October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and for this reason October is traditionally set aside as the month of the Holy Rosary. We will celebrate here on Open Wide the Doors by meditating on the Luminous Mysteries, which were introduced by Saint John Paul II himself.
The late Holy Father reflected on these "mysteries of light" in his letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae:
Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the “light of the world” (John 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: (1) his Baptism in the Jordan, (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (4) his Transfiguration, and finally, (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.
Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus…
In these mysteries, apart from the miracle at Cana, the presence of Mary remains in the background. The Gospels make only the briefest reference to her occasional presence at one moment or other during the preaching of Jesus (cf. Mark 3:31-5; John 2:12), and they give no indication that she was present at the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. Yet the role she assumed at Cana in some way accompanies Christ throughout his ministry. The revelation made directly by the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan and echoed by John the Baptist is placed upon Mary's lips at Cana, and it becomes the great maternal counsel which Mary addresses to the Church of every age: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). This counsel is a fitting introduction to the words and signs of Christ's public ministry and it forms the Marian foundation of all the “mysteries of light.”
The Luminous Mysteries, typically recited on Thursdays, are fitting for meditation this month as we prepare for the feast of Saint John Paul II.
Let us contemplate the very person of Jesus as we begin our rosary. Find some quiet time for prayer today, and start with an Apostles’ Creed, an Our Father for the Pope’s intentions, three Hail Mary’s, and a Glory Be (see "How to Pray the Rosary" if you are unfamiliar with any of these prayers). As you begin, meditate on St. John Paul II’s reflection above.