Today is Thursday, and on Thursday, during ordinary time, those who pray the rosary, pray the Luminous Mysteries. The Luminous mysteries were added to the rosary by Pope John Paul II on October 16, 2002, on the 25th anniversary of his pontificate. He introduced them in his apostolic letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae”, The Rosary of the Virgin Mary. In it Pope John Paul writes, “Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus.” The Luminous Mysteries – The Baptism in the River Jordan, The Wedding Feast at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration, and The Institution of the Eucharist – shed light on the life of Christ and the proclamation of His Kingdom.
When I pray the second luminous mystery, The Wedding Feast at Cana, I meditate on Our Lady’s words to the servants in that scene, “Do whatever He tells you,” (Jn 2:5). I pray that I will hear His voice, and that I will have the grace do whatever He tells me.
That got me thinking. How do we hear His voice and do whatever He tells us?
How do we hear His voice?
Scripture: Read the bible. Meditate on it. Memorize it. This is true especially of the gospels where we read the actual words of Jesus: The Sermon on the Mount, The Beatitudes, the parables, the teachings on The Kingdom of God, and more. Hide the Word in your heart.
The Commandments: The Ten Commandments are simple, but obedience to them may not be. Understand the commandments and how they apply to our daily lives. Doing a nightly examination of conscience according to the Commandments is an excellent practice to help in growing in obedience to them.
The Church: Jesus gave us the Catholic Church, founded on the rock, which is Peter. As Catholics we are called to be faithful to Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium. We look to the Magisterium for guidance in making decisions on matters of faith and morals. When Peter speaks, Christ speaks. Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to know what the Church teaches and be faithful to it – even if it’s hard. I can tell you from my own experience that one of the most difficult things I ever had to do was obey the Church’s teaching on reproductive technologies. I knew what I wanted, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, speaks through the Church. If I really believe what I believe, then I must obey, even though everything else in me said, “No.” That obedience, the adoption of our two daughters and the road getting there, has turned out to be my greatest blessing.
In the Community: God gives us the people in our lives to help us to grow in charity. Through words and actions, we experience love – or not. We hear his voice in encouragement, admonishment, conversation, and the events and circumstances of our day.
Prayer: When we set aside quiet time with God, He speaks to us, not so much in an audible voice, but in a way of knowing and understanding what He wants of us. I find slowing down long enough to listen challenging. But I make time. I pray first thing in the morning, when I drive, when I do the dishes, when I’m in the grocery store… I constantly look for opportunities to turn my mind and heart to God. When I do, when I turn my dial to listen, I hear.
How do we do what He tells us to do? The simple answer is grace and virtue. We grow in grace and virtue through the prayer and the sacraments.
Frequent Confession and the Eucharist. Four of the seven sacraments are received once (except marriage in some cases), but Confession, Eucharist, and the Anointing of the Sick can be received often. Why? Because we need them! The sacraments are the ordinary means of grace in the Church. Jesus knew our weak human nature and knew we needed ways to be repeatedly strengthened and healed, so that we could love more fully. We seek forgiveness in Confession; we receive the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist bringing us in complete union with him; we receive healing in the Anointing of the Sick. In each of these actions we receive God’s grace, which enables us to love like Him.
Prayer: If we need courage to do what Jesus tells us, we should pray for courage. If we need humility, we should pray for humility. If we need wisdom, we should pray for wisdom. You get the picture. God never denies us what will help us to grow closer to Him. Be specific, and ask Him to help you to recognize the opportunity He provides for you. Be assured, He will.
So today, and in the days ahead, let us pray to hear His voice and to “do whatever He tells you.”
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us! Anne
Here’s a few links you might find useful: How to pray the rosary, The Rosary confraternity, a Scriptural guide for the Luminous mysteries of the rosary and The History of the Rosary.