THE MYSTERIES OF LIGHT
Rosary for Children and Rosary for Youth versions on cassette
(Available from Perth Catholic Productions, PO Box 1779, Canning Vale, WA 6970,
tel 08 9259-0797, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Responding to Pope John Paul II's Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Perth Catholic Productions, the producers of The Rosary for Children and The Rosary for Youth, have released another significant contribution to the world of Catholic prayer and education, with the Mysteries of Light, also known as the Luminous Mysteries.
These additions to their two rosary recordings for children and youth have now provided the extra five mysteries of light called for by Pope John Paul II. In his apostolic letter, he asks the Christian community to contemplate the five significant moments, the luminous mysteries, in Christ's life.
Describing "the whole mystery of Christ, as a mystery of light", the Pope has singled out the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan, his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God "with his call to conversion", His Transfiguration, and finally Jesus' institution of the Holy Eucharist, "as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery".
Perth mothers, Brenda Croft and Jenny Knight, have continued the standard, apparent in their previous recordings, by this latest offering which was consecrated to Our Lady of Lourdes on 11 February 2003.
In The Rosary for Children, the listener is taken once again right back into Christ's life with powerful imagery and superb sound effects, as the narrator describes in a dramatic manner these five significant mysteries.
We are enabled to visualise Jesus, now 30 years old, approaching John the Baptist dressed in his rough garb of camels' hair, and despite John's protestations that he is unworthy to baptise Christ, we hear the water breaking as Jesus rises from the Jordan while the powerful voice of God the Father declares him to be His beloved Son.
Through the narrator we are now present at the Wedding Feast of Cana enjoying the music of the guests. We encounter the sensitivity of Mary, when she realises the wine has run out. She whispers to Jesus to remedy the embarrassing predicament, who despite saying his time had not yet come (to perform miracles), acquiesces to his mother's request. He then performs his first miracle - the forerunner of many more throughout his three years of earthly ministry - by changing the water into fine wine.
This miracle, as Pope John Paul II writes in his apostolic letter, becomes the great maternal counsel which Mary addresses to the Church of every age: "Do whatever He tells you."
In the third mystery - the Proclamation of the Kingdom - we hear the water lapping at the Galilean shore and against the fishing boat's sides, where Jesus, with his disciples, continues to preach to the vast numbers who, hungry for his teachings, have gathered to listen to him.
Significantly, in this decade we are all urged to continue to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and to pray for all those "who continue to proclaim Your Kingdom every day."
Next we experience the wonder of the Transfiguration of Christ in the fourth mystery, which the Pope describes as "the mystery of light par excellence".
Jesus is praying on Mount Tabor, and as we watch with Peter and John, we, through the awe of the narrator, can imagine Jesus' face, body and garments, shine with the glory of God, more brightly than the whitest of earthly white, as they view his heavenly body.
Finally we accompany Jesus to the Upper Room where he institutes the Eucharist - the precious gift of his body and blood - at the Last Supper.
With the equally well-produced The Rosary for Youth, the producers have taken the opportunity to include teachings on all seven sacraments.
In the first mystery the young priest narrator reminds us that after Jesus was baptised in the Jordan even he was tempted by the devil. Here he urges everyone to receive the Sacraments more often. as a safeguard against temptations in the daily spiritual battles waged "for our immortal souls".
In summarising The Rosary for Youth, it would be difficult to find a more acceptable, enjoyable way to impart some of the Church's teachings, than this impressive resource.
The addition of the Mysteries of Light to both productions is a welcome extension of the other mysteries, fostering one's understanding of Christ's life. To watch, listen, observe, and feel the highs, lows, joys, wonder and awe of this wonder-filled further glimpse into the life of Christ.
And above all, to respond to Jesus' urgings, given through the narration and teaching, to further carry on his work for God the Father.
Colleen McGuinness-Howard is a Perth Catholic journalist.