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."

January 28: Martyrs of China

Posted by Jacob

January 28 marks the feast day of two modern-day martyrs, who gave their lives in China: Saint Jerome Lu (1810-1858) and Blessed Lawrence Wang (1811-1858). These two courageous men, along with approximately 120 others (87 Chinese laypersons and 33 missionaries) were martyred between 1648 and 1930, many dying during the bloody and violent Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The “new” Martyrs of China were canonized by Pope John Paul II in October 2000.

The earliest martyrs of China are recognized in the early 17th century, although Christianity in China is recorded as early as the Tang Dynasty (in the 600s). In the 1600s, however, the Emperor became bothered by the frequent requests of his people for baptism and participation in organized religious rites. Christians were being persecuted in neighboring Japan at the time, and this is also thought to have influenced the first wave of anti-Christian sentiment which resulted.

In 1648, the first martyr of China is recorded. Blessed Francis Fernandez de Capillas, a Franciscan brother and teacher, was beheaded while praying the Holy Rosary and meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries. Subsequent to his death, persecution increased across the continent, growing in frequency and intensity. Official decrees followed in 1805, 1811, and 1813, ordering persecution against those who were seeking ordination, studying Holy Scripture, and practicing as servants of the Church. Those who voluntarily renounced their faith were saved from harsh punishment. During this time, Saint Jerome Lu and Blessed Lawrence Wang were martyred.

Saint Jerome Lu was born in Mao-Cheu, China where he joined the church at an early age, working as a catechist and teaching the Holy Scriptures to his neighbors. Upon discovery in 1858, he was beheaded in his hometown at Maokou. Blessed Lawrence Wang has a similar story. Born in Kuy-yang, he also served as a catechist in Maokou, and was beheaded with Saint Jerome in 1858. Along with Saint Jerome and Blessed Lawrence, a third catechist was beheaded, Blessed Angela Lin Zao, after failing to renounce Christianity and the Rites of the Catholic Church. They were ordered to be tortured and executed by the Mandarin of Maokou, and likely died (like their predecessors), praying the Holy Rosary together.

Active persecution of Chinese Christians ceased in 1846, during a 50 year period of tenuous peace with foreign traders and pressure from the outside world. However, during the bloody Boxer Rebellion on 1900, newer and harsher edicts were proclaimed against Christians, resulting in the deaths of 86 recognized Catholic martyrs during that year alone. It is estimated that thousands of Christians gave their lives during this uprising for their faith.

Harsh persecution of Christians ceased in 1930, although with the rise of communism in China, few personal liberties to practice Christian faith were permitted. Rather than death, imprisonment became a common punishment for those who failed to renounce their faith. In recent decades, this has improved, with organized (state-monitored) religious gatherings allowed.

The road for Christians in China, and many other countries, has been long, difficult, and oftentimes dangerous. These courageous men and women of faith have clung tightly to the Gospel, finding their peace in Christ in the most difficult of times, and never losing site of the promise of redemption and personal resurrection. These “new” martyrs of China endured dangers and persecution, declaring their belief in Christ, and their extravagant love for the Lord. As Saint Thomas Aquinas (whose feast we also celebrate today) tells us, “The things that we love tell us what we are.” This begs the questions: What are we? What do we love? and How do we show that love to the world?

Day 28 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage and Faith
Requested Intentions: Reconciliation of struggling marriages (A); Reconciliation and healing in personal relationships (N); Safety for friend deployed to Afghanistan (S); Those considering or having attempted suicide (Pr. L); Those who serve the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (N); Safety of friend/ relief worker in Haiti (L); Health and safety of new daughter (J); Renewal of loving Christ-centered relationship (A).


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