The Rosary,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning.”
Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and of going counter to the warning of Christ: ‘And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7).’”
Because of this, it is vital that Christians familiarize themselves with the Scriptures in order to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ.
Below is the fifth Luminous mystery. To see other mysteries, click here.
The Institution of the Eucharist (Matthew 26:26-29)
On the day of Passover, when it was evening Jesus sat at table with his disciples. He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body” (26:26). And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (26:27-28).
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment and antitype of the Passover lamb. Thus In 1 Corinthians 5:7, St. Paul writes, “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.” Just as the Hebrews were commanded to slaughter an unblemished lamb in preparation for Passover (Ex 12:6) and, on Passover, to eat the lamb (Ex. 12:8-11), so Christ — who was not blemished by sin — was sacrificed for the redemption of the whole world and commands us to eat of him (Jn 6:53).
At the Last Supper we see Jesus establish the institution by which his blood shed on the cross will be applied, from that point on, to his followers.
“At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples’ attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: ‘I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’
Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze ‘to him who is to come.’ In her prayer she calls for his coming: ‘Marana tha!’ ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’ ‘May your grace come and this world pass away!’” (CCC 1403).
The most sacred object on the face of this earth is the Holy Eucharist. On meditating upon the institution of this great sacrament, we should beg the Lord for a greater desire to receive him, hidden behind the accidents of bread and wine.
My bishop once told me of a conversation he had with a faithful Protestant Christian. “Do you really and truly believe that that bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus?” the Protestant asked. “Absolutely I do, you don’t?” asked the bishop.
“No, I don’t,” said the Protestant. “But I’ll tell you one thing: If I did believe it, I would crawl over broken glass daily to receive him!” Can we say that? Lord, give us a hunger for this most blessed sacrament.