Quick Thoughts on the Luminous Mysteries

So, I’m nearing the finishing line of finally(!!!) making a book of artwork depicting the Luminous Mysteries, which is made like my other books. Which means that I’ve been really reflecting on them a lot as of late. So! Some quick thoughts about the Luminous Mysteries…

First of all, the original three mysteries that were handed down by the Our Lady to Saint Dominic are AMAZING. After all, they are the Angelic Psalter! And yet… the Luminous Mysteries are beautiful in their own way. The Luminous Mysteries allow us to put ourselves squarely in the ministry of Christ and contemplate His teaching in a new, different way… of observing (from afar in our own lives!) the miracles that He did in a unique and close way.

Like, for example… the Baptism of Christ. There are some pictures of the Heavens opening up in a glorious way, such as this one, where it just hits you: WOW. This is one of the greatest meetings of the Holy Trinity that has ever happened on this planet!

The Baptism of Christ, by Antoine Coypel, c. 1690. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, United States. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Baptism of Christ, by Antoine Coypel, c. 1690. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, United States.

But then… another perspective. The Heavens are still opening up, Jesus is still being baptized and yet. It’s not as grand. But! You’ll still see people pointing upwards to the sky in amazement that they hear God. And, if you’ve ever heard God, you know what a BIG thing that is!

The Baptism of Christ, by Nicolas Poussin, c. 1641-42. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Baptism of Christ, by Nicolas Poussin, c. 1641-42. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States.

Then the Marriage at Cana. Of course you can contemplate the grandeur of the whole party — which, having been a bride, is a fun sort of chaos, but definitely chaos — and then in the middle of it, Christ appears!

The Wedding at Cana, by Paolo Veronese, c. 1563. Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Wedding at Cana, by Paolo Veronese, c. 1563. Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

But, you can also contemplate it from the perspective of someone else… a servant, perhaps, who is pointing to Christ from afar and wondering who this mysterious person is. After all, this was the first public miracle of Christ! And wouldn’t you wonder too?

The Wedding at Cana, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, c. 1870. Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Slot, Hillerød, Denmark. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Wedding at Cana, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, c. 1870. Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Slot, Hillerød, Denmark.

And don’t even get me started on the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God! How can one visually condense the beauty of Christ preaching the Good News to us? For He did it both with His preaching and with His miracles, and so many people came to Him.

The Multiplication of the Loaves, by Italian School, c. 17th century. Musee de Valence. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Multiplication of the Loaves, by Italian School, c. 17th century. Musee de Valence.

Yet, He is no mere preacher and He certainly can’t be reduced to simply a miracle worker. He is God and He is glorious, and He reveals that to us as well through the Transfiguration.

The Transfiguration of Christ, by Titian, c. 1560. San Salvador, Venice, Italy. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Transfiguration of Christ, by Titian, c. 1560. San Salvador, Venice, Italy.

Many artists actually use the Transfiguration as a model to what the Resurrection could look like, actually, because nobody knows what the Resurrection looks like. Yet, the gospel recounts the Transfiguration in all its glory.

Transfiguration of Christ, by Raphael, c. 1518-20. Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Vatican City. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Transfiguration of Christ, by Raphael, c. 1518-20. Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Vatican City.

If the Transfiguration is a prefiguring of Christ’s glorious Mysteries, then the Institution of the Eucharist is a prefiguring of the Sorrowful Mysteries… after all, Jesus announces that there is a traitor in their midst.

The Last Supper, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, c. 1664. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Last Supper, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, c. 1664. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

And yet, even though they have no idea what is in store with what will happen next, they still gather around for the Eucharist, just as we do even today, as Christ has commanded us.

The Last Supper, by Juan de Juanes, c. 1555-62. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Last Supper, by Juan de Juanes, c. 1555-62. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

Anyway! The Luminous Mysteries are so powerful and I am so blessed to have been able to work on this project of illustrating every prayer the Rosary with artwork through my books because it has given me so much grace in my own life.

Please pray for me as I finish up this book, and I will pray for you!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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