Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."
The feast day of Saint Paul the Hermit (229-342) is celebrated today. Saint Paul was born in lower Egypt, near Thebes. Orphaned at fifteen, and having survived the persecution of the Church by Emperor Decius, Paul gave up his possessions at age 22 and escaped to the desert. It is here that Paul, the First Hermit, lived for the remainder of his long life in solitude and heavenly contemplation. Despite isolating himself from the world to grow closer to God, Saint Paul continued to pray for the world, praying that it would grow more holy.
Upon arriving in the desert, Saint Paul settled in a cave, near a freshly flowing stream and a single palm tree. The stream provided his water and the tree his food for the first 21 years of his contemplative life. Neither having seen nor talked to anyone during that time, a raven began visiting Saint Paul each day, bringing him a half loaf of bread. Saint Paul subsisted on this meager ration his entire life.
Near the end of his life, Saint Paul’s solitude was interrupted by a visit from Saint Anthony, who in vain thought sought him out to prove that he had served God in the wilderness longer. Upon meeting Saint Paul, Saint Anthony attested to the fact that Paul was a more perfect man than he. The two conversed, with the raven delivering an entire loaf of bread that day.
Saint Paul the Hermit sought communion with the Lord through quiet thought, prayer, and contemplation. By shutting out the noise and distraction of society, he was able to discover the Lord’s blessings more fully in his life. While we may view Saint Paul’s lifestyle as “drastic,” we might also take a lesson from him regarding the importance of quiet space and contemplation. Are we too busy to stop, be still, and in the silence find our Lord? Even when we try, are we able to “turn off” our minds, forget about the annoyances and worries of the day, and focus on Jesus, our savior? Saint Paul inspires us to take time out of our busy lives to sit quietly in prayer and listen for the voice of God.
Day 15 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Stillness within us to commune with God; Those suffering in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake
Prayer Requests: Friend undergoing kidney transplant and dialysis (L); Continued employment for those who are at risk of job loss (J)
Special Intentions: Those trying to conceive or adopt; Those who are pregnant or expecting children; New parents; Those who have experienced miscarriage or pregnancy complications