Luminous Mystery Flowers

Flower Meditations on the Five Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary

– John Stokes, December, 2004

Pope John Paul II has proposed that as the Luminous Mysteries can be seen discursively as following the Joyful Mysteries, meditatively, they should be prayed between them and the sorrowful Mysteries - as the best introductory position.

However, as mystically they can be viewed as following upon the fifth Glorious Mystery of Mary's crowning as Queen of Heaven and Earth, as mysteries of the mediations of graces of her queenship for the building and coming of God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven - (which, interestingly, corresponds to their proposed weekly scheduling by the Pope for praying on Thursday, following the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday) - they are presented here as mysteries of her Queenship, and thus appropriately represented as a group by the heraldic color of purple, for Royalty; in addition to white for the joyful, red for the sorrowful, and gold for the glorious mysteries.

The symbolism of flowers for each of the luminous mysteries, as for those of the other mysteries, is through their various individual forms or colors; but the overall color symbolism for each group serves to quicken corresponding reflections on flowers viewed from a distance, as in approaching a garden.

One flower, the purple iris, has come to represent the fleur de lys, heraldic symbol of royalty - originally represented by the lily, and then the yellow flag iris. Ten fleur de lys, for example, surround the figure of Mary and Jesus in the rose window of Chartres Cathedral as an Annunciation symbol of Mary's "Root of David" earthly royal descent.

Suggested flower symbols of the individual Luminous Mysteries are

1. Christ's baptism in the Jordan River - Columbine, symbol of the descending baptismal Holy Spirit, as a dove.

2. Christ's self-revelation at the marriage of Cana - Grape, symbol of the wine of Christ's first miracle; Mary's first intercession.

3. Christ's announcement of the kingdom of God invitation to conversion - Mustard, Gospel symbol of with the the growth of the kingdom like that of the tall mustard plant from a tiny seed.

4. Christ's Transfiguration, when he revealed his glory to his Apostles - Goldenrod, "Heavenly Radiance" on earth.

5. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery  - Honesty, with its thin, round, white seed pods resembling hosts.

In accordance with the concluding prayer of the Rosary,

"Grant...that while meditating on these mysteries of Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise",
we meditate on the luminous mysteries as they illumine our contribution to the earthly/heavenly culmination of the divine plan for Creation: through sanctifying grace and grace-inspired action (1st Mystery); through recourse to Mary's intercession for Christ's action (2nd Mystery); through specific action for the building of God's earthly Kingdom (3rd Mystery); inspired by our envisioning of the ultimate transfiguration of God's kingdom at the Last Judgement and General Resurrection into the eternal New Heaven and New Earth (4th Mystery); with primary focus now on our union with Christ through the Eucharist and Mass (5th Mystery).

1) Meditation on the Baptism of Christ brings to mind first of all - as we are instructed in the Finding in the Temple - that Jesus, while True God Incarnate, as True Man grew in grace through the nurturing of Mary and Joseph; was guided in his ministry and passion by the promptings of grace; and from the Cross returned his Spirit into the Father's hands - thus emphasizing the imperative that we all are to purify our thoughts . . . that we, likewise in our humanity, may always, in imitation of Christ, live by and be responsive to the inspiration and promptings of the bestowed graces by which we are to cooperate and share with God in the building and coming of the Earthly Peaceable Kingdom.

We are ever prompted in grace to offer all our duties and works, and also all our daily frustrations, sorrows, and pains, sacrificially for and with Christ in redemptive reparation for the effects of sin in the world, that - thereby increasingly delivered from the evil of these effects - all, and especially world leaders, dissidents, and insurgents, may, in their innate created goodness, be responsive to the graces of peace and renewal whereby we are prompted and guided in the building of the Kingdom in the fullness of divine/human sharing for which God created the world.

2) Mary's intercession with Christ for others at Cana, and Christ's self-revealing response, signify both Christ's divinity and also his union with Mary as mediative sharer in his divine action, as well as mother.

Jesus' affirmation of Mary most broadly as relating spiritual person, as well as mother and woman, is evidenced by his Gospel response to "Blessed is the womb that bore you . . ." of "Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it"; and to "Thy mother and thy brethren stand without . . ." of "My mother and my brethren are they who hear the word of God and do it," - such that Jesus relates to Mary as spiritual soul, as well as mother, and she is thus more broadly seen as co-redemptrix, intercessor and universal mediatrix; and also "bridally" for our emulation in the mystical marriage with Christ to which we all are called, men and women, as imaged by the relationship of the spouse and the beloved in the Song of Solomon - in culmination of God's creational desire for divine/human sharing, for which he has created us "in the divine image and likeness."

3) In our prayers and work we are to be converted to a fullness of seeking the coming of the Kingdom of God here on earth, in accordance with God's will - for which we pray in the Our Father - in fulfillment of the divine/human sharing desired by God in creating the world: in truth, justice, love and freedom; as well as devotionally, morally and mercifully in the personal hope of heaven when we die.

Of this, Pope John Paul II has said, "This is our great hope and our invocation: 'Your Kingdom come!' - a Kingdom of peace, justice, and serenity, which will re-establish the original harmony of creation."

4) As motivation for kingdom we are ever to envision its ultimate luminous transfiguration, at the Last Judgement and General Resurrection, into the eternal new heaven and new earth of divine/human union and sharing.

5) Contemplative adoration of Christ in his real presence in the Eucharist furthers our effective union with him; and our sharing in his sacrifice of Calvary, as enabled through its continuation and re-enactment in the Mass.

In the Mass we first of all participate in the infinity of Jesus' sacrifice as God the Son in satisfaction to God the Father for all the sins of the world, including all new sins since the last Mass - thus continuing the Pentecostally restored distribution of the graces of sanctification, redemption and kingdom to the world.

Secondly, through Jesus' taking upon himself of all our personal difficulties, frustrations, sorrows, and pains, along with those of all the persons of the world - for inclusion in his sacrifice as True Man - our own sacrificial offering of these for and with him, becomes a fulfillment of God's creational desire for the sharing with us, and for our sharing in, all the divine action for and in the world, "filling up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ" (Col., i, 24), which sharing, Jesus, as true God, applies in reparation for the temporal effects of sin in the world.
In her divine revelation at Fatima, Our Lady beseeched a fullness of such personal sacrificial offerings, through her Immaculate Heart, for and with Jesus, in reparation for the aggregate temporal effects of sin in the world that, as said above, the hearts and minds of all, and especially of world leaders and dissidents, delivered from the evil of these effects, may, in their innate created goodness, respond to the graces of peace on earth beseeched in all the Rosary prayers and sacrifices of the faithful - for the building and coming of the earthly kingdom of God and its transfiguration into the eternal new heaven and new earth.

o O o

Commentary, following the death of Pope John Paul II - April, 2005

At this point in sacred world history of the building and coming of God's earthly kingdom, for its transfiguration on the last day, with the general resurrection, into the eternal new heaven and new earth of divine/human sharing - in which we have faith, and for which we pray each day in the Our Father - human society has reached the point where we can see how this is indeed materially possible through the arts, crafts, manufacture, science, technology, finance and trade.

However, we humans have been blocked in the building of God's Kingdom through our insufficient attunement to the divine grace, light, wisdom and power lovingly offered by God to this end in creating the world, and in redeeming it from its fall - such that we have failed both 1) to undertake sufficiently the hardships, adversities, sorrows and sufferings of life for and in union with the redemptive sacrifice of Christ on Calvary in reparation for the kingdom-blocking effects of sin in the world; and have failed also 2) to live sufficiently by the Gospel teachings of Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, of the forgiveness, mercy, turning the other cheek, going the second mile, returning good for evil, praying for those who persecute us, etc. in order to live in the truth, justice, love and freedom bringing peace.

Rather, national leaders, have sought for two thousand years, and continue to seek, world peace, and now universal sufficiency of material goods, primarily - and therefore unsuccessfully - only through human idealism, dialog, negotiation. compromise and cooperation within the overall context of the strategy, tactics, timing of diplomatic and military power - with consequent wars and terrorism of ever-increasing violence and expenditure of material resources.

In the midst of all this, the late Pope John Paul II, of blessed and holy memory, R.I.P., has given the world an unique personal example of reaching out to all peoples in love, justice and sacrifice as the necessary basis for peace. But more than this, he has shown us the spiritual way to be emulated by us all for this - of mystically opening ourselves to the heavenly grace, illumination, wisdom and power to reach out to others steadfastly in peace in all regions and at all levels of world society.

The spiritual way for us to this is not our attempted emulation of John Paul II's outward spiritual practices, but, more profoundly, our emulation of his inner meditative, contemplative, communing mystical opening to the heavenly grace, light, wisdom and power which enabled him, according to God's will, to live, work and pray in the world redemptively and renewingly in love, for peace and kingdom. He has distilled this way for us all to emulate in his call for meditative praying of the additional five luminous mysteries of the Rosary.

The meditative key of these five mysteries - following the call of the first two to recourse to the movements of grace and to Mary's heavenly mediation - is the graced, illuminative, transfiguring viewing, of the third and fourth mysteries, of the world and its creatures according to their ultimate kingdomal and eternal transfiguration in Christ. This illuminative view of creatures comes through our contemplative perception of their penetration with a ray to earth extending from their radiant heavenly essences, such that in following this ray back to heaven, our souls, in emulation of Mary's Assumption, are received into the heavenly levels, as with Dante in the Divine Comedy.

Ultimately our souls are drawn, with Mary's guiding, to the Heaven of the Trinity, and then, in emulation of Mary, come forth back to earth "as the morning rising; fair as the moon, bright as the sun, and terrible as an army set forth in battle array", in divine grace, light, wisdom and power for kingdom and transfiguration.

In this we are to emulate St. Paul's example that when our souls are drawn mystically to heaven, we are ever to return our focus to earth and the guidance of our actions by God's grace, that spiritually empowered, we may reach out to others in redemption and peace for the building and coming of God's kingdom.

" . . . For such an one (mystically ascending) I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. . . And (the Lord) said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful." (II Cor. 12:1-10)
In this, we have the example ("to imitate what it contains and obtain what it promises") of Mary's mystical rising to heaven when she was on earth - in the words of the lesson in the Liturgy of the Hours for the feast of Mary's Queenship, August 22nd:

"While still in the flesh, at one moment she withdrew to God in ecstasy; at the next she would bend down to her neighbors with indescribable love."
Once our souls, in heavenly mystical union with God, have been filled the divine grace, light, wisdom and power, and have returned to earth, following the example of St. Paul, for contribution as members of Christ to the work of redemption and kingdom, we are ever spiritually refreshed through our earthly unitive sacramental communion with and adoring contemplation of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar - to which we turn on meditating on the fifth luminous Rosary mystery.

With the observation that "Mystics are not special kinds of persons; rather, each person is a special kind of mystic" and that "Each person, like each flower, is created for perfection", we view a major challenge of Pope John Paul II's legacy to be to motivate commitment of his many young admirers to emulation of his mystical and eucharistic recourse to the divine grace, light, wisdom and power to reach out to all in love.

A key to this is the inspirational instruction of these young admirers that moral discipline, and the sacraments of Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation, are ever to purify us that we may become mystically opened to and receptive of the divine grace, light, wisdom and power effectively to further the building, coming and eternal transfiguration of God's earthly kingdom.

Our own experience at Mary's Gardens, over a period of years, has been that while meditating devotionally on sacramentally blest flowers - as we have cultivated them, examined them, and reflected on them for their symbolic mirroring of revealed truths - their luminosity as God's beautiful, pure, direct creations, has quickened our illuminative perception of them, with mystical drawing of soul to heavenly filling; from which we now appreciate the universal kingdomal and transfigurational potential of Pope John Paul II's luminous Rosary Mysteries, with their culminative leading to our constant inspiration through devotion to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

May Mary and the Holy Spirit, with Pope John Paul II's heavenly intercession, inspire the discovery of as many ways as there are persons to the mystical reception of the divine grace, light, wisdom and power for the peaceable building, coming, and eternal transfiguration of God's kingdom in love and justice!

Copyright Mary's Gardens 2004, 2005


The John Stokes and Mary's Garden collection was transferred to the Marian Library in May 2013. In addition to his archives, manuscripts, artwork, and personal library, John S. Stokes also donated his extensive website. It was transferred to the Marian Library in early 2010. This particular entry is archived content original to Stokes' Mary's Gardens website. It is possible that some text, hyperlinks, etc. are outdated.

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