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Catholic Word of the Day: LUMINOUS RAYS, 08-22-09 ^ | 08-22-09 | Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary

Posted on 08/22/2009 10:19:00 AM PDT by Salvation

Featured Term (selected at random):


Phenomena of light that sometimes accompany ecstasy. They appear sometimes in a variety of forms, e.g., as a halo about the head or a glow enveloping the whole body. The norms set down to verify the supernatural character of such luminosity begin by ascertaining whether it could not be explained by natural causes. In particular inquiry should be made whether the phenomena take place in full daylight or at night and, if at night, whether the light is more brilliant than any other light; whether it is a mere spark or prolonged over a considerable length of time; whether it occurs during the course of some religious act, such as prayer, a sermon, at the altar; whether there follow provable effects of grace such as lasting conversions; and above all whether the person from whom the radiance proceeds is known to be virtuous and holy.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist
This seems appropriate on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary!
1 posted on 08/22/2009 10:19:00 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation



Dearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of Holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness and strength.  Hear my prayer, offered with deep-felt confidence to beg this favor...

O Mary, conceived without sin, I come to your throne of grace to share the fervent devotion of your faithful Mexican children who call to thee under the glorious Aztec title of "Guadalupe"--the Virgin who crushed the serpent.

Queen of Martyrs, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by seven swords of grief, help me to walk valiantly amid the sharp thorns strewn across my pathway.  Invoke the Holy Spirit of Wisdom to fortify my will to frequent the Sacraments so that, thus enlightened and strengthened, I may prefer God to all creatures and shun every occasion of sin.

Help me, as a living branch of the vine that is Jesus Christ, to exemplify His Divine charity always seeking the good of others. Queen of Apostles, aid me to win souls for the Sacred Heart of my Savior.  Keep my apostolate fearless, dynamic and articulate, to proclaim the loving solicitude of Our Father in Heaven so that the wayward may heed His pleading and obtain pardon, through the merits of your merciful Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

2 posted on 08/22/2009 10:24:41 AM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: Salvation

To me, the luminous rays of the sun around Our Lady of Guadalupe are one of the most significant.
Posting another picture later.

3 posted on 08/22/2009 10:26:33 AM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: All

4 posted on 08/22/2009 10:42:16 AM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: annalex

I bet you have some super illustrations of luminous rays. Could you pst one, please.

5 posted on 08/22/2009 11:03:19 AM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: JRandomFreeper; Allegra; SuziQ; BlackVeil; Straight Vermonter; Cronos; SumProVita; ...

Catholic Word of the Day – not linked – but you can do a search to find them.


Salvific Will

Holy Spirit

Transplantation of Organs

Spiritual Espousals



Irascible Appetite

Development of Doctrine



Latency Period

Seven Sacraments






Our Lady of Divine Love


The Holy Pillar

Imperfect Contrition

White Russian Byzantines





Solemn Profession

Intrinsic Goodness


Luminous Rays




Catholic Word of the Day Ping!

Please send me a FReepmail if you would like to be on the Catholic Word of the Day Ping List.

6 posted on 08/22/2009 11:05:21 AM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: Salvation
Good bet.

Three-ray nimbus.
Only shown on Jesus. The three rays form the outline of the Cross.

Christ Acheiropoietos (Made without hands)
Russian icon from the Novgorod School
Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow

In late Western tradition, we see attempts to show three-rays of light by means of realistic painting:

Christ as Saviour

El Greco

c. 1600
Oil on canvas, 73 x 56,5 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Mandorla. A circle of light enveloping the body of Christ or Our Lady. This is usually referred to as "Christ in glory" or "Christ in majesty". The word means "almond" referring to the usual shape of the light. Rarely, it is shown as a complete circle or two overlapping circles.

The Resurrection of Christ

Tempera on linen and wood, 24 x 18 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

Christ in Majesty (with four evangelist symbols) Speyer gospel


Christ transfigured. Similar to mandorla, but the light surrounding Christ's body has rays sriking the disciples in the scene of Transfiguration.


Theophanos the Greek, Iconographer (disputed) ca. 1403
Pereslavl Zalessky, Russia

(Note Christ also shown going up the mountain and down from it with the three disciples).

The Being. The three Greek letters spell "ο ων", "the being" and are often shown on the three-rayed nimbus of Christ, indicating His divinity.

Savior Pantocrator

Modern Russian icon

Nimbus. The nimbi of saints are trditionally shown as gold disks surrounding the head. Often, they are executed in gold leaf.

Mother of God of Kazan

Modern Russian icon

St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker

Modern Russian icon

The Dormition of the Mother of God

1294 - 1295

The last icon illustrates several properties of nimbus iconography. In crowded scenes (as well as in the Mother of God icons), peculiar problem arises of the nimbi intersecting, beautifully resolved in the oreols of the angels. The Apostles sometimes are shown without nimbi, but usually in scenes from before the Resurreection. Christ is shown both in a mandorla and with rays extended.

Late art. In late, especially Western religious art, the nimbi are shown sparingly, in order to allow for greater realism of the scene. Three distinct methods can be noted, a flat, often transparent discus placed more-or-less horizontally over the head, a ring over the head, and shining light, illustrated below.

Giovanni Boccati

Virgin and Child with Saints

Tempera on panel, 186,5 x 248 cm
Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia

St Jerome


c. 1606
Oil on canvas, 112 x 157 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

Christ Washing the Feet of His Disciples (detail)


c. 1547
Oil on canvas
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Let us conclude with this unusual painting, where the rays emanate form the Holy Scripture:

Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas

Francesco Traini

c. 1340
Tempera on wood, 375 x 258 cm
Santa Caterina, Pisa

7 posted on 08/22/2009 1:08:25 PM PDT by annalex (
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To: annalex

These are fabulous! I went looking for a good illustration of a cruciform this morning and got thoroughly discouraged.

Thank you!

8 posted on 08/22/2009 9:36:27 PM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: annalex

I just keep saying “Wow!” and then I look at the next one — another “Wow” and repeat. LOL!

9 posted on 08/22/2009 9:46:45 PM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: annalex

I just keep saying “Wow!” and then I look at the next one — another “Wow” and repeat. LOL!

10 posted on 08/22/2009 9:47:15 PM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: Salvation
Cruciform as a plan of a church?

11 posted on 08/23/2009 9:26:55 AM PDT by annalex (
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To: Salvation
Consider these verses:

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.(Jn 1:4)

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (Jn 8:12) let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Mt 5:16)

you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light (Eph 5:8)

The nimbus of a saint is a visual representation of the light that is in a holy man. It is never shown, in traditional iconography anyway, as a reflected light, but always as something that comes out of the saint himself. The face of the saint is painted in a similar way. The shadows around the nose and the cheeks are combined with bright strokes so that the overall impression is of the source of light being inside the person, rather than outside of him.

Observe that the eyes do not have glare that would reflect an outside source; they are in themselves luminous.

12 posted on 08/23/2009 9:48:23 AM PDT by annalex (
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