Advent and the Luminous Mysteries

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Back in September, Mary posted the following:

"There are three influences which appear to Us to have the chief place in effecting this downgrade movement of society. These are-first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life."
Pope Leo XIII
Dislike of Poverty - The Joyful Mysteries
Repugnance to Suffering-The Sorrowful Mysteries
Forgetfulness of the Future - The Glorious Mysteries

She then asked:
"For what ill in society would the Luminous Mysteries be a remedy?"
and carried the discussion over to St. Blog's Parish Hall.
I'm not one to hang out in BBS type discussion forums - I tend to get lost and to have trouble navigating the threads. I much prefer email listservs and blogs with comments. So I have no idea if or how much discussion this little post generated. But I have been thinking about it a bit myself.
The Mysteries of Light are:
Jesus' Baptism in the river Jordan;
His self-manifestation at the wedding at Cana;
His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion;.
His transfiguration before the Apostles on Mount Tabor.
His institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.
and they bridge, chronologically, between the Joyful and the Sorrowful Mysteries.
What do these mysteries have in common? What societal ill are they ammunition against? And what does this have to do with Advent?
I see in them an epiphanos of the incarnation. We have the revelation of our God-made-flesh, who dwelt among us, and continues to this day to feed us with His very Body. "This is My Body", he says to us. "you must be born again, of water (baptism) and the spirit". We are flesh that He has created.
The societal ill that these mysteries combat is the disrespect for the human person, the loss of the respect for the right to life "from conception to natural death", the Gnostic and Manichean heresies that permeate our culture.
Consider the opening of the Gospel of John (the 'last Gospel', which used to be proclaimed after Mass). Consider especially verse 14
" And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. "
God became flesh. The so-called scandal of the incarnation. In Advent, we celebrate that God so loved us that He became physically one of us. He suffered hunger, thirst, emotions, physical, spiritual and emotional pain. He became our Paschal sacrifice - not as a suicide but as a martyr, a witness that there is a life more important than our earthly physical life - but also that our earthly physical life is also important.
I continue to find it amazing that the words of the Eucharist "This is My Body" are so aptly mimicked by various political movements - "It's MY body, and I will decide what to do with it" as a justification for just about every sin of the flesh from gluttony to lust to suicide and even murder of the unborn. But what a world of difference between the two phrases "This is My Body, given up for you" and "This is my body and I am in charge". And even though we are awaiting Christmas, not Easter, there is still that sense of waiting, building up in anticipation, even though we know the ending of this particular story.
So let us remember that we are Incarnational, and that the feast we are preparing to celebrate is about the gift of being human. It is about the rightful pleasures (and pains, too) of the flesh, from hugging ones' children to eating a fine meal to sacrificial fasting. It is about the right order of things, about reading the natural law that God has written in our hearts and endeavoring to follow this law. It is about the best wine for the wedding, the feeding of the multitudes, the washing away of sins in preparation for the wedding feast of the lamb, and the call we are to answer to be transfigured and transformed in our daily life.


Oooooo ... good one, Alicia! Never have we needed respect for the aspects of the human person more than in this age and we have been given the Luminous Mysteries. Wow!

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on December 4, 2004 4:28 PM.

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