For centuries, Catholics have prayed three sets of five mysteries when saying the Rosary: the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious.
In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II recommended adding the Luminous Mysteries: The Baptism in the Jordan, Wedding Feast at Cana, Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, Transfiguration, and Institution of the Eucharist.
Some Catholics immediately embraced these additional meditations on the life of Jesus. Others continued to stick with the original three sets. Since the pope merely recommended the Luminous Mysteries, it’s fine to leave them out.
That being said, here are some reasons why it’s beneficial to include the Luminous Mysteries in your Rosary.
The Luminous Mysteries give you more to meditate on.
The Joyful Mysteries end when Jesus is 12 years old and found in the Temple. From there, we skip a couple of decades of His life and begin again at His Agony in the Garden.
The Bible doesn’t give us much information about Jesus during the intervening years, but we have plenty of accounts of His ministry before His passion.
The Luminous Mysteries give us meditations from the time of His baptism in the River Jordan to His Last Supper.
All of Christ’s deeds contribute to our salvation.
Sure, the most important deeds of Christ are His passion, death, and resurrection. But He is God and His every action sanctifies His creation.
Let’s take Jesus’ baptism as an example. We receive this sacrament to cleanse us of original sin. Christ didn’t have sin, so why was He baptized? To sanctify water for use in our baptism.
It’s easy to forget these “smaller” acts of salvation, but in all the Luminous Mysteries you’ll see God’s power displayed.
The Luminous Mysteries may be optional, but they greatly enrich our prayer life and are worth including in your Rosary.
After all, more meditation on Christ’s life is never a bad thing.