

        My understanding is that the the Rosary is composed of the original 3 mysteries and that the Luminous mysteries was added by JP II. In other words my understanding is that it’s not officially part of the Rosary but official in that it was given to us by the pope.

        I guess what confuses me a little is that I don’t specifically know what makes it into the Rosary as being official. Would a suggestion of something or something composed by a pope be sufficient?

        As for when I’m with other people using the Luminous mysteries, I join them. I like them but haven’t gotten used to praying them, but it’s in the plan. I know I’ve much to learn, and am all ears, Monsignor. Please do teach.

        It’s taken me over 20 years to pray almost daily at least 5 decades and memorize the 3 mysteries, and I give thanks to the grace of God for helping me. I’m still learning slowly more about the Rosary, and have been meaning to read the encyclicals related to the devotion.

  27. Rex G says:

    I love the Luminous Mysteries. I love the Rosary and am a member of the Rosary Confraternity ( As far as changing the Rosary, didn’t the Blessed Virgin Mary herself request less than 100 years ago that we add the Fatima prayer after each decade? The Rosary is a private devotion. It is not subject to the rules and regulations of a liturgy.

    • That Mary herself requested it does not move those who “hate” its inclusion. You’d have to ask them, I’m fine with it and say it. As for the Rosary being a private devotion, technically you may be correct but practically it is so widespread and so often prayed in common that we ought not, in my opinion, simply toy with it. Even while suggesting new mysteries, to the obvious chagrin of some, I would want certainly to subject this sort of change to the Holy See and to the Pope and would never introduce it on my own or recommend others to do so. THis is due to the rosaries as a private though quasi public prayer of the Church.

  28. Shari says:

    You know, I am continually amazed at what I do not understand about Catholicism. I’ve been Catholic for 10 years now, and It never occured to me that the purpose of the Rosary was to prayerfully meditate upon Scripture. I thought that the point was to say 5 Our Fathers, 50 Hail Mary’s and 5 Glory Be’s sort of like when, after confession you are told off to go say 3 Hail Mary’s or something.

    I thought it was just a sort of prayer to honor God and St. Mary. I mean, in RCIA they told us to memorize the prayers (which I did) and to say them, and I done so, wondering what the point was. I actually have been praying the Rosary while sort of praying my own thoughts, petitions, prayers rather than holding any of the mysteries in mind. I mean they never SAID what the point was. They just said it was something you were supposed to do if you were going to be Catholic. That’s pretty much the way my two kids understand it too, going through 10 years of Catholic PSR, Edge and Life Teen.

    I take it, that this is a means of meditating upon Scripture while under the protection of St. Mary, with the prayers and the beads and stuff to keep from getting distracted the way I often do when just reading Scripture by myself. .

    Duh ! Well if the point is to meditate on Scripture, then by all means the more Mysteries the merrier.

    Duh! DUH! DUH! (Note to self, need to get the kids together and explain this). DANG! I am STUPID!

    • Well, be nicer to your self. You can’t be stupid because you read this blog :-)

      As for the Rosary, It is many things, a meditative help, a meditation on the Gospel, a praying with Mary, a praying for others, etc. As for RCIA – some things in this large and ancient Church must be learned later as we go along and by osmosis.

    • RichardC says:

      In The Secret of the Rosary, by St. Louis de Montfort, he recommends adding two or three words to each Hail Mary, always after the Name of Jesus, as an aide to remembering the Mystery. Thus:

      Joyful Mysteries:

      “… Jesus Incarnate . . .”
      “… Jesus Sanctifying . . .”
      “…Jesus born in poverty . .”
      “… Jesus Sacrificed . . ”
      “…Jesus, Saint among saints . . ”

      Sorrowful Mysteries:

      “…Jesus in His Agony . . ”
      “…Jesus cruelly scourged . . .”
      “…Jesus Crowned with thorns . . ”
      “…Jesus carrying His Cross…”
      “…Jesus Crucified . . ”

      Glorious Mysteries:

      “…Jesus risen from the dead . .. ”
      “…Jesus ascending to heaven . . .”
      “…Jesus filling Thee with the Holy Spirit . .”
      “…Jesus raising Thee up . . .”
      “… Jesus crowning Thee . .”

      You can come up with your own appropriate words to add for the Luminous Mysteries. This method helps me.

      • Uh oh Richard, I am afraid you’re asking for trouble. By the way, its fine with me. :-) I’m surely in some trouble here along with JP II from a couple of our commenters. :-) But I think most will understand what you and St Louis are getting at

  29. Dan says:

    I agree with this guy. Innovations haven’t really been a benefit to the Church since Vatican II. We really need to stop innovating and start keeping traditions instead.

  30. John Clem says:

    One great version of the Rosary is to say the Seven-Decade Franciscan Rosary. I love the mystery of the Magi, which is not a part of any other rosary prayers, but should be because of its powerful message. Here is a link that describes the wonderful history and instructions on the Franciscan Rosary:

    God Bless,

  31. RichardC says:

    Monsignor, I was surprised that Jesus raising the dead wasn’t on your Mysteries. The only idea I had was maybe a set based on His parables.

  32. Karl Forsite says:

    I love the Rosary and I do not deny anything about the Rosary or Psalter of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, but ¿was really Saint Dominic of Guzmán who received the Rosary from the Holy Theotokos?. Scientific history proofs otherwise. The used of bead for praying in very old in Christianity and was used in the Eastern Church for the recital of the Jesus Prayer using the Komboskini. There was use of a string of pebbles known as the paternosters way back before Saint Dominic. Furthermore, nothing about the Rosary appears in any of Saint Dominic of Guzmán writings.
    Saint Dominic of Bavaria is the one who gets accountable for what we know as the Rosary today and Allan de Rupe who shaped it into fifteen mysteries with the three sets of them. We have to realized that there were other Rosaries in existence when the “Saint Dominic’s” Rosary took preponderance. That is the Seraphic Rosary, the Brigittine beads, the Dolour beads, the Immaculate Conception beads, the Crown of Our Saviour, the Chaplet of the Five Wounds, the Crosier beads, the Seven Sorrows, among others that were shaped by the time the Holy Rosary came into existence.
    The Hail Mary does not come from Saint Dominic of Guzmán either. It was recited since the beginning of Christianity with different variations. It can be found in the Malankara Church of India and the Ethiopian Coptic Church since the evangelization of these people. It is found within the Nestorian Churches and Monophysite Churches, which are not really monophysites.
    If you want to recite seven “rosaries” you could go like I do. On Monday I pray the Joyful Mysteries, on Tuesdays I go for the Saint Joseph Rosary, on Wednesdays for the Seven Sorrows of Mary, on Thursdays for the Luminous Mysteries, on Fridays for the Sorrow Mysteries, on Saturdays for the Seraphic Rosary and on Sundays for the Glorious Mysteries. John Paul II suggested the four sets of Mysteries but he did no impose them upon Roman Catholics.
    Does the “whole” Catholic Church recite the Rosary? No, it cannot be imposed on the eastern tradition where it was not customary. The Eastern Church in communion with Rome has heaps of prayers to the Theotokos which are more meaningful to them that is the Rosary and if one does not recite the Rosary does not mean our dearest Theotokos is less loved? Of course not. We love her in extreme.
    All in all you do not have to go too far to find out that there are more than four sets of mysteries that have been in existence in both eastern and western traditions for a long time.

  33. David N says:

    As a private devotion, I love the idea of additional mysteries to pray for specific needs or circumstances, but for public use then I’m happy with the 3/4 existing mysteries. This is purely because one of the beautiful things about it (and also with praying the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours) is that we are praying with the whole active Church – Militant and Triumphant. Private additions/changes are wonderful for personal prayer (and hugely valuable), but then so is a sense of being a part of something bigger.

    If nothing else, on a purely practical level, my Rosario is long enough at 15 decades! Using this for the ‘main’ Rosary with the Church Militant and Triumphant, and my Terco for other Mysteries works well for me.

    The Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle have 5 mysteries of the epiphany which they use at Epiphanytide. They are the visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus, the wedding at Cana, Jesus heals a leper and Jesus calms the sea.

    3, of course, works well from a numerological perspective, as does 7, 12 or 40. But I think adding more to the ‘formal’ rosary might just make it less usable. After all before the Church settled on the 3 there were many variants used. So adding more to our personal or local use adds to that valuable tradition of encouraging prayer and scriptural contemplation at a local level, but 3 makes it readily accessible and usable at a global level.

    So a ‘hooray’ for sticking to the 3 mysteries AND a ‘hooray’ for using more mysteries.

    Now if that isn’t a ‘Catholic’ answer, I don’t know what is :-)

  34. Matthew says:

    Too bad we are increasingly losing the sense of the Rosary as Our Lady’s Psalter. There are 150 Psalms and the three sets of mysteries,which cover the core of the Gospel message, collectively add up to 150 Hail Marys. While I grudgingy pray the Luminous Mysterious as a sign of obedience I think it was a mistake to introduce them. As Msgr Pope notes there is now nothing to prevent the invention of thousands of different sets of mysteries for any variety of different intentions and purposes.
    I think a good clarification would be for the pope to declare that any and all indulgences and graces attached specifically to “the Rosary” apply ONLY to the traditional three sets of mysteries. This would leave people free to invent to their hearts content but acknowledge the tradition.

  35. RichardC says:

    Personally, I think the big four are enough. In two of the Luminous Mysteries, the voice of God is distinctly heard. Maybe all of Jesus’ miracles are shown in the His turning water into wine. Maybe, that shows what we are supposed to want from miracles. As to my idea, all of Jesus’ parables are contained in the third Luminous Mystery. Jesus in the Eucharist shows that we are still in Gospel times.–or it shows the boat that was built for us in Gospel times. I want to say that the four current Mysteries are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, but that would probably be going too far.

  36. Nathan says:

    What about a set of mysteries on the “hard sayings” of Jesus, the things we sometimes would rather gloss over like
    1) I say to you, whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery – Matt 19:9
    2) whosoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves take up their cross and follow me – Luke 9:23
    3) I say to you everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery – Matt 5:28
    4) Enter through the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction – Matt 7:13
    5)Not everyone who calls out Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only he who does the will of my Father – Matt 7:21

  37. Karl Forsite says:

    Nobody has to pray any Rosary Mysteries grudgingly. The Rosary is a human invention with an extreme religious meaning. Allan de Rupe invented the three sets of Mysteries; you are free to believe that he was inspired by God or it came out of his piety. When promoting the Salter he talked about Saint Dominic and the Rosary, but he was talking about Saint Dominic of Prussia. Later in his life and not having his mind in its proper place he being a Dominican Fray changed Prussia for Guzmán (or Guzmán for Prussia depending on what English dialect people speak.) That is how the mess begun.
    Do not recite the Luminous Mysteries if you feel uncomfortable with them. One has always to remember that the Pope of Rome (Not the one from Alexandria) is the successor of Saint Peter and as such, nothing wrong can come out of his mind. We have to remember that John Paul II made a suggestion, not an imposition. So anyone can stick to the three sets of Mysteries.
    When I recite them I announce the third Mystery as “Jesus proclaims the arrival of his Kingdom in the Humble Synagogue of Nazareth; it is more meaningful for me and I do not reckon I am doing anything wrong or improper.
    Both the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary or Servite Rosary and The Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary or Seraphic Rosary were in existence by the time the “Dominican” Rosary got preponderance because of the work of the Dominican Frays. The three of them are contemporary. The Servite Rosary is made up of seven Mysteries with seven Holy Marys in each one. The Seraphic Rosary has seven Mysteries and is recited with ten Holy Marys to each of them; however there are people who recite seven Holy Marys for each Mystery of the Seven Joys of the Holy Mary.

    • Thanks for some perspective and for the repsectful tone regarding our freedom, the Holy Father and the rich tradition of the Church

    • barMaryam says:

      Karl Forsite,

      Um… nothing wrong can come out of his mind? All the popes (both Roman and Alexandrian) are only human and are wrong plenty of times! Even our Pope, the Bishop of Rome can teach wrong things (as has been the case multiple times in the past), except when they speak ex cathedra and are infallible by virtue of the Holy Spirit. I think one of the issues manifesting itself among the comments here is that the Pope can be wrong, but he is still the head of the Catholic Church. There is a very strong tension here and how is a faithful Catholic to resolve it? This is the issue that allows many “loyal members” to support abortion rights, women’s ordination and homosexual behavior. On the other extreme, some believe the pope blasphemes if he doesn’t utter the exact same words of his predecessors. I don’t have a good answer myself. If someone did, it would greatly help move forward dialogue with the other apostolic Churches (EO, OO, and CoE). – i myself am an Eastern Catholic who is obedient to His Holiness Benedict XVI :)

      • I think your espansive notion of the Pope teaching worng things “plenty of times” and that he is only protected when he teaches ex cathedra needs a lot corrective surgery which I don’t have time to do here. But you also seem to fall into trap that was common on the Catholic left years ago which said in effect that if the Pope doesn’t formally declare something using a very speicif formula I am wholly free to ignore him. But of course that jetisons docility and the religious submission of mind and will that the are due even non-infallible teachings. And you can read the Catechism for more on all this

        But that said, no one is claiming the Rosary mysteries are under formal infallibilty or even fully required for Catholics. One is free not to include them in their private devotions. What I HAVE objected to here are those who go one to accuse Pope John Paul of doing things that are “doctrinally unsound” and/or pastorally erroneous. This is over the top and unecessary in a metter such as this which is optional anyway. And I think it shows a sad and deangerous trend among more traditioanl Catholicss (who used to have as hallmarks their love for the pope and the bishops) to be dismissive of the Pastors of the Church (the Pope and bishops) in their proper exercise of their office.

  38. StephC says:

    These mysteries are taken from Sheila Kippley’s book “Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood:”

    The Madonna Rosary:
    1)The quickening
    2) His First Nourishing
    3) His First Steps
    4) His First Words
    5) Jesus is Weaned

    Just to add a little bit of variety!

  39. Gary Shaffer says:

    Saint George Preca (1880-1962) was born in Valletta, Malta. He composed the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary in 1957. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on June 3, 2007, being described as “Malta’s second father in faith” after St. Paul.

  40. Nick says:

    There are over seventy types of rosaries in the world. I doubt the Church is done perfecting the popular piety.

  41. Mary R says:

    I have a little book: The Life of Christ Rosary, Copyright 1985 The Leaflet Missal Company. Besides the three original mysteries it also contained three additional mysteries.

    The Parable Mysteries
    • The Good Samaritan
    • Lilies of the Field
    • The Prodigal Son
    • The Pharisee and the Publican
    • Workers in the Vineyard

    The Miraculous Mysteries
    • Water Changed into Wine
    • Christ Calms the Storm
    • Cure of the Man Born Blind
    • Jesus Feeds the Multitude
    • Raising of Lazarus

    The Peaceful Mysteries
    • “Let the Children Come to Me”
    • Advice to the Rich Young Man
    • Martha and Mary
    • “Thou Art Peter”
    • The Last Supper

    I use this prayer book when I wish to add extra depth or focus to my time at prayer. A nice features in this little prayer book is that each mystery has 10 points of meditation (1 for each Hail Mary) with the last one a summary i.e. “When you seek God’s holiness in service and love, you will have the treasure of all things promised by Him”.
    Mary R

  42. Gregory says:

    I personally don’t pray the Luminous Mysteries (with the exception on the Feasts of the Baptism, Transfiguration, and on Holy Thursday) for two reasons. One that the 150 Haily Mary’s were traditionally considered the “people’s Office” corresponding to the 150 Psalms prayed by the monks in the monasteries. It’s a way for the people to imitate the habit of the monks. Now granted in our times, the populace is generally literate and the Office books are more accessible (remember, no printing press when the Rosary was given to Dominic!) so the link has been long lost – but having a Church History degree makes me a stick in the mud on such points. Second, I was always taught it was a meditation not on Scripture (note the last two Glorious Mysteries) but on the life of the Blessed Mother through Christ. She intimately experienced all of the traditional Mysteries whether by actually taking part or by the intimate relationship (e.g. Stabat Mater) with her Son. No doubt she participated in the ministry of Christ too, but I think the link is less obvious in the Luminous Mysteries. I guess in short, the Rosary to me is an explicitly Marian devotion, not a Christological one (if its even possible to make that distinction as she’s always directing us to her Son).

    I also naturally resist tinkering with T/tradition, but that’s neither here nor there.

  43. Ken Ray says:

    Msgr. Pope below is two rosaries that I drafted several years ago for many of the same reasons that you discussed in your 09 May blog. They are works in progress; please improve them and share them.

    I also included a “Simple Office.” Several years ago, I taught/introduced the Office/Christian Prayer to a parents group. The universal response was that there was not enough time in their daily schedules to pray the Office. In response, I drafted a Simple Office tied to the rosary and daily liturgy. Again, this is a work in progress; please improve it and share it.

    I have these all in pamphlet form, MS Word documents.

    YIC: Ken Ray

    Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    1. Immaculate Conception The soul and spirit of Mary was conceived before time in the mind of God, before the failure of our first parents, as pure and without the stain of sin. Before time began, God selected Mary to endow His Son with a fully human body, which would empower the salvation of man. The Immaculate Conception of Mary was a necessary part of God=s plan for the salvation of man. The Sanctifier was in the heart of Mary from her conception in the mind of God through her coronation as Queen of the Angels.

    2. Hand-maid of the Lord (Humility- total and complete acceptance of the Will of God) Mary said yes! Only with the strength provided by the Sanctifying Holy Spirit does a man have the will to accept the tasks sent by God. Mary=s only response to the angel=s message was, Alet it be done to me according to your word.@ From Jesus= baptism until His death, there are only glimpses of Mary. She accepts this supporting role throughout the remainder of His ministry and for the remainder of her life. At her death, with John and several other apostles present, she asked to be buried in a hidden grotto so as not to detract from her Son=s message. God continues his recognition of her special soul by her assumption, body and soul, into heaven.

    3. Theotόkos, Mother of God; Arc of the new and ever lasting covenant AGod himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust@. The will of God acting through the Holy Spirit created a true human body for the Christ, the true sheep for the necessary sacrifice to redeem man. Mary was necessary to endow the Redeemer with true humanity. The only witnesses to Mary=s task were angels and the unborn John the Baptist.
    Acceptance of the pain, to be a mother, to raise the Son of God, knowing that she would suffer with His triumphant victory over sin and death was Mary=s greatest sacrifice. Mary=s joy in her Son was tempered from the beginning first with Simeon=s prophesy that a sword would pierce her heart and later in the Temple by her Son, Adid you not know that I must be in my Father=s house@.

    4. First Apostle Mary=s mission did not end with the birth of Christ. She raised a son with a mother=s strength and love. She was instrumental in the Redeemer=s mission as His first apostle and who remains at His side. In Cana, Mary=s request was the answer to Jesus= question, AHas not my hour come?@ When all else deserts you, the love of our Mother is there as she was at the foot of the Cross. Mary was with Jesus from conception to human death; she believed in her son from the moment of the Gabriel=s message until He rose from the dead. She believed when all of His disciples were hiding in fear.

    5. Advocate for Man (Continuing ministry of Mary) No one is closer to the Son than His mother. She carries our prayers to Him and through Him to the Father. She also brings messages and pleas to man to follow the Message of her Son. Mary=s continued concern for man and for man=s following her Son=s message is continually demonstrated at Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, and in our lives.

    Suggested for Saturday, as this is a traditional day to honor the BVM

    Mysteries of the Holy Spirit

    1. New Men, the Effects of the Paraclete. The Holy Spirit provided many gifts to the disciples on Pentecost. The most powerful of which were: wisdom to understand and explain the Gospel of Jesus; courage to boldly proclaim the Gospel; and strength to accept the world as it is. These gifts impacted the apostles and the disciples in the Cenacle. The impact was immediately demonstrated to/on the crowds present in the Temple courtyard and throughout Jerusalem.

    2. The Martyrs, Saint Stephen, First Martyr. While the Holy Innocents and St. John the Baptist were truly martyrs for Jesus Christ, they preceded the Gospel. St. Stephen was the second martyr for the Gospel. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are genuinely present in all the martyrs as they proclaim the Gospel with their body. St. Stephen was the first, but the Church has been and continues to be blessed with gifts of the Spirit.

    3. Jesus’ Revelations to Saul. As Saul rides north to Damascus to persecute the growing, spreading group of Believers, he is called to be an apostle. His dramatic calling is distinctly different from the calling the other apostles experienced; but its validity and veracity has never been challenged. In a flash of light Jesus not only calls Saul, now Paul, but also provides him with the complete and full understanding of the Gospel; all the gifts of the Holy Spirit conveyed to Paul in an instant.

    4. All, Gentile and Jew, are called to Repentance, Baptism, and Salvation; the “New” Law. Jesus stated that He was the fulfillment of the Law. And, then gave the Apostles a new law, the Law of Love. For Paul, love of Christ was faith and obviated the need for an external demonstration of faith such as circumcision. For Peter love of Christ was love of neighbor, your fellow man, Jew or Gentile. This love of your neighbor replaced the detailed Levitical Rules and clarified the Mosaic Decalogue.

    5. To the Ends of the Earth; the Spread of the Gospel. The spread of the Gospel is one of the most profound miracles of the Holy Spirit. Within the life of John, the youngest Apostle, the Gospel was spread form India to Spain, from Ethiopia to the Russias and Britain. Within 400 years of the birth of Jesus, the Gospel was the most powerful focus in western civilization.

    A Simple Office

     Invitatory

     Upon waking welcome G-d, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and saints into your life for another day
     Ask your Guardian Angel to accompany, guide, and protect you through another day.

     A Penitent’s Prayer
     Make me a ‘New Man’: A Penitent’s Prayer

    Dear Lord, I ask Your grace and Your care for my spirit, my soul, and my body;
    Lord, make me a new man and call me to Your service.

    Send me peace, that I may serve You;
    Send me strength, that I may serve Your Church;
    Send me patience and acceptance that I may serve Your people.
    Lord, make me a new man and call me to Your service.

    Send Your Spirit, to strengthen my faith that I may live Your will, with courage, wisdom, love, and compassion.
    Lord, make me a new man and call me to Your service.

    Lord, may Your will be done. I ask this and all things, in the name of our Lord, Your Son,
    Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, one G-d, forever and ever.

     Morning Prayer (Lauds and Prime)

     (Lauds as a separate office was lost in the modern revision of the Hours, but consisted of the morning mass celebrated before breaking the night fast. Lauds is a daily reminder of the joy of Easter, the resurrection of Jesus.)
     The conceptual basis of Morning Prayer is G-d’s promise to send His anointed to lead man back to
    G-d fulfilled in the birth and life of Jesus.

     Opening prayer
    • Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless Your holy name: cleanse my heart from all idle, distorted, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding, set fire to my affections, and grant that I may be able to pray this office worthily, attentively, and with devotion, so that my prayer will be worth of rising before Your divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

     Say one decade of the Rosary then contemplate the Mystery in its fullness in your life.

     Say/read Zachariah’s Canticle concerning the birth of John the Baptist, the Herald
     Zachariah’s Canticle (Luke 1:68-79)

    Blessed be the Lord, the G-d of Israel; He has come to His people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of His servant David.

    Through His holy prophets, He promised of old that He would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life.

    You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.

    In the tender compassion of our G-d the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

     Take a few minutes to talk with G-d and more importantly to listen to G-d.
     Ask G-d, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the saints to remain with you throughout the day.

     Mid-Morning Prayer (Terce)
     The conceptual basis of this hour is trial of Jesus as He begins His passion.

     Opening prayer
    • G-d, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to my aide.
    • Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
     Say one decade of the Rosary then contemplate the Mystery in its fullness in your life.
     Take a few minutes to talk with G-d and more importantly to listen to G-d.
     Ask G-d, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the saints to remain with you throughout the day.

     Mid-Day Prayer (Sext)
     The conceptual basis for this hour is suffering of Jesus as He walks to the cross.
     Opening prayer
    • G-d, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to my aide.
    • Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

     Say one decade of the Rosary then contemplate the Mystery in its fullness in your life.
     Take a few minutes to talk with G-d and more importantly to listen to G-d.
     Ask G-d, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the saints to remain with you throughout the day.

     Mid-Afternoon Prayer (None)
     The conceptual basis for this hour is the death of Jesus as the penultimate act of our redemption.
     Opening prayer
    • G-d, come to my assistance. Lord, make hast to my aide.
    • Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
     Say one decade of the Rosary then contemplate the Mystery in its fullness in your life.
     Take a few minutes to talk with G-d and more importantly to listen to G-d.
     Ask G-d, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the saints to remain with you throughout the day.

     Evening Prayer (Vespers and Vigil – Early Martins)
     The conceptual basis for this hour is the humility G-d seeks in each of us as we strive to live the will of G-d.
     Opening prayer
    • Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless Your holy name: cleanse my heart from all idle, distorted, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding, set fire to my affections, and grant that I may be able to pray this office worthily, attentively, and with devotion, so that my prayer will be worth of rising before Your divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

     Say one decade of the Rosary then contemplate the Mystery in its fullness in your life.
     Say/read the Mary’s Canticle of humility and acceptance (The Magnificat) of G-d’s will in her life.
     Mary’s Canticle (Luke 1:46-55)

    My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in G-d my Savior for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant. From this day, all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.

    He has mercy on those who fear Him In every generation. He has shown the strength of His arm, He has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich He has sent away empty.

    He has come to the help of His servant Israel for He has remembered His promise of mercy,
    the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham, and his children forever.

     Take a few minutes to talk with G-d and more importantly to listen to G-d.
     Ask G-d, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the saints to remain with you throughout the day.

     Night Prayer (Complin)
     The conceptual basis for this hour is the resurrection of Jesus.
     Thank for Lord for this day
     Complete an examination of conscious; a thoughtful Act of Contrition may be a good beginning.

     Say/read Simeon’s Canticle, the prophesy of Jesus as the Messiah.
     Simeon’s Canticle (Luke 2:29-32)

    Lord, now You let Your servant go in peace; Your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal You to the nations and the glory of Your people Israel.

     Take a few minutes to talk with G-d and more importantly to listen to G-d.

     Complete this period of reflection with the following prayer.
     May the all-powerful Lord grant us/me a restful night, and a peaceful death. Amen.
     The final prayer of the day is to the BVM, through her humble accession to G-d’s will and by her body, redemption was made possible. In general, any Marian prayer is acceptable.

     Office of Readings (Mid-watch and late Matins, the Nocturns)

     The office of Matins and several other night offices depending of the monastic discipline were replaced with the Office of Readings in the modern revision of the Hours. This office includes elements from several of the traditional offices. It is difficult to match the traditional night offices with the modern offices because the revision condensed and combined these offices. The bottom line is the current seven offices are more traditional than the nine offices that evolved during the middle ages.

     This office is no longer associated with a specific “hour.” I like to ‘read ahead’ and combine this with my Night Prayer; many like to do this office in the quiet of the morning after the Invitatory. Traditionalist will recall that this office was often associated with the Mid-Morning or more commonly the Mid-Afternoon prayer.

     Read the Epistle and Gospel for the day. Reading the Bible would be the first alternative to consider. (A program to read the Bible in a year would be an excellent choice.) Another alternative reading may include writings by the Holy Fathers of the Church (homilies, poetry, doctrine, etc.). Contemporary writing may also be used. The primary consideration is that the reading allows one to focus on the Gospel.

     Use either of the readings for contemplation (lectio divina) to make an active change in your life.

     Make a daily commitment to the Holy Spirit in the Gospel.

    The next step in the developing in the Liturgy of the Hours is the Christian Prayer (or Shorter Christian Prayer). Christian Prayer includes the complete prayers for Morning and Evening Prayer including the proper prayers for feasts and solemnities. Many of the Christian Prayer books include abbreviated versions of the day prayers and night prayers; but this version does not include the psalms and readings for the Office of Readings. Christian Prayer books are available in English and Spanish.
    The Shorter Christian Prayer has the common prayers for Morning and Evening Prayer. Only the most significant solemnities are included. The Shorter Christian Prayer is/was designed for group liturgy.
    The complete Liturgy of the Hours consists of four volumes that include the complete prayers for all of the hours and all the proper prayers for memorials, feasts, and solemnities in the Roman calendar.

    • Nidheesh Joseph says:

      out of all the suggestions, i liked your suggestion of the mysteries of the Holy Spirit. This will surely help us to meditate more on the presence of Holy Spirit within us (indwelling) and to be led by the Holy Spirit.

  44. joe says:

    I pray the luminous mysteries only if the people I pray with will pray them. When I’m alone, I only pray the original three sets of mysteries. The 150 Aves correspond to the 150 Psalms. Add another 50, then I don’t know which psalter it corresponds to anymore.

  45. Stephen from New Orleans says:

    After reading a majority of the responses, it seems that there is an undercurrent in them…namely that people like or dislike meditating on a variety of mysteries because it makes them feel comfortable/uncomfortable. It reminds me of the divisions in my own parish concerning changes in the liturgy. Traditionalist types view change in terms of making them uncomfortable vs comfortable…while others embrace change because the Latin liturgy was something they couldn’t relate to…it made them feel uncomfortable.

    I feel little red flags go up when I start feeling too comfortable about faith because true conversion is no “comfort zone” since it involves death…death to ourselves, to sin and to the world. When I start feeling too comfortable because I love the choir or the homilist or the congregation, I get the sneaky suspicion that I may be on the wrong track.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I often think about people I don’t like, against whom I’m carrying a bit of a grudge during the sign of peace at Mass instead of the people I feel comfortable about.

    • I think there is a lot of truth in what you say here. We moderns too easily couch everything (pun intended) on whether I like it and it makes me feel comfortable. There is little notion of liturgy that it should call me out of myself and help me see new and necessary things. In the end my life is not about me, it is about the Lord.

  46. SWP says:

    I love praying the Luminous Mysteries during my Thursday holy hour. I think of them as the Sacramental Mysteries- baptism, matrimony, eucharist all feature therein.

    I pray what I call the Chaplet of St. Joseph:
    1. The Betrothal to Mary
    2. The Nativity
    3. The Flight into Egypt
    4. The Presentation
    5. The Finding of Jesus

    and in place of the Hail Marys, I pray this one composed by St. Louis de Montfort

    Hail St. Joseph the Just,
    Wisdom is with you!
    Blessed are you among all men and
    blessed is JESUS, the fruit of Mary,
    your faithful spouse.
    Holy Joseph,
    worthy forster-father of Jesus Christ,
    pray for us,
    and obtain for us Divine Wisdom,
    now and at the hour of our death.

    And close with the act of consecration to St. Joseph rather than the Salve Regina.

  47. bobbyspen says:

    I understand the concern…but the Blessed Mother would not mind, because all the prayers and reflections bring glory and honor to Her Son. It is good to keep tradion, but it is not bad to add a little more into our prayer life.

  48. honoria says:

    it is hard enough at times to remember the three original ones, without complicating it more, to teach the young ones

  49. Maureen says:

    It amazes me that it takes so little to make Catholics oppose one another and become incensed with one another. Surely Our Mother Mary is pleased with every prayer which honors her Son. The Devil is having a field day!

  50. CatholicYM says:

    I’m entertained by the possibilities of more mysteries for the rosary, but your view of demons disturbs me. A demon is not a vice we must pray and persevere to overcome. A demon is a fallen angel who seeks the ruin of souls. Please keep this in mind, as this error in thought has penetrated some of the very best Christians and some of the best of our clergy. Please please please, I beg you, do not use that language again.

  51. Patt says:

    It is good that so many are STILL PRAYING the rosary–I am sure that Our Lady does not mind which mysteries we favor—as long as we pray the rosary. After all she requested we pray it and I like to make Mother happy when I can.

  52. lroy says:

    Healing Mysteries makes sense.

  53. Richard says:

    The Rosary consisting of the Joyous,the Sorrowful, and the Glorious mysteries ,a total of fifteen decades ,was given by the Virgin Mary herself and this implies ultimately God Himself as a means of salvation for souls. If three mysterious are sufficient for God why does man( and by whose authority) want to add more when praying even just three mysteries becomes a spiritual task bombarded with distraction of concentration to lessen the effectiveness and glory of a rosary well prayed.

    • Saoirse says:

      Thank you and I agree 100%. -One can always dedicate a decade or an entire Rosary to a certain intention,be it personal or for another such as healing,peace,safety etc.

      • Karl Forsite says:

        When someone belongs to the eastern tradition, one finds that there exist other prayers to the most holy Theotokos that are more meaningful such as the Akáthistos, and you try to get more informed about the Rosary since one is not so bound to the western traditions. I am not saying the Rosary is less important –I personally recite the Rosary and believe it is a powerful prayer as stated by the Virgin of Fatima–
        It is a legend that the Rosary was given to Saint Dominic of Guzman by the Most Holy Theotokos. It was designed by Saint Dominic of Prussia and the three sets of Mysteries were the creation of Allan de Rupe, a domican fray, in an era when other prayers for the Holy Theotokos were also invented such as the Seven Sorrows of the Most Holy Theotokos; rediscovered as the Servite Crown and the Crown of the Seven Joys of Holy Theotokos now known as the Seraphic Rosary. They all came into existence by the same time but only the Rosary took preponderance. There have being other Mysteries in existence such as the luminous Mysteries which are the creation of Saint (or Beatus) George of Malta. John Paul II proposed its recitation officially and nothing wrong could have come from the successor of Peter.
        The legend of the Rosary started when Beatus Allan de Rupe, late in live and whith his mind not in place, started talking about Saint Dominic of Guzman instead of Dominic of Prussia.

  54. John. P. says:

    Ilove this. The Healing Mysteries. I would love to have 7 Mysteries of the Rosary. One for each day.But don’t ask me what the others should be…I haven’t given that enough thought…..Hoever, the Healing Mysteries are a great beginning.

  55. Nelson Medina says:

    A few years ago, I started some research and made some advancement on this subject. I ended up with this proposal [in Spanish]: Should there be some interest in the subject, I might translate it into English.

  56. Nidheesh Joseph says:

    How about a dignity of life mysteries? in todays world we are increasingly being outnumbered in our stand for dignity of life in terms of abortions, same-sex union, premarital sex, euthanasia etc. It wil help us to strengthen our faith by meditating Jesus teaching on these issues and also as a prayer for the whole world to understand the truth.
    i admit am not competent enough to frame these in a proper order but am sure we can find enough instance from bible to highlight the most pressing issues like abortion (life starts at conception), same-sex union (union only between one man and one woman), premarital sex/cohabitation (sex only inside marriage), euthanasia (only God can create and end life) and chastity (in reference to pornography/adultery/celibacy/fidelity etc)

  57. ZJohn says:

    I am of two minds of there even being Luminous mysteries. On one hand, it is important to meditate on all aspects of the Gospel, not just those covered by the mysteries. On the other hand, I have always understood there to be an important symbolism in having three sets of five decades. 3 x 5 x 10 = 150, the number of Psalms. Prior to the introduction of the Luminous mysteries by Bl. John Paul II, a full rosary (that is to say the meditation of all fifteen mysteries in ‘one sitting,’ so to speak) reflected the praying of the psalms by the Hebrew people. It is for this reason that I am ambivalent on the matter of introducing new mysteries.

  58. Jim J. McCrea says:

    A suggestion would be five Marian mysteries:

    (1) The Immaculate Conception

    (2) The Nativity of Mary

    (3) Mary’s presentation in the Temple

    (4) The Betrothal of Mary to Joseph

    (5) The Annunciation (the same as the first Joyful Mystery)

  59. Fr.Luke-Amedei Iezzi osf says:

    The Rosary is such a powerful prayer that helps us meditate on so many of the truths of our faith,that adding healing meditations can only deepen our contact with the source of grace.I say daily one or more Franciscan crown rosary’s and replace the last two with the FLIGHT IN EYGPT and THE FINDING IN THE TEMPLE as the meditation on the INCARNATION of the Eternal Wisdom deepens my meditation on the indwelling Christ ! Being a devoté of the Marian devotions of St Louis Marie de Montfort the rosary is grafted in my soul,personal devotions help us grow in grace and virtue;There are many different rosary meditations prayed in religious orders the Dominican 15 is the most popular in the Church and the luminous are getting more popular.I recomend the Secret of the Rosary – Monfort for those who want e deeper insight on how t pray the rosary

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