Rosary Mysteries of the Epiphany

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For many years now, I have "mined" the Holy Gospels, as given to us by the Church in the Sacred Liturgy, following the cycle of feasts and seasons, and found therein a rich sequence of Mystery-Events suited to meditation and contemplation in the sublime and simple prayer of the Rosary.

Those who recite a third of the Rosary sometimes assign the various mysteries to particular days: joyful (Monday and Thursday), sorrowful (Tuesday and Friday), glorious (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday).
Where this system is rigidly adhered to, conflict can arise between the content of the mysteries and that of the Liturgy of the day: the recitation of the sorrowful mysteries on Christmas day, should it fall on a Friday. In cases such as this it can be reckoned that "the liturgical character of a given day takes precedence over the usual assignment of a mystery of the Rosary to a given day; the Rosary is such that, on particular days, it can appropriately substitute meditation on a mystery so as to harmonize this pious practice with the liturgical season"(242). Hence, the faithful act correctly when, for example, they contemplate the arrival of the three Kings on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, rather than the finding of Jesus in the Temple. Clearly, such substitutions can only take place after much careful thought, adherence to Sacred Scripture and liturgical propriety.
Article 200, Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican City, 2001

In private prayer, at least, the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary need not be limited to The Fifteen Mysteries familiar to most Catholics, or even to the expansion of The Fifteen Mysteries brought about by Blessed Pope John Paul II's proposal of Five Mysteries of Light. There must be, all the same, certain objective criteria by which other Mysteries can be prudently introduced and meditated. What might these criteria be? I can think of at least two.

• The Rosary is based on the meditation of Mystery-Events found in the Holy Gospels or recognized by the Church as part of the corpus of Sacred Tradition.
• The choice of these Mystery-Events must be guided by a docile adherence to the Sacred Liturgy. A rule of thumb might be that any Mystery-Event celebrated by the Church in the Liturgy can also serve in the prayer of the Rosary.

The Mysteries of the Epiphany

This being said, I thought it might be useful, at least to some readers, if I shared the Mysteries of the Epiphany that we pray here in the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle during Epiphanytide.

The Five Mysteries of the Epiphany correspond to the five great Epiphany Gospels given us by the Church (in the traditional calendar and Liturgy) on the day of the Epiphany, 6 January; on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 13 January; and on the Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays after Epiphany. Each of these Gospels presents a particular manifestation of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Matthew 2:1-12, Our Lord makes himself known to the Magi by means of a star, and receives their adoration in Bethlehem.

And behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him. (Mt 2:9-11)

2. John 1:29-34 -- At His Baptism in the Jordan by John, the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father reveals Jesus as His Beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.

Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened; And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Lk 3:21-22)

3. John 2:1-11 -- At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus, at His Mother's bidding, changes water into wine.

And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. (Jn 2:3-5)

4. Matthew 8:1-13 -- Jesus, with a word, cleanses a leper.

And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. (Mt 8:2-3)

5. Matthew 8:23-27 -- Jesus calms the raging sea.

And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. (Mt 8:24-25)

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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